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  ST Micro's Kyro II & Hercules' 3D Prophet 4500 
  Jun 18, 2001, 09:00am EDT 


By: Dan Mepham

When it comes to new products, there’s evolution, and then there’s redefinition. Most of the products that hit our doorstep are simply evolutionary improvements of an existing technology. A new processor with a reduced die size, a chipset that supports DDR memory instead of standard SDR, and so on. They’re all just incremental improvements, and while they’re absolutely necessary, so are occasional revolutionary steps.

Imagination/ST Microelectronics took such a step with the original Kyro processor. The Kyro was not simply a regular video card with a bit more memory, a faster clockspeed, or even more pipelines or a T&L unit. Instead, it was a completely different approach to graphics, one which promised to be cheaper, and much more efficient. Had the Kyro have been introduced a year before it was, it would undoubtedly have been a huge success, but unfortunately, by the time it hit the market, new offerings from nVidia, ATI and 3dfx had rendered it obsolete.

Just a few months ago, however, Imagination Technology and ST Micro introduced the Kyro II, a slightly upgraded version of the original that features a much higher clockspeed, yielding greater performance. Hercules has jumped on board, and offered a Kyro II-based solution, called the 3D Prophet 4500, which features a price competitive with nVidia’s GeForce 2 line. Read on, as we take a look at what makes the Kyro II tick, as well as a look at Hercules retail graphics card.

1. Introduction
2. The 3rd Dimension, Bringing Worlds to Life
3. Immediate Mode Rendering, The Industry Standard
4. Tile-Based Rendering, A New Approach
5. Rendering Overview
6. ST Microelectronics' Kyro II
7. Hercules 3D Prophet 4500
8. Test Setup & Procedure
9. Performance - Fill-rates & 3DMark
10. Performance - Quake 3 Arena
11. Performance - Mercedes Benz Truck Racing
12. Performance - Unreal Tournament
13. Performance - SPECviewperf
14. CPU Scaling Performance
15. FSAA Performance - Quake 3 Arena
16. FSAA Performance - Unreal Tournament
17. Summary

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  Product Ratings 
Imagination/ST Microelectronics Kyro II
Performance: 7/10
Stability: 10/10
Features: 3/10
Price: 10/10
Overall Rating: 9/10
Hercules 3D Prophet 4500
Performance: 7/10
Stability: 10/10
Quality: 10/10
Features: 4/10
Documentation: 7/10
Price: 10/10
Overall Rating: 9/10

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