10 Questions About Atari's Jaguar 64-bit (Nov.23,1993)

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 02/20/94-01:49:46 AM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: 10 Questions About Atari's Jaguar 64-bit (Nov.23,1993)
Date: Sun Feb 20 01:49:46 1994

 :: Volume 2 - Issue 20      ATARI EXPLORER ONLINE      23 November 1993 ::

 |||   Ten Questions About Jaguar's 64-Bit Technology
 |||   Courtesy: Atari Corp.
/ | \  -----------------------------------------------------------------

1. What does 64-bit mean?

"64-bit" refers to the amount of data Jaguar can process at one time.
Because Jaguar processes data 64 bits at a time - versus 8, 16 and 32
bits for other video game systems - Jaguar delivers unprecedented
animation speed, true-color graphics and stereo CD-quality sound.
Jaguar is the world's first 64-bit interactive multimedia home
entertainment system.

2. What are the main differences players will notice when using 64-bit
systems as compared to conventional machines and newer 32-bit systems?

The biggest difference players will notice is an enormous increase in
the overall speed and smoothness of objects in motion in their video
games. Game players will be able to manipulate and respond to game
action much more quickly and objects will travel at high animation
speed. In addition, players will notice a significant improvement in
the appearance of their video games; colors will be brighter and more
numerous, graphics will appear clearer and extremely realistic, 3D
objects will feature multi-textured surfaces, special effects will be
much more sophisticated and games will include true-to-life lighting
and shadows. Game realism will also be enhanced by sound effects
generated in CD-quality audio.

3. How does Jaguar achieve its 64-bit processing power?

Jaguar achieves its processing power through an advanced architecture
that features a 64-bit data bus. This bus acts like a 64-lane freeway,
permitting data "traffic" to flow 64-bits at a time. Five processors
work together to move data through the bus including:

7 The Atari-proprietary 64-bit Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) with
  RISC technology - responsible for delivering Jaguar's complex 3D
  graphics at high animation speed

7 The Atari-developed 32-bit Digital Signal Processor - delivers
  Jaguar's CD and stereo sound capabilities

7 The Object Processor - provides an advanced video environment

7 The Blitter Graphics Accelerator - rapidly manipulates and copies

7 The 68000 16-bit processor - manages secondary processing functions

4. If Jaguar includes a 16-bit processor, how can it be a true 64-bit

Jaguar is a true 64-bit system because it moves data through a 64-bit
data bus. While it includes a 16-bit processor, this processor plays
only a minor role in system performance. This processor acts as a
necessary, but less important stage hand - managing minor processing
functions, including reading joystick commands and distributing
workloads to system components.

5. In video game systems, what is the relationship between processing
speed and video graphics?

The processing speed of a video game platform has a direct
relationship to the quality of video graphics it is capable of
generating. When graphics are complex and include many colors, the
system needs more power to maintain high-quality animation speeds from
cartridge to screen without degradation.

Atari Jaguar's 64-bit processing speed allows the system to display
more than 16 million colors with an animation speed greater than 850
million pixels per second. This means Jaguar's 3D graphics are very
realistic, with bright colors and fast moving action.

This performance is significantly better than that of 32-bit machines,
which display 16.7 million colors, but are only able to move 64
million pixels per second. In other words, 32-bit systems have just as
much traffic as Jaguar, but they are trying to squeeze the same number
of colors onto a 32-lane highway instead of a 64-lane freeway. This
can result in grainier graphics, fewer colors used and slower
animation speed.

6. How has Atari been able to leapfrog 32-bit systems?

Atari Corporation has been able to leapfrog 32-bit systems because the
company made a commitment to meet the needs of the industry by making
a quantum leap to the 64-bit architecture. Atari backed this
commitment with resources, including the world's finest engineers and
the industry's most experienced management team. This combination of
vision, dedication and talent allowed Atari to build Jaguar's
proprietary 64-bit hardware and deliver Jaguar to customers while the
company's competitors were still struggling to develop and market less
powerful products.

7. How is Atari able to offer advanced 64-bit technology at such a
competitive price?

Jaguar retails for $249 (bundled with one video game), when much less
powerful systems are selling for $700 and up. Atari is able to offer
the world's most advanced video game system to consumers at such an
affordable price because:

7 Atari hires and retains the world's best engineers. This allowed
  Atari to reduce Jaguar's time-to-market by ensuring the development
  cycle was efficient and the design was high quality.

7 Atari is the sole investor in Jaguar and thus, operating overhead is
  much lower than it is for competitive systems in which multiple
  investors receive a portion of the profits.

7 Atari founded the video game industry and was able to apply more
  than 20 years of expertise to the cost-efficient development of

8. How do developers benefit from Jaguar's 64-bit processing power?

With Jaguar, developers enjoy unsurpassed ease in creating real-time
3D worlds. Because developing games for Jaguar is easier and less time
consuming than it is for conventional platforms, developers are able
to spend much more time on the creative process. Creatively, Jaguar's
64-bit processing power gives developers the flexibility to create
revolutionary video games that are much richer in color, animation,
texture and sound than traditional game systems.

9. What will be the industry standard for interactive multimedia

Atari's Jaguar has moved ahead of the competition to set the industry
standard for interactive multimedia performance. Jaguar's 64-bit
technology gives players the features and functionality they need
today while also supplying the power and components, such as virtual
reality and CD-ROM, to ensure they can move successfully into the
future. It will be years before players and developers exhaust
Jaguar's potential and competitive systems catch up to Jaguar in terms
of price and performance.

10. What lies ahead for Jaguar users?

Jaguar's advanced 64-bit technology will allow users to expand the
system's capabilities by adding peripherals without decreasing system
performance. For example, in 1994, users can look forward to the
release of Jaguar's CD-ROM peripheral. Atari also plans to develop and
market a Jaguar virtual reality helmet.

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