Durham Company Helps Bring Xbox To Life
Posted November 21, 2001 2:11 a.m. EST
DURHAM — The console game wars are heating up for the holidays. Last week, Microsoft's long-expected
hit retail stores. So far, sales are brisk for the $300 game console.
There is a Triangle connection to the amazing graphics delivered by the Xbox.
The fruits of two years of labor are being celebrated in the Durham offices of
. The computer graphics company designed two important microchips for the Xbox; the 256-bit graphics processor and the media communications processor.
"Engineers in this office, in RTP, worked on all aspects of those -- audio, networking and the graphics," said Durward Rogers, N.C. site manager.
About a third of all PCs shipped these days are equipped with NVIDIA graphics cards. The processor in the Xbox is the most powerful it has designed, creating incredibly lifelike images with features such as per-pixel shaders.
"Per-pixel shaders makes water look like water, grass look like grass. Things like that," said hardware engineer George Lynch.
Xbox graphics sparkle on a high definition plasma screen. High definition capability is built in, as are a DVD player and eight gig hard drive. The big thing is the NVIDIA graphics processor power.
What does all this talk about power mean? It would take everyone on Earth an hour to calculate what the Xbox calculates in one second.
A lot of credit for the amazing Xbox graphics goes to the group at NVIDIA.
"We have architects who design system, we have software engineers who work on the software needed to do all the graphics, and we have hardware engineers who design the chips for all products," said Rogers.
NVIDIA has almost 40 people working in Durham and is set to move into larger quarters.