by December 1, 1999 0 comments

Graphics Blaster from GeForce
holds the world’s first GPU (Graphics Processing Unit)–the GeForce 256. In
traditional 3D cards, only some of the 3D functions like rendering, triangle setup, and
clipping are handled by the 3D accelerator. Functions such as lighting and transformation
that are quite common in most 3D games today are left for the CPU handle.

The GeForce rids the CPU of this burden and
includes these functions in its 3D pipeline. The GPU has a separate pipeline for handling
each of these functions. So now the CPU is left with handling the artificial intelligence
and physics part of the calculations. In addition it can render up to 15 million
triangles, and 480-million pixels per second. The end result is a richer-and-detailed 3D
world in your games, and better speed.

The card has a 350 MHz RAMDAC and 32 MB of
SDRAM that allows a resolution of up to 2048×1536 at a refresh rate of 75 Hz. It supports
all the features in DirectX 7 and OpenGL. It also supports AGP 4x with a new Fast Write
feature that lets the CPU send data directly to the GPU through your
  motherboard’s chipset instead of sending through the system memory. This is
supposed to give a tremendous boost in performance.

The GeForce will support a lot of upcoming 3D
games including Quake 3, Evolva Scout, etc. The card is not yet available in India, and
has an estimated street price of $249.99. For details go to www.creative.com.

Anil Chopra in Singapore

Fractal Design
Expression 

A vector-based drawing software that gives realistic illustrations

This drawing program has a range of tools
and special effects, with which you can create great-looking vector images. (Computer
graphics are of two types–vector or bitmap. A vector image is formed by dots placed
next to each other, and use a mathematical formula to calculate the line that connects
these points. Since vector graphics, unlike bitmap images, are resolution-independent,
they can be resized easily without any loss in quality). 

Expression has a vast library
of natural media and multi-view strokes. These are template strokes resembling those used
by professional artists. For example, the natural media strokes contain strokes like
scribble, soft smoky brush, dotted line, etc. The program has a stroke warehouse, where
you can select a brushstroke of your choice, and use it with a single click. 
Creating artwork with this package is quite simple. You can choose any of the ready-made
strokes and draw with them. These can also be resized or recolored. You can also fill the
images or change their gradient. 

Overall, the package is easy
to use and lets you create professional looking artwork within minutes. 

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