7/23/2002 - Continuing to drive the transformation of the visualization and simulation markets, Sun Microsystems, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW) today unveiled the development release program for the Sun[tm] XVR-4000 graphics accelerator. Designed to address the high-end Workgroup Visualization market, Sun's advanced technologies and affordable graphics systems should help Sun extend its market share and introduce new growth opportunities in the visualization sector.

Sun's new graphics platform is powered by Sun's most advanced graphics architecture and is the latest implementation in Sun's visualization strategy, initiated in March with the release of Sun's Personal Visualization Systems, based on the Sun XVR-1000 graphics accelerator.

"Sun's XVR-4000 graphics accelerator positions the company in the high-end visualization market with its huge leap in performance and visual quality, opening up new market opportunities for Sun," said Dr. Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research, a leading graphics market research firm. "This has been the missing piece, and now the company can deliver the right mix of products from entry-level 3D graphics, to Personal Visualization, and now Workgroup Visualization. Sun has chosen the right strategy in using commodity components for its entry-level graphics, and designing its own graphics technology for the high-end graphics market."

Through the development release program, Sun will work closely with leading software vendors and customers to thoroughly test and tune the new graphics technology for application performance and workload stability. The development release program, part of Sun's rigorous quality assurance and product certification process, helps to ensure that new products are market-ready and optimized for production use. The program is planned to run through the next two quarters; Sun expects to ship the new XVR-4000 graphics accelerator before the end of the year.

The XVR-4000 graphics accelerator takes the capabilities of Sun's XVR graphics product line to a new level with enhanced visual quality and performance for small and large collaborative Workgroup Visualization environments. Early testing indicates the XVR-4000 graphics accelerator is expected to deliver nine times better 3D geometry performance than SGI's Infinite Reality (IR-3) graphics and four times the usable texture memory.

Capable of managing very large data sets while delivering unsurpassed visual quality, the XVR-4000 graphics accelerator is an ideal choice for customers in the manufacturing, oil and gas, or scientific research industries who wish to run visualization applications either in a personal immersive desk-side, a CAVE, or a small or large Workgroup Visualization environment; and for customers in the visual simulation segment who wish to run their training or simulation applications in a multi-display environment.

"With the XVR-4000 graphics accelerator, Sun is moving the high-end visualization market from experimentation and custom fabrications to more affordable volume deployment platforms," said Robbie Turner, vice president, Client and Technical Market Products, Sun Microsystems. "Sun is bridging the chasm for customers with a new server-based graphics alternative, and propelling the Workgroup Visualization market with an affordable, stable and easy-to-use solution that doesn't compromise visual quality."

Maximum Quality and Features at Industry-Low Pricing
The XVR-4000 graphics accelerator is a MAJC architecture-based, multi-chip rendering graphics accelerator designed to meet the needs of industrial strength 3D applications. Sun plans to offer it at a fraction of the cost for an equivalent SGI Infinite-Reality offering, providing significantly better geometry performance and visual quality. The advanced features of the XVR-4000 graphics accelerator include:

Superior Rendering Performance and Fast Interconnect: In excess of 80 million fully lit, textured, anti-aliased triangles per second. The graphics interconnect bandwidth is greater than 2 GB per second utilizing Sun's Fire Plane Interconnect. This allows processing of very complex data-sets, while delivering interactive frame-rates.

Antialiasing Filters: This architecture features four dedicated filter chips which process the sample data stored in the frame buffer memory, to implement the anti-aliasing, resulting in the elimination of jaggies from 3D objects. Each pixel in the frame-buffer is represented by up to 16 sub-pixel samples, randomly located within a 64 x 64 sub-pixel grid. Each filter chip implements a five pixel x five pixel, programmable, radial filter with negative side-lobes, to compute the weighted average of up to 400 (5 x 5 x 16) sub-pixel samples, to generate each pixel. Most competing graphics products only support single pixel box filtering implemented within the rasterizer, which results in poorer visual quality and rendering performance.

Performance Scalability without Programming Complexity: A Master controller distributes the data to four rendering sub-units on-board, providing a single-pipe interface to OpenGL applications, thus minimizing programming complexities. Each rendering sub-unit has 256MB texture memory, with a total of 1GB on-board texture memory.

FrameLock and GenLock Capabilities: Enables synchronized, multi-display environments as well as synchronization to an external video source.

S-Video Support: For recording to NTSC/PAL recording devices.

Dynamic Video Resizing: Enables a high-resolution display to simultaneously be recorded on a NTSC or PAL recording device. This feature also helps to guarantee frame rate for fill-rate limited applications.

Multiple Display Capabilities: A Sun Fire V880 server-based visualization system with dual XVR-4000 graphics accelerators is capable of driving up to four 1920 x 1200 displays, or four 1280 x 1024 stereo displays. With 144 MB of frame-buffer memory, each XVR-4000 graphics accelerator is capable of driving dual, anti-aliased, 1280 x 1024 displays with four samples per pixel.

Industry Leaders Support Sun XVR-4000 Graphics Accelerator
Leading software vendors for visualization, simulation and collaborative design applications are testing and optimizing their products on the Sun XVR-4000 graphics accelerator.

"Our training and simulation end-users require high-quality imaging and realism, combined with the ability to move massive amounts of data through the graphics pipeline," said Barlow Blake, vice president of marketing, CG2. "Together, CG2's VTree on Sun's XVR-4000 graphics accelerator-based visualization systems offer our defense and military customers a high-performance, real-time visual simulation solution with an SMP architecture and critical features like large texture memory, real-time anti-aliasing, high system bandwidth, and dynamic video resizing."

"EDS is pleased to continue working with Sun in extending support for our high-end applications on Sun's newest high-end 3D graphics platform, the XVR-4000 graphics accelerator," said Chuck Grindstaff, president, PLM Products, EDS PLM Solutions. "Anti-aliasing filters in Sun's XVR-4000 board will offer enhanced visual quality - a key asset to our manufacturing customers who rely on hardware accuracy to make important design decisions on a daily basis."

"Sun Microsystems has been a valuable ally to MultiGen-Paradigm and we are enthusiastic about Sun's XVR-4000 3D graphics accelerator," said Chris Hawkins, vice president of sales and marketing for MultiGen-Paradigm. "With the upcoming availability of our Vega Prime runtime tool on the Solaris[tm] Operating Environment along with the new XVR-4000 3D graphics accelerator, MultiGen-Paradigm and Sun will continue to expand and support the visual simulation community."

"We've been working with Sun to extend the reach of Opticore's 3D real-time visualization applications and enable customers to access solutions including Opticore Opus Realizer and Opus Studio on Sun's powerful visualization systems," said William Anderson, President, Opticore, Inc. "With the new XVR-4000 graphics accelerator, Opticore solutions running on Sun's new visualization systems will offer great visual clarity and realism to the design, engineering, and manufacturing operations of companies around the world."

Product Demonstrations and Graphics Architecture Presentation
For a demonstration of the XVR-4000 graphics accelerator and additional information, please visit Sun's booth #13071. Additionally, for an in-depth technical presentation on the design work behind the Scalable, Advanced Graphics Environment (SAGE) that powers the new graphics accelerator, David Naegle, senior staff engineer of Sun Microsystems, will present on the advanced architecture in the Graphics Hardware session at the Siggraph 2002 Conference on Friday, July 26, 2002 at 10:30 a.m.

Pricing and Availability
The XVR-4000 graphics accelerator is expected to be available later this year for less than $30,000 list price U.S. directly from Sun and its authorized Sun Resellers. It is available for Sun Fire[tm] V880-based systems. For more information, go to

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer[tm]" -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 170 countries and on the World Wide Web at

Sun, the Sun logo, Sun Microsystems, Solaris, Sun Fire and the Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and in other countries.

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