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Hors D'oeuvres: Features And Drivers

British Understatement: 3Dlabs' Wildcat VP Put To The Performance Test
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3Dlabs calls its P10 graphics chip a "visual processing unit," or VPU for short. The module is produced using 0.15 micron technology and has 76 million transistors, or 20 million gates. 3Dlabs refuses to give anything away about clock speeds for the chip and the memory. They argue with statements such as: "Clock speeds aren't everything. What matters is the effective computing power." More on the technology used in the P10 is available in the background article, VPU Technology Preview: The Wildcat VP Series From 3Dlabs . 3Dlabs currently produces three models based on the P10: the starter model, Wildcat VP760, for $449, the mid-range variant, the VP870, for $599 and the high-end product, the VP970, for just under $1199.

All the cards feature VGA-out for analog displays, as well as DVI-out, which can be used to optionally hook up either a second analog monitor or a digital flat screen. A 3-pin connector is included to connect shutter glasses so that three-dimensional models can be visualized when the relevant application supports them.

As far as memory goes, the VP760 enters the running with 64 MB DDR SDRAM. 3Dlabs rigged the VP870 and the VP970, both more expensive models, with 128 MB. In other respects, the manufacturer differentiates performance for its graphics cards by clock speed.

For analog display, the cards have a maximum resolution of 2028 x 1536 pixels. At 80 Hz, the picture refresh rate is adequate. The refresh rate goes up accordingly as the resolution goes down. The user has a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels when digital displays are connected to the DVI port.

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