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January 6th, 2000

[4:00 PM] MACWORLD Expo - 3dfx Announces Full Support for the Mac - New 3D Cards to have Native Mac Support Out Of The Box
by Staff

3dfx Interactive® Inc. announced its strategy to bring its high-quality and extreme performance 3D graphics to the Mac with branded products featuring the new VSA-100 (Voodoo Scalable Architecture) processor. According to 3dfx:

Board products based on the VSA-100, which contains native Mac support and acceleration, will deliver ultimate fill rates and high visual reality through breakthrough digital cinematic effects, bringing Mac gaming to the next level. Additionally, 3D rendering quality on the Mac will be dramatically improved through the VSA-100's advanced full-scene anti-aliasing technology, a capability never before available from 3dfx for Mac.

"This announcement demonstrates our strong commitment to the Mac platform and our desire to be the number one graphics supplier for the Mac," said Scott Sellers, founder and chief technology officer at 3dfx Interactive, Inc. "No other graphics board can deliver the power and performance of the VSA-100 to the Mac. With full-scene anti-aliasing and digital cinematic effects, the VSA-100 will provide Mac users an improved visual quality and performance level."

"We have listened to the user community and have received tremendous support to enter the Mac market and dominate with 3dfx branded products," said Bryan Speece, director of Macintosh business development at 3dfx Interactive, Inc. "We will fully support boards on the Mac platform, including customer service, technical support, driver updates, game developer evangelism and all of the other services available to users of 3dfx PC products."

"The new family of iMacs and the new Power Mac G4 are great platforms for beginning and hard-core gamers alike," said Clent Richardson, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. "3dfx's technology will help make games and other intensive visual applications stand out on the Mac."

In August 1999, 3dfx introduced the first version of its beta drivers for the Voodoo3 to the Mac development community in order to enable leading game developers to create Mac versions of their best-selling Windows® PC games, and to attract more cutting-edge 3D titles to the Mac platform. Developer support played an important role in 3dfx's decision to enter the market with branded products.

"3dfx really created the hardware-accelerated 3D gaming market on the PC and we're anticipating a similar effect on the Mac," said Michael Evans, project lead for Oni at Bungie Software. "With their forthcoming VSA-100 products, users can expect to experience Oni and Halo at higher resolutions, significantly higher frame rates and remarkably better image quality."

"Having 3dfx show this kind of support for the Mac is something that will excite Mac users everywhere," said Trey Smith, technical director at Graphic Simulations. "Today the Voodoo3 is the fastest board for the Mac and we expect VSA-100 products to carry on that market leadership by delivering outstanding visual quality and performance to the platform. This will make the games we bring to the Mac more immersive and exciting than ever before"

"By committing to branded Mac products, 3dfx will raise the standard for gaming on the Mac," said Al Schilling, product manager of MacSoft. "The development community is anxious and ready to work with 3dfx to bring more content to the Macintosh. We strongly support their decision to enter the market and look forward to the future of Mac gaming."

About The VSA-100

At the heart of the VSA-100 is a new advanced 3D engine which enables extremely high fill rates. Sustaining high fill rate is critical to deliver real-time frame rates at high resolution, with significant depth complexity, digital effects and the highest visual quality. The VSA-100 allows for the first time, true full-scene, hardware anti-aliasing at real-time frame rates. True full-scene anti-aliasing removes visual artifacts, such as "jaggies" and triangle "popping" to create smooth images that deliver a substantially improved immersive experience for the viewer. Additionally, multiple chip implementations of the VSA-100 enable advanced T-Buffer™ digital cinematic effects including motion blur, programmable depth-of-field, soft shadows and soft reflections.

The VSA-100, composed of over 14 million transistors, is fabricated in an enhanced .25 micron, 6-layer metal semiconductor process. The architecture incorporates industry standard 3D features including 32-bit RGBA rendering, 24-bit depth-buffer (Z and W), 8-bit stencil rendering, FXT1 texture compression support, 32-bit textures, 2048x2048 texture size support, and advanced texture and color combine capabilities. Additional support is provided for both AGP 4x and PCI, DVD hardware assist, and the world's most powerful 128-bit 2D engine.

Specific board configurations will be announced in the first quarter of 2000 and are expected to be available at retail in the second quarter of 2000, about 2 months behind their Windows counterparts.

The Mac Observer Spin: Well, we can't say this is a surprise (can anyone?), but we can sure say we're glad. Add this to ATI's admission (courtesy of Inside Mac Games) that their OEM Deal with Apple is non-exclusive, and things look VERY good for the Mac 3D and gaming markets!

Check back here tomorrow for details of our one-on-one interview with 3dfx!

3dfx - MACWORLD Expo SF Special Report

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