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3Dlabs announced today during Intel’s Developer Forum that it plans to provide Wildcat graphics cards that leverage the enhanced capabilities of PCI Express, an emerging industry interconnect standard. This is the first announcement from a company that develops Visual Processing Units to incorporate PCI Express standard into graphics processors.

3Dlabs said today that it is designing a new generation of Visual Processor Units (VPUs) to utilize bandwidth and features delivered by PCI Express, allowing professional users to increase productivity.

The graphics industry is expected to make a transition to PCI Express in 2005-2006. Theoretically PCI Express-enabled Serial AGP is able to provide up to 10GB/s of bandwidth with possibility to increase the performance further (32-bit width; 2.50GHz clock). Given that there are numerous problems with PCI Express and PCI compatibility at the moment, IHVs will have to address these issues before launching their new generation products. 3Dlabs seem to have an advantage here: its high-end workstation graphics cards are usually sold with new workstations and there is not a lot of upgrade options offered. As a result, 3Dlabs may sacrifice compatibility of their future graphics chips with conventional AGP-bus in order to rapidly deliver a high-end solution just as Intel rolls-out the PCI Express. Honestly speaking, there are still so much time left till PCI Express-based bus for graphics cards will come that all IHVs will have enough time to solve any issues with it.

I wonder if there are memory and PSBs to offer 10GB/s bandwidth in 2005-2006 so that newer graphics cards were able to utilize their PCI Expess-based AGP’s never before seen bandwidth.

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