Overview of Graphic Solutions for Laptops
Over the past year, there have been plenty of events in the graphics market. For quite some time, S3 was the undisputed leader in the production of graphic chips and video cards. In 1997, it covered up to 58% of the entire graphic market. S3’s position has staggered with the advent of 3dfx’s 3D accelerators. The stunning success of its Voodoo accelerators forced all manufacturers to start developing their own versions of 3D accelerators. The main efforts of graphic chip developers focused on creating the most productive chip with 3D acceleration. 3dfx remained the leader for a long time. Its Monster 3D Graphics chip seemed unrivaled.
But the competition in this area ended in a complete victory for Nvidia. The Riva 128 graphics chip she released in 1998 almost caught up with 3dfx’s Monster 3D Graphics in performance, but was cheaper. Nvidia’s GeForce 256 GPU proved to be more productive than Savage2000, the latest S3 chip. Nvidia’s GeForce2 video chip was practically not inferior in performance to the VSA-100 – the latest 3dfx chip, remaining much cheaper than the latter.
Former leaders, S3 and 3dfx, suffered huge losses and were forced to leave the market. S3’s graphics division was purchased by Taiwan-based VIA Technologies, and 3dfx, along with STB’s patents and plants, was acquired by Nvidia.
VIA is known as a manufacturer of chipsets for motherboards, and more recently, as a manufacturer of processors for the user market. Despite the purchase of the graphics division of S3, VIA has not yet released graphics chips, but has focused on the production of chipsets with an integrated S3 video adapter (KM-133, KL-133).
Nvidia combined its achievements with those of 3dfx engineers, which allowed it to become a monopolist in the graphics chip market.
The Canadian company ATI Technologies during this race for leadership has not lost its position. By regularly releasing new products, it maintained a reputation as a reliable manufacturer of graphics chips. Video cards based on chips from ATI (Rage 128, Rage 128 Pro, Radeon) have always been appreciated almost at the level of video cards from the market leader – Nvidia.
Thus, today there are already only three graphic chip development companies: ATI, Nvidia and Matrox. Since Matrox has recently focused almost exclusively on the production of products for professional work with 2D graphics and video, it can be considered that only ATI and Nvidia are engaged in the production of graphic chips for widespread use. Moreover, the number 1 company on the desktop PC market today is Nvidia, with a wide margin ahead of the number 2 company, ATI.
And what is happening on the laptop market?
Until recently, the main advantage of the laptop compared to desktop systems was its autonomy and small dimensions. What applications traditionally could the owner of a laptop run on his favorite? Only office. Well, I could still play preference or another game that does not require a 3D accelerator. For the latest games, and for many more serious than office applications, until recently, laptops lacked the power of the central processor and the amount of RAM. The capabilities of the graphics chip were not even discussed.
In recent years, the mobile computer market began to develop at a rapid pace. Available today laptops come very close to desktop systems in terms of computing power. 25% of the total number of computers manufactured are laptops, and their share continues to increase. More and more players enter the mobile computer market, such as, for example, the joint venture Fujitsu – Siemens. Fujitsu notebooks – Siemens Lifebook series and, in particular, S6345 model are very popular at present. This is a laptop “for all occasions.” Processor – mobile Intel Pentium III 700 MHz, chipset – 440ZX, 128 MB of RAM, 10 GB hard disk, built-in network card and modem, 14.1-inch TFT screen. Thanks to the graphics subsystem based on the ATI Rage Mobility M chip, this computer can handle modern games. It is no coincidence that the S6345 model is popular among young people.