After finding itself lumbered with $5m worth of excess Apple Macintosh-based inventory last quarter, which it was expecting to write off as a charge (CI No 2,947), Lexington, Massachusetts-based graphics chip and board manufacturer Number Nine Visual Technology Corp has all but moved out of the Macintosh market. According to the Phil Parker, director of corporate communications, the problems stemmed from an inexperienced buyer responsible for procuring Macintosh-based memory at $22 per unit, just before the price crashed and just as Apple hit problems. The company has since been able to sell the memory on to RasterOps Inc, whose recently released Opticolor 128 PCI Bus graphics accelerator for the Power Mac was based on Number Nine’s Imagine 128 board. Number Nine has just launched the PCI-based 9FX Reality 772 2D, 3D and video graphics accelerator for the personal computer, based on S3 Inc’s ViRGE chip (CI No 2,823), but has no plans for S3-based products for the Mac, according to Parker. Instead, the 772 supports Microsoft’s DirectX graphics application programming interface and ships with drivers for Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and NT. It’s aimed at the home and small office market and comes in 2Mb and 4Mb modules, bundled as standard, with three 3D games titles, a 3D web Browser and Netscape Navigator. For higher performance, Number Nine now offers an upgraded version of its Imagine 128 Series 2128-bit graphics chip, called the 2e. Intended to bring workstation-class 3D capabilities to the PC, the 2e comes with 4Mb of memory and supports OpenGL graphics on Windows95, NT, OS/2 and Unix. It is available now, priced from $349. The company has just posted a profitable third quarter, though losses for the nine months to date stand at $9m.
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