SIS ready to ship faster Xabre graphic chip

Looking to grab a portion of the mainstream market for add-in graphics cards, Taiwanese chip maker Silicon Integrated Systems Corp. (SIS) is gearing up to begin volume shipments of its latest graphics chip, the Xabre 600.

The chip will start shipping in large volumes to graphics board makers this week with graphics cards based on the new chip expected to be available before the end of this year, said Jessie Lee, a spokeswoman for the company. SIS began shipping small quantities of the chips to board makers in Taiwan last week, she said.

The Xabre 600 supports the AGP8X graphics bus, which has a maximum data transfer rate of 2G bytes per second, and Microsoft Corp.'s DirectX 8.1 multimedia APIs (application programming interfaces), and has a clock speed of 300MHz and a 300MHz memory bus. The Xabre 400, introduced in June, also supports AGP8X and DirectX 8.1, but runs at a clock speed of 250MHz.

Another feature that differentiates the Xabre 600 from its predecessors is the addition of SIS's Hardware-Optimized Vertexlizer Engine, a vertex shader used by the chip to calculate the geometry of a scene or object being displayed. Vertex shaders are graphics processing functions that can be programmed into the chip, allowing it to better determine differences in geometry for texture, perspective and lighting applications.

Earlier models of the Xabre did not incorporate support for a vertex shader, Lee said.

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