Just Another Show?
Comdex in its umpteenth year
Last year, FiringSquad was a brand new site, and the grand experience of Comdex was enough to surpass the significance of the event itself. Here, everything related to computers and computing hardware was hawked and displayed with aplomb, and it was a gross understatement to say that the extravagance was overwhelming.
Of course, with a year under our belts, a more seasoned, deliberate FiringSquad team ventured back to the streets of Las Vegas, Nevada for Comdex 1999, in preparation for another week of frenzied productization, gags, gimmicks, tchotchkes, and more. This time around, there would be less wonder at the spectacles, and a more focused scrutinizing of the relevant issues at hand.
Who's the big winner in the Casino tonight?
3dfx, that's who. The 3d accelerator giant today finally announced their long-awaited next-generation technology, as well as the product line that would accompany it in release of next year. There has been more speculation on this part than just about any video card in history, and the tidbits 3dfx has released to the press (including the T-Buffer Effects
and FXT-1 Texture Compression
) left the crowd wondering just what was in the works. These were scintillating clues as to where 3dfx was immediately headed, but the specs themselves remained a tightly-held mystery.
Check out the motion blur
Recently, 3dfx announced that late-stage manufacturing design problems forced their next-generation product to be delayed into Q1 2000. The first round battle has been ceded to Nvidia's GeForce, which by Comdex time had already hit shelves! With such short product cycles, would 3dfx be able to recover? We found out shortly enough.
More motion blur from the T-buffer
Selected members of the press were invited to 3dfx's press conference yesterday morning, held at Madame Toussaud's Wax Museum, in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, a scant few blocks from The Dive, the site of 3dfx's Voodoo3 announcement one year prior. We had a one on one meeting directly with Scott Sellers after the press conference, where any initial questions we had about the technology could be answered by one of the chief architects behind the design.
Notice the smoothing of the edges on screen
Here's an account of what 3dfx unveiled, our initial thoughts and questions, and what we feel is the significance of 3dfx's latest 3d acceleration scheme, a project that has been under the code name of "Napalm" for the last year.