Microsoft Delivers Performance-Leading Version of OpenGL

Microsoft PressPass – Microsoft Delivers Performance-Leading Version of OpenGL

First Available Implementation of OpenGL 1.1 Incorporates Fastest Available OpenGL Software Renderer

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 5, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it is releasing a new version of the professional 3-D graphics API, OpenGL® 1.1 for the Microsoft® Windows NT® and Windows® 95 operating systems. The OpenGL 1.1 specification was approved by the OpenGL Architectural Review Board in January 1996; Microsoft is the first OpenGL vendor to release a product implementing the new specification – which includes performance-critical features for encapsulating geometric data and handling multiple textures.

OpenGL is the premier cross-platform environment for developing high-performance 2-D and 3-D graphics applications, such as animation and modeling, CAD/CAM, scientific visualization, toolkits and simulations. Leading ISVs using OpenGL on the Windows NT and Windows 95 platforms include Advanced Visual Systems, Autodesk Inc., Intergraph Corp., Lightscape Technologies Inc., MultiGen Inc., NewTek Inc., Parametric Technologies Corp., SDRC, Softimage Inc. and Template Graphics Software Inc.

“Microsoft is committed to supporting the 3-D graphics needs of the technical and professional workstation markets,”
said Steve Madigan, senior director at Microsoft.
“We are now delivering a leading OpenGL product from both feature and performance perspectives, and we will build on that base to make Windows NT the preferred authoring and development platform for professional 3-D content.”

The new version of OpenGL also incorporates an enhanced rendering pipeline that is two to four times faster than the previous implementation. Vendor benchmark results coordinated and published by the SPEC Graphics Performance Committee show that Microsoft’s implementation leads all other software renderers in performance and all OpenGL implementations in price/performance. Microsoft’s implementation of OpenGL also includes support for a simpler client-driver model that gives hardware accelerator manufacturers many of the benefits of the new rendering pipeline.

ISVs are already beginning to take advantage of OpenGL 1.1 features, some of which have been exposed as extensions from some OpenGL vendors.

“In one of our 3-D toolkit applications we saw a fourfold improvement in the frame rate when we took advantage of the texture object features,”
said Mike Heck, vice president of research and development at Template Graphics Software.

ISVs are also pleased with the performance of the new pipeline as well as the quality of the new release.
“This version of OpenGL is much faster,”
said Jeff Correll, senior group manager for HiQ product development with National Instruments.

SPEC GPC benchmarks published this month show that the results for OpenGL 1.1 for Windows NT 4.0 have improved by 250 percent to 400 percent over the results for Windows NT 3.51 published last year and now leads the OpenGL software renderer market. In addition to the pipeline tuning, the results for Windows also benefit from the rapid pace of CPU evolution and system price competition. Taken together, these factors give the Microsoft implementation an overwhelming price/performance lead over virtually all other implementations, in some cases beating the industry mean price/performance by a factor of three.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows NT and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

OpenGL is a registered trademark of Silicon Graphics Inc.

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