Expanding its range of professional level graphics solutions, Sun
Microsystems, Inc. announced February 27th the availability of the
Sun(TM) Expert3D-Lite graphics accelerator for $995 -- a price more
typically associated with PC industry graphics.
Developed for professionals in such markets as mechanical computer-
aided design (MCAD), geographic information systems (GIS), digital
content creation and medical imaging, the Sun Expert3D-Lite graphics
board provides customers with a new price standard without quality
Additionally, the Sun Expert3D-Lite graphics accelerator has been
extensively tested and certified with a number of leading technical
software application developers, including Alias|Wavefront,
Autometric, Dassault, EAI, ERDAS, GeoQuest, Landmark, PTC, Paradigm
Geo, SDRC and Unigraphics.
"Customers buying Sun workstations and graphics are making million
dollar decisions every day based on what they see," said Fred Kohout,
Director of Marketing, Technical Market Products Group at Sun
Microsystems. "They demand tested, mission critical quality graphics
and will not tolerate inaccurate renderings or displays. The Sun
Expert3D-Lite graphics board maintains our commitment to provide high
quality, professional-level graphics for an extremely affordable
The Sun Expert3D-Lite graphics board is based on 3Dlabs' newly
introduced, high performance Wildcat II chip set. Co-developed with
3Dlabs, exclusively to Sun specifications and requirements, Sun
Expert3D-Lite leverages the advanced architecture of Sun's high end
Expert3D graphics board announced in 2000. Sun Expert3D-Lite's
architecture consists of three dedicated memory banks, a geometry
accelerator, a rasterizer and a bus interface. Sun Expert3D-Lite
graphics is able to offer many of the same capabilities of Sun
Expert3D, but at one-third the price.
When compared to the Sun(TM) Elite3D m3 graphics board, the Sun
Expert3D-Lite graphics accelerator gives users 300% greater texture
mapping performance, 58% higher 3D resolutions support, 30% faster
geometry performance, and 300% more onboard memory -- all for about
half the cost.
"With the new Sun Blade(TM) 100 workstation and Sun Expert3D-Lite
graphics accelerator board, Sun has yet again re-set the standards for
3D graphics computing," said Sarang Ghatpande, Research Analyst, D.H.
Brown. "Sun has accomplished this by focusing on the entry-level 3D
graphics market with a perfect blend of professional level graphics,
64-bit computing -- in both architecture and operating environment --
and solutions geared towards addressing market requirements with an
ever more affordable price band."
Flexibility Improves Quality, Increases Productivity
The new Sun Expert3D-Lite graphics accelerator supports a wide range
of systems running on the robust Solaris(TM) Operating Environment,
from the entry level Sun Blade(TM) 100 workstation, to the Ultra(TM)
60 and 80 workstations, and up to the high-performance Sun Blade
To help customers increase productivity, Sun's 3D graphics
workstations offer greater flexibility by supporting as many as four
graphics accelerators in a single system. Applications using Sun
workstations and graphics solutions can span multiple displays and can
be viewed as one single virtual display.
Other features and benefits include:
Availability, Price And Support
- 4.1 million triangles/second with up to 88 Mpixels/second
texture fill rate: improves designer productivity by providing fast
and realistic 3D graphics, allowing users to capitalize on 3D
application functionality with a cost-effective graphics solution.
- 32 MB dedicated frame buffer memory supporting all of Sun's
displays at resolutions up to 1920 x 1080 pixels (HDTV): allows users
to display several application windows on-screen with little or no
overlap, enabling the user to see more data at once.
- 16 MB dedicated, hardware-accelerated texture mapping memory:
improves on-screen design quality and provides high-performance
hardware-based texture mapping operations for fast visual feedback;
helps ensure that there are no trade-offs between display resolutions,
texture memory, and z-buffering depth.
- 3D volumetric rendering: makes it possible to render internal
textures of objects, a capability especially important in medical
imaging (e.g., to view a 3D CCAT scan) as well as oil and gas
- 32-bit Z-buffer: eliminates "poke-through" anomalies, in which
objects appear to penetrate each other and flicker in and out as the
image is moved.
- Stereoscopic video graphics support at 960 x 680 pixel, 1152 x 900
pixel, and 1280 x 800 pixel resolutions at up to 120-Hz refresh rates:
improves the design visualization of complex 3-D relationships that
may not be seen otherwise; reduces perceived flicker on screen,
lowering occurrences of fatigue and eye strain.
Sun's Expert3D-Lite graphics accelerator is currently available
worldwide for $995 (U.S. list). The Sun Expert3D-Lite graphics board
can be purchased directly from Sun and through standard Sun channels.
The Expert3D-Lite board is backed by Sun's standard service and
support and a one-year warranty.