Rumor patrol: Intel, Micron, 3dfx, Sony...

— 1:04 AM on July 28, 2000

There are a couple of rumors running around out there that are just too juicy not to mention. Thing is, neither one is acutally reliable, confirmed, or anything of the sort, so take these are you will. They're amusing, and not terribly damaging if untrue.

First, there's RealWorldTech's mention of the possibility that Intel may be licensing Micron's Samurai chipset for use in its servers. Why would Intel do that? Rambus, of course:

The apparent point of this is that this would be a way for Intel to sidestep the Rambus licensing restrictions preventing Intel from manufacturing a chipset to promote any 'new' memory technology besides DRDRAM, but I'm not sure if the wording of the license agreement would allow such slippery activity.
If true, the little IP firm that could (sue) may be in a lot of trouble.

Meanwhile, an even juicier post on an investor messageboard offers an intriguing report from the 3dfx shareholder's meeting. The post claims 3dfx demoed the first revision of the chip 3dfx got out of its recently-approved merger with Gigapixel:

Someone then asked about a demo, so they got some stuff ready and then gave us one in a oversized closet type of room. It was showing off the next generation vs nVidia's Ge2 DDR. This was rev 1 of gigapixels chip, and they are currently on or have completed rev 4. They showed it running Q3Arena, and not only was the picture far better (sharper, and not pixelated on the edges....since it does anti-aliasing in hardware, instead of software) but the framerate was double or slightly better.

Of course this was showing 3DFX's next generation stuff vs nVidia's current generation stuff, but it was still impressive.

That kind of performance makes me wonder about the future of the Voodoo 5 6000. So does the poster's claim that memory makes up about 50% the cost of a V5 board right now, so memory price fluctuations really affect the bottom line. However, he did say the V5 4500 and 6000 should ship by the end of August. And oddly, no mention of 3dfx's own next-gen core, code-named Rampage.

In light of the scandalous ATI-Steve Jobs spat at MacWhirled, where ATI leaked advance info on the new Macs and Jobs spiked the Radeon intro, the poster is eager to see 3dfx get an OEM deal with Apple. 'twill be hard for 3dfx to match the GeForce MX's attractiveness to Apple, but I suppose maybe Jobs could decide to reward 3dfx's Apple loyalty at last.

Finally, there is this line from the post, apparently regurgitated from the poster's notes without any explanation at all:

They have a product (with sony) next year that will outperform the x box.
So is 3dfx gonna license the Emotion Engine chip and run two or four 'em in SLI? Only time will tell—or maybe the next edition of Rumor Patrol.
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