Comdex: DVD Players, Windows CE Handhelds
And Clik Drives!
Comdex/Fall, the giant trade show
in Las Vegas drew a crowd of 220,000 people and 2,100 companies. Most people
who attended Comdex find the whole experience overwhelming and tiring with
so many things to see. With so many new and exciting technologies vying
for peoples attention, it is sometimes hard to predict what new technological
trends among the huge number offered will reign supreme in the coming years.
A number of attendees were polled as to what were their favorites seen
at the show. Handheld computers from some manufacturers running the latest
version of Windows CE 2.0 caught the eye of many showgoers and also many
new DVD players was found to be exciting. The new Clik! drive from Iomega,
the makers of the Zip drive, stood out as one of the new exciting technologies
to emerge from this show.
AMD Shows Off The K6 3D 300/100 At
The AMD K6 3D chip was running at
300 MHz with a 100 MHz socket 7 Bus on a AMD motherboard. It was performing
30 percent faster than a Intel Pentium II 300 while running 3D Winbench
97. This chip was shown to a small group of people in a back room and was
not shown to the general public. The current AMD K6 chips are manufactured
in 0.35 microns, but the AMD K6 3D will be manufactured in 0.25 microns.
This will reduce the die size from 162 mm2 to 68 mm2 which will allow the
chips to be manufactured much more cheaply. New features added to the K6:
The new instructions will be taken advantage
of by Microsoft's Direct 3D version 6.0 due out next year. This chip is
due in March 1998.
24 new instructions to accelerate 3D
graphics, audio and other multimedia
Superscalar MMX unit with dual decode
and dual execution pipelines
100 MHz local Bus
'Highlander' Shown At Comdex Behind
The second generation PowerVR technology
'Highlander' was shown at Comdex on Tuesday, November 19th, 1997 behind
closed doors to a group of about 15 people. This was a private presentation
and no public announcement were made. Videologic response is 'no comment',
to anyone who asks about 'Highlander'. A lot of attention was shown to
Voodoo 2 at Comdex and it is possible that Videologic/NEC did not
want to compete with the Voodoo 2 on attention. It has been reported that
the 'Highlander' is not as powerful as the Voodoo 2 in the polygon department
but it more powerful in other areas. Does that mean it has a fill rate
greater then 90 mpps? Time will tell. It also has been reported that 'Highlander'
is only one of a series of chips based on the 2nd generation PowerVR. Unfortunately
it is 'no comment' for now on 'Highlander', but we here at Saturn 2 Technical
Pages expect a public announcement from Videologic/NEC within a month.
Here is a site where can buy PowerVR
game titles online. Prices are in $US dollars and $UK pounds. This site
has descriptions and screenshots of all the games listed. Links are also
present to other PowerVR sites. Here is the URL to this site: http://www.powervrdirect.com
Creative Delivers Sound Blaster PCI
Labs, Inc. introduces the EMU8008 advanced PCI audio processor. The
EMU8008 is an advanced PCI audio processor designed specifically for the
OEM market. It provides a complete digital audio solution designed with
E-mu-based professional audio technology and the AC97 Codec interface in
a 144-pin SQFP. Both the EMU8008 and the Sound Blaster AWE64D solutions
provide complete Sound Blaster® 16 compatibility through Creative's
new SB-LINK™. They also offer advanced wave-table synthesis with 64-voice
polyphony, true E-mu 3D Positional Audio™ and a unique memory management
system with a predictive caching system for uncompromised, high quality
audio performance. Here is the press release.
Hitachi To Ship SH-4 Microprocessor
Hitachi Ltd. announced that it will
start sample shipments in January 1998 of the SH-4 SH7750 series microprocessor.
Sample shipments of the 200MHz (Model No. HD6417750BP200) and the 167 MHz
(Model No. HD6417750F167) will begin at the same time. The 200 MHz version
will come in a 256-pin ball grid array (BGA) and will have a 64-bit bus
that will allow the transfer of data at 800 MBytes/second. The 167 MHz
version will come in a 208-pin quad flat package (QFP) and will have a
32-bit bus that will allow the transfer of data at 334 MBytes/second. The
200 Mhz version will perform at a rate of 360 mips sustained and 1.4 billion
floating-point operations per second (GFLOPS) maximum, 900 MFLOPS sustained.
Pricing for the 200 MHz version in 10,000 unit quantities is 4,000 yen
(US$31.70) and the 167 MHz version in 10,000 unit quantities is 3,000 yen
(US$23.80). The microchip will be manufactured in Hitachi's advanced CMOS
process technology. It will operate internally at 1.8 V and have 3.3 V
external interfaces. The maximum power consumption will be 1.5 Watts of
heat, negating the need for a fan to keep the chip cool. A company press
release is available here.
Lets hope that Sega will use the 200 MHz version of this chip as opposed
to the 167 MHz version for the Saturn 2.
KOEI PowerVR Game Enigma
A game from KOEI CO, Ltd of Japan
for the PowerVR. This game looks alot like a Resident Evil type game with
beautiful visuals. Not much is known about this game at this time but you
can visit this Japanese web site
to see sample screen shots of the game and character screen shots. Since
the Saturn 2 will most likely use the PowerVR, we could see this game on
the Saturn 2.
"Unreal" To PowerVR
NEC and VideoLogic today announced
"Unreal" from Epic MegaGames Inc., the most anticipated title in 3D game
history, will join the PowerVR ready program when it ships in early 1998.
Other titles coming to PowerVR will be Turok the Dinosaur Hunter, Quake
II, Hexen II, SiN, Tomb Raider II, FIFA, Road to World Cup 98, Actua Soccer
2, Resident Evil, Ultim@te Race Pro, Jedi Knights, Dark Forces 2, Shipwreckers,
Messiah and NHL Powerplay 98. All these games will make easy ports to the
Saturn 2 because they will be using the PowerSGL Direct API.
Clik!: Iomega Introduces 40 MByte
Match Book Size Media
This new drive called Clik! from
allows devices such as Laptops, Digital Cameras, Personal Digital Assistants
(PDA), and Smart Phones to have unlimited removable storage. Iomega has
received endorsements from industry leaders such as Kodak, HP, Hitachi,
Microsoft, Polaroid, Motorola, Matsushita, Citizen and Texas Instruments.
The drive will have a sustained transfer rate of 700 KB/sec avg. and 1000
KB/sec max. The drive dimensions is roughly 4 inches wide, 2 inches deep
and a quarter of an inch high. Talk about tiny! High reliability enables
this drive to withstand a shock of 100g while operating and has a MTBF
of 100,000 hours. The drive is designed to be extremely power-efficient;
uses intelligent power management. The disk media estimated shelf life
is 10 years. The clik! drives will be available at retail for a suggested
price under $200 (U.S.) and the clik! disks will be available for suggested
retail price of $9.95 (U.S.). The drive unfortunately is not due till the
2nd Quarter of 98.
Hyundai Develops Fast SLDRAM Test
November 5, 1997 (SEOUL) -- Hyundai
Electronics Industries Co., Ltd. developed a synclink SLDRAM test microchip
that can process data four times faster than conventional synchronous DRAMs.
Hyundai said it has been developing SLDRAM chips through a consortium that
includes Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., NEC Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric
Corp. The company explained that SLDRAMs and Rambus DRAMs are emerging
as next-generation memory chips that will resolve the speed-gap problem
between high-speed microprocessors and existing slower DRAMs. Hyundai claims
that its SLDRAM costs less to make than a Rambus DRAM. The company also
can keep costs low by using its current packaging facilities. SLDRAM
chips are smaller than conventional DRAMs and consume less power. Also,
SLDRAM producers won't need to pay royalties for manufacturing technology,
the company said. Its test chip has a data transfer speed of 400MHz, but
Hyundai said the performance could be increased to 800 MHz. Hyundai's SLDRAM
test chip operates at twice the speed of double-data-rate (DDR) synchronous
DRAMs. SLDRAMs will be used as main memory devices for desktop PCs, notebook
computers and workstations. Commercial production of SLDRAMs will likely
begin in 1999, the company said.
Canon Develops Large-Capacity Magneto-Optical Disk
Canon Inc. has developed a magneto-optical disk that features eight
times the capacity of a DVD-RAM, a rewritable digital video disk for personal
computers, a company official said. At 12 cm, the optical disk is the same
size as a DVD, but is capable of recording 22 Gigabytes of data - equivalent
to a 10-hour motion picture. Canon plans to start commercial production
of the disks by 2000. Because the optical disk works with laser technology
used to read data in existing optical and digital video disks, the cost
of designing a player for the disks would be minimal, the official said.
Canon's product will compete with a 14-30 Gigabyte optical disk Sanyo Electric
Co. and Hitachi Maxell Ltd. are jointly developing.
VM Labs Massive Parallel Multimedia
Labs is working on a console system that has the financial backing
of a large Corporation the size of Sony. Is is rumored that Motorola is
the financial backer. Jeff Minter of Tempest 2000 fame is working on a
game for this new system. Jeff has indicated that this is by far the most
powerful system he has heard of. Jeff's
web site. There are currently some development kits in the hands of
a few select developers. Formal announcements and specs are expected soon.
This system might give some very stiff competition to the Saturn 2 and
Playstation 2. Bill Rehbock formally of Atari and just now formally of
Sony Entertainment where he was head of R&D started work at VM Labs
on Nov. 3rd, 97, said this about the technology being developed at VM Labs
"The guys at VM Labs waited to approach me until they had something to
show me so that I would have an easy decision to make. Needless to say
they knocked my socks off." Bill left his former employer Sony on the previous
Friday based on what he saw and heard at VM Labs.
Home Entertainment Systems To Be
Hitachi & VLSI
Technology, Inc. will work together to design a home entertainment
system. Microsoft's Windows CE operating system will be the centerpiece
of this new category of consumer electronics. VLSI technology will develop
a system-on-a-chip that will use Hitachi's SH-4 processor. More details
will be announced at the CES show in January. This system will most likely
include a DVD player. Systems based on this technology will be available
for the Christmas season of 98. This type of technology will add
some competition against game consoles like the Saturn 2. Here is the news
PowerVR to be shown at Comdex
Comdex is later this month and Videologic
along with NEC is going to be showing
the "Highlander" or PMX chip as it is also rumored to be called. This is
the chip that Videologic has been working on for at least 2 years and is
suppose to be a highly integrated 3D/2D/Sound chip. This is the same chip
that is suppose to be used in the Saturn 2, so it will be very interesting
indeed to see the details on this chip. Check this web site for more information
The First Saturn 2 Development Kits
Sent to American Developers
Nothing too concrete yet. Rumors
are that Shiny has signed on to port
their game Messiah to the Saturn 2. This is the game that is suppose to
use new graphic techniques that Shiny calls RT-DAT which stands for Real-time
Deformation and Tessellation. Another developer rumored to have signed
on for a Saturn 2 developer system is id for their game Quake II. There
is no case as of yet for the Saturn 2 just a circuit board.
Toshiba Uses Blue-Violet Laser For
15 GigaByte DVD
At the recent Joint Magneto-Optical
Recording International Symposium and International Symposium on Optical
Memory (Joint MORIS/ISOM '97), Toshiba
announced a R&D project where they have a working DVD prototype using
a GaN-system blue-violet semiconductor laser. Using this laser, Toshiba
is able to develop a DVD player that allows 15 GigaBytes on single side
with a data transfer rate of 30 Mbps (3.75 MBytes/second). This new technology
will allow HDTV movies to be storied on a DVD disc. Pioneer announced recently
a DVD prototype unit with 15 GigaByte capacity also.
3Dfx Interactive Announces Voodoo
This technology is not due till the
1st Quarter of 98 which is about the same time that the Banshee is to be
introduced. Banshee is the 3D/2D integrated graphics solution from 3Dfx
Interactive where the Voodoo 2 is a 3D chipset only. Voodoo 2 will
retail for under $300 US. Here is a press release.
3 million triangles per second
90 million dual-textured, bilinear filtered,
per-pixel MIP-mapped, alpha-blended, Z-buffered pixels per second
192-bit memory architecture
2.2 gigabyte-per-second memory bandwidth
50 billion operations per second
Samsung Electronics 32X Speed CD-ROM
This company is sure in the news
alot lately. Samsung Electronics
Co., Ltd. has developed a 32X CD-ROM drive. This drive has some impressive
specs like 4.8 MBytes per second transfer rate, 80 milliseconds data access
time, and 512 KByte data buffer. Since this drive is using Constant Angular
Velocity (CAV), the data rate of 4.8 MBytes is a maximum rate for reading
the outside tracks of the disk. Reading the inside tracks could be as low
as 2.4 MBytes which would be as fast as a 16X speed CD-ROM drive. No word
on cost or availability yet. Here is the press release.
Samsung Electronics Shows 30 inch
TFT-LCD Prototype Panel
Electronics Co., Ltd. unveiled a 30-inch thin film transistor (TFT) liquid
crystal display (LCD) panel. The Korean electronics giant showed the prototype
panel at the LCD International '97/PDP International '97 show in Yokohama,
Japan. This panel would make a excellent high resolution workstation monitor
as it supports a resolution of 1,600 by 1,200 pixels with 16 million colors.
This unit has a analog interface so that it can be hooked up to any standard