You might think we're starting this review off on the wrong foot; let me reassure you that the title was not our idea. Powercolor, the manufacturer, thought it best to give this video card a dastardly and ominous sounding name. Evil Kyro - it just fills you with all kinds of dark and powerful 3D thoughts, doesn't it?
So what is the Kyro? In case you missed our preview a few months back, the Kyro is a new video card based on a little something called PowerVR technology. PowerVR, if you remember the name, was released back when 3dfx's original Voodoo Graphics chipset was in its heyday. In addition, those of you with Sega Dreamcast consoles are using PowerVR technology in your living room, namely the PVR 2DC chip.
The Kyro front
Now we have the Kyro, the latest creation from the minds at ST Microelectronics and Imagine Technologies. Unlike the last few forays in the realm of 3D graphics, this new chip is designed to be a cost-effective product. With the prices of high-end and low-end video cards dropping rapidly, one can only hope that the Kyro still has any room to be low-cost without sacrificing too much performance. Before we get into the numbers however, let's see what this card is all about.
The Kyro back
Tuberculosis? Not quite, TBR stands for Tile-Based Rendering. Conventional 3D cards, meaning just about everything else to date, process everything that is to be shown on your monitor. Maybe a quick run through of what normal rendering processes do will help at this time, before we delve a little into the world of the Kyro.
The average video card has a rather simple, if we can call it that, method for storing, displaying and rendering images. In any give scene, everything is rendered, textured, and modified before it is drawn to the screen. Anyways, somewhere along the way a little something called the z-buffer comes into play. The z-buffer is used to determine what parts of the scene are visible from a given standpoint. If you are familiar with the X, Y and Z-axes of the 3-D coordinate plane, Z normally stands for depth. Each pixel is assigned a Z value that is used before final production of the image.