Nouvelle Cuisine: Small Is Beautiful
At every product launch, the two market leaders in the 3D chip segment (NVIDIA and ATi) always serve up the same standard fare for the press: there's a lot of noise from the manufacturers about new technologies while they bandy about a dizzying array of technical terms that they invented themselves. "Fast food" and "very hard to swallow" are really the only terms to describe it. You're soon brought down to earth only weeks later, when the product makes its way to the test labs. The first drivers usually come laced with a portion of bugs - the classic teething problems that go hand in hand with quick product cycles. While it all seems quite savory at first, a nasty aftertaste soon sets in when it becomes clear that only a few of the many new features can actually be used in practice. In fact, the only morsel left on the plate is merely the performance gain over the previous model.
This time, 3Dlabs goes about the whole process with a bit more savoir-faire. When they dish up a product, they only give hints as to its ingredients, leaving the rest to the discerning palate of an experienced gourmet. So the English cuisine does offer a few bright spots after all. At least in our qualified judgment, the chef at 3Dlabs can certainly reclaim that lost star outside his door. How this was achieved is revealed in the breakdown of the new dish. So, voilà, the three Wildcats, VP760, VP870 and VP970, may be served.