We told you quite some time ago that Microsoft’s Longhorn will use DirectX 9.0 capabilities for rendering its interface and we also said that Intel is very likely to implement DirectX 9.0 features in its graphics cores utilized in chipsets. We even used to think that Intel will only bring DirectX 9.0 features in 2005, but thanks to this Japanese web-site we know realize that the company may unleash its chipset with DirectX 9.0 support as early as next year.
Intel’s next-year chipset hero Grantsdale-G is said to support hardware Pixel Shaders 2.0 in order to render GUI interface of Microsoft’s next-generation software peak code-named Longhorn. Vertex Shaders 2.0 support will be carried out by Intel’s monstrous Socket T Prescott and Tejas CPUs with large L2 caches and functioning with lightning speeds. We still have to find out whether the implementation of Pixel Shaders 2.0 and possibly other capabilities of DirectX 9.0 will be implemented fully or partly. For instance, Intel may limit the number of features to the level minimally needed to render Longhorn GUI, as a result, Intel Extreme Graphics 3 will not have any rights to be called as DirectX 9.0-compatible.
Funny, but even at this time we still know practically nothing about Intel Extreme Graphics 2, thus, it seems to be too early to discuss the Grantsdale-G’s Extreme Graphics 3. In order to keep the manufacturing costs down, Intel will surely try to make the graphics core as simple as possible, thus, for gamers, Intel Extreme Graphics 3 will hardly compete with today’s lowest-end DirectX 9.0-supporting part, the GeForce FX 5200.
Generally speaking, CPU emulation of Vertex Shaders seems to be a reasonable choice for value solutions since modern CPUs usually can emulate geometry processing better than low-cost graphics chips. Pixel Shaders cannot be emulated using microprocessors and surely need to be made in hardware. Furthermore, with further convergence of Pixel and Vertex Shaders, it will doubtfully be possible to emulate the latter using CPUs. As a result, even Intel will be forced to implement graphics cores with hardware Pixel Shaders and Vertex Shaders support in its chipsets. The company will certainly develop its own more or less advanced graphics cores thanks to the IP it owns and also thanks to cross-licensing agreement with ATI Technologies. Definitely, NVIDIA and ATI will invent something even more advanced than current Shaders by that time.