EE Times: 3dfx burned by Napalm

3dfx is going to miss the Christmas buying season with its new Napalm technology, and their CEO stepped down shortly after the announcement. Anyone who follows the graphics market knows 3dfx has lost some of its cachet in recent months, losing “mindshare” to NVIDIA in a big way. 3dfx has been accussed of lagging behind its competitors in terms of its technology, among other things. The problem with their next-gen Napalm tech, according to this EE Times story, has been its complex design. What’s the hold-up?

With 14 million transistors, Napalm proved a challenge for back-end place and route. “It was so complex, it was breaking some emulation tools. It took a long time to verify,” he said. The company is confident that the chip will be ready in the February-April fiscal quarter, Zacarias said.

The EE Times story makes it sound as if 3dfx’s Napalm tech, likely to be called Voodoo4, is not an all-new 3D rendering core. If so, that fact hadn’t penetrated my thick head until now. Is this thing truly an extension of the Voodoo architecture, or what?

3dfx does have an all-new core in the works, slated for release in the second half of 2000:

Napalm, described as the first gigapixel product of its kind, will be very competitive with GeForce, he claimed. And coming right behind it will be a completely new architecture, code-named Rampage.

“We’ve spent the last 18 months having 30 engineers designing a new core from the ground up,” Zacarias said. The firm expects to introduce Rampage in the first half of 2000, with production slated for the second half. An iteration of Rampage, called Sage, is in development for 2001, and a low-end version of Napalm, called Napalm LC, should be out by the end of 2000, he added.

So is that two all-new cores, or one very complex Voodoo core rehash and one all-new architecture? (Many thanks to the ‘shack for pointing out this link.)

Comments closed
    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[Anon@203.59.5.99<]* There is one thing I want to see in 3D Games - Motion Blur. motion blurring would be a huge step forward in 3D Gamig. If its done well it might even eliminate the need for anti-aliasing and create much more realistic scenes than we\'ve ever seen. 3DFX do have the shit - they just gotta get thir ass into gear thats all. I eagerly anticipate the Voodoo 4 / Napalm and don\'t think 3DFX have gone to crap just yet.

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[Anon@203.59.5.99<]* There is one thing I want to see in 3D Games -b {Motion Blur. motion blurring would be a huge step forward in 3D Gamig. If its done well it might even eliminate the need for anti-aliasing and create much more realistic scenes than we\'ve ever seen. 3DFX do have the shit - they just gotta get thir ass into gear thats all. I eagerly anticipate the Voodoo 4 / Napalm and don\'t think 3DFX have gone to crap just yet.

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[Anon@203.59.5.99<]* There is one thing I want to see in 3D Games -b {Motion Blur.}b motion blurring would be a huge step forward in 3D Gamig. If its done well it might even eliminate the need for anti-aliasing and create much more realistic scenes than we\'ve ever seen. 3DFX do have the shit - they just gotta get thir ass into gear thats all. I eagerly anticipate the Voodoo 4 / Napalm and don\'t think 3DFX have gone to crap just yet.

    • Anonymous
    • 20 years ago

    *[Anon@sdn-ar-001gasavaP309.dialsprint.net<]* The EE times article contains absolutely nothing new. In fact, the information in it is weeks old--yawn. Almost two months ago, 3dfx told investors and other people through the Internet about the back-end problems they had which were going to force them to delay the V4 until Feb. 2000. As to why the CEO resigned, that\'s pure speculation. Ballard said he resigned because he felt there was nothing else he could do for 3dfx, since he was originally hired for the express purpose of taking the company public. Personally, my own supposition is that he just couldn\'t take the sort of public scrutiny the CEOs of public companies get in spades. It\'s just as likely as anything this article suggested. As far as being an \"extension\" of the Voodoo architecture goes, what\'s wrong with that? It\'s going to have 1 gigapixel fillrate, 32-bit 3D support, Texture Compression support and FSAA, courtesy of T-buffer (which works right out of the box and requires no developer support whatever.) Don\'t people know that the GeForce, for instance, is an \"extension\" of the original TNT? As far as the rest goes, what\'s important about 3dfx\'s new-architecture chip (rumored to be Renegade) isn\'t the \"features\" that will be in it--it\'s that fact that this will be 3dfx\'s new \"base-design\" from which all succeeding 3dfx products will emerge. Just wanted to put the flashlight to this issue. It\'s so amusing to see yesterday\'s news brought out of the closet and dusted off for a rerun just because, I guess, EETimes is, well, so far behind the times?

    • treatment
    • 20 years ago

    FIRST POST!!!

    Ah told yah guys 3DFX ain’t got shit but a lame press release!

    –treatment–

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