AOpen's PA70 Review
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AOpen's Navigator PA70
Updated November 11, 1998

Texture maps, the bit map images that are applied to 3D objects are used to add realistic surface detail without adding to the complexity of the geometry in a 3D scene. Textures can be anything from granite, wood grain or marble patterns to complex pictures of buildings, trees, or water. To give a more life-like appearance to the image generated to your screen, programmers and designers need to use a large number of detailed textures. This places a great demand on system or graphics memory and bandwidth - depending on where the textures are stored, in turn forcing developers to use fewer and less detailed textures in order to create an equilibrium between graphics memory storage and bandwidth and graphic detail.
The introduction of AGP has made possible the accessing of textures directly from system memory increasing overall available storage. But, because AGP is also used for passing geometry data, and system memory is used to store and run the operating system and applications, it is still necessary to make the most efficient use of the available bandwidth in a graphics subsystem in order to optimize AGP texturing.

With this in mind, developers at S3 Inc., who pioneered graphics acceleration with the world's first single-chip graphics accelerator, have created the Savage3D accelerator. A newly designed multimedia solution focused on setting a new standard for 2D, 3D and DVD/video acceleration. The 128-bit Savage3D accelerator achieves an unprecedented 125 M-pixels per second through its single cycle trilinear architecture; and delivers more than 4x AGP performance through its newly designed AGP engine and S3TC texture compression technology.

AOpen, the component manufacturing division of the Acer Group, with it's years of expertise in PC add-in card design, has incorporated this new Savage3D/GX3 engine into it's newest graphics accelerator - The Navigator PA70.
The PA70 has 8MB high-speed 100MHz SDRAM on board, and displays 32-bit true color that extends resolutions up to 1600x1200 - with a maximum 160Hz refresh rate on 32-bit true color, 640x480 resolution. The drivers support Window 95/98, Windows NT, DirectDraw, Direct3D, DirectX6, OpenGL. Also included in the AOpen PA70 is a VMI bus connector used to connect to a hardware MPEG2 daughter card to enable playback of DVD titles.

Features & Specifications

Key Features of the Navigator PA70 include:

The Savage3D/GX3 graphics accelerator features:

Display Mode



Max Refresh Rate

640 X 480



800 X 600



1024 X 768



1280 X 1024



1600 X 1200



Optimized for the Pentium II platform, AOpen’s PA70 is purportedly compatible with a variety of motherboard chipsets including Intel LX, BX, EX; VIA MVP3; SiS 5591/5595 and Ali Aladdin V. AOpen’s PA70 also has a programmable onboard 1Mb of Flash ROM that allows users to upgrade the video BIOS.



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