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Intel’s next-generation graphics core that will be integrated into the company’s core-logic sets was renamed from Santa Clara, California-based semiconductor giant’s nearly traditional “Extreme Graphics” to “Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900”, unofficial sources close to Intel revealed.

In spite of the change of the brand-name, specifications and capabilities of the graphics core that will first see the light of the day as a part of i915G (Grantsdale-G) chipset, scheduled for June 2004 launch, were not modified. Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 is projected to have hardware support for Pixel Shaders 2.0 in order to properly render GUI interface of Microsoft’s next-generation software peak code-named Longhorn. The Vertex Shaders 2.0 support will be probably carried out by Intel’s monstrous new Pentium 4 CPUs at stunning speeds.

Another important capability of the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 is support for two independent display - a feature that is required by financial, educational, engineering and some other industries. While there was information about support of up to four independent monitors by the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900, formerly known as Intel Extreme Graphics 3, Intel reps once said they know nothing about the feature.

Sources familiar with Intel’s plans report that Grantsdale-G provides a flexible and stable platform for corporate and consumer. Offered features include PCI Express x16 graphics port (PEG x16), dual-channel DDR and DDR2 SDRAM, 4 Serial ATA-150 ports, 4 PCI Express x1 ports, Azalia audio and optional WLAN capability.

Intel believes that additional bandwidth provided by DDR2 memory at 533MHz speed bin will play a positive role in performance of integrated graphics core. Even though Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 will hardly become a kicking performer in modern 3D games, its hardware support for DirectX 9.0 pixel shaders is likely to allow it to run up-to-date titles offering enough performance for people who are not really big gamers.

Intel officials did not comment on the name change of their third-generation graphics core.

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