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Bitboys misses 3D superchip debut deadline

Second delay strikes Glaze3D, by the look of it

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Keenly watched Finnish 3D graphics chip company Bitboys has as near as dammit missed its self-imposed 31 March 2000 to announce its upcoming chip based on its Xtreme Bandwidth Architecture (XBA). Back in January, Bitboys unveiled XBA and promised to "introduce the final product specifications, product names and target prices of the first XBA enabled products March 2000". Well, boys, it's 31 March now, and there's still no announcement - what's happening, dudes? XBA provides 32-bit colour and a 32-bit Z-buffer, and enables one and two-processor acceleration systems, providing data throughput rates of 12GB per second and over 20GBps, respectively. The key to the technology is the inclusion of stacks of on-die RAM - up to 18MB of it - built into the chip using Infineon's embedded DRAM process. By tightly coupling memory and 3D engine, XBA-based chips are free of the key bottleneck - the system's memory bus - in other 3D chip and card designs. External DRAM is also supported, across a 128-bit bus. Bitboys' rivals approach to limiting those bottleneck by supporting ever-faster - and more expensive - forms of memory, such as Double Data Rate (DDR) SDRAM on the card. That's not enough, say the Finns, for today's high resolutions and frame rates. But until they get their products out it remains the only solution. That said, 3dfx's use of Gigapixel's tiling technology, due to be implemented in the next-but-one generation of accelerator after the Voodoo 4 and 5-powering VSA-100, should cut down its chips' bandwidth requirements significantly - and almost certainly more cheaply than Bitboys' design. In fact, Bitboys did announce a pair of chips last summer, the Glaze3D 1200 and 2400, with specs. not dissimilar to those mentioned at the XBA launch. These chips have yet to appear, but we assume they are in fact what Bitboys planned to announce this month. The 1200 and 2400 were originally scheduled to ship Q1 2000. Again, that doesn't seem to have happened - there's certainly nothing on Bitboy's Web site about it; and the company has yet to respond to requests for clarification - and we suspect that it was to mask their delay that Bitboys announced XBA instead. That's fair enough - after all, designing 3D graphics chips isn't something you can knock do over a good weekend - but it's now looking like the company has missed its second deadline too. The XBA-based chips are due to sample sometime Q2 this year, so Bitboys has more leeway yet on getting them out of the door. Volume production will take place during Q3, according to the current schedule. ® Related Stories Bitboys unveils embedded DRAM 3D graphics chip 3dfx to grab Gigapixel for $186m GigaPixel takes on 3dfx, S3, Nvidia with... tiles

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