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Bitboys delays 3D superchip to up feature-count

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Bitboys, the 'revolutionary' Finnish 3D silicon company, has broken its silence to explain why it didn't announce chips based on its Xtreme Bandwidth Architecture (XBA) last month. Back in January, when XBA itself was unveiled, Bitboys promised to "introduce the final product specifications, product names and target prices of the first XBA enabled products March 2000". Well, the deadline came and went, but of Glaze3D (or whatever it's now going to be called) there was no sign. So why the no-show? To get the feature balance right, according to CEO Shane Long in a statement Bitboys is mailing out to anyone who asks what's up. We thought we'd had a personal message until various Register readers turned up waiving identical emails. Writes Long: "We set ourselves a target to define our first XBA enabled product, its trademark and specifications by the end of March. The current engine looks very good and our theories on bandwidth and fill-rate have been proven. XBA will provide a huge performance increase over the industry standard architectures employed by our competitors. "At this point, however, it is crucial for our company to deliver the right product for the market in terms of not only the performance, but also in terms of the features. XBA does enable superior fill-rates, but we wish to ensure that our first product is an unqualified success in all areas of performance in the 3D pipeline." That's fair enough, but it does sound like the standard response of a company that's spent a lot of time on a really hot product only to find that its rivals are beginning to catch up. In order to get its lead back, it needs to skip a generation and go straight on to an even more advanced product. Indeed, as Long puts it: "We have decided to push ahead with plans to incorporate our high performance geometry processing solution into our first product. This, together with the use of 0.17 micron manufacturing technology will extend the start of our commercial production to 2001 but will enhance the overall performance even further." This is beginning to sound like 3dfx, which kept having to put back its Voodoo 4 chip (which later became the VSA-100). "We are on track to have a technology demonstration of XBA this year. We will release the final product specification and its new trademark (changed due to claimed conflict of Glaze3D with an existing trademark) as soon as practically possible," admitted Long. Still, you can't get too cross with a young company when it makes the classic mistake of specifying when a product will be done - as we said, even the much more experienced 3dfx did it too. And we do look forward to Bitboys' demonstrations - we'll be more than happy to welcome Long and co. at Vulture Central when the time comes. ® Related Stories Bitboys misses 3D superchip debut deadline Via buys S3 chip biz for $323m-plus 3DLabs buys Intense 3D as ATI, Nvidia breathe down neck

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