VPU Technology Preview: The Wildcat VP Series From 3Dlabs

Creative Help

Only a handful of graphics specialists are left from the 50 or so that once were, and NVIDIA and ATI are the market leaders. 3Dlabs, a pioneer in the OpenGL workstation sector, was also nearly wiped out, were it not for the big spender Creative.

With fresh financing, 3Dlabs was ready to face the tough conditions on the market. And their basic position is not bad at all. The company offers excellent high-end graphics cards for OpenGL workstations, which NVIDIA and ATI have not been able to achieve. Still, you should keep in mind that the market for workstations occupies just about 4%. The rest of the money is to be made in the low-end and mainstream segments.

So how can market shares be gained? In our opinion, 3Dlabs is taking the right steps in the right direction. In order to be successful in the mid-range sector, a manufacturer has to move away from cards that require several chips. If a company can transform its expertise in the high-end segment and apply it to the mid-range, then it literally has the right cards in its hands.

Soon, products from the Wildcat VP series will be introduced. These OpenGL graphics cards are based on a new chip, which goes by the code name P10. The letter "P" was chosen in reference to the previous Permedia chips. The Oxygen cards will be discontinued. With Wildcat, 3Dlabs concentrates only on the brand name. VP, which is short for "Visual Processing," represents the mid-range segment.

Uwe Scheffel