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STMicro confirms it will use 'Kyro III, IV' chips

PowerVR Series 4, 5 licensed

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STMicroelectronics has confirmed it will license the next two generations of Imagination Technologies' PowerVR graphics acceleration chip designs - and sell products based upon them

PowerVR is soon to be extended to Series 4 and, later, Series 5. STM will use both. It already has a licence for PowerVR Series 3, which is the basis for STM's Kyro and Kyro II chips.

The Power VR Series 4 is likely to make it to market as the Kyro III, or the ST5000, to use STM's official part number. It's not known for certain, but logic would suggest the Series 5 part will ship as the Kyro IV, aka ST6000.

The Kyro is the ST4000 - the Kyro II, the ST4500. An speed-bumped Kyro II, the ST4800, is expected to ship this summer.

The Kyro III (or whatever it's eventually called) is believed to specced to run at 250-300MHz and support up to 64MB of on-card DDR SDRAM. It sports a completely redesigned core that merged PowerVR's traditional tile-based rendering scheme with a GeForce-style transform and lighting engine.

The Kyro family has won plenty of support among the gaming community for its rapid acceleration and very low cost. That has led to particularly aggressive action from Nvidia, which clearly fears that Kyro-based cards could seriously undermine sales of its low-end products.

Ironically, Nvidia has Kyro-style technology of its own: the Gigapixel chip designs it acquired when it bought up 3dfx's remains. 3dfx bought Gigapixel for $186 million in March 2000, but never capitalised on its acquisition's tile-based rendering technology. Gigapixel's technology was certainly impressive from the early demos we saw back in 1999 (see GigaPixel takes on 3dfx, S3, Nvidia with... tiles), but as yet Nvidia hasn't said what it plans to do with it. ®

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