December '97 3D Video Accelerator Comparisonby Anand Lal Shimpi on December 15, 1997 4:22 PM EST
- Posted in
Entering the Third Dimension
In the early 1980's Microsoft introduced the world to a new era in computing, gaming, with their historical release of the Microsoft Flight Simulator for the IBM PC. Since then we have come a long way, computers have become tools of work and tools of play, the hardware industry is pushed by the expanding needs of both gamers and professionals who desire more. While the computer was originally intended to be solely a productive tool, users have managed to influence the market enough to transform the personal computer into an object of productivity as well as recreation.
Working in 3D
Why do professionals need the ability to work in three dimensions? Artists can more accurately depict their works, architects can plan out their designs before building them, and engineers can test theories without even laying their hands on a piece of equipment other than a keyboard. Advances in computer graphics and the implementation of 3D capabilities into the desktop and workstation PCs has allowed professionals to expand their horizons and pursue new facets of their careers.
Playing in 3D
First there was black and white, then we got color, next was sound, then interactivity became popular, now the "fad" for gamers is 3D. While not knowing what is needed to produce the pretty pictures die hard gamers see on their monitors they mindlessly pop in a Quake 2 CD and watch the textures fly, literally. The gaming industry obviously has a major influence on the computer hardware industry, with every new technology that is developed by the programmers at some of the most competitive game manufacturers there is a new piece of hardware being designed to compensate for the immense requirements of that new technology. One can almost predict where the next major hardware advances will be, and that is in the 3D arena. Major CPU manufacturers have already proposed their own proprietary 3D geometry processing units which will shortly appear in their processors within months.