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Kyro II Ultra, Kyro III details emerge

Hardware transform and lighting coming, as expected

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Imagination Technologies' successor to its Kyro II graphics chip will sport a completely redesigned core featuring a transform and lighting engine - as the rumour mill has long suggested - in a bid to take the fight to market leaders Nvidia and ATI.

And the current Kyro II, aka the STG4500, will be upgraded a few months down the line with a faster version, the STG4800.

The new chip design, like its predecessors, will be licensed to ST Microelectronics and almost certainly released as the Kyro III. The part will support four rendering pipelines. It will be fabbed at 0.13 micron and ship with a core speed of 250MHz. Expect it to ship on DDR SDRAM-based boards for the greater bandwidth that that memory technology offers. Up to 64MB will be supported.

Kyro III is said to offer three times the performance of the Kyro II. The Kyro's tile-based architecture will be retained.

Now there's some confusion over nomenclature here, with the 250MHz Kyro III referred to as both the STG5000 and the STG5500 by different sources. Where it's described as the former, the STG5500 is said to be a faster version that ups the clock speed to between 250MHz and 300MHz and is scheduled to ship next year.

We also hear of the STG6000 and STG6500, but these sound too close to the STG5000 and 5500, so we remain sceptical about these chips. For what it's worth, we reckon the next chip will be the STG5500.

The STG4800, meanwhile, is essentially an existing Kyro II but with a clock speed of 200MHz rather than 175MHz. We've heard that it's called the Kyro II Ultra, but that may be just wishful thinking on the part of sources who want ST to target Nvidia.

There's no news on release dates, but the STG4800 - whatever it's branded as - may ship this summer, with the STG5500 coming in before the end of the year. ®

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