Graphics potpourri

First NVIDIA dropped its Detonator 4 bomb, then ATI announced its new Radeon chips. But the fun isn't over yet. With SIGGRAPH running this week, it seems all the action is going down in the graphics world.

Yahoo has the goods on the new OpenGL 1.3 spec, which is loaded with new features. With Microsoft pushing DirectX, it's only fitting that OpenGL get a boost every now and then to keep up with the times. The new spec includes the following features.

-- Cube map texturing -- for higher quality environment mapping and lighting support
-- Multisampling -- for order-independent anti-aliased rendering of points, lines and polygons
-- New texture modes that provide more powerful ways of applying textures to rendered objects:
-- Texture Add Environment mode
-- Texture Combine Environment mode
-- Texture Dot3 Environment mode
-- Texture Border Filtering mode
-- Compressed texture framework -- to allow higher quality textures in less memory regardless of file format
Right up on the edge of the new OpenGL spec is NVIDIA, who have already implemented the new API. That's not all the graphics giant has up its sleeve, though. Reporting record revenues and earnings for the second quarter of this year, NVIDIA has also announced a two-for-one stock split. All this despite the fact that NVIDIA actually lost 13% of its desktop market share for the same quarter.

This loss of market share, mainly to ATI, should come as no surprise, since the Radeon is a credible offering despite its Windows 2000 driver woes. Remember, this is only Q2 info, so it doesn't really take into account the impact the GeForce3 has had on the market since. However, even with the GeForce 3 in the mix, NVIDIA's market share is going to see further erosion from products like the Kyro II. Hercules just reported that their 3D Prophet 4500 (our review is here) placed in the top ten in both dollar sales and units sold in the first month of its release.

We might not have many new graphics products hitting the market in the dying weeks of summer, but that doesn't mean it's going to be boring.

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