Salt Lake City--You sit inside a white birdcage, staring through a textured sphere rotating around a yellow rose. Through the moving polygon, you peer into a room with black-and-white checked floor tile. A large picture window at the other end frames a view of Yellowstone Park. Despite the layer-after-layer graphical effect, the image still rotates at 18.6 frames per second in true 32 bit color with 1900 X 1200 resolution.
This high-end chipset, REALimage 2000 from Evans & Sutherland (E&S), ingests points, lines, or triangles at rates up to 4 million primitives per second and renders filtered MIP-mapped textured polygons at rates up to 90 million pixels per second. Rick Maule, vice president and general manager of Evans & Sutherland's Desktop Graphics Div., says REALimage 2000 is the fastest, high-performance graphics-rendering engine on the market for OpenGL-based applications such as Pro/E, Softimage, 3D Studio MAX, EDS/Unigraphics, SDRC, Lightwave, and Lightscape. REALimage 2000, compatible with PCI and AGP, is now available from system OEMs.
If you want to test the honesty of the REALimage claims, or any other 3D OpenGL Graphics Accelerator, E&S offers GLAZE(TM) v3.0 for free from the company's web site: www.es.com. GLAZE v3.0 provides 15 pre-set features and functions, such as reflection, so users can compare alternative graphics accelerators on any given NT hardware configuration. Maule wants everyone to download GLAZE and put E&S software through its paces. "This is a Coke vs. Pepsi challenge and E&S is up to the test," he says. Organizations can distribute the recently upgraded software for free with a no-charge distribution license from the company.
Continuing with an "Eat my Dust" approach, the company will release REALimage 2200 this summer. Users can incorporate multiple chips to double and quadruple the number of pixels/sec, says Maule, without compromising color or resolution.
"We are in lock-step with CPU performance improvements," says Maule. "When a user pays for a faster CPU, he will get what he expects--faster graphics, too. This is not true with on-board geometry processors."