It seems like almost every day we hear about another graphics company coming back from the dead with a killer new graphics chip set to put ATI and NVIDIA out of business. If there's anything the average AnandTech reader has learned over the past few years it is that talk is cheap and over promising but under delivering will grant you a one way ticket to exile. Thus it was no big surprise that we didn't get too excited when we heard that Trident was going to be making a grand return to the desktop graphics market with a GeForce4 competitor priced at less than $100 (USD).

Trident has never been known for producing high performance 3D accelerators, in fact they actually have a reputation that mirrors that of VIA's old character - as a large volume, low cost, low performance manufacturer. Trident was the company making the chips for the no-name "PCI Video Card" boxes you'd find for $29, they were also an OEMs best friend as they could deliver basic graphics functionality at a very low cost. When the 3D revolution picked up, Trident missed the bandwagon and it cost them a good deal of market share.

According to Mercury Research, as of Q4-2001 Trident held 4% of the desktop graphics market; but if you're doing anything but growing in a market then you'll quickly see that ownership erode, which is the driving force behind Trident's latest venture.

Obviously Trident isn't even going to try to go after the market that ATI's Radeon 9700 and NVIDIA's NV30 are aimed at, but once you also realize that those products will ship to less than 5% of the desktop market then it's clear that it wouldn't be in Trident's best interests to even begin to compete there. Trident is still a very large volume manufacturer so any endeavor they undertake would be one where they can deal with large quantities, mainly the sub-$100 graphics market.

If you sliced the desktop graphics market into 4 different sectors ( < $100, $100 - $200, $200 - $300, > $300) you'd realize that the largest volumes would be in the sub-$100 range, and that's exactly what Trident is targeting with their XP4.

The XP4 is Trident's first desktop DirectX 8.1 GPU that is supposed to offer 80% of the performance of a GeForce4 Ti 4600 at $99. We know, talk is cheap, but let's see if Trident is on to something even reasonably viable with this little chip.

A GeForce4 with 30M Transistors?

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