Nvidia to phase out GeForce3

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As GeForce4 comes onstream the graphics chip maker will drop GeForce3 from its range, using an older product for its budget line. Sources say the next generation will use a fully programmable architecture

Nvidia is to phase out its GeForce3 line of graphics chips entirely as it makes room for the the Geforce 4, the company said on Wednesday. Instead, its low-end product will become the GeForce2 MX, complementing the midrange GeForce4 MX and the high-end GeForce4 Ti.

Sources close to the company have also suggested that Nvidia will move to a fully programmable architecture with its next chip design. Such a move could mean a much shorter lag time between when new features are introduced into a graphics chip and when they appear in new games. Current chips have their functions fixed in hardware.

The GeForce4 is much faster than its predecessor, last year's GeForce3 Ti, offering more than double the speed on certain features. Nvidia excecutives said GeForce chips are improving at a rate of "Moore's Law cubed", with power doubling every six months. Moore's Law states that the power of a processor doubles every eighteen months. The downside of this, however, is that other components such as memory may end up forming a bottleneck within the graphics card itself, Nvidia said.

Even so, Nvidia estimates that 3D moving images rendered on consumer graphics cards will not reach the same quality as filmed images for another 10 years.

News source: ZDnet UK

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