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XGI Technology is reportedly going to tape out its next-generation graphics processor with Pixel Shaders and Vertex Shaders 3.0 version support as early as later this quarter. The chip seems to be based on Volari architecture, but is not likely to make it here until the second half of the year.

A report over Chinese web-site GZeasy.com suggests that XGI may tape out its code-named XG45 DirectX 9.1-supporting graphics already in March 2004. In case the company does not have significant problems with its new VPU, it may take it 90 to 120 days to start mass production of this chip. If it happens, we will see something new coming from XGI’s graphics cards partners sometime in July or August.

In addition to DirectX 9.1 graphics processors, XGI is also expected to release new versions of its Volari V5 and V8 solutions with PCI Express support, dubbed XG41 and XG42. At this time it is not fully clear whether the company attempts to release current generation chips for PCI Express x16, or will concentrate on next-gen offerings, namely XG45 and XG46, to bring a lot of improvements for its VPUs – new interconnection, enhanced feature-set and probably improved performance – at once.

A recent analysis of XGI’s existing high-end offering – Volari Duo V8 Ultra – powered by two XGI’s code-named XG40 chips revealed that the firm tremendously needs to improve micro-architecture of its processors as soon as possible to drive performance up. We do not know whether XGI Technology addresses certain very clear issues of Volari in its XG45 product, but it would be very logical for the company, as unless the firm implements some more efficient texture caching mechanisms, shader processing pipelines and engines as well as takes care about other “speed limits”, PCI Express x16 bus and enhanced functionality of pixel pipelines and vertex processors will not turn into real benefits for the new parts.

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