JanKees schrijft: "FullOn3D heeft een geheime informant die altijd betrouwbare info levert. De nu inmiddels beruchte T&L van S3 schijnt inderdaad niet te werken in de hardware. Een eerder gemaakte opmerking dat T&L wel in software kan, vind ik erg grappig . Dat kon mijn Virge namelijk ook al! Anyway, hier is de Soap :"
About S3 and the Savage 2000. I got good info on this, not only is T&L not supported in the Viper II, there is actually T&L on the silicon but it is horribly broke. The rendering portion does ok, but they can't get the T&L portion to work correctly. They tried to push this one too hard and now they have a defective part until Q1 2000. By then they are hoping to re-tape the chip and get T&L to work properly. [break] "PS: ik heb op mijn site nog een informatieve link over 'tape out'": [/break] Short answer: It's a design milestone indicating the design is basically done and that it is time to start the manufacturing process.
Long answer: (and a bit technical)
First a little backround: IC's are generally made by an optical process in which a pattern of rectangles are transfered to a wafer (disc of silicon) This pattern is then used to control where the dopants (chemicals diffused into the silicon) will go or where the metal (interconections) will go. The pattern of rectangles are stored as a "photograph" on a glass plate called a mask.
After a chip is designed and layed-out (converted into a set of rectangles on multiple layers - each layer for a different process step), these rectangles must be sent to a place which will produce the glass masks for use in fabrication. Since there are up to 100's of rectangles per gate and chips usually have thousands to millions of gates, this is a rather large database, which in the past, was usually sent to the mask fafrication house on a series of 9-track computer tapes (the ones you usually see spinning in bad sci-fi movies when they want to indicate a big computer.) Thus the name - indicating that the tapes have gone out the door.
After Tape-Out, The design is commited and any bugs left in at this time must either be worked-around by software (this is usually the cause of "poor drivers") or fixed in a latter turn of the chip (with another tape-out).
Each Tape-Out can be rather expensive as the masks generally cost about $10,000 each and you need from 8 to 13 masks per chip, depending on the foundry and the process you are using.