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[May 1997] Samsung Acquires Semiconductor Division of 3DO

Posted: Fri May 08, 2015 12:09 am
by parallaxscroll
Found this old press release on Samsung's website: ... ews_seq=74
Samsung Electronics Acquires Semiconductor Division of 3DO
Seoul, Korea on May. 2. 1997

- A new company is established in the United States to bolster the non-memory business of Samsung Electronics.
- Next-generation multimedia processor to be developed for DVDs.
- Groundwork laid for major advance into non-memory sector.

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. signed a contract on April 29 to purchase the Hardware Division of 3DO Company, a US concern that is world famous for games, and which possesses some of the best graphics technology in the business. At the same time, Samsung Electronics announced an agreement to establish a new company called Advanced Graphics Technology (AGT).

With this acquisition, Samsung gains patents and technology for 3DO's MPEG II, which features outstanding picture quality, as well as MX, with Dolby Pro-logic AC-3 functions. Samsung Electronics plans to fuse this technology with its own digital video disk (DVD) system know-how to develop a DVD processor for next-generation video systems and computer support devices.

The technology and engineers from 3DO will be joined with multimedia signal processor R&D people from the company's local subsidiary Samsung Semiconductor Incorporated to establish AGT in California's Silicon Valley. The new company, will be independently operated by locally-hired management, and plans call for it to go public within three years of its establishment. Samsung Electronics is scheduled to supply AGT with wafers.

AGT will begin with an invested capital of $25 million, and its first task will be to develop the new DVD processor. Samsung Electronics will have the intellectual rights to the DVD processor, while AGT will be licensed for the same technology so that it can develop different applied products.

The contract between Samsung Electronics and 3DO has been under negotiation since the end of last year. The two parties came to a mutually-beneficial agreement. Samsung Electronics has needed core software functions and systems for developing multimedia chips, while 3DO has wanted to focus its business on developing (software) titles for (electronic) games.

Samsung Electronics` System LSI Division was restructured early this year to strengthen Samsung Electronics` non-memory business lines, and the new management approach is behind this latest acquisition with much support. The new company, combined with the CPU |(Alpha chip) developed by Samsung Electronics last October, is seen as opening a new chapter in the creation of system-on-chip devices.

Samsung Electronics has also secured the core technology and local personnel, who are well experienced in independent development projects to develop multimedia signal processors.

"as well as MX"

No that's not a typo meant to read "M2", as Matsushita / Panasonic still owned M2. The MX was the follow-on hardware that 3DO was developing and Samsung acquired it and the hardware division of 3DO. Within Samsung, the new group became 'CagEnt' and eventually, CagEnt and the MX technology was bought by Microsoft in 1998.

Re: [May 1997] Samsung Acquires Semiconductor Division of 3D

Posted: Tue May 26, 2015 7:32 pm
by Martin III
Interesting... You learn something new every day.

Re: [May 1997] Samsung Acquires Semiconductor Division of 3D

Posted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 10:55 am
by parallaxscroll
3DO was apparently working on perhaps 2 generations of console / graphics chipsets beyond the M2.


"M3" would have likely been the MX, a souped up 64-bit architecture, basically M2 on steroids, possibly with on-chip VRAM (for speed & bandwidth) according to two other magazines (Intelligent Gamer Fusion and EGM).

EGM gossip column on 3DO MX:
The new hardware picture wouldn't be complete without including 3DO, so we'll now shift gears over to the MX. Like the M2 before it, 3DO claim the MX will be its generation's top gun. Our Q-spies report that the M2's successor is already past the design document state and is actually living breathing hardware. At the moment, the MX chipset is physically huge (it can barely fit on a good-sized table) but once 3DO gets all the bugs out, they'll work on reducing the size (common practuce in the hardware biz). By all accounts, the MX is a screamer, with close to 5 million polygons boogying around the screen at once. Not only can the MX produce N64/M2-type graphic effects like Trilinear Mip Mapping and Edge Antialiasing, but it can handle such esoteric realtime graphic functions like Anisotropic filtering, Phong-Lighting and Surface Antialiasing. The secret to the MX's ultra-high performance lies in its radical hardware architecture. Unlike all others before it, the MX's RAM is incorporated into the same chip as the CPU and graphic processor. Set up in this manner, game information can now run at the same clock speed as the CPU (a 110 MHz Power PC 604) or the graphic processor (which is basically a 128-bit ASIC). The MX is less than a year away from completion, but 3DO has already shown the technology to a large Japanese software company who has shown interest in developing for the machine and perhaps even buying the hardware rights outright. The mystery software company is led by a certain Mr. Hironobu Sakaguchi, but you didn't hear it from me.
Intelligent Gamer's Fusion magazine on MX and beyond.
One is an enhanced M2 codenamed MX and is described as 'M2 on steroids'. BTW it is mentioned that the M is really most likely a common moniker used for version 2 type projects meaning it stands for mark, thus 'Mark 2'. And in MX the X is obviously a variable. MX so far 'offers twice the performance of the M2 chipset...currently intended for PC and arcade use...'. Finally the totally newer chipset is codenamed S42 - S being just another letter like M and 42 being the one calculated as the meaning of life by the computer Deep Thought in the Hithchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. S42 being post 64bit era forecasting that probably is the equivalent of the M2 when the Opera was being made.
As for MX (see IG's Fusion issue 10), the current concept being tossed around is the idea of actually including the video RAM frame buffer within the actual MX chipset rather than externally -- as transferring data from separate RAM chips to the math processors is one of the most vital time delays in any computer or game console, having the RAM bundled with the fast MX chipset would mean incredible speedups in processing. Developers claim that such an MX chipset could deliver -- believe it or not -- 15-20 million polygon per second performance.

The drawback? The failure rate of such combined chips could be prohibitively high -- between the RAM and the high-intensity math processor, the chips could fail in production at a rate of 20% or greater depending on how much RAM was included on a chip. Additionally, the heat generated by such a configuration would mandate special cooling measures. Regardless, the premise is food for thought and some additional RAM may well wind up in the final MX design.
Pure speculation but "S42" (was that name totally made up?) which I'll just assume would be "M4" may have been something planned, at least on paper, to compete with consoles of the post 64-bit generation, meaning the PlayStation 2 generation (including Dreamcast, GameCube and XBox) But at the time (1996+) that was still a long way down the road.

Geez, imagine if 3DO and Matsushita / Panasonic had been successful, not just with M2, but with follow-on generations. How much better than PS4 would a current 3DO designed machine be? Think of the difference between PS1 and realtime stuff we saw running on M2.

Re: [May 1997] Samsung Acquires Semiconductor Division of 3D

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:30 am
by parallaxscroll
Here is the 3DO MX info from EGM Quartermann column from Feb. 1997