Microsoft Licenses Breakthrough 3D Graphics Technology from NVIDIA

NVIDIA's Volume Texture Compression Formats for Microsoft's® DirectX® Enables Rich Graphics for Internet and Games

For Further Information Contact:  
Derek Perez
Public Relations Manager
NVIDIA Corporation
Tel: (408) 615-2630
E-mail: dperez@nvidia.com

For Immediate Release

SANTA CLARA, CA — March 23, 2000 — In a move that will help bring stunning 3D graphics to internet users, NVIDIA™ Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA) and Microsoft® Corp. today announced the adoption of NVIDIA's technology for Volume Texture Compression Format (VTC) for Microsoft DirectX APIs. Today's 3D internet sites are plagued with inadequate image quality due to bandwidth constraints of transmitting high-resolution textures over standard communications systems. Even for high-performance PCs, the limited amount of texture storage forces game developers to use lower-resolution textures, resulting in imagery that lacks detail. Scheduled for release in 2000, NVIDIA's VTC format enables a superior level of image quality that allows web and content developers to produce 3D objects that depict their natural characteristics.
"NVIDIA has clearly demonstrated they are the technology leader for the 3D industry," said Tony Barkans, program manager for DirectDraw at Microsoft. "By incorporating NVIDIA's technology into DirectX applications, developers are empowered with the tools to develop and deploy more complex and visually compelling 3D applications."

Limited texture storage has historically been a problem for game application developers, forcing compromises in image quality and performance. The texture-storage problem is exacerbated by volume textures, which are truly 3D data, unlike traditional 2D textures. Volume textures are so much larger than 2D textures that the texture compression format becomes extremely important. NVIDIA's volume texture compression format organizes 3D volume-texture data to take advantage of the 3D nature of the data, which increases the effective texture bandwidth by an enormous factor. NVIDIA has developed a proprietary method to reorder the 3D data within a volumetric image cube to account for the linear accessing required for the optimal use of the memory system of a typical computer system.

"By incorporating NVIDIA's volume texture compression technology into DirectX, developers will be able to unleash a new level of realism," said David Kirk, chief scientist at NVIDIA. "3D textures are enormous in size, therefore a high quality volume texture compression format is needed in order to make 3D texture data manageable and usable for high-performance rendering. NVIDIA's 3D volume texture compression technology enables developers to incorporate cinematic realism in interactive 3D applications."

DirectX is a group of API technologies designed by Microsoft to make Windows® operating system-based computers an ideal platform for running and displaying applications rich in multimedia elements such as full-color graphics, video, 3D animation and surround sound. By bringing a common set of multimedia APIs to developers, consumers' benefit from seamless compatibility across devices including devices such as joysticks and sound cards with applications such as games. DirectX helps ensure that similar features provided by a number of different hardware companies are presented consistently to the application developer.

NVIDIA Products
The first 3D graphics semiconductor company to deliver a complete top-to-bottom family of 3D solutions, NVIDIA gives developers the advantage of one unified driver and one architecture across all implementations. The proven graphics architecture and massive gate counts translate into stunningly realistic, high-performance results. NVIDIA single-chip processors enable high-frame-rate 3D graphics, benchmark-winning 2D graphics, and VGA and video acceleration for unequaled visual realism and real-time interactivity. Optimized for both Direct3D™ and OpenGL® APIs, the NVIDIA products currently include:

NVIDIA GeForce 256™ for the PC enthusiast market. The world's first graphics processing unit, GeForce 256 delivers an order-of-magnitude increase in geometry processing power and enables unmatched access to interactive content.
NVIDIA Quadro™ for professional workstations, digital content creation, and MCAD markets. The Quadro processor integrates the revolutionary QuadEngine™ architecture for optimized transform and lighting functions.
NVIDIA TNT2™ Pro for the performance PC market. The TNT2 and TNT2 Pro feature NVIDIA's award-winning, fourth-generation, 128-bit 3D architecture that has garnered more than 400 industry awards.
NVIDIA Vanta™, Vanta LT and TNT2 M64™ for the mainstream and value PC markets. Also based on the award-winning RIVA TNT2 architecture, these processors offer low-cost, highly integrated choices for entry-level add-in card and motherboard applications.
NVIDIA Aladdin TNT2™ for the sub-$1000 PC market. The first truly integrated, graphics chipset, Aladdin TNT2 redefines the possibilities for the lowest-cost platforms.

The computing industry recognizes NVIDIA as the global leader in advanced graphics processing technology for mainstream platforms, awarding the company the most awards in the history of the PC industry. The unmatched breadth of the NVIDIA product family enables gripping multimedia experiences for the entire desktop computer market from workstations to internet-enabled appliances. In use by large corporations, small- to medium-sized businesses, and home-based consumers, NVIDIA products are the solutions of choice for the top PC OEMs, add-in card designers, and system builders worldwide. NVIDIA graphics processors deliver superior performance and crisp visual quality for PC based applications such as manufacturing, science, e-business, entertainment, and education. For more information, please visit the Company's web site at http://www.nvidia.com.

Certain statements in this press release, including the statements relating to the Company's performance expectations for NVIDIA's family of products and expectations of continued revenue growth, are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause results to be materially different than expectations. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, manufacturing and other delays relating to new products, difficulties in the fabrication process and dependence of the Company on third-party manufacturers, general industry trends including cyclical trends in the PC and semiconductor industries, the impact of competitive products and pricing alternatives, market acceptance of the Company's new products, and the Company's dependence on third-party developers and publishers. Investors are advised to read the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, particularly those sections entitled "Factors Affecting Operating Results," for a fuller discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties.
Notes to Editors: The recommended way of writing GeForce 256 is with an uppercase G and F, all other letters lowercase with a space between GeForce and 256. The recommended way of writing Vanta is in title case. Please note that the recommended way of writing NVIDIA, RIVA 128, RIVA 128ZX, RIVA TNT and RIVA TNT2 is all CAPITALS. 
NVIDIA, the NVIDIA logo, RIVA TNT, RIVA TNT2, NVIDIA Vanta, Quadro and GeForce are trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation. Other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.