Intel?s MMX multimedia extensions for Pentium obviates the need for low-end graphics accelerators, but it won?t replace sound and high-end 3D accelerator cards. Indeed, most add-in card manufacturers are developing new boards to support MMX because it will lead to cheaper and more functional cards. This is because MMX does some of the basic multimedia functions which the cards previously had to handle. ?MMX will only be capable of performing basic digital signal processing functions,? said Mr Sim, CEO of Creative Labs. ?For high-quality graphics and complex sound effects, consumers will still need peripheral cards. But MMX offers several advantages to card manufacturers. Soundcards can now have more advanced audio functions at lower cost. ?For example, very sophisticated speech recognition applications can be implemented on low-cost Sound Blaster audio cards using MMX.? 3D graphics specialist Videologic is developing Power VR chips which take advantage of MMX?s front-end processing. Hussain Yassaie, head of R&D at Videologic, predicted MMX will replace the need for low-end graphics cards. ?But we?re at the top end of 3D and MMX is not even on our radar,? he said. ?Almost every other technology ? Mpeg 2 for example ? has its upper limit, but 3D is open-ended.? Patrick Jubb, a representative of Videologic, said: ?It?s all very well to improve the geometry performance of the Pentium, but that doesn?t do any of the things which make real 3D worlds, such as translucency, fogging and Gouraud shading.? The next release of drivers from ATI, out in February, will support MMX. A new graphics chip, which ATI will release next month, will provide 25 frames per second Mpeg 2 playback with MMX.
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