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Next-gen Matrox chip to launch June

G550 or G800? G550, we reckon

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Matrox is set to unveil its next-generation 3D graphics acceleration chip next week in preparation for the part's official launch early June.

The company, of course, isn't saying which chip it will be unveiling, but the G550 - the follow-up to the current G450 - has to be most likely candidate.

Matrox's next major part was to have been the G800, which was said to offer twin rendering pipelines, support 128-bit DDR SDRAM video memory and feature a built-in transform and lighting engine as per Nvidia and ATI.

However, according to a Matrox representative, cited by The Tech Report last month, the G800 is "completely dead".

The trouble appears to have been that G800 was a dual-chip solution and, like 3dfx's problematic multi-chip VSA-100, Matrox may have run into difficulty making the chip pay. Two chips per board hits costs hard, especially when the silicon yields are low, as they always are in the early days of a new chip.

Instead, Matrox is thought to be working on a single-chip version, the G550. It is said to offer the same 128-bit DDR support and dual rendering pipeline with three texture units per pipeline, but cuts back the T&L engine to provide just one or two commonly used features. There's matrix skinning and displacement mapping.

The G550 is expected to have a 200-250MHz clock and a 360MHz RAMDAC. The part will be fabbed at 0.18 micron and support AGP 1x, 2x and 4x. The Millennium G550 board will contain 32MB of DDR SDRAM.

According to the Matrox guy, the G550 will ship by the end of May, "at the latest". The chip will almost certainly appear under Matrox's Millennium brand and boards are expected to cost between $150 and $200. ®

Related Link

The Tech Report: Matrox G550 news

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