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Intel bins 'Extreme' graphics name

Welcome 'Graphics Media Accelerator'

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Ever wondered why Intel refuses to discuss the name of the third-generation of its Extreme family of integrated graphics engines, even though 'Extreme Graphics 3' is such an obvious candidate? Because it's dropping the name in favour of the more humdrum 'Graphics Media Accelerator', sources close to the company claim.

Intel's third-generation integrated graphics technology is expected to debut later this quarter in a version of its 'Grantsdale' chipset, the i915G. It will also be used in 'Alviso', the next generation of Pentium M chipset, and will be officially dubbed the Graphics Media Accelerator 900.

In February, it emerged that the new engine, which will support DirectX 9, only offers pixel shader 2.0 technology - all geometry processing is offloaded onto the host CPU. Since that means a 90nm Pentium 4 on the desktop, presumably Intel feels there's sufficient horsepower to spare to cope with the vertex shader work.

Still, the results are unlikely to match the power of a dedicated graphics accelerator, and that may well explain the use of a less gamesy moniker for the new engine. Gamers won't be satisfied with an integrated chip, and everyone else is more likely to respond to less in-your-face branding. Intel undoubtedly wants to stress the broader, multimedia features of the integrated engine, rather than its suitability for games, and hence the name change, if the claim is correct.

Whatever it's final branding, the new graphics engine contains four parallel pixel processing pipelines and supports up to 128MB of shared SDRAM, plus dual independent displays - it will automatically adjust the display resolution to match the capabilities of the screen to which it has been connected. It supports CRTs, LCDs, TVs and HD TVs. ®

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