3Dlabs is now issuing an heir, however, in the Wildcat 5110, the company's latest card and the first to be based on its Wildcat II technology introduced at Siggraph last year. According to 3Dlabs, the 5110, which is actually a replacement for the second-tier 4110 rather than the 4210, bests other cards in most SPECviewperf 6.1.2 tests, and soundly trounces them when all test machines use Pentium 4 processers, which offer the necessary bandwidth for the 5110 to show its stuff.
Behind the speed is a next-generation chipset that uses 0.18 micron technology, a new geometry engine with 16 million transistors operating at 225mhz, a new rasterization engine with 8 million transistors operating at 200mhz, and a new bus interface chip with 3 million transistors that supports AGP 4X. In addition, the 5110 supports a dual-pipeline architecture with OpenGL 1.2 geometry acceleration, a 64mb frame buffer and 64mb of texture memory, volumetric texture support, the company's proprietary SuperScene anti-aliasing, and programmable geometry ASICs. The card can churn through more than 15 million triangles in a second, and features a trilinear texture fill rate of 332 million pixels per second. Dual screens are now supported, and built-in genlock/frame lock is an option.
The card is available now for $2200 to $2600 on an OEM basis. The Wildcat 4210 will also continue to be available. Though the 4210 is not built on the new, faster Wildcat II technology, it contains 128mb of texture memory (as opposed to the 5110's 64mb), which will continue to make it the card of choice for professionals (animators for films, for example) needing that capability, says the company. (3Dlabs; www.3Dlabs.com) -Jenny Donelan