View Full Version : XGPU more specs....................

06-01-2001, 07:02 PM
Console wire had an article on xbox's chip and what it can do the beggining is a bit technical be read on it gets more understandablehttp://consolewire.com/images/si/xgpu.gif

The core of the XGPU itself is not only a technological marvel, but it also serves as the basis for the GeForce 3 (GF3) line of graphics products that NVIDIA released earlier this year for the PC and Macintosh. For starters, the XGPU is built using a 0.13 micron process, which is more advanced than the GF 3 with its 0.15 micron architecture. The chip itself packs over 57 million transistors, nearly 20 million more than Intel's latest line of Pentium IV processors.

Because the core of the chip is built using a 0.13-micron manufacturing process, the core clock can be set higher and lower power consumption allows for better cooling and overall stability of the chip.

The true power behind the Xbox lies not in the brute computational force of its processors, but in the successful combination of technology, innovation and creativity.

Before we proceed, let us clarify that the images that accompany this article were rendered by a GeForce 3 video card. Bear in mind that the XGPU is even faster and more advanced than the current GF3!

The nfiniteFX engine, with its programmable vertex and pixel shading capabilities, really allows developers to flex their creative muscle to achieve their goal of transplanting their visions into a digital world. The main reason that developers are so excited about the programmable pixel and vertex shaders is that it allows for much more realistic look overall while incurring a negligible performance hit.

Vertex shaders help to achieve organic, natural-looking 3D models, especially around the "joints" where the surfaces can overlap and create hideous artifacts. But with the use of pixel shaders, the triangles that make up those areas come to life, stretching and flexing to convincing effect. The addition of bump mapped textures creates astonishingly realistic effects. With the help of vertex shaders, developers can render skin, clothing and swaying leafs with life-like precision; and that's just a few of the possible uses that would help developers to bring realism into your living room.

Bump mapping also allows developers to create realistic textures, such as brick walls. In the past, a flat texture would depict a brick, now with use of lighting effects the developers can actually make it look as if the wall has grooves in-between the bricks, something that would require several performance-hogging polygons to mimic if bump mapping was not available.

Other effects that can be used to enhance to realism are fog, motion blur, real time morphing, reflections/refractions and much, much more. In terms of creative possibilities, we are really just touching the tip of the iceberg here.

NVIDIA also actively works with Microsoft and developers who are interested in developing for the Xbox platform by providing tools and utilities that enable developers to harvest the power of the XGPU.

It almost sounds too good to be true but, seeing some of the Xbox demos in action the disbelief dissipates rapidly, particularly after seeing Oddworld and Bloodwake, or Zoltris and Chameleon demos running in real time.

Indeed, the Xbox produces graphical environments that hardcore PC gamers may be familiar with, but only recently. That average gamers will soon enjoy those visuals courtesy of a $300 set top unit is a major shift in the console gamer’s favor.

The average gamer will never become know the company behind the amazing visuals that the Xbox is capable of generating. For NVIDIA, it doesn’t present much of a problem. The company is content to deliver cutting-edge PC video cards to its loyal customer base and happily produce chips for the Xbox. In many ways, the Xbox’s success will be NVIDIA’s success. However, the company isn’t solely banking on Microsoft to hit it big with the Xbox.

NVIDIA already enjoys an enviable streak of positive financials. With 3dfx’s assets now a part of its own, the company is now looking to innovate for the future and play a role in future graphics technologies. What do those technologies entail? Coy NVIDIA employees will not say, but they do imply that no one should be surprised if the company’s future graphics solutions power the visuals on devices beyond both the PC and the Xbox.

On that note, we’ll let the reader ponder just what that means...