Interview with 3dfx
Questions and Answers
Of course, we were wondering a bit as to why any of these decisions were made. Where does 3500 fit in? Why were its specs changed, and then changed again? Instead of boring you with speculation, we went straight to 3dfx for the official line. We got ahold of Kirk Leitch, who was kind enough to hang around and throw us a bone on a Sunday night. Here's the story.
FS: Can you tell us a little more about the separate products you merged together to make the 3500 (TV tuner card/software and V3)?
3dfx: It is not so much that we merged products so much as we merged technologies. We have a lot of experience with TV tuner products as evidenced by our award winning TV PCI and DesktopTV products. Couple that technology with the Voodoo3 architecture and you begin to see why we are so excited about this product. We've carried over our VisualReality software from DesktopTV to the 3500TV and added additional functionality in the software MPEG 2 capture and the VCR applet to take the software to a new level. Of course, pushing the envelop on the 2D/3D graphics with the 183MHz clock rate makes this a killer combination. Also on the video side, we've added support on the 3500TV card for CCIR656 video input for DVD cards that only output that format. There is a lot of value in the 3500TV.
FS: What is the target market for the 3500? The next generation 3D accelerators are right around the corner with Nvidia in September, 3dfx in October, and S3's GX4 before Christmas. What is your competition?
3dfx: The target markets for the 3500TV are the multimedia and game enthusiasts. We know that there are customers out there who are looking for a card with a complete complement of multimedia features without having to live with 3D that isn't up to the level of what we provide with the Voodoo3 architecture. Naturally, our competition consists of those products with similar feature sets.
FS: What made you decide to change the 3500 from DFP to TV? What's the current status of LCDfx?
3dfx: We changed the product to TV Tuner due mainly to the variability in the standards for the LCD connector. As the standards solidify, there will be an adoption of LCD flat panel technology that 3dfx will be poised to be a part of. Sometime next year, flat panel technology will begin to take off. That dynamic will hinge on how the standards shake out and how quickly the industry in general can adopt it.
FS: What made you decide to incorporate DFP instead of TV in the first place? When did that become a bad idea?
3dfx: DFP was never a bad idea. It is clearly an emerging technology and some of our customers were requesting that functionality. The 3500TV version was already part of the product plan and took on a greater level of importance when the DFP connector standard began to undergo a shift in definition.
FS: Will 3dfx offer a version of the 3500 without the TV-tuner? Many of us would like to have a 183MHz V3, without having to pay extra for the TV-tuner and multimedia options.
3dfx: Right now, our 183MHz offering will be the Voodoo3 3500TV. We do not discuss unannounced products. We can tell you that 3dfx will be making an announcement later this year and will be discussing the specs in detail late in the fall timeframe.