On March 11, 2002 Creative surprised a number of people with the announcement that they were purchasing 3Dlabs, thus entering the 3D chipset market not solely as a board vendor of other's chipsets, as under the terms of the deal 3Dlabs would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Creative Technology.

Given what has transpired in the 3D market over the past few years this may seem like an odd proposition from Creative, if they were looking to enter the consumer market then why not pick 3dfx up on the cheap two years ago? Alternatively if they were looking to enter the workstation market then why not strike a deal with nVIDIA for their Quadro products now that ELSA is floundering? Why introduce an increased risk to Creative's business by adopting a vertical business model for 3D where so many others have failed, and ATi are quickly stepping away from? 3Dlabs must have had something pretty persuasive...

To help clear up some of these question of exactly what is in store for us in the coming months from this new partnership here's are short interview with 3Dlabs.

Can you tell us how this deal first came about from the 3Dlabs side? Previously there was no indication that 3Dlabs were 'up for grabs' as it were.

3Dlabs and Creative have had a long-standing relationship. As 3Dlabs began looking for a board partner for its next-generation graphics technology, Creative and 3Dlabs began the discussions. There are many synergies between the companies and this deal enables 3Dlabs to grow in its current workstation market as well as enter into the consumer desktop market. 3Dlabs will be able to leverage Creative's distribution channel and its financial and manufacturing resources to bring products to market more efficiently and at better prices.

What's the mood of the acquisition? Are 3Dlabs employee's happy under the terms of this deal? Do you feel this secures 3Dlabs future on a long term basis now?

3Dlabs employees are taking the announcement in stride and we are looking forward to what the future holds for 3Dlabs. Certainly there is comfort in the fact that we will have access to the resources Creative has to offer.

From the details of the conference call it seems that Creative is very interested in 3Dlabs upcoming chip, will you be aiming this at consumer based products as well as workstation?

Yes, we will.

There is talk that this next 3Dlabs chip is a 76Million transistor device - can you as yet give us any information on this chip? Will it feature support for current 3Dlabs technologies such as 'Superscene Anti-Aliaisng'?

We are not announcing technical specifications at this time. Stay tuned.

Your focus has previously been on the high-end workstation market, will this new technology be viable for consumer PC 3D as well? If so is it scalable, i.e. consumer devices may only feature one chip while workstation devices may feature multiple chips?

Stay tuned.

The new architecture has been quoted at having 170 GLOP?s of processing ability, can you elaborate at all on how this breaks down? What proportion is coming from Vertex processing and what proportion Pixel processing?

Stay tuned.

It has been quoted that this new chip will have one of the highest quality outputs available, can we read into this that John Carmack?s call for 64bit colour, or even floating point, may be met with this chip?

Stay tuned.

Given that you intend to enter the consumer 3D market with these new products you foresee any issues with maintaining 3Dlabs focus on both the workstation and consumer markets?

Absolutely not. 3Dlabs will remain a wholly-owned subsidiary. We will leverage the strengths of Creative to help us grow overall.

Do you feel that you will be able to maintain a pace of development similar to that of other companies within the marketplace?

That remains to be seen, however, we have a good track record so far. Particularly with the high-end Wildcat products.

 3Dlabs Wildcat 6210