3Dlabs has announced a new graphics architecture which it claims combines the architectural strengths and programmability of general-purpose CPUs with hardware parallelism. The company said it has been developing the architecture over the past two years and has "significant" patents pending related to it. 3Dlabs expects to ship boards based on the technology in the third quarter of this year. The processor chip for that board is currently codenamed the P10. The technology, which 3Dlabs calls the "Visual Processing Architecture," uses an optimized graphics pipeline which uses programmable SIMD processor arrays. The P10 VPU combines over 200 SIMD processors throughout its geometry, texture and pixel processing pipeline stages to deliver over 170Gflops and one TeraOp of programmable graphics performance together with a 256-bit DDR memory interface for up to 20GBytes/sec of memory bandwidth. 3Dlabs says the P10 implements many CPU-like architectural innovations, including:
A virtual memory subsystem, where all memory accesses are mapped into a full 16GB virtual address space, enabling P10-based boards to break through the limitations of on-board graphics memory;
A multi-threaded command processor that enables P10 to act as multiple virtual VPUs, providing visual processing for many simultaneous threads and applications;
Programmable units that support complex operations - including subroutines and loops - that allow developers to implement many visual effects.
The company says that the new technology will enable:
Real-time wavelet-based geometry and texture decompression engines that enable reduction in the size of terrain models up to 100 fold
Ray-casting engines for visualizing volumetric medical data sets in real-time
Back-end photo-realistic renderers producing stunning imagery that can be accelerated in hardware.
The company said it will manufacture a family of chips based on the technology for a range of market segments, including the professional workstation graphics market and game players. The boards are planned to support current and upcoming versions of DirectX and OpenGL.
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3Dlabs Unveils New Graphics Processing Architecture
3Dlabs has announced a new graphics architecture which it claims combines the architectural strengths and programmability of general-purpose CPUs with hardware parallelis...