California Graphics continues its leadership with second Voodoo2 board
California Graphics, the 3D hardware company for games, has continued its leadership in the 3Dfx Voodoo2 arena with the announcement that it will be producing an 8MB version of its 3D Wizard accelerator card as well as the 12MB version previously announced. The estimated costs for the boards have also dropped so that street price for the 8MB 3D Wizard will be 139 ($229) and the 12MB version, which is called the 3D Wizard ULTIMATE, will be 179 ($299).
"We are delighted with the response that our initial announcement of the 3D Wizard has created," said Vincenzo Coccoli, Chairman and CEO of California Graphics. "We were the first to announce a 12MB version. As specialists in servicing the demanding needs of game players, we know that this would be the solution that they would want. And we have been proved right with other manufacturers rushing to try and catch up with our lead. It will really deliver amazing results. However, not everyone will want such a high specification and so we have designed the 8MB version. Two 8MB boards used in tandem in the Scan Line Interleave (SLI) mode will provide a powerful solution at a very competitive price. It’s all about giving customers a choice to suit their needs and budget. Now we offer four options – 8MB, 12MB, 2x8MB and 2x12MB."
California Graphics has adjusted its estimates on shipping times as well. The 8MB 3D Wizard will be shipping around March and the 12MB 3D Wizard ULTIMATE around the end of April. "Naturally, we will keep trying to bring products to market earlier," added Mr Greg Moeller, Vice President of California Graphics’ US Operations, "but quality is our watchword. And, implicit in this are reliability, stability, performance, compatibility, and consistency. Customers know that they can trust our products. We never compromise just to rush a product to market and be the first. Better to be second and have the best!

Technical backgrounder
The 3D Wizard design integrates one Pixel/fx and two Texel/fx processors. The boards are supplied with 4MB of frame buffer and 2MB (3D Wizard) or 4MB (3D Wizard ULTIMATE) for each of the two texture processors. This gives a total of 8MB in the 3D Wizard and 12MB in the 3D Wizard ULTIMATE.
On its own, the 3D Wizard design will deliver up to 100 frames per second (fps), while a pair of cards linked by a special ribbon cable can deliver even greater performances in excess of 100 fps with all features turned on. This twin card configuration doubles the performance by using Scan Line Interleave (SLI) where one card draws the even scan lines and the other card draws the odd scan lines. This results in a 384-bit memory architecture with 4.3 Gigabytes per second of memory bandwidth, achieving an amazing 180 million pixels per second and up to 1024 by 768 resolution for the dual 12MB version. Each pixel is dual-textured, bilinear-filtered, per-pixel MIP-mapped, alpha-blended and Z-buffered.
The 3D Wizard family will be fully software compatible with the vast selection of over 400 leading games that have already been optimised or are in development for 3Dfx chipsets. Consequentially, new software will not be required and existing games will benefit from a noticeable performance improvement. For example, GLQuake has run at around 116 frames per second (FPS) on a Voodoo 2 chipset, with all features turned on, in a P2-266 based machine and a blistering 147FPS in a P2-300 machine with twin 12MB graphics cards. The 12MB 3D Wizard ULTIMATE will have California Graphics’ popular TV-out feature that enables the output to be shown on a large screen TV for increased enjoyment.

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