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Chapter 7. 3-D Tools > 3-D Hardware

3-D Hardware

Special 3-D graphics hardware is not a requirement for creating 3-D animation, but it certainly is nice to have! The 3-D APIs—OpenGL for Windows NT, DirectDraw for Windows 95, and Quick-Draw 3D for the Macintosh—all benefit from hardware that speeds the rendering of 3-D polygons. 3-D chips are being added to the motherboards of some recent computers, but more commonly, these chips are included with graphic acceler ator cards.

At the high end, special hardware cards cost more than $2,000. They are fantastic for viewing and interacting with VRML worlds, because they make accurate rendering of very complex texture-mapped worlds nearly instantaneous. At the low end, virtually every graphics accelerator card made today (such as those made by Diamond, ATI, and Matrox) has 3-D acceleration hardware on board.


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