Fire GL Introduces Two New Accelerators for the Professional Workstation Graphics Market





SAN JOSE, Calif.--June 1, 2000--Fire GL Professional Graphics, a division of S3(R) Incorporated (NASDAQ: SIII), announced the offering of a complete line of accelerators for the professional workstation graphics market. Building upon its exclusive partnership with IBM, Fire GL has expanded its award-winning product family to include two new additions -- the Fire GL2(TM) and the Fire GL3. The new Fire GL2 accelerator includes 64MB of memory as well as the latest high-performance rendering and geometry engines from IBM. The new Fire GL3 accelerator features the IBM chipset as well as 128MB of memory and has the distinctive capability of supporting two monitors with a single card.

"With the introductions of the Fire GL2 and Fire GL3, we are redefining the price/performance benchmarks for workstation graphics,"
said Ed Huang, vice president of business development for Fire GL Professional Graphics. "With its dual-screen, single slot capability, the Fire GL3 carries a price of less than $2,000 and is the perfect choice for high-end CAD and digital content creation applications. Priced at under $1,200, the Fire GL2 is ideally suited as a mid-range solution for MCAD and 3D game development. The Fire GL1(TM), priced at $699, will continue to deliver stability and reliability for entry-level professional 3D applications."

The Fire GL2 and Fire GL3 accelerators include the IBM RZ 1000 256-bit graphics rasterizer and a 256-bit double data rate (DDR) memory interface that doubles the usable bandwidth to provide fast frame rates at higher resolutions and color depths. The new accelerators also feature the IBM GT 1000 hardware geometry engine with 30+ GFLOPS of performance. The IBM GT 1000 geometry engine provides 100% OpenGL support as well as full geometry transform processing and full lighting calculations for 16 simultaneous sources.

"Through our partnership with Fire GL, once again IBM is extending its UNIX workstation graphics technology to the Windows NT platform,"
said John Bylzinskyj, director of OEM technology, IBM Enterprise Systems Group. "The Fire GL1 featured IBM's first graphics chipset for the Windows NT platform and the first 256-bit engine for the NT workstation market."

The new Fire GL2 and Fire GL3 accelerators utilize a dedicated hardware geometry engine to accelerate wireframe design and provide increased productivity. The IBM GT 1000 geometry engine is uniquely located on a separate bus to enable the seamless transfer of data into the graphics accelerator and avoid the common bottlenecks found in the traditional 3D pipeline of other products. The IBM GT 1000 geometry engine featured in the Fire GL2 and Fire GL3 supports 16 simultaneous lights, including directional, positional and spot. Both Fire GL accelerators also provide gamma corrected anti-aliased lines and a 10-bit triple RAMDAC for enhanced image quality.

"The handling of large, complex data models is a key requirement for our customers,"
said Glenn Sinclair, director of worldwide alliances, PTC. "The robust hardware geometry engine featured in the new Fire GL accelerators will be a nice complement to the award-winning Pro/ENGINEER 3D mechanical design software suite and will enhance the product development process across many manufacturing industries."

The advanced rendering capabilities of the IBM RZ 1000 graphics rasterizer in the new Fire GL2 and Fire GL3 accelerators include single-pass bump mapping and multi-texture support as well as anisotropic filtering via rectangular mip-maps to reduce warping. In addition to these features, the new Fire GL accelerators provide enhanced broadcast video support, including bilinear scaling, video overlays and a YUV-RGB converter for video and textures. The integration of professional broadcast video as a feature set of the new Fire GL accelerators is intended to support the anticipated growth in the 3D game development and animation markets. The Fire GL3 also provides full scene anti-aliasing to meet the demands of the digital content creation market.

"We believe that broadcast video completes the toolset for today's leading-edge professional animators,"
said Patrick De Grasse, hardware program manager, Softimage Co. "The new Fire GL accelerators, combined with Softimage software, will offer our customers a complete suite of creative tools that integrates 3D, 2D and video."

The Fire GL2 and Fire GL3 accelerators include advanced software drivers that are optimized for the top 3D graphics applications in the areas of CAD/CAM, digital content creation and animation, and visualization. The dual screen capability of the Fire GL3 allows professionals to expand their workspace across two screens. This internally-developed technology is especially suitable for animation professionals who can display a set of applications on one screen and use the other screen to access files folders, palettes and other tools. Both the Fire GL2 and Fire GL3 accelerators also provide quad-buffered stereo graphics support.

The Fire GL line of professional graphics accelerators are fully optimized for Intel's Streaming SIMD Extensions (SSE) and AMD Athlon(TM) processor-based systems with 3DNow!(TM) technology. The Fire GL family also supports the Microsoft Windows NT, Microsoft Windows 2000 and Linux operating systems. Demonstrations of the new Fire GL2 and Fire GL3 professional graphics accelerators will be available in the Fire GL booth No.2803 at the SIGGRAPH 2000 trade show from July 25-27, 2000 in New Orleans. Product shipments of the Fire GL2 and Fire GL3 are expected to begin in Fall 2000.

About Fire GL Professional Graphics

Fire GL Professional Graphics, a division of S3 Incorporated, designs, develops and markets the Fire GL brand of OpenGL-based graphics accelerators and is a leading provider of solutions for the NT and Linux workstation markets. Fire GL offers a complete line of accelerators for user needs ranging from entry-level to high-end.

For entry-level professional graphics, the Fire GL1 with 32MB of memory and AGP 2X support provides enhanced 2D and 3D graphics acceleration. The Fire GL2 delivers mid-range professional 3D graphics acceleration, supports AGP 2X/4X and comes with 64MB of memory. For more advanced needs, the Fire GL3 is a high-end 3D graphics solution with 128MB of memory and AGP Pro 50 support that sustains two monitors from a single slot.

For more information about the award-winning line of Fire GL professional graphics accelerators, visit

Except for historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release, such as Fire GL's ability to successfully promote the Fire GL brand, are forward-looking statements that are subject to risk and uncertainties, including market acceptance of the products, the impact of competitive products and other risks detailed from time to time in S3's SEC reports, including its quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2000. S3 is a registered trademark of S3 Incorporated. The S3 corporate logo, Fire GL, Fire GL1, Fire GL2 and Fire GL3 are trademarks of S3 Incorporated. All other trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.


Post a message in the Digital Post Production World Wide User Group!