previous page: B11 Matrox Millenium
page up: 3D Graphics Accelerators FAQ
next page: B13 Arcobel Imagine

B12 APD Free Dimension


This item is from the PC 3D Graphics Accelerators FAQ, by Blair MacIntyre with numerous contributions by others. (v1.2).

B12 APD Free Dimension

This information was received from Victor Silveira (VSilveira@aol.com).

The APD Free Dimension is a PCI Bus 3D Graphics Board, ideally suited for Virtual Reality, Simulation, and Entertainment. The "Free Dimension" Board is designed and manufactured by APD, and it is marketed in Europe by APD, and marketed in the US by SILVEIRA Corporation.

The Free Dimension Board ("FDB") is designed to provide on a PC or Macintosh the same performance as those of a higher end more expensive workstation (such as Silicon Graphics, or SUN, etc.), but for a fraction of the price. The FDB provides true texture mapping and simultaneous Gouraud Shading, so that the user may experience WorkStation Class 3D on a PC/Mac environment.

Real Time Graphics Applications are possible for Virtual Reality (VR) and Simulation applications. FDB incorporates GUL (Graphics Ultra Light),a Library Optimized for Real Time Graphics, that takes advantage of the underlying hardware (GUL works with Studio and SoftImage).

Hardware Features

* True color double frame-buffer and Z-buffer

* TRUE Hardware supported texture mapping and Gouraud Shading (not just acceleration)

* perspective correction

* 2D-overlay + 3D + 2D underlay

* multiple 3D windowing control

* frame rate regulation

* stereoscopic output at full resolution

* plug and play single slot PCI Bus

* ... and more.

Technical characteristics

* Rendering speed.

        o Textured mapping and/or Gouraud shading at 20 million
          pixels/second rate.
        o 320 k textured and / or shared polygons / sec.
        o Per polygon basis selection of the hardware coloring method
          (texturing, and / or shading).

* Hardware perspective correction of textured polygons.

* Frame Buffer

        o 8 MB of RAM
        o four, 32 bits wide frame buffers at full-resolution for double
          buffering + double camera (stereoscopic camera).
        o no redraws visible
        o artifact free image sequencing (buffer - switching synchronized
          with vertical retrace signal)
        o 24 color bits / pixel
        o hardware flash erase function
        o full initialization of the framebuffer in less than 77 micro

* Z Buffer

        o 16 bits wide Z Buffer
        o Hardware flash erase function
        o full initialization of the frame - buffer in less than 77

* Shading

        o Three independent color interpolators
        o Software definable reflection coefficients.

* Colors

        o True 3D information (24 bits per pixel)
        o 8 transparency levels applicable of each polygon
        o 2D VGA information transparently converted to 24 bits using a
          color palette.

* Resolution. Maximum 3D window size, with true color and stereo (for each eye) is:

        o 800 x 512 pixels in an 800 x 600 screen
        o 640 x 480 full screen

* Stereoscopic output

        o Jack output ready for standard CrystalEyes shutter glasses emitter
        o 120 Hz stereo (60 Hz each eye interleaved) video output for
          multisync monitor (no video synch doubler needed)
        o Each eye at full resolution (800 x 512) + double buffering + true

* Texture Mapping

        o True hardware texture mapping at 20 Million pixels / second rate
        o texture map coordinates are perspective corrected )no distortion
          in the resulting image)
        o textured polygons can be simultaneously lighted, at 20 Million
          pixels per second rate
        o texture colors corrected by hardware according to the lighting
          level of each pixel
        o 1 MByte texture Memory; 8 Bit wide texture maps
        o 32 simultaneously definable 8 - bits palettes, of 16 million
        o each texture map can be dynamically associated with any of the 32
          available palettes
        o one of the 256 indexes of the palettes can be defined as
          transparency color
        o arbitrary complex shapes can be drawn in the scene using
          self-orienting bitmaps
        o hardware texture wrapping function (so that a repeating pattern
          can be applied to a polygon)
        o maximum texture size for automatic wrapping textures is 128 x 128
        o hardware bit mapping support for each texture map.

* Object Selection

        o a 7 bit wide identification can be associated with each object
        o it is stored in the frame buffer for each pixel belonging to the
        o Point-and-select or help functions implementation with minimum
        o Object tagging can be individually enabled or disabled for each
        o hardware access to tagging information
        o tag value returned in less than 16 msecs.

* Overlay and Underlay

        o 2D images, full - motion digital video and textual information can
          be freely mixed with the 3D scene
        o Information from the VGA mixed with the 3D information through the
          feature connector. Four Modes available to control 2D and 3D
          information mixing as follows: a) pass through mode. b) 3D only
          mode, c) underlay mode, d) overlay + underlay mode.

* Multiple 3D Windowing Control. 3D Rendering on multiple windows that can be freely moved and re-sized within the screen.

* Frame Rate Regulation

        o Synchronous or asynchronous image sequencing
        o Erasing of frame-buffer and Z Buffer automatically performed after
          each buffer switching
        o Horizontal re-trace counter available in all modes
        o Four different synchronization modes available: Fully Synchronous,
          Normal Synchronous, Asynchronous, Software synchronization.

* System requirements. A PC pr PowerMac with a CPU running at 90MHz or above, 16 MBytes of RAM, SVGA with a standard feature connector, 1 PCI free slot, and Windows 95, Windows NT, MS DOS 6.2, or System 7.5.

The APD 3D PCI accelerator Board manufactured by APB scheduled for release during February 1996 in the $4,500 range.

Contact Information: You may contact Sales, Marketing and Technical support at the following addresses:

APD Attention Luis Pedro Marzan, Vice President Madrid, Spain Telephone: (34) (1) 798 5626 Fax: (34) (1) 797 7897 EMail: freedimension@gapd.es.

SILVEIRA Corporation Attention: Mr. Kevin Toler, Manager Washington DC, USA Telephone: (202) 686 2230 Fax: (202) 686 2231 EMail: 102511,652@compuserve.com.


Continue to:

previous page: B11 Matrox Millenium
page up: 3D Graphics Accelerators FAQ
next page: B13 Arcobel Imagine