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Краткое содержание статьи: Some critical thoughts to NEC/Videologic's announcement from Feb. 23

Videologic's Announcement - A New Wonder Chip?

Редакция THG,  27 февраля 1998
Страница: Назад  1 Далее


There we are again. A company in the 3D market announced their new chip and everyone is soooo excited. Why did I not join this little party, why didn't I put up a comment about the announcement of Videologic's new miracle chip? Well, maybe it's about time that someone raises the finger in the 3D business, before some of you die of heart attacks soon and I am particularly including overexcited gamers.

Videologic announced their second generation PowerVR chip yesterday and the announcement sounds just wonderful, and I mean 'wonderful'. On paper this chip looks faster and better and cheaper than anything 3Dfx was ever able to produce and now thousands of people are talking about wonderful Videologic and why 3Dfx will be dead soon.

Come on guys, please wake up! How often have you read great things about products before their release? How often was the next generation 3D graphic chip supposed to be sooo much better than anything else on the market? Which 3D company has made their promises come true so far? Well, I can't think of anybody else than 3Dfx to be honest, all the others were announcing things I did not ever see. So what shall we expect from Videologic?

If we have a close look at Videologic's press release, we stumble across this here:

For combined Q1, Q2 and Q3 1997, PowerVR emerged as the market leader, with a 36% market share in the performance 3D category.

Combined Q1, Q2, Q3 Performance 3D Market Share, 1997

Yeah, of course!!!!! 36% market share!!! Has ANYBODY asked which market Videologic is talking about? I mean do you really believe that the PowerVR was sold more often than the NVIDIA RIVA128? Did Videologic define their own market (like '3D cards in boxes with yellow and blue on it') to make us believe that they are more successful than 3Dfx and NVIDIA? I hope NVIDIA and 3Dfx had a good laugh about it. Videologic used Q1, Q2 and Q3 of 1997 to make themselves look better than NVIDIA, who only started shipping their chip at the end of Q3. Products with the 3Dfx Voodoo (which is a lot better than PowerVR) were high end stuff in this time, with a good reason for being a lot more expensive than PowerVR. If you would see Q4 1997, I could imagine that you would hardly find the market segment of Videologic anymore. So what shall we think about this kind of 'market research'?

I have got a serious problem believing in a press announcement that tries to influence me with data as what you can see above. Have you read NVIDIA's announcement of their RIVA 128ZX? Have you found anything that said how wonderful and great their new chip will be without any backup? This is what a press release can look like as well, it doesn't always have to be Hollywood.

Since the day when I published my anti hype article about the abuse of 3D Winbench 98 I think it is time taking press announcements in the 3D market with a big grain of salt. Remember ATI's '40% more performance in 3D' announcement and the wonderful things you could read about the i740 when it was announced. The Rage Pro is still not 40% faster than it was 6 weeks ago and the i740 is not that much of a great 3D performer as well, certainly not only 2% slower than RIVA 128. So let's be frank, it's the old story again. People are lied to who want to be lied at. Do you want to be lied at?

I wish Videologic that their new 'Highlander' is as great as the press release makes it sound. I wish it for us users, OEMs and VARs as well ... who doesn't want a chip that's faster than Voodoo2 at half the price of Voodoo2 ? However, I would recommend staying calm now and waiting until some decent testing is done. Too many press releases weren't worth the paper they were printed on and too many so called tests were lead by the hype generated by a prior press release. So I kindly ask Videologic to supply me with an evaluation sample and if Videologic disagrees, I hope I am allowed to wonder if their confidence about 'Highlander' is maybe not quite as high as the press release made it sound.

I don't have anything against companies who announce great products, but I think it's a little bit too tough challenging the technology leader 3Dfx without any decent backup (hard data). I would also recommend that publications take it a little bit more easy. Writing articles why 'Highlander' is better than 'Voodoo2' is like writing why Star Trek's USS Enterprise is better than Space Shuttle. Maybe there will finally come the day when people start feeling some responsibility about what they are publishing on the internet. It's actually up to you readers again.


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