Nvidia Corp. has debuted its GeForce3, the Xbox’s core graphics chip. The official launch took place in Tokyo in conjunction with Apple Computer Inc.’s promotion of the new iMac line. The GeForce3 will be demonstrated in PCs Monday and is scheduled to ship by the end of March.
Unlike earlier Nvidia chips, the new programmable GeForce3 supports executable code that “is exposed in DirectX 8,” Microsoft’s OS programming language. In fact, Nvidia wrote part of the DirectX 8 API to support the GeForce 3. It contains 57 million transistors, more than twice that used in the GeForce2. The 0.15-micron process, however, produces a chip “about the size of a GeForce 256,” according to a company spokesman. He also said the GeForce3 will run Quake 3 in anti-aliased mode at 1024×768 resolution, at about 70 frames per second. The chip, he said, pushes 800 million anti-aliased pixels per second.