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The chip specs
The Kyro II chip's specifications are an inversely gaudy display of hardware efficiency, an orgy of austerity—from the low transistor counts to the cheapo memory to, well, everything else. It starts with the chip itself, which amounts to just a small section of a GeForce3 chip, transistor-wise.

 

Transistors
(Millions)

Process
width
(Microns)

GeForce2 MX

19

.18

GeForce2 GTS

25

.18

GeForce2 Ultra

25

.18

GeForce357.15
Kyro II15.18
Radeon 64MB DDR30.18

Voodoo 5 5500

15 * 2

.25

At 15 million transistors, the Kyro II is barely even there. It's half the size of a Radeon, and under a third the transistor count of a GeForce3 chip. The pipeline specs are similarly puny...

 

Core clock

Pixel pipelines

Fill rate Mpixels/sec

Textures per pixel

Fill rate Mtexels/sec

GeForce2 MX

175MHz

2

350

2

700

GeForce2 GTS

200MHz

4

800

2

1600

GeForce2 Ultra

250MHz

4

1000

2

2000

GeForce3200MHz480021600
Kyro II175MHz23501350
Radeon 64MB DDR183MHz236631100

Voodoo 5 5500

166MHz

2 * 2

667

1

667

In terms of nominal fill rate, the Kyro 2 is seriously wimpy. These numbers are almost entirely theoretical, but the Kyro's peak texel fill rate is half that of its nearest competitor, and a quarter that of a GeForce2.

However, the Kyro II has the ability to deliver eight-layer multitexturing in a single rendering pass thanks to its tile buffer. (The GeForce3 uses a similar trick to deliver four layers per pass.) Adding extra texture layers in this way takes clock cycles, but avoids the big performance penalty that would come with additional rendering passes. By contrast, a GeForce2 would have to render a scene four times in order to lay down eight textures per pixel. Most current games don't apply nearly that many textures, but even at four textures, the Kyro II is—wait for it—much more efficient.

As for memory bandwidth...

 

Memory clock

Bus width

Memory bandwidth

GeForce2 MX

166MHz

128 bits

2.7GB/sec

GeForce2 GTS

333MHz (166MHz DDR)

128 bits

5.2GB/sec

GeForce2 Ultra

460MHz (230MHz DDR)

128 bits

7.4GB/sec

GeForce3460MHz
(230MHz DDR)
64 bits DDR * 47.4GB/sec
Kyro II175MHz128 bits2.8GB/sec
Radeon 64MB DDR366MHz
(183MHz DDR)
128 bits5.87GB/sec

Voodoo 5 5500

166MHz

128 bits * 2

5.2GB/sec

The Kyro II matches the GeForce2 MX (and the MX 400, which isn't on the chart) in memory bandwidth, but trails well behind the more common DDR solutions. The chip's low-rent spec means the Kyro II will have to be madly efficient just to keep pace with the competition.