Formac's ProFormance 4, due out in September, is a 256-bit, dual-processor graphics accelerator with 100 percent OpenGL hardware acceleration.

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NEWS
JULY 25, 2000

Formac Brings 3Dlabs R3 Graphics Processors to Mac

Collaboration with Formac yields dual-monitor AGP card for the Mac platform

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

3Dlabs and Formac, two graphics card manufacturers, have been working quietly to bring R3 graphics processors over to the Mac platform. The product of their collaboration is the new ProFormance 4 board, a graphics card that uses GLINT Gamma G2 (geometry processor) and dual 128-bit GLINT R3 processors. The new 256-bit card has 64 MB of onboard memory and can power two monitors from a single AGP port. The card accelerates 100 percent of OpenGL geometry and lighting in hardware. This is the first card on the Mac to offer this feature.

"Mac users have never before had access to 3Dlabs' high-end workstation graphics acceleration, and we believe this board will transform the Mac into a platform capable of running the most demanding 3D authoring applications," Formac CEO Oliver Bergmann told Creative Mac.

In single-screen mode both processors are focused into one frame buffer for maximum rasterization performance. In dual-screen mode, the ProFormance 4 can directly drive two independent displays, each with a dedicated rasterizer, acting as two 32 MB graphics boards. In addition to hardware OpenGL acceleration, the board provides MPEG-2 motion compensation and YUV to RGB conversion in hardware. The ProFormance 4 also provides full connectivity for LVDS, DVI and VGA standards, with two exchangeable modules and a connector for Formac's ProCyber 3D virtual reality glasses. Other features include:

  • 300 MHz RAMDAC;
  • 256-bit Memory Bus Architecture;
  • Quicktime/QuickDraw/OpenGL 3D acceleration;
  • Supports QuickDraw, QuickDraw 3D, QuickTime, 100 percent OpenGL hardware acceleration for transforming and lightning, MPEG-2 motion compensation, Dual Texture Unit, YUV to RGB conversion, Trilinear Filtering, Mip Mapping;
  • FontCache;
  • Hardware Pan and Zoom;
  • Gamma corrections;
  • Support for Apple's new monitors through a modular connection architecture;
  • Maximum true resolution of 2,000 x 2,000.

"With the resurgence of the Mac platform, the imminent arrival of OS X and industrial-strength 3D applications such as Maya, we expect to see significant demand for true workstation-grade graphics on the Mac platform," said Neil Trevett, vice president of marketing at 3Dlabs in a prepared statement. "Formac's hardware design technical expertise and driver capabilities make them an excellent partner for 3Dlabs to empower the Apple Macintosh user with our no compromise professional graphics processors."

The ProFormance 4 is set to debut in the in early September, according to Bergmann. Pricing is not yet available, but the card is geared toward the professional 3D market, and Bergmann said it will not attempt to compete in price with consumer-level cards, such as 3dfx's new Voodoo5 line. Bergmann said Formac is looking into future collaborations with 3Dlabs for graphics hardware but that the ProFormance 4 will remain the company's flagship Mac card for at least six to 12 months. (3Dlabs introduced a next-generation graphics procesor, the R4, for Windows today.) For more information, visit http://www.formac.com or http://www.3dlabs.com.

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