PRODUCTS | DISPLAYS
NEC Goes Larges with a 65-Inch LCD Display
NEC Display Solutions of America announced its largest LCD yet, the 65-inch NEC MultiSync LCD6520. The commercial-grade display is embedded with NEC’s Digital Signage Technology Suite (DSTS), which includes more than 20 features and functions developed for digital signage, making the display ideal for the transportation, corporate, medical, retail, and hospitality markets. When used in digital signage applications, these features eliminate the need for third-party components.
With the addition of an expansion slot that provides the option for further components, the LCD6520 can adapt to emerging technologies, such as IPTV.
The display offers 1920x1080 full-HD resolution with a 2000:1 contrast ratio, a 6 msec response time, and Ambix+T Technology, which supports digital and analog inputs.
The LCD6520 is available in both portrait and landscape models. The LCD6520L-AV (landscape) and LCD6520P-AV (portrait) are available for less than $18,500 and $20,000, respectively.
PRODUCTS | GRAPHIC BOARDS
Nvidia Unveils the Quadro FX 3700
With an eye to further improving productivity for CAD and digital content creators, Nvidia is offering the Quadro FX 3700, a high-end graphics board capable of delivering a performance increase of up to 2X compared to the previous generation of product.
The Quadro FX 3700 offers high throughput for interactive visualization, and with 112 parallel processors, 512mb of onboard graphics memory, and a 256-bit memory interface, the card can easily manage the large models and complex, real-time shaders that dominate the CAD and DCC markets. The board incorporates the Nvidia Application Configuration Engine (ACE), which automatically configures the graphics hardware and software for maximum application performance. It also offers SLI technology to scale graphics performance, enhance image quality, and expand display real estate.
The Nvidia Unifed Architecture, introduced last year, enables sophisticated shaders to simulate a virtually unlimited range of physical characteristics, such as lighting effects (dispersion, reflection, refraction, BRDF models) and physical surface properties (casting effects, porosity, molded surfaces). Real-time shaders allow these effects to be combined and modified interactively, something that is impossible to do with simple 2D static texture maps.
The Quadro FX 3700 graphics board offers PCI-Express Gen 2 support, essentially doubling the data transfer rate between the GPU and the Gen 2 chipsets to 16gb/sec.
The Quadro FX 3700 graphics board sells for $1599.
PRODUCTS | PROCESSORS
AMD Rolls Out HD 3000 Series
AMD announced the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3000 series, a new family of discrete graphics for high-def gaming and video in notebook PCs. The initial offerings consist of the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3400 series and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3600 series.
The HD 3000 series is optimized for the forthcoming AMD notebook platform, code-named Puma, which will be introduced in the second quarter. In Puma, the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3000 series graphics will join AMD Turion Ultra notebook processors and the forthcoming AMD RS780 chipset for power-efficient mobility.
The series supports DirectX 10.1 by enabling a higher level of visual quality through new lighting and rendering techniques for enhancing the realism of 3D games.
New PCI Express 2.0 support allows faster throughput and greater overall system performance compared to PCI Express 1.1. Also, notebook users can play the latest Blu-ray and HD-DVD movies in full-HD 1080p resolution (HD display required) using ATI Avivo HD Technology, which frees the CPU for other tasks. With a choice of digital outputs, users can connect to a variety of displays featuring DVI and HDMI. Also, the machine is the first to offer next-generation DisplayPort support on a notebook platform.
The ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3400 series and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3600 series are currently shipping in notebooks from Asus. Additional products in the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3000 series are scheduled for availability from notebook manufacturers in the first half of this year.
PRODUCTS | TEXTURING
Allegorithmic Ships ProFX 2.6 Procedural Texturing Middleware
Allegorithmic rolled out ProFX 2.6, the newest version of its patented procedural texturing middleware.
With a core that runs faster and on a wider range of machines, ProFX 2.6 allows game studios to produce texture assets up to two times faster than with regular techniques. ProFX 2.6 procedural textures also ensure very small files sizes—typically 500 to 1000 times smaller than regular textures—making them ideal for massively multiplayer online games, virtual communities, and casual and downloadable games.
ProFX 2.6 is compatible with Pixel Shader 2.0, maximizing the number of machines that benefit from the GPU acceleration of ProFX. It also seamlessly integrates with MaPZone Pro 2.6 for increased developer productivity. ProFX 2.6 is available now; pricing varies based on game type and development platform.
PRODUCTS | PROCESSORS
AMD Lets Users Control the Clock
AMD has released a new AMD Phenom 9600 Black Edition quad-core processor with Clock Multiplier Control and tunable performance. Priced the same as the recently launched AMD Phenom 9600 quad-core processor, the new Black Edition quad-core processor provides increased value and expanded customization options to end users.
These processors offer end users access to enhanced power, platform longevity, and expanded entertainment-focused capabilities, whether they’re building a new machine or upgrading their current processor. In particular, the AMD Phenom 9600 Black Edition processor offers gamers and sophisticated power users improved scalability and customizable performance levels for running multiple processor-intensive applications simultaneously. Pricing for the processor remains at $251.
The company also introduced the AMD Game Wiki at www.gamewiki.amd.com
, providing a space for gaming enthusiasts to share information such as tips and tricks.
NEWS | ASSET MANAGEMENT
Alienbrain Gets Smarter
Softimage released Alienbrain 8.1, a free upgrade to its digital asset management system.
Alienbrain 8.1 boasts expanded support for the Vista and Leopard operating systems as well as deep integration with popular DCC applications, resulting in an artist-centric system that manages assets for a streamlined and efficient games, film, and postproduction workflow. Alienbrain 8.1 can be downloaded by current Alienbrain 8 customers at http://softimage.com/downloads/
NEWS | GRAPHIC BOARDS
Market Swings for Graphic Add-in Boards
What a difference a couple of quarters can make in the market for graphics add-in boards. The first quarter of 2007 was downright ugly, not so much with respect to units, but very much so in the context of revenue and ASPs. Volume was down just modestly, but ASPs and revenue (street) were way down, off 21.2 percent sequentially and a huge 39.8 percent year to year. The second quarter of 2007 showed an expected bounce back to respectability.
In this market, there’s not much in the way of status quo. Q1 saw that big swing downward, and then Q2 saw moderation. Now Jon Peddie Research’s Q3 results are in, and the firm reports another big swing, but this time a strong—and most welcome—one to the upside.
With the momentum that ramped in Q2, with both Nvidia and AMD in various stages of product transitions to new graphics technologies, Q3 saw units increase an impressive 18.7 percent year over year. But revenue was the real bright spot, increasing 33.0 percent.
Revenue outpacing units contradicts the typical trend in semiconductor-driven markets, where, as products mature, ASPs moderate or drop, driving up volume. But in the inverse case of Q3, JPR credits the larger gains in revenue to a volume shift up toward more lucrative price bands, as Nvidia, in particular, saw more demand for its latest generation of high-end performance, enthusiast, and workstation-class products.
The Q3 2007 edition of Jon Peddie’s “Market AIB Report” is available now at www.jonpeddie.com
NEWS | GRAPHIC PROCESSORS
GPU Market Up, Desktop Displaces Mobile
Jon Peddie Research (JPR) announced estimated graphics shipments and supplier market share for the third calendar quarter of 2007, with Intel still number one overall and in the mobile market, while Nvidia remains tops in the desktop arena.
Traditionally, the third quarter has good growth for the computer industry, as retailers and OEMs prepare for the holiday season. This year had the biggest jump quarter to quarter for the past six years.
Total shipments for the quarter were 97.85 million units, up 20 percent over last quarter. Compared to the same quarter last year, shipments were up 18.2 percent. On the desktop, Nvidia held its first-place position, claiming 37.8 percent against Intel’s 33.5 percent, while AMD had a modest loss to 17.5 percent. In the mobile market, Intel held its dominant position but slipped slightly to 50.9 percent, with AMD taking back the number two position at 23.4 percent and Nvidia coming in at 22.8 percent.
Mobile chips continued their growth in units, with 25.8 million units (up less than one percent over the last quarter), to claim 26.4 percent of the market, down from 31.5 percent last quarter. The desktop, meanwhile, saw market-share growth from 68.5 percent last quarter to 73.6 percent this quarter, or 72 million units.
“The third quarter of 2007 was the second quarter in a row to surprise us. There was growth in the second quarter, which is normally a slow period, and the third quarter, which is usually good, was a record this time,” says Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research in Tiburon, California. “We attribute the market’s performance to increased demand by consumers for multimedia-rich systems and, to a certain extent, to demands of Vista.”
Peddie notes that Microsoft shipped more than 60 million copies of Vista so far, and that Intel’s and AMD’s aggressive pricing for their CPU platforms has stimulated demand for OEMs building PCs for the back-to-school season.
Further, says Peddie, there is strong overall demand. There is little shift in market share between GPU vendors quarter to quarter, which suggests there is no channel stuffing or double ordering. However, Nvidia’s G80 has exceeded expectations and is on allocation.
The Q3 2007 edition of Jon Peddie’s Market Watch is available now at www.jonpeddie.com