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A History of 3D Cards From Voodoo To GeForce

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the long-and-winding-road dept.

Graphics 320

Ant sends us to Maximum PC for an account of the history and current state of 3D video cards (single print page). "Try to imagine where 3D gaming would be today if not for the graphics processing unit, or GPU. Without it, you wouldn't be [trudging] through the jungles of Crysis in all its visual splendor, nor would you be fending off endless hordes of fast-moving zombies at high resolutions. For that to happen, it takes a highly specialized chip designed for parallel processing to pull off the kinds of games you see today... Going forward, GPU makers will try to extend the reliance on videocards to also include physics processing, video encoding/decoding, and other tasks that [were] once handled by the CPU. It's pretty amazing when you think about how far graphics technology has come. To help you do that, we're going to take a look back at every major GPU release since the infancy of 3D graphics. Join us as we travel back in time and relive releases like 3dfx's Voodoo3 and S3's ViRGE lineup. This is one nostalgic ride you don't want to miss!"

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320 comments

Thanks (2, Interesting)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015697)

Personally, I found the article quite nice - it was a nice trip.

Re:Thanks (3, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016281)

Yeah. I started to get misty eyed seeing all the S3 and Matrox cards.

I used to work in a computer shop back in the late 90's and for home users who didn't 3d games, we'd always suggest the S3 cards over ATI simply because of stability issues with Win95 and 98.

I mean back then no one really needed the 3d part except gamers which were kind of rare.

Now 3d is integrated with the desktop. How times have changed.

Re:Thanks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28016293)

The last time I felt like I had a nice trip, I went up to a bunch of thug-wannabe gangsta porch monkies and shouted NIGGER!!!!! at them. I don't recommend doing that. In fact, don't ever do that for any reason.

Re:Thanks (3, Informative)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016773)

Personally, I found the article quite nice - it was a nice trip.

Me too, but it also made me realize that I've spent way too much money on video cards over the years. My first 3D card was a Monster Voodoo 1 w/ 4 MB of RAM, which I returned when I found a 6 MB Voodoo 1 from Canopus for the same price. It paired nicely, at the time, with a 4 MB Matrox Millennium.

I was kind of surprised that they missed quite a few cards though. There was a company nameded Obsidian (or maybe that was the name of their cards) that made $1000+ cards with up to at least 4 (I think they had a 8 GPU board) Voodoo 1 chips at the time.

Since they also mentioned some other flops, I thought they'd have mentioned the Matrox Mystique and some of the other cards that were more CPU dependent.

Re:Thanks (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016953)

I agree. At one point or another I owned a S3 Virge, Verite 1000, Matrox G200, and an original Voodoo.

I can distinctly remember playing GLQuake for the first time on the Voodoo card. I was completely amazed at the speed it ran the given resolution. Very few times have I personally witnessed such a big leap forward in a technology. It was similar in going from analog TV to 1080p HD where you just mumbled incoherently thinking 'WOW!'

I bought a whole box of them... (4, Funny)

DarkProphet (114727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015709)

at best buy a couple weeks ago... too bad the box was supposed to contain a Nvidia 260... s3, 3dfx, all kinds of old ass graphics boards in the box.. but no 260...

4 Voodoo2s (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015845)

I think I have four Voodoo2 cards. One is my original, and the other three I bought for about $30 when I was in high school. I installed them on the yearbook computers I managed so that the staff could play Half-Life when we had nothing else to do.

Honestly (2, Interesting)

queenb**ch (446380) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015933)

I remember when we were big time because we had color. No movement... just more colors than amber or green. Whooo Hoooo! We were the shizzle!!! Especially with our 9600 baud modems!

Then we got movement too, not just pretty words on the BBS, because, yeah, that was before the "real" internet happened.

7th Guest (2, Funny)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015759)

Had beautiful graphics and ran on a 386sx with a 128 MB VGA card and a 2D GPU.

So I call Bullshit- the only reason a high powered GPU is necessary is because game programmers have become LAZY.

Re:7th Guest (4, Insightful)

Thornburg (264444) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015953)

Had beautiful graphics and ran on a 386sx with a 128 MB VGA card and a 2D GPU.

So I call Bullshit- the only reason a high powered GPU is necessary is because game programmers have become LAZY.

I call bullshit. 128MB "VGA" cards never existed. The only reason for a card to have more than a few MB of RAM (back in the day) was 3D graphics (i.e. textures). Even today, 16MB of VRAM should be enough for 32bit color depth at 2560x1600. In the days of the 386sx, having 4MB of VRAM was quite a lot. Heck, having 4MB of system RAM wasn't too bad, in those days.

Re:7th Guest (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016103)

You're right. I'm so used to today's supercomputers that I forgot that standard VGA was 128K, not 128MB.

Re:7th Guest (2, Insightful)

machine321 (458769) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016381)

Get off my lawn. Back in the days of the 386sx, the only reason for more video RAM was so you could get more color depth at a certain resolution (which is X * Y * D bits). There was no 3D, there were no textures.

You forgot refresh rate (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28017031)

True indeed. Ahhh, the memories - getting a new screen & popping a hernia to lift it onto the desk, then having to buy a new card to be able to experience the highest resolution.

Then - discovering - after getting updated drivers via the (snail) mail - that your card could not support a decent refresh rate at the highest resolution...

Then...finding out that your PC could not actually keep up with the data that certain apps wanted to write.

Then, oh the joy of AMD 486 overclocked Intel clones that drove the VGA straight of the CPU pins - what was that called again? - just a few excotic video cards, but that worked really well - combined performance better than Intel's 486DX2/66....oh dear, time for me to lie down...

Re:7th Guest (1)

UncleFluffy (164860) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016059)

7th guest was pre-rendered.

Re:7th Guest (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016123)

True. A part of what I meant.

Re:7th Guest (1)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016419)

Then your point is moot. We're talking about realtime graphics right now.

Re:7th Guest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28016505)

So programmers should pre-render every possible frame the user could possibly want to show? That's simply impossible.

Re:7th Guest (3, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016149)

Lol. I think the mods missed your humor, but yeah, before Quake... The games technically "looked" better because they were pre-rendered cut scenes.

Remember:

Under a Killing Moon
Phantasmagoria
7th Guest
Myst

I could go on but before Quake there were a lot of games that ran on a 386/486 (actually I don't know if Killing Moon ran on a 386) and looked good because they were pre-rendered.

The real reason for the advent of the 3d card was to allow user interaction with the game world. I mean it looked like you were interacting with those games but it was just all pre-rendered.

Re:7th Guest (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016187)

Had beautiful graphics and ran on a 386sx with a 128 MB VGA card and a 2D GPU.

As beautiful as any prerendered game back in the day.

Re:7th Guest (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016351)

Yep, the programmer took the time to pre-render the graphics. Exactly my point (well, a large part of it).

Re:7th Guest (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016643)

You're confusing full motion video with real-time 3D.

Re:7th Guest (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28017015)

"So I call Bullshit- the only reason a high powered GPU is necessary is because game programmers have become LAZY."

The 7th guest was pre scripted and pre-rendered, you didn't have *any* freedom the 7th guest was entirely on rails not a fair comparison at all.

Visual Splendor? (5, Funny)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015771)

Without it, you wouldn't be [trudging] through the jungles of Crysis in all its visual splendor

Hmmm...is anybody able to play Crysis in all its visual splendor?

Re:Visual Splendor? (1)

Cornflake917 (515940) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016109)

Yes. It's been awhile since the game has come out. Very few graphics cards could handle it when it was released, but many of the current generation cards can handle it just fine.

Re:Visual Splendor? (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016163)

yeah, I think what they meant to say was:

Without it, you wouldn't be [chugging] through the jungles of Crysis in all its visual splendor

Re:Visual Splendor? (3, Funny)

laiquendi (688177) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016943)

Yeah, but if I try to run my microwave at the same time it trips the breaker.

Fuck NVIDIA! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015775)

Fuck NVIDIA's proprietary and undocumented hardware!

Ugh, s3 Virge... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015781)

The 'MeTaL' acceleration was bullshit. On UT99 I think the software renderer looked about the exact same as the MeTaL. When I popped in a 12 meg Voodoo2, I promptly tore the S3 board apart and threw it away, and popped in a Matrox Millenium MGA card for 2D stuff.

Re:Ugh, s3 Virge... (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015863)

I disagree with this.

Sure, Virge "Accelerated" games ran slower than software rendering :)

But boy, they were pretty. Virge had 24 bit rendering and decent filterings, so going to a voodoo was quite a step back in image quality (for example in Descent). But things you do to get 5 times the framerate...

Re:Ugh, s3 Virge... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016063)

The S3 Virge GX ran faster than software rendering unless you had a top of the line Intel CPU, if you were running Cyrix or AMD with their weaker FPU's then the GX won out. I ultimately bought a Voodoo monster and then a Voodoo 3 3000 but that was because they were all but a requirement for Diablo 2 due to the fact that GLIDE was way faster AND better looking. Today I use a Glide->D3D wrapper to play and get better framerate then even a Voodoo 5 could have achieved =)

Re:Ugh, s3 Virge... (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016401)

I had the very very first version of the Virge (which wasnt even able to use all of its 4MByte outside of 3d...)

Back then i think i had an Pentium 133.

Of course this wasnt a fair comparison. Descent, for example, ran on the CPU in 320x200 in 256 colours, while the Virge version was running in 640x480, 32bit.

But this was WAY before resolution played a part in performance considerations (as _everything_ was running at 320)...

Re:Ugh, s3 Virge... (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016805)

Which wrapper are you using? psVoodoo [sourceforge.net] , or some other one?

I searched out a few dozen, but most of them haven't been updated in ages, or only work with specific programs.

Re:Ugh, s3 Virge... (3, Informative)

UncleFluffy (164860) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016113)

The 'MeTaL' acceleration was bullshit.

Given that "MeTaL" was for Savage3D, not Virge, it's not surprising that it didn't do very much for you.

Re:Ugh, s3 Virge... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016701)

S3 Virge, not regular Virge. There was a difference. S3 Virge used MeTaL. Regular Virge/VX/DX/Trio3D did not use metal. S3Virge cards did.

Re:Ugh, s3 Virge... (5, Informative)

UncleFluffy (164860) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016787)

S3 Virge, not regular Virge. There was a difference. S3 Virge used MeTaL. Regular Virge/VX/DX/Trio3D did not use metal. S3Virge cards did.

Sorry, I think your memory is somewhat faulty there. MeTaL was definitely Savage series only, I know because I helped write it.

There were some early kick ass 2D graphics cards (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015811)

But the market never accepted them because no matter how thin they made the peripheral slots, the damn things would just fall through the case.

I don't miss it (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015815)

In fact, I've got 3 old 3dfx Voodoo cards I'm willing to part with... cheap! 2 of them complete with TV tuners. Good luck finding Vista drivers for them!

Re:I don't miss it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28015901)

Good luck finding Vista drivers for them!

Not too long ago, you could have said that about just about anything, printers, motherboards, mice, etc.

Re:I don't miss it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28016077)

good luck even finding drivers for XP for these cards!
had a voodoo5 and it was quiet a challenge to make it work with XP back when it came out!

Re:I don't miss it (2, Funny)

Narishma (822073) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016403)

Good luck finding Vista drivers for them!

Some might see that as a feature.

Re:I don't miss it (1)

machine321 (458769) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016425)

Good luck finding OTA TV channels for them, soon.

We've come a long way, baby (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015841)

I used to have an old IBM CGA color monitor that I used on an IBM PC-XT. 8 colors IIRC, including lovely shades of magenta and "brown". I was the envy of everyone on the block. When the first addon graphics cards came out, I got a Hercules card and that absolutely ruled for running Flight Simulator.

These days I'm content to run a year or two behind state of the art. The cards and games (the few I play) are cheaper that way. I think it's pretty much a no-brainer to say that gamers have driven this industry since very early on.

Re:We've come a long way, baby (2, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016493)

Actually CGA was only 4 simultaneous colors [wordpress.com] , from only two color palettes [wikipedia.org] .

P.S.: read the "160x100 16 color mode" part. Interesting stuff.

Re:We've come a long way, baby (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016665)

CGA was only able to display 4 colors (from a palette of 16) in graphics mode. Usually white, black, cyan and magenta, though sometimes programs used the alternate palette which had brown and some other color I don't remember (red or green maybe).

S3 Virge/DX (1)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015847)

I remember that I actually had *one* game that supported my Virge/DX - Descent 2.

It did look a better, but was slow enough to make you want to switch to software rendering immediately.

The name "Diamond Multimedia Stealth 3D 2000 PRO" did sound rather impressive on paper.

The article would have been more impressive with screenshots of the games, though.

Re:S3 Virge/DX (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016363)

It did look a better, but was slow enough to make you want to switch to software rendering immediately.

Never owned a Virge but I remember getting X-wing Alliance to run in OpenGL mode on my ATI 3D Charger. It was the first and only time I ran anything 3D on that card. It's a tad ironic that the first popular 3D card, the Voodoo, sacrificed image quality for speed but since it ran the games with a fluid framerate it looked better anyhow.

The name "Diamond Multimedia Stealth 3D 2000 PRO" did sound rather impressive on paper.

Heh. 3D 2000 Pro. I got this image of the marketing department "we need to convey that the card is more than just 3D, but futuristic and professional too!"

Re:S3 Virge/DX (1)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016611)

That's ViRGE, "Video and Rendering Graphics Engine". I had one, and I recall that on the MS flight-sim of the day, software rendering was actually faster, although only by a couple of percentage points.

Graphics and Stuff (4, Insightful)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015859)

So, don't get me wrong. I love beautiful graphics. I love the immersive environments that they create. The atmosphere of games like Bioshock are great. Even WoW, which arguably has very scaled down graphics, is extremely involved and really pulls you into the game.

HOWEVER...

For as much as I like these graphics, games just do not hold my attention like they used to. I know I'm going to sound like "The Old Guy" with his nostalgic memories, but I spent hours and hours on games where graphics wasn't the primary draw (even for that time period). Heck, I didn't get Legend of Zelda (the original) until well after SuperNES has been out for quite some time. But, I spent so much time on that game, my original Nintendo practically burned itself up.

Basically, the point I'm trying to make is that, while graphics are important to the gaming experience, if a company really spends time on the storyline (Fallout 3, or Bioshock for example), or focuses on the fun factor (Smash Brothers!) games can be just as awesome and fun. It's not just about (or at least should not be just about) the "visual splendor."

Re:Graphics and Stuff (3, Funny)

snarfies (115214) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016091)

Wait, Fallout 3 had a story? I thought it was just pointless wandering and about two hours worth of fetching stuff for your father.

Re:Graphics and Stuff (4, Funny)

revlayle (964221) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016435)

It was a very fetching story

Re:Graphics and Stuff (1)

Captain Centropyge (1245886) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016229)

Shoot, I still play NES, SNES, and N64 from time to time... ahhhh, the nostalgia!

Re:Graphics and Stuff (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016237)

Not only that... I replayed the original Legend of Zelda last year as a download for my Wii. The game is still fun and challenging (even if you use a map).

I am for great graphics, but I have to say most of these games that are supposed to be cutting edge I personally just don't find interesting (or more like I feel that I liked the game when it was call "Quake" :-) I'm getting to be an old fart, I guess... I like a good puzzle game or other strategy game that really takes thought more these days than any big shooter game. (Maybe I should try Portal.. lol)

It would be great for me personally if they did start making cards that helped out with video and, at least for me, improving the computer's ability to view and edit HD video seems a lot more important that trying to get the latest FPS to run. Of course, that's only one point of view out of billions of users.

Re:Graphics and Stuff (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016391)

Same story here. You're just growing up, that's all. Other things have more value to you.

Re:Graphics and Stuff (2, Insightful)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016873)

Perhaps it isn't that gaming has changed. Perhaps it's you.

I went back and played through a lot of old super Nintendo games. What I discovered in the process is that many older games greatly extended their playtime through drudgery. As soon as you have the reload and rewind keys, Contra 3 became a much shorter game. Final Fantasy III (6) was a fantastic on it's own, but the fast forward key really cut-down on a lot of drudgery.

What's changed the most about gaming in the last 15 years? Me.

My willingness to replay the same part of a game over and over as I loose lives, my willingness to devote vast amounts of time to collecting every last trinket, and my patience for boring games.

i740 in a non-Intel motherboard (1)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015879)

Remember when Intel was claiming that you couldn't run an i740 on anything other than an Intel chipset, due to "incompatibilities"? Didn't stop me from using it with a K6, and since Intel did provide documents for that chip, it ran in Linux, too.

Re:i740 in a non-Intel motherboard (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016467)

Given that the i740 was perhaps the earliest card to make aggressive use of system RAM over AGP(which turned out to be a terrible plan, since the PCI version that didn't do that was often faster; but it was a fairly novel one), then comparatively new, it wouldn't surprise me if there was a long list of chipsets that would generate huge delays, lock up, or otherwise fall into a variety of screaming heaps.

The other possibility, of course, was that intel was hoping to push more sales of their own core logic, during the brief period when there was hope that the i740 wouldn't suck.

Hmm, voodoo to geforce... (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015955)

Kind of ironic title when you take into consideration that on black friday, October 15, 2002, 3dfx's assets were purchased by nvidia. The geforceFX was built using a lot of ex-3dfx engineers, so there was a very literal translation from voodoo to 3dfx. PS, I used to LOVE 3dfx cards, still would, but I've been running radeons since the 9700pro beat the living snot out of the entire geforcefx line.

Re:Hmm, voodoo to geforce... (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#28015981)

Bah, me again, fail. s/voodoo to 3dfx/voodoo to geforce/

Re:Hmm, voodoo to geforce... (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016127)

Then you've lived through some really terrible drivers and I'm sure more than your share of BSOD's. ATI might make great hardware but they don't seem to be able to write a decent driver to save their life.

Re:Hmm, voodoo to geforce... (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016249)

Surprisingly, no. I've had very few bsods, probably because I would only upgrade every year or so. If a new game didn't work unless it took a bad set of drivers, i'd wait a few revisions until there was one set that was accepted by the community. In fact, in the 5, count em 5, years I ran my 9700pro, the only, ONLY blue screens of death I'd get was when I plugged in an svideo cable when the computer was on. And that was NEVER fixed, to this day, the system will bsod if you plug the cable in while windows is running. I think that if you upgraded your drives monthly, there would be issues, but I'm not certain that ATI drivers were as bad as the nvidia fans made them seem.

Re:Hmm, voodoo to geforce... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016663)

Meh, I'm not a fan of anyone really all vendors suck, it's just a matter of degrees. For my personal preference I could put up with slightly slower framerate but the BSOD's I experienced and helped troubleshoot that were the result of bad ATI drivers just weren't acceptable to me.

Re:Hmm, voodoo to geforce... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016811)

For my personal preference I could put up with slightly slower framerate but the BSOD's I experienced and helped troubleshoot that were the result of bad ATI drivers just weren't acceptable to me.

Amen to that. ATI drivers are crap on all platforms except OSX, and one suspects that's because Apple helped. A lot. This has ALWAYS been true. I had some intel boards with Mach64 onboard and even THOSE caused me problems.

Re:Hmm, voodoo to geforce... (1)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016841)

I think that the bsods came about because people were just installing and installing and ATI didn't have a good cleanup for driver upgrades. On the systems (i created a server with leftover parts from an upgrade), running the old 9700pro with semi-recent drivers, there were very few, if ever bsods that weren't me created. So my anecdote negates yours, but I realize that i tend to have better luck with hardware because i run my systems leaner (less resident processes) and do research into what I'm installing.

Re:Hmm, voodoo to geforce... (1)

Magreger_V (1441121) | more than 5 years ago | (#28017017)

Absolutely, the ATI Radeon 9700pro was waaay ahead of it's time! I didn't join the ATI bandwagon until the Radeon 9800pro. Needless to say, I have been with ATI ever since.

Why do they call them 3D cards? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016009)

I've yet to see so-called 3D card under $500 that can produce a true holographic display.

tru dat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28016215)

lol wut

Re:Why do they call them 3D cards? (2, Interesting)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016251)

The environments are defined in a full 3d environment.

It's not until the end, when the coordinates are clipped for display on the monitor, that it becomes 2D.

So the term is accurate.

Re:Why do they call them 3D cards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28016339)

They call them 3D cards because they all have a width, height and depth/thickness.

Re:Why do they call them 3D cards? (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016457)

So, what you're saying is... that there is a card that is MORE than $500 that can do that???

Re:Why do they call them 3D cards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28016751)

I guess. Stereoscopic is doable on fairly cheap ones though.

Once more around the wheel of Karma, dear friends! (4, Interesting)

davecb (6526) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016069)

The intro says to include ... other tasks that [were] once handled by the CPU.

In fact, there is a regular cycle of inventing video add-on processors, seeing them spread, then seeing the CPUs catch up and make the older video processor technology obsolete, moving the work back to the CPU. Then, of course, someone invents a new video co-processor (;-))

Foley and Van Dam, in Fundamental of Interactive Computer Graphics called this "the wheel of karma" or the "wheel of reincarnation", and described three generations before 1984.

I suspect the current effort is more directed toward building fast vector processors, rather than short-lived video-only devices. Certainly that's the direction one of the Intel researchers suggested she was headed.

--dave

Re:Once more around the wheel of Karma, dear frien (1)

eyepeepackets (33477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016491)

This article is interesting but is heavily weighted towards the consumer gamer, but interesting developments are happening elsewhere as well.

Perhaps the author will do another article with a different focus? Here's a place to start. It's valuable to remember that approximately ninty percent (90%) of all PCs sold are sold with Intel onboard graphics chips.

http://www.google.com/search?q=intel+3D+graphics+history&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=o0&sa=G&tbs=tl:1&tbo=1&ei=fw0TSru0OY7msgODneX4CQ&oi=timeline_result&ct=title&resnum=11 [google.com]

Re:Once more around the wheel of Karma, dear frien (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28016591)

Soon we will have multi-core GPUs

What a collection (1)

dr_strang (32799) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016183)

I think I have one of each of these in a desk drawer in my house. Everytime I stick my hand in there I get cut.

Sorta (0, Redundant)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016225)

Without it, you wouldn't be [trudging] through the jungles of Crysis in all its visual splendor

I can barely do that even with a GPU. :)

*runs away*

The times are a changin' (1)

hplus (1310833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016235)

My first computer was a 233mhz pentium with a crazy case layout that wouldn't allow a graphics card to be installed. I remember playing Half Life and Quake 1&2 using software rendering at something like 400x320 resolution, and thinking it looked amazing. How times have changed since then, and my first computer is downright modern compared to many others' here.

Re:The times are a changin' (2, Interesting)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016475)

I remember buying a voodoo for my P133. I had a lanparty at the same day (just 10 or so of us guys from school).

I build it in during the lanparty, and the first thing to try was glQuake.
I had run it before a couple of parties back, and people where like "AWESOME how this looks. Too bad there is only a frame every 5 second" (no joke, Gl software wrapper was slow as fuck. But pretty).

Well, it ran on the voodoo, just as nice looking, with 30fps.
Even though we were all kids without income, the majority of people in that room had a 300$ voodoo by the end of the month.

I dont think that i will ever see such a performance revolution again

Memories... (1)

AdamTrace (255409) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016287)

I still remember my first Diamond Monster 3dfx video card. I bought it moments after seeing a demo, because it was just that awesome.

I then remember downloading the 3dfx patches for games like Tomb Raider and Interstate '76 (what a great game that was)...

Good times. We take so much for granted these days.

Re:Memories... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016445)

Running water, modern medicine, etc.?

GeForce FX 5800? (4, Funny)

wondershit (1231886) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016321)

Am I missing a joke or is it an error that the description of the GeForce FX 5800 features the image of a vacuum cleaner [maximumpc.com] ? I mean... not that a vacuum cleaner with 15 million transistors is not impressive...

Re:GeForce FX 5800? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28016393)

you are missing a joke.

Re:GeForce FX 5800? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28016627)

What does a vacuum do? It sucks.

Re:GeForce FX 5800? (5, Insightful)

Chrutil (732561) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016791)

What does a vacuum do? It sucks.

> It's also very noisy.

Re:GeForce FX 5800? (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016829)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYWaUJakMfg [youtube.com] Watch that to understand.

Re:GeForce FX 5800? (1)

wondershit (1231886) | more than 5 years ago | (#28017043)

Oh my. Why didn't I think of that? Thank's for clarifying.

Re:GeForce FX 5800? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28016893)

The FX5800 had a really loud fan and was nicknamed "the dustbuster"

Re:GeForce FX 5800? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28016955)

Am I missing a joke or is it an error that the description of the GeForce FX 5800 features the image of a vacuum cleaner [maximumpc.com] ? I mean... not that a vacuum cleaner with 15 million transistors is not impressive...

It was REALLY loud

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYWaUJakMfg

Matrox Millenium (3, Interesting)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016355)

I remember the days of my trusty Matrox card playing Descent and Duke Nukem. Anything that ran on DOS seemed fast.

For shear enjoyment, Rise of the Triad and all of its 2D-ness still gets my vote for all-time game. Who can forget such classic weapons like the Drunk Missile and the Fire Wall? Just pray you don't cross into a hallway that someone had targeted with the firewall at the wrong time.

Good times.

Missed some early history... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016357)

... There was not a single VLB (VESA Local Bus) accelerator on that list. As I recall, the VLB slot was made for video acceleration, so they rather missed the boat by omitting those cards. Starting at Voodoo (except they started with ViRGE) is not a very comprehensive history of 3d acceleration.

Re:Missed some early history... (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016981)

They also didn't have any ISA cards there. VLB existed for a short time between E/ISA and PCI. The article was about 3d accelerator/accelerated cards. By the time they came along, PCI was king of the hill. There may have been some VLB cards made after that in the same way that AGP held on, but PCI was where it was at and VLB cards would have just been the same chip set on another bus.

VESA cards were solidly 2d cards with 3d effects being software rendered.

I question this article's accuracy (2, Informative)

asdfman2000 (701851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016409)

From the section on the Voodoo2

this time the image quality was improved, particularly at higher resolutions (1024x768) where the Voodoo1 struggled.

Interesting, considering the Voodoo2 had a 800x600 [wikipedia.org] resolution limitation

SLI only (3, Informative)

logicassasin (318009) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016593)

The V2 could only hit 1024x768 in SLI configuration, otherwise, you're right.

1st Card: STB Riva TNT (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016415)

GOD was that thing a damn oven. But damn if the games didn't look (comparatively) sweet on it!

Better article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28016661)

http://www.cracked.com/article_15732_life-after-video-game-crash.html

Ok Ok (4, Insightful)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016713)

I can live with bad grammar in the submissions, and of course in the comments, but can Technical Journalists PLEASE take a few goddamned English courses?

...causing the ViRGE to be unaffectionate dubbed the first 3D decelerator.

Just how far has graphic cards come in the past 15 years?

the original Rage 3D didn't have a whole going for it

The last official drive update for the Savage 3D was posted in 2007, though the modding community has continued to support the card with most recently release (2007) showing support for Vista.

Canadian-based Matrox first got start producing graphic solutions in 1978, ...

Voodoo5 5500 + Quake2 = l33tn3ss (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016727)

I owned the Voodoo1 piggyback and it was good, but didn't satisfy me. First chance I had, I got a hold of the 5500 beast and had to use the Dremel on my case to squeeze that mother in.

But it was a killer card, giving killer frame rates at high quality.

Rendition V1000 (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016825)

My first 3D video card was a Rendition Vérité 1000; IIRC it was the first card that could do transparent water effects in Quake. Truly a defining influence on my college career.

Wireframe (1)

plut4rch (1553209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016883)

I remember my old Acorn Electron. Elite in black and white wireframe graphics - it was fantastic. The first graphics card I actually bought on its own was a 3D Prophet 4000XT 64MB, which I still have in my parts box. I think I still have a Rage from my old G3 Mac lying around too, and the G3 and G4 I still have still contain their Rage and GeForce 2MX respectively, and still work perfectly.

No Permedia Cards (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28016905)

I had an AGP Permedia 2 with 16MB when everyone else was dicking around with PCI Voodoo 2s with 12. The V2 was slightly faster, but the Permedia would not only let you do larger-window OpenGL (XGA, for example) but it also had superior lighting effects. And, you know, actual OpenGL, not just MiniGL. I kept that until the GEforce 2 came out and have only deviated once... to an ATI Radeon 9600 XT that was a total lemon.

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