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XGI Technology, a graphics chips designer, Monday announced intention to produce and market graphics cards based on its own visual processing units. The company aims to target its own add-in boards at various market segments in an attempt to boost market share.

“As we introduce the Volari graphics board series, we have taken into consideration a top-to-bottom graphics solution empowering solution providers and system builders to target their own niche markets,” the company said in its statement.

XGI said it would offer graphics cards based on Volari V8, Volari V5, Volari V3XT, and Volari V3 graphics processors. In addition, XGI said, it would market solutions for mobile computers as well.

Announced in mid-September 2003, the XGI Volari graphics processors is the third family of actual chips to support DirectX 9.0 capabilities available in the market. XGI currently offers two graphics processors with identical feature-set, but different performance – the Volari V5 and the Volari V8. The fundamental difference between the former and the latter is the number of rendering pipelines – 4 and 8 for the V5 and V8 respectively. The XGI Volari V5 and V8 have equal number of Vertex Shader pipelines – 2 per chip. However, the Volari V8 also packs 4 Pixel Shader pipelines, while the V5 only boasts with 2 of them.

Both V5 and V8 GPUs are made using 0.13 micron fabrication process at UMC.

Previously XGI partnered with ABIT, Chaintech and Triplex, while Tul Corporation had decided to withdraw from manufacturing products based on XGI Volari graphics processors. Additionally, XGI had inked deals with Chinese manufacturers Hasee Science & Technology and Lian Guan (Crown Electronic Technology), according to some reports. The company did not reveal any reasons switch to cards business from chips business.

“We started to make XGI Volari-based graphics cards, but the demand was too low,” said a representative of a graphics cards maker who wished to remain anonymous.

Some sources said that one of XGI’s shareholders is Asian electronics equipment giant Foxconn, who recently entered channel business. The company produces mainboards, graphics cards as well as loads of other products and may become the largest maker of XGI-based graphics cards, if the information is correct.

In the past four years graphics chip designers gradually withdrew from the market of graphics cards leaving to dedicated makers. The trend to make graphics cards using the company’s own manufacturing emerged in the late nineties when 3dfx and S3 Graphics set up their card-assembly product lines.

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