ApeXtreme specs revamped

— 4:10 AM on March 26, 2004

Apex Digital has released the final specs for its ApeXtreme console, and it looks like the device has undergone a complete hardware overhaul. Originally, the ApeXtreme was to be powered by a 1.4GHz VIA C3 processor and 8-pipe S3 DeltaChrome graphics chip. However, the device's final specs list an Athlon XP 2000+ processor with nForce2 integrated graphics and a GeForce4 MX. Yes, the press release mentions both graphics chips:

The heart of the system will be AMD’s AthlonXP2000+processor chip; video will be supplied by NVIDIA’s nForce2 IGP graphics processor; all of which will be integrated on a motherboard produced by Biostar. The ApeXtreme will also utilize NVIDIA’s GeForce4 MX graphics card to supply smooth, crisp graphics.
It seems unlikely that the ApeXtreme would tap both a discrete GeForce4 MX and integrated nForce2 IGP for graphics, so it's probably one or the other. Either way, the console is taking a huge hit in the graphics department going from a DirectX 9-class DeltaChrome to DirectX 7-era hardware. Apex Digital doesn't seem to think graphics will be a problem, though:
The enhanced CPU and graphics hardware will deliver game performance and graphics superior to existing game consoles for gamers of all skill levels.
Considering that the Xbox's GeForce3-based graphics chip is really generation ahead of the nForce2 IGP and GeForce4 MX, I can't see how the ApeXtreme will deliver superior graphics. The nForce2 IGP and GeForce4 MX don't even have pixel shaders, and there's only so much an Athlon XP 2000+ can do to compensate.

Though a bit of a disaster on the graphics front, the revised ApeXtreme will include 5.1-channel Dolby Digital output and PVR capabilities. Combined with a larger 40GB hard drive, these new capabilities should at least give the ApeXtreme more appeal as a media box. However, consumers may balk at the console's suggested $499 price tag, which is more than the cost of a TiVo and an Xbox.

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