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Bitboys' 3D superchip schedule slips again?

Appears to have shifted from early 2001 to second half of the year

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Finnish 3D graphics company Bitboys appears to have shuffled back its release schedule - again.

Details of its wonderchip - originally called Glaze3D, though that name was later dropped for trademark infringement reasons, even though the company's still using it on its Web site - were due to be unveiled last March. The deadline came and went, but the technology didn't show.

When we asked the company what was up, we were told that it had been decided that features planned for later generations of the chip, such as an on-board geometry processing engine - something ATI has now already built into its Radeon chip - should be added to the first product instead.

Fair enough, though it does mean, said Bitboys CEO Shane Long, that "together with the use of 0.17 micron manufacturing technology, [this] will extend the start of our commercial production to 2001".

But what's this we see in a release announcing new funding for the Finns? "The processors will be in volume production in the second half of 2001."

Of course, that's not entirely inconsistent with Long's previous statement. However, the tone of the earlier comment suggested an early 2001 date for volume production rather than at least six months into the year.

We also note that the release states: "This new architecture [Bitboys' Extreme Bandwidth Architecture (XBA)] may in the future be used in the graphics solutions of the Internet appliance, game console and mobile computing markets." [our italics]

And: "Bitboys 3D graphics processors are planned to be incorporated on graphics accelerator add-in boards for upgrading existing PC's and be integrated in fully configured systems from various PC manufacturers." [again, our italics]

All in all, a cautious message, suggesting Bitboys has yet to sign any supporters, which in turn suggests it's still a long way from demonstrating - let alone selling - its 3D technology.

The latest investment in Bitboys amounts to some E3.7 million ($3.34 million) from Finnish investment banker Conventum, made in exchange for "no less" than an 8.3 per cent stake in the graphics company. Bitboys said it will use the funding for its ongoing XBA development work. ®

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