3DLABS Semiconductor is a fabless semiconductor company that develops the DMS range of fully programmable media-rich application processors targeted at the handheld and embedded markets.
3Dlabs was formed from a management buy-out of Dupont Pixel Systems in the UK in April 1994 and went public on Nasdaq in October 1996. 3Dlabs acquired Dynamic Pictures in July 1998 and the Intense3D division of Intergraph in July 2000 before being acquired by Creative Labs in June 2002. In February 2006, 3Dlabs announced that it would stop developing professional 3D graphic chips and focus on embedded and mobile media processors.
3Dlabs was an early pioneer in bringing 3D graphics to the PC. Its GLINT 300SX graphics processor was the industry's first single chip, 3D-capable graphics device that was shipped on graphics boards from multiple vendors. Gamma was the first single chip graphics geometry processor for the PC. Permedia was the first low-cost OpenGL accelerator chip. 3Dlabs was a member of the OpenGL Architecture Review Board and played an important role in the development of OpenGL 2.0 and ongoing evolution of the OpenGL API.
The DMS processors are developed out of the original UK R&D center with most of the workstation graphics teams that came from Intense3D and Dynamic Pictures having been hired by Intel and NVIDIA Some rumors claim the team at Intel will be responsible for a project to create a discrete graphics chip to compete against nVIDIA and their main rival AMD, whom has acquired ATi.
In November 2006, 3Dlabs announced its plans to spin out from Creative Labs and introduce a media processor capable of 720P HD Video for portable devices. This is the DMS-02, the first in the DMS range of products.
The DMS processors are based on a low-power multicore architecture including dual ARM cores for handling traditional CPU tasks plus a closely coupled, fully programmable SIMD array processor to do the heavy lifting for intensive media processing tasks such as; 2D graphics, 3D graphics, video decode/encode, image processing and floating point (32-bit IEEE). The DMS processor includes on-chip peripherals and interfaces suitable for a broad range of handheld and embedded devices, including: 32/64-bit MDDR, NAND, NOR, IDE, USB, video input/output, LCD displays, GPIO, UART, SPI, I²C, and I²S.
Software development tools for the processor include a media framework supporting H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Xvid, DivX, MP3, AAC, WMA, WMV, G.726, JPEG, MJPEG and high level libraries such as a GUI toolkit, OpenGL ES, DirectFB/GTK+, Imaging and Floating Point compute.