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.
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