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NEWS JULY 26, 2000
Appian Has AGX Mac Cards in Its Future
New lower-cost chip promises solid dual-monitor support

Dave Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

Appian Graphics, a manufacturer of multiple-display graphics cards, today announced that it's started manufacturing its own graphics chip—the Appian AGX, a high-end graphics processor with support for multiple monitors running at 1,600 x 1,200 at 75 Hz each, all on a single chip. The company earlier this year entered the Mac multiple-display graphics market with the Jeronimo 2000 Mac. And, as it turns out, they plan to follow it up with cards powered by the AGX for the Mac this year.

"You find a lot of professional users who prefer the Mac platform in segments like desktop publishing, video editing and audio recording—and that's where we've always focused our efforts," said Mike Larson, director of strategic business development for Appian, in an interview with Creative Mac. "Developing the Appian AGX chip in house allowed Appian to develop an extended desktop solution that is more cost-effective than previous Appian offerings and still delivers the unparalleled performance that professional users have come to expect from us. As far as the Appian AGX is concerned, there is nothing that competes with it in terms of video quality, resolution support or performance."

Nobody's seen the chip in action yet, but, on a single monitor, the AGX can power resolutions of 2,048 x 1,548 at 85 Hz. It offers dual independent 330 MHz RAMDACs; an extra display path; 32-bit Z-buffer; bilinear, trilinear and anisotropic filtering; specular highlighted textures; single-pass multitexturing, full-scene, single-cycle anti-aliasing; DVD support with motion compensation and color space conversion; bump mapping; texture compression (lossless RLE); a 128-bit wide memory bus running at 150 MHz; and genlock for multiple internal and external screens. It also supports PCI and AGP bus technology, so Appian will be able to offer both types of boards.

According to Larson, the first offering will come with dual DVI-I and support for the Apple Cinema Display but not the new connectors introduced by Apple at the Macworld convention last week. After the first Mac release later this year, Larson said, there should be about a month lag between Windows and Mac offerings.

So why the sudden interest in the Macintosh platform from Appian? Said Larson: "The Mac market—notably the audio recording industry due to hardware incompatibilities with audio hardware and PCI graphics cards—was demanding a dual-head AGP solution. The Mac market has always been extremely popular among professional users, and Appian is focused on the professional extended desktop user."

Pricing for the forthcoming boards has not yet been set, but Larson said that it will be much more competitive in terms of cost than the Jeronimo 2000 ($749 with two 3Dlabs Permedia3 chips), though still focused on the pro user. For more information, visit http://www.appian.com.

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