Meltdown 2001 - ATI's R200 Countdown Begins


By necessity I have had to keep this report brief so, you may like to brush up on the white paper technology papers from ATI and Microsoft at your own leisure. I had to get you the message on time, and I am pretty excited about it. I'll revisit Meltdown and ATI again, to get into the nooks and crannies in future articles.

Meltdown 2001 is a Microsoft event that is not widely publicized these days. It used to be techno love-in for DirectX, but I guess things have changed since those pioneering days. Just in case you aren't familiar with Meltdown, at it, Independent hardware vendors (IHV) take up suites at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, open their doors to the attending developers and pretty much leave their hardware up for testing and evalution by the crowd. As such, it provides restricted access to the press these days, but we were fortunate to be there, and will have reports on the event over the course of the next two days.

In the old days of DirectX's missed shipments, Meltdown was kind of like a last gasp free for all as Microsoft and IHVs rushed to get in synch on whatever version of DirectX was slated to be the flavor for that Christmas' game season. In the old days, there were a lot more interested and aggressive IHVs trying to position themselves in the DirectX universe. In the old days, game developers had a lot more to be skeptical about when it came to DirectX, and used Meltdown as a chance to catch up on IHV releases, drivers, and mostly to get final SDK code for DirectX. Well, boy has DirectX grown up - in future articles we'll look at how DirectX is surpassing the Godfather of APIs, OpenGL - development schedules are much easier to keep to when your all grown up and adult.

For this first report I just want to concentrate on one thing - ATI. I did a column a short time ago with my perspective on ATI which left some ATI lovers a bit miffed, to say the least, although I didn't quite understand why. Well, now I have an update on that perspective and it all has to do with what I believe is the first real showing of the R200 Meltdown, although no one at ATI will ever admit to it. I think there's a lot for ATI to be optimistic about.