In the Forums...
Posted: June 22, 2001
Written by: Dustin Jones
There's no denying that the 3D accelerator craze has reached an all time high this year. Video cards are not only faster than ever, they have the ability to render amazingly realistic images, filled with little details that literally make mouths drop and puddles of drool collect on the floor.
With the demise of 3DFX, the originators of this entire craze, there's only been two main companies battling it out: ATI and NVidia. While NVidia is the king of mind-numbing speed, ATI has become their equal with their Radeon, which boasts quality and features on top of blazing framerates.
But it seems there was a little troll quietly watching the battle of the two video titans take place, and learning the tricks of the crazy video market. This little troll was PowerVR, a division of the powerful Japanese corporation NEC. While seemingly going on ice for years, PowerVR came out of nowhere to earn the rights to create the video chipset for the Sega Dreamcast, an impressive and great looking console system (which has now gone under, but remains my favorite out of the current batch of console systems).
The success of the Dreamcast seemed to spark something inside the PowerVR building, and development of a budget 3D accelerator was started, code-named the Kyro. The Kyro was released to criticism, due to undeveloped drivers and slow game performance. PowerVR went back to the drawing boards, and gave the Kyro a face-lift. This upgraded Kyro was naturally named Kyro II, and was PowerVR's chance at getting noticed among the slew of GeForces and Radeons.
The 3D Prophet Is Here...
I recently acquired a Kyro II based card from Hercules, named the 3D Prophet 4500. This card is Hercules' second Kyro based card, the first being the Kyro I based 3D Prophet 4000XT. When PowerVR released the Kyro II, the price was set to $150 USD, not a whole lot of cash for a video card these days. With that in mind, it should be known that PowerVR has created the Kyro II to directly compete with the high-end video market, not the budget market. While priced similarly to a GeForce 2 MX based board, they claim it is as fast as a GeForce 2 GTS.