Intel Corp. will unveil its long-awaited i740 graphics accelerator chip later today, and graphics card vendors are already announcing i740-based add-in cards that plug into Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) or PCI slots.
The i740, developed under the code name Auburn, will offer high performance at a price that is attractive to the high-volume PC market, said Andy Fischer, vice president at Jon Peddie Associates, in Tiburon, California. Intel also has developed the software drivers required to gain widespread acceptance for the chip, he said.
The 3-D core of the i740 was designed for Intel by Real3D Inc., in which Intel recently purchased a 20-percent stake. The chip's 2-D engine was designed by Chips & Technologies Inc., which Intel recently purchased.
Real3D, still 80-percent-owned by Lockheed Martin, later today will unveil a family of 3-D/2-D/video graphics accelerator boards called StarFighter, named after the Lockheed F-104 StarFighter, the first aircraft to fly at twice the speed of sound.
StarFighter AGP is available in configurations from entry-level, with 4MB of local memory; to high-performance, with 8MB of memory, full video, TV I/O, and hardware DVD. Suggested retail price of the StarFighter AGP board starts at US$189.
StarFighter PCI is available in configurations ranging from mid-range boards with 4MB frame buffer and 8MB local texture memory to performance boards with 8MB frame buffer and 16MB local texture memory, full video, TV I/O, and hardware DVD. The price of the StarFighter PCI board starts at $229.
Both the StarFighter AGP and StarFighter PCI will be available at the end of the first quarter.
Other suppliers will announce i740-based products later today and display them at the Intel Developers Forum, in San Jose, California, next week, said Brian Ekiss, graphics marketing manager at Intel. Graphics boards should come from Asustek, Diamond Multimedia, Leadtek, Number Nine, and STB. Third-party video vendors include C-Cube Microsystems and Zoran with their DVD offerings, Rockwell's Brooktree with video and TV products, and Hauppauge with a TV tuner.
Desktop system OEMs will begin rolling out products, and Intel will integrate the i740 onto motherboards later this year, Ekiss said.
Ekiss expects to see products in end-user channels by the end of March, although evaluation kits are already available from independent hardware vendors and third parties.
The chip is priced at $34.75 each in 10,000-unit quantities. It is in limited production now, but will be in full production in March, Ekiss said.