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3Dfx No More -- NVidia Purchases Video Card Maker

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the alas-we-hardly-knew-ye dept.

Hardware 320

Julius X writes: "This just came out, from Yahoo, 3dfx has announced that they will be sold to NVidia as soon as the deal is approved by its shareholders. From the release, "After aggressively pursuing a wide range of options that take into consideration the interests of our creditors, our shareholders, our employees and our customers," said Alex Leupp, president and CEO, 3dfx Interactive Inc., "we strongly believe that to reduce expenses, sell our assets and dissolve the company provides the highest return to our creditors, shareholders, and employees." I think we all saw this one coming. For more details, go to the press release." Actually, tossing in some details early is [hk]doogie, who writes: "Nvidia bought the patents, pending patent applications, trademarks, brand names, and chip inventory related to the graphics business of 3dfx. Get the full scoop [here]."

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I'm confused... (2)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 13 years ago | (#555518)

Something breaks here...

Underdog bests incumbent, knocks them silly, outmaneuvers them, and then destroys them, finally purchasing all the relevent patents and technologies:

Nvidia == Underdog
3dFX == Incumbent

AMD == Underdog
Intel == Incumbent

Microsoft == Incumbent
Apple == Underdog

I suspect I have your pattern wrong; what pattern causes Microsoft buying Apple insightful, instead of confusing. Apple hasn't been an incumbant, unless you're counting the days of Apple II...

Your VA Linux crack should give some insight, but all I could glean was that an upstart who has no technical prowess is able to purchase VA Linux, who will probably crumble in a way analgous to 3dFX...

The only thing that comes to mind is Slashdot's ties to VA Linux(whatever they are), and that a kid who delivers newspapers are somehow... more relevant than Slashdot?

I'm sorry, I know asking about a joke will often kill the humor.

Geek dating! []

Revolution just around the corner.. (2)

kinnunen (197981) | more than 13 years ago | (#555522)



Speaking of which... (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 13 years ago | (#555524)

Does anyone else think 3Dfx's naming conventions are completely stupid? There would be the model, which is a number, and the product, which is another number. Voodoo3 2000, 3000, 3500, V4, V5 5500, V5 6000...

NV20 (1)

PovRayMan (31900) | more than 13 years ago | (#555533)

Wonder if this will do anything for NV20 which I'm eagerly waiting to be released...


say what? (1)

root_42 (103434) | more than 13 years ago | (#555537)

i think my world is collapsing... is that true? whoa nelly! now who will stand against the evil nVidia empire? :-)
who would have thought of that 5 years ago when that funny NV-1 chip arrived...

Woah ho! (2)

toofast (20646) | more than 13 years ago | (#555540)

Holy crap, I never saw this coming. I've owned 3Dfx cards for years, and their hardware kicks ass - not necessarily performance-wise, but reliability, and compatibility. Drivers were never an issue (as opposed to some other card maker).

I currently have a V3 3K ... and it runs sweet on Linux. I'm not about to change it for any NVidia product anytime soon, till someone can prove to me that NV works as well as 3Dfx.

who's left? (2)

cetan (61150) | more than 13 years ago | (#555615)

Is there anyone really left that can compete now in the video card market? Unless Matrox pulls something fantastic out of their hats, I wonder what's going to happen, especially with prices.

Well isn't that special? (4)

itchytr0n (189250) | more than 13 years ago | (#555618)

Hey! We're just gonna sell chips [] now!

No wait, sorry, we're still gonna sell cards [] !

Ah screw it, we suck, let NVIDIA have it all.

And I thought the wife's moodswings were bad. Sheesh.

What will happen to open drivers? (4)

JanneM (7445) | more than 13 years ago | (#555621)

The question is of course if Nvidia will take a page from 3dfx:s book and further open their own drivers, or if this is the end of the (relative) openness from 3dfx. Then again, it's quite possible that they will continue to support the open effoert of current 3dfx cards, while continuing to produce closed drivers for their core Nvidia line.

As Nvidia has claimed that a big reason not to open their drivers is that they are forbidden to do so because of NDA:s with technology partners, one possibility is that as they now own 3dfx technology can use that in place of (probably quite expensive) 3rd party stuff. That would mean more the possibility of increasing the openness towards developers.

Could this be a GOOD thing? (1)

Vladinator (29743) | more than 13 years ago | (#555628)

What if this actually is GOOD for the video card market? With one less type of technology to worry about, perhaps we can standardize a bit more? Also, will this make development easier, perhaps allowing coders to work more on features and cool games rather than supporting every obscure feature for every different card out there.

Fawking Trolls! []

More info... (5)

Julius X (14690) | more than 13 years ago | (#555630)

Here are some more things places you can go.
  • Nvidia's 3dfx Q&A []
  • 3dfx's third quarter earnings webcast []
  • A letter [] from 3dfx founder Scott Sellers about the sale

Its really a shame with all the problems that 3dfx has had that they couldn't pull it out of the gutter...they started out great, and made the best products back in the day...if they hadn't bought STB, I doubt this would have ever happened.

-Julius X

Intel, keep your hands OFF! (1)

Quazi (3460) | more than 13 years ago | (#555635)

Let's hope nothing happens to AMD..

First it was the Betamax leaving us, then (skip ahead a few years..) Creative purchased Aureal, now this.

I know the market's going south for the winter, but DAMN..

3DFX Gone (1)

TransDermNitro (264204) | more than 13 years ago | (#555650)

I work for a company who was spun off of 3dfx back in February and we're still in their building in Dallas (Richardson to be exact). This has been talked about for over a month here daily and it really comes as no surprise. The bottom line was it was cheaper for nVidia to buy 3dfx then to pay the fines from the lawsuits from 3dfx.

ATI (1)

Stalcair (116043) | more than 13 years ago | (#555654)

Ranked as good (and sometimes better) than nVidia. Great integration IMHO. What I expect to see will be nVidia improving their integration efforts and including Multimedia features to rival ATI... sometime. Matrox... who knows.

just my $.02

if even that

This is bad, very bad. AOL TIME WARNER bad. (3)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 13 years ago | (#555659)

This is VERY BAD for consumers. In the past, competition between 3DFX and NVidia who both shared the lead position in the 3D card battle have helped prices crashed. Now, it's just NVidia, ATI, and Matrox. Matrox can't really harm anyone with their current 3D technology, and ATI can't convince people that RAEDON cards are up to the level of Geforce2 or Vodoo5 cards. It's really a dissapointment.

Outlook for the future:
NVidia will rule the graphics card business. The Geforce3 will be at least $400 and will stay that way due to the lack of an alternative. I can only hope that ATI or Matrox can come out with a comperablie card at a lower price, or we'll all be paying a lot more for 3D cards.

Doesn't this sound like AOL TIME WARNER? Two giant industry leaders joining together to become a giant? Monopoly is bad for consumers, with media or 3D cards. Like I said, this is bad.

This isn't good.. There HAS to be a better way. (1)

Gainax (127325) | more than 13 years ago | (#555660)

I'm afraid I see a lot of competition dropping out of the 3D market in the near future with this event. :(

For starters, NVidia is likely to get a bit complacent with their marketshare now. :( I see their support in the future dropping at least a little.

This leave us with just a few viable ( < $400 card) vendors..

  • NVidia
  • ATI
  • Matrox
  • S3
Anyone care to correct me if I'm wrong here?

On a side note, I'd be willing to pay a premium for an openly-speced, programmable graphic accellerator? Anyone else?

Quick, buy some shares! (1)

Flavio (12072) | more than 13 years ago | (#555662)

If I were in the stock business, I'd get myself some 3dfx or Nvidia shares ASAP.

With only ATI as a competitor and no new, revolutionary product coming from them, what's there to prevent Nvidia from dominating the market?

Just my thoughts, anyway. I could be wrong.


how funny is that. (1)

lscoughlin (71054) | more than 13 years ago | (#555663)

I can't believe how perfect this is...

Granted i'd prefer to have two top dogs competing for my market... but to own an "Nvidia Voodoo" so preferctly ironic...


S3, Rendition, and now 3dfx all gone. (1)

DeafDumbBlind (264205) | more than 13 years ago | (#555665)

How long before ATI and and Videologic succomb to the new empire?

Wow (1)

vfs (220730) | more than 13 years ago | (#555667)

I can only hope that Nvidia can provide the same level of support to the Linux community that 3dfx did. I was pleased with the V3 line and their speedy support under XFree86, and this makes me a little worried.

It's about time! (2)

Cloned Junky (257894) | more than 13 years ago | (#555680)

3DFX could really no longer compete as the Windows/Intel/Nvidia alliance grows stronger by the day... Xbox anyone? Forget about AOL+Time Warner, lets see these three come together... Suddenly The Matrix doesn't seem so far fetched.

what will happen to prices and innovation? (1)

nothng (147342) | more than 13 years ago | (#555686)

Sure there are plenty of video card companies out there, but the big 3 for gamers have been NVIDIA 3DFX and ATI... mostly the first two with ATI targeted at a slightly lower game performance and better video editing.

There isn't much competition left for NVIDIA now that 3DFX will be assimilated. I hope this doesn't lead to a video card market that resembels the pre K6/Athlon days of Intel. Without any compatition NVIDIA can charge more for there products and put much less into them... *sniff*

So now my Voodoo is part of NVidia now? (1)

X-Dopple (213116) | more than 13 years ago | (#555690)

Well, guess my video card has graphics to the nth degree now (see NVidia advertisements)

I wonder what this will do to the development of Glide?

What is happening? (2)

makaera (187078) | more than 13 years ago | (#555692)

There have been a number of strange things happening in the 3D market lately. One time industry leader DiamondMM decided to pull out of the board manufacturing industry and focus on its MP3 player. Now 3dfx has also pulled out. It seems to be hard times for the board makers. Two major manufacturers have stopped making products. Is this part of a general trend in the marketplace away from high powered graphics boards?

Perhaps it is just that those who entered the market first did not make good enough products to survive when the competition got serious. I was never impressed by 3dfxs decision to focus on its own proprietary format instead of OpenGL. Was there ever a 3dfx product that had full OpenGL support? Also, I own a Diamond Viper V770 Ultra and it was a real pain to get working. I was never impressed by their customer service and I recommend against them.

NVIDIA To Acquire 3dfx Core Graphics Assets Q&A (1)

ZeroConcept (196261) | more than 13 years ago | (#555693)

Chech this out(no goat porn, I swear!):

Re:NV20 (1)

bhume (248928) | more than 13 years ago | (#555695)

This will probably not do anything to NV20 since NV20 is a finished product. It might however effect some of nVidia future chips, but not NV20... NV20 is just sitting in the stock waiting for nVidia marketing department to say that they've made enough money of GeForce 2 Ultra, and that they can release NV20 without competing with their Ultra card.

this is good for the consumer... (5)

Primer 55 (263965) | more than 13 years ago | (#555707)

At this rate:

In one year, AMD will buy out Intel (or vice versa).

In two years, Microsoft will buy out Apple...

In three years, VA Linux will be purchased by a twelve year old that has been with the money he has earned delivering newspapers for two months.

New name ideas (2)

khaladan (445) | more than 13 years ago | (#555709)

GeForce + Voodoo =


Re:say what? (1)

**AssGoblin** (264216) | more than 13 years ago | (#555711)

Do yout think ATi will be able to stand up to the new nVidia? They must have Satan on their side or something to be moving so quickly technologically.

As other have said .... (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 13 years ago | (#555715)

ATI's still the biggest graphics company - but more the slow turtle than the nvda rabbit .....

More importantly - it's in our interest that there be multiple competing vendors - that means better drivers, faster and cheaper cards - so spread your money around - don't just buy from one manufacturer

New Blood (1)

TermAnnex (154514) | more than 13 years ago | (#555719)

Hopefully this will open up a chance for new card makers to come in with new and different cards and actually have a market for them.

This might even get matrox to work a bit harder to try to get the G800 out before I'm an old man. Although, if it as good as it is rumored to be, I will still be a very happy old man.

ATI and Matrox (1)

hawkear (172947) | more than 13 years ago | (#555724)

Yeah, I'm pretty sure ATI and Matrox are the only other (big) ones out there, unless I'm missing something. I think NVidia will dominate the gaming market now, with the help of 3Dfx. ATI has the Radeon, but that probably won't hold a candle to what NVidia and 3Dfx will put out. Matrox doesn't seem to cater to gamers, mainly professionals. This seems crazy! I'm shocked to see this happen. What will be next?

(add a couple more pennies to the stack)

Re:What will happen to open drivers? (4)

republic (86647) | more than 13 years ago | (#555725)

I fear that this is a step in the wrong direction for open drivers and open source in general. At least 3dfx supported linux back in the dark ages, then finally saw the light and open sourced their drivers. Nvidia on the other hand gave empty promise after empty promise. They provided us some crappy driver with obfuscated source for almost a year. Now they want us to use their binary drivers because of other peoples IP. After having used 3dfx under linux and struggling for many months with a TNT, I would have to say this is a sad day indeed for linux, the 3D revolution, and open source. I guess from now on I will support Matrox or ATI, because I have had it with Nvidia. My only hope is that the 3dfx employees can enlighten their new collegues.


Re:This isn't good.. There HAS to be a better way. (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 13 years ago | (#555739)

Didn't S3 stop making video cards just recently?

Re:This isn't good.. There HAS to be a better way. (2)

Julius X (14690) | more than 13 years ago | (#555740)

If you hadn't heard, S3 got out of the Graphics Accelerator market (except for the FireGL series), and changed their name to Sonic Blue.

-Julius X

Re:New name ideas (1)

Hooptie (10094) | more than 13 years ago | (#555742)



Re:New name ideas (1)

Quazi (3460) | more than 13 years ago | (#555743)

or GeDoo..

3DFX + NVidia = (3)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#555744)

Unfortunately, a company that cannot be beat by anyone. Combine NVidia's better technology with 3DFX's better and more experienced marketing division (they managed to sell Voodoo 5's on decent print ads alone) and you have a killer combination.

Big problem though: with only one large company the market will disappear. It's as if Intel bought AMD.

Competition in graphic cards, we hardly knew ye.

Re:What will happen to open drivers? (1)

Primer 55 (263965) | more than 13 years ago | (#555746)

NVIDIA has long claimed that they cannot release the source to their drivers because it contains licensed IP that they cannot distribute. This is old news that everyone deliberately forgets because they just like to complain about it.

Perhaps NVIDIA will open up their drivers for the REAL reason they have been obfuscating or withholding the code to their drivers for so long: 50% of their technology really is stolen from 3dfx.

Re:So now my Voodoo is part of NVidia now? (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 13 years ago | (#555748)

I'm hoping some full featured glide drivers come out for the NVdia cards. Don't have the slightest clue how long that would take though.

Re:This isn't good.. There HAS to be a better way. (1)

keaaw (163383) | more than 13 years ago | (#555749)

> Anyone care to correct me if I'm wrong here? Yes, scratch Matrox and S3.

Re:HOLY SHIT! (-nt-) (1)

1stflight (48795) | more than 13 years ago | (#555752)

Yeah those were my exact words, damn sad to see the pioneers in the field go. :~(

Re:Could this be a GOOD thing? (2)

citizenc (60589) | more than 13 years ago | (#555754)

I could see this being a good thing. While Glide is a pretty cool technology, it kind of created a big devide. Standardizing on OpenGL will ease cross-platform development!

.. or maybe it will make it harder. Let's face it -- I'm no genious. ;)


Re:Woah ho! (2)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#555757)

I agree. 3DFX cards easily were the most reliable I'd ever seen. And XF86 loved them.

Re:who's left? (1)

mallan (37663) | more than 13 years ago | (#555758)

Who's left? ATI. The Radeon is the only other remotely interesting piece of commodity hardware currently available aside from the GeForce line. Matrox's and 3dfx's current offerings can only be described as mediocre at best.

NVIDIA has already got a bunch of engineers from SGI. If they go ahead and hire 3dfx's engineers, it is going to be very, very difficult for anyone to compete with that kind of talent.


Choices Too Limited For Gaming Hardware? (2)

great throwdini (118430) | more than 13 years ago | (#555760)

Granted, many probably think 3dfx hasn't been much of a challenger to NVIDIA since who-knows-when, and the purchase may really not mean all that much in the end, but still...

Am I the only one that finds it unsettling that:

  • Once there was 3dfx and NVidia, but the latter swallowed the former
  • Once there was Creative Labs and Aureal, but the former swallowed the latter

Or is it just me being bitter because I purchased hardware from both 3dfx and Aureal, only to find each company disappearing?

To be fair, I miss Aureal (and its tech) more than I will miss 3dfx (and whatever may come to pass for its tech), but still...

I wish I had the illusion of choice, or at least the opportunity to delude myself into finding it. Ah, well, back to Matrox. :P


being bitter

But what will happen to the cards? (2)

PsionicMan (74653) | more than 13 years ago | (#555762)

(I apologise if this was answered in one of the articles. I just skimmed them.)

So will there continue to be two distinct product lines? Or will the 3dfx tech be assimilated and used to help create an entirely new generation of graphics accelerator/processor?

If you ask me, these two schools of graphics technology could learn from each other. With nvidia's recent trend towards speed rather than eyecandy, and 3dfx doing much the opposite (speed => effects), we could soon see blazingly fast, awesome-looking graphics headed our way, courtesy of the new VoodooForce card.

Or, perhaps they will choose to keep the brands seperate. Any speculation?


Max, in America, it's customary to drive on the right.

Short Term gain, long term loss (2)

bug_hunter (32923) | more than 13 years ago | (#555765)

The way I see it, the card's nVidia release in the next 2 years will be absolutely amazing. They'll have the best of 3dfx and nVid tech in them. (and hopefully we'll see the end to 3dfxGlide, that just got annoying for non 3dfx'ers)

Yet after the initial burst, I do see the company getting lazy and just releasing "amazing new features" that do nothing, but just keep the customers buying.

Alternatively development could continue just as well, but prices could get too high. Either way, I'm gonna buy a great 3D card in 2 years because it's going to have to last me a while.

Re:NV20 (3)

drsoran (979) | more than 13 years ago | (#555766)

Well, since Nvidia has acquired the patents to the 3dfx stuff, we'll probably see them shift pace a little bit and start to use some of their technology. Expect the NV20 to use 6 GeForce2 GPU's on one card and require a seperate external 250 watt power supply. :-)

Will Nvidia finally put out? (1)

Vippy (237728) | more than 13 years ago | (#555767)

Oh jeez, but sort of good. Now hopefully Nvidia will put the 3dfx guys on the Driver end of their hardware..

The only reason I stayed with the Voodoos is because 1. Everyone supports them, and 2. They came out with decent drivers when they were released. Now that Nvidia seems to be widely supported, hopefully, with the addition of 3dfx, they will make some rockin' cards.

I will have to say, bummer for 3dfx though. The competition ends, now only the Microsoft of Video cards remains. :-P

Eep... Even I worry about this... (5)

Temporal (96070) | more than 13 years ago | (#555771)

I am a big NVidia fan (as many of you know). I really think they have better hardware and I love working with the special features they add to their stuff in my 3D game engine. But this news worries me.

I hope NVidia will continue to advance the industry at the same rate as they did in the past. Without 3dfx as competition, their incentive may not be so great as it was before...

However, there is plenty of reason to believe that these concerns are misplaced. The ATI Radeon is a good card, having some features (like the third TMU) which not even the GeForce 2 has. Also, NVidia hardware is now being used in consoles as well as computers. Tough competition in the console arena is pretty much gaurenteed for them. So, as long as they continue to use their console gaming hardware in their video cards, we can continue expect new, better hardware from them.

This really could go either way. We'll have to watch and see what happens. If they do stop advancing their hardware, or charge too much for them, I will stop supporting them. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.


Re:So now my Voodoo is part of NVidia now? (2)

mnassri (149467) | more than 13 years ago | (#555773)

Glide is, for all practical intents and purposes, dead. If you think about how many major glide-based games that have come out recently, you get something like 2 (Deus Ex & UT, and how old is UT now?). Can anyone think of any bigger (i.e., not crap like Extreme Bull Farting 2001) games that are coming out, where the developers are advertising glide support?

Re:Woah ho! (1)

jasno (124830) | more than 13 years ago | (#555774)

Really? I've owned/had experience with cards on both sides of the isle and I'd have to say that NVidia beat 3dfx hands down when it came to overall stability and visual quality.

For my current system I decided to go with the Voodoo 3 instead of the TNT2 and regretted losing the rock solid stability I had with my old TNT.

I do appreciate 3dfx's commitment to the OSS community, though. That was the deciding factor in my graphics card debate. It will be VERY interesting to see if NVidia continues 3dfx's commitment to the OSS arena.

Re:Could this be a GOOD thing? (1)

eric17 (53263) | more than 13 years ago | (#555776)

I agree and I'm surprised when people think consolidation is a bad thing. It usually means that the vendors aren't differentiating their products enough, or that the market prefers less choice, or someone isn't putting out competitive products. In any case the market gets what it wants, and hard :)

What are 3dfx doing now then? (1)

cannon_trodder (264217) | more than 13 years ago | (#555780)

According to the NVidia FAQ [] :

6. Are you also acquiring the board-related business?
No, the board business remains with 3dfx.

So what chips are they going to put on these boards, NVidia??? Now that would be ironic...

Kind of at odds, isn't it? (3)

huie (148646) | more than 13 years ago | (#555781)

3Dfx wants to substantially reduce its costs in order to best conserve its resources. These cost-cutting measures include a reduction of substantially all of the company's workforce by early next year so that the comapny provides the highest return to our creditors, shareholders, and employees.

So, they're laying off everybody in order to preserve the stock value for the employees?

Don't Worry... (1)

ASCIIMan (47627) | more than 13 years ago | (#555783)

I mean, surely Bitboys will be able to take down the evil nVIDIA / 3Dfx empire with their uber-fast Glaze3D.

Mmmm... Donuts - in 3D!

Re:Don't Worry... (2)

JabXVI (141079) | more than 13 years ago | (#555784)

If anybody can, it's Bitboys! I mean, they did just announce their mega-merger [] with Rambus.

Re:3DFX + NVidia = (1)

m00t (256995) | more than 13 years ago | (#555785)

Well, not entirely true. Matrox still has a strong position in the market. It's niche is not in the 3d acceleration but it does field some impressive technology. ATI has been gaining significant ground in it's latest generation of cards. There are still issues and ATI still seems to have a fairly dirty reputation due to it's previous dilemmas but it could pose a threat to nVidia if they play their cards right. There are a few others in the field but none that are exceptionally noteworthy.

Lawsuits (4)

CaptainCarrot (84625) | more than 13 years ago | (#555786)

So now all the lawsuits can be kept inhouse, right? They only need one legal team so costs are kept way down, the discovery phase will take nowhere near as long since all the documents are kept in the same office, and they win no matter which way the ruling goes.

As far as I can see, this is a win-win deal any way you look at it!

scary stuff (1)

dalinian (177437) | more than 13 years ago | (#555787)

It could be said that this is the same to the graphics chip industry as Microsoft's attempt to buy Netscape would have been to browsers.

Warranty (2)

TheTomcat (53158) | more than 13 years ago | (#555788)

I have a pending 'lifetime' warranty claim on my 3DFX Voodoo3, I wonder what's going to happen with that..

*looks out the window at the Matrox bldg.*

Re:Don't Worry... (1)

icebeing001 (259902) | more than 13 years ago | (#555789)

With what? Bitboys hasn't been heard of in over a year! Their website [] has changed only recently. If they had delivered when they promised, Glaze3d would've kicked the GeForce's ass...with the same spex today, it'll barely kick the GTS 2. I wouldn't hold my breath on these guys...

OK, I'm concerned.. (2)

BBStriker (264222) | more than 13 years ago | (#555790)

Well, now.. The NViddy kiddies now officially rule the high-end PC graphics market. And with PS2 going 'thud', next year they stand to also rule, with M$FT, the console space with XBox. This is disquieting at best. They are in a position to not only stifle PC/console graphics capability competition, but to start rolling out new graphics tech at a rate best suited to their financial gain (instead of as demanded by a state of healthy competition). I like NV, I like their cards, but this state of affairs can only be bad for the consumer. Of course, AI co-processors may well be the next big thing in gaming. If NVid makes graphics less interesting, there are other plcaes gamers can put their money. My $.03.

Re:this is good for the consumer... (1)

piku (161975) | more than 13 years ago | (#555791)


DAMN I wish I had some points to give you

Sad to see them go! (3)

Junks Jerzey (54586) | more than 13 years ago | (#555792)

Gotta give 3dfx credit; it jumpstarted 3D hardware for the PC. They weren't the first, but they brought inexpensive workstation class 3D to home PCs with a bang. Even today, the Voodoo 1 is an impressive piece of hardware.

Just speculation here, but I can't help but wonder if the performance video card market is much smaller than assumed. I expect most people just use whatever video card came with their machine. I've read that 80% of all video cards out there are from ATI, because they dominate the OEM market. Having a bunch of big fish fighting over the last 20% would be pretty rough.

Re:who's left? (1)

jonathanclark (29656) | more than 13 years ago | (#555793)

Don't forget Sony. All the PS2 chips bring down their cost and afford them a big research team. They have expressed interest into making PC consumer versions of their PS2 technologies.

Re:This isn't good.. There HAS to be a better way. (1)

republic (86647) | more than 13 years ago | (#555794)

S3 sold their graphics card business to VIA. Thank GOD, cause S3 make really crappy cards.


Re:Choices Too Limited For Gaming Hardware? (1)

m00t (256995) | more than 13 years ago | (#555795)

Just wait till Creative Labs swallows nVidia (or vice versa...), won't *that* be ugly?

Fewer competitors... (1)

Amigori (177092) | more than 13 years ago | (#555796)

...means higher prices. But maybe they will slow down the product cycle a little. I don't have the money to purchase a new video card every six months. Maybe that's why I still have a V3 2000. This leaves Nvidia, ATI, and Matrox as the big players.

I hope that Nvidia adds support for Glide. I know its an older standard, but Unreal Tournament runs better on my computer in Glide, than in OpenGL.


Well, so much for Linux support from 3Dfx.

Re:This isn't good.. There HAS to be a better way. (2)

amccall (24406) | more than 13 years ago | (#555797)

Its worse than that. A lot worse...

There may be a reason why this sale will not go through, but I'm still hoping(shareholders can say no...). 3dfx and Nvidia together completely lead the retail market. (Not OEM/laptop sails here, retail.) Now with 3dfx being consumed this leaves us with Nvidia. Now here is the kicker: ATI Market Share (Currently) 26% Nvidia market share (currently) 20% 3dfx market share(currently) 7% These numbers may be a bit old or off. But, with nvidia + 3dfx you get a new market break down where(through simple addition), 3dfx/nvidia will have a lead. Now that leaves ATI in a bit of a bad spot, and I *really* doubt that 3dfx is going to release anything with open source drivers now. Which leaves only 1 company(ATI) with a good, open source gaming board which can be easily obtained in the retail market.

Re:ATI (4)

will_code_for_beer (224193) | more than 13 years ago | (#555798)

ATI has long had a reputation of putting out awful drivers. If they manage to put out decent drivers and improve their technical support, then they might be a worthy contender. If you ever visit the ATI newsgroup you'll see post after post about poor support and shoddy performance due to drivers/software.

Re:S3 (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 13 years ago | (#555799)

S3 bought Diamond actually, and then changed their name and got out of the graphics business.

There is a post near the beginning of this topic about it.

Re:S3 (1)

m00t (256995) | more than 13 years ago | (#555800)

Oh, woops. Thanks for the heads up.

Re:This is bad, very bad. AOL TIME WARNER bad. (2)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 13 years ago | (#555801)

1: Lose the profanities
2: Yes, they do. TIME WARNER owns the CABLE INTRENET SERVICE in many states ("RoadRunner"). AOL now owns a virtual monopoly over the internet market in those areas. TIME WARNER owns some of the most visited websites on the internet - comes to mind, it's #4 - AOL now holds a virtual monopoly over the news services. CNNHN and CNN are the #1 and #2 most watched news channels. and are the #1 and #2 most used internet news "portals". + = GIANT NEWS SITE.

Get the idea?

Re:3DFX + NVidia = INTEL (1)

Gregg M (2076) | more than 13 years ago | (#555802)

Funny you mentioned Intel.

With Intel creating better video, and embedding it into motherboards, what else can *video card* manufacturers do? It's inevitable. Many HP, Compaq, and Dells come with the embedded video already. In no time they will have sound, modem and NIC cards built in! In the shadow of that giant, you'd run for cover too!

In other news... (1)

DeeKayWon (155842) | more than 13 years ago | (#555803)

In other news, exploded. No one knows why.

Re:ATI and Matrox (1)

starvo (33598) | more than 13 years ago | (#555804)

Actually, I think I read on or that Matrox was going to kind of pull out of the high end gaming card market, adn target thier cards more towards OEM's low end consumr, and business applications.

Personally, the last 3dFX Card i bought was a voodoo2 12 meg board... (The PCI one that you had to use in conjunction with your existing grafx card...) As of Right now, I'm all NVidia on my boxes... Geforce2, Geforce2mx, and a Geforce DDR.. all the cards do fine for me on XF86, and in windows..

So ATi might the the only real competition left to stand up against NVidia. However, I would not doubt it that somewhere there is some "dark horse" company preparing something that is gonna try to blow NVidia out of the water...

.. But I might be wrong.

Liquidation (3)

Bulldawg2000 (264224) | more than 13 years ago | (#555805)

I'm not sure about 3dfx's assets, but if it is below 112M they were running the risk of being liquidated. At least this way, we'll see their technology incorporated into future products.

Re:who's left? (1)

CanadaMan (121016) | more than 13 years ago | (#555806)

according to matrox, we will not hear anything about their next-gen 3d product until march 2001, at GDC. Considering that is when nvidia will be releasing NV20, the G800 had better pack a cost-effective wallop.

on an offtopic note, there are rumours that Nvidia's mind-bogglingly speedy rise from non-existence to market leader is because their engineers and tech worked for the military doing integrated 3D chips. it will be interesting to see where the market goes from here, especially once people associate nvidia with providing the punch to the x-box. Regardless of the number of sales of the x-box, it will be a technological marvel.

as far as prices go, perhaps one of the reasons that nvidia is sitting on their completed nv20 and perhaps even nv25 is so that they can saturate the market right at product launch. that would allow them to bring in lower prices to achieve a higher number of sales out of the gate. it should be interesting to see, no matter what happens. i'm also very interested to see what happens with the 3dfx brand name. could nvidia keep marketing separate products under the 3dfx brand name? if so, what would be the differences between the products sold as 3dfx and those sold as nvidia. interesting indeed. --CM

Re:Well isn't that special? (2)

tolldog (1571) | more than 13 years ago | (#555807)

Maybe you shouldn't use slashdot for your only source of news... I have a feeling that the moodswings were more a "slashdotian" thing, not one from 3dfx.

Some more info (2)

ZeroConcept (196261) | more than 13 years ago | (#555808)

check out:
They have more information on the subject and lots of news about 3d gaming.

Re:What is happening? (2)

JanneM (7445) | more than 13 years ago | (#555809)

Well, look at the 3d hardware business from the manufacturing angle: a state-of-the-art 3d chip is as complicated (if not more complicated) as a general-purpose CPU, with similar die-sizes and transistor counts. Unlike Intel and AMD, however, they can not sell the newest stuff at a hefty premium, instead they sell the chip complete with memory, bus logic and ports -- cheaper than a comparative general processor. Then add the requirement to get something entirely new (not just a clock speed tweak) out the door every six to nine months... No wonder that companies are falling faster than the Microsoft stock price.

On the other hand, the graphics companies are not encumbered with keeping up with legacy systems -- their stuff isn't really programmable from the user level, so all they need is a new set of drivers to support their new hardware. This should make for much speedier development.

It would be interesting -- but not entierly surprising -- if graphics hardware makers would start driving the IC business the same way that games are driving software today.

Re:This is bad, very bad. AOL TIME WARNER bad. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#555810)

AOL + Time Warner does not equal a monopoly of any sort, you clueless fucking idiot.

Sooner than expected, but not a total blindside. (1)

m00t (256995) | more than 13 years ago | (#555811)

The news of the deal with Quantum3D over the V5 6000 gave hints that 3dfx starting to run into trouble. The recognized grandfather of consumer 3d acceleration bowing out of the race could very well change the shape of the market in the future. nVidia has a huge lead over most of it's competitors (BitBoys [do they even have a product yet?], S3 [i think diamond bought them...], ATI [they're catching up, but not fast enough. Had they bought 3dfx they could probably have weilded the combined technology's to bring themselves par with nVidia in a few short years.], Matrox, et al) even with it's current products. The technical inovation that 3dfx's technology and production facilties can bring to nVidia are staggering. Think of what nVidia could do with SLI geForce chips? How about T-buffer and an improved Anti-Alias? Will there be a joint venture with Quantum3D similar to what 3dfx had?(Just no extra power supply needed *please*)

This news is not without possibly dire consequences. Though unlikely, it could bring about an era of stagnation within nVidia as it figures out what the hell to do with all the stuff it acquired and how to integrate it into it's products. Once they're so far ahead that it's clear no one can catch them in the near future, will they start to exploit their position in an unfriendly manner?

Time will tell.

I just can't wait to get my hands on whatever they can do with the hybrid technologies...

What The Hell? (5)

Tridus (79566) | more than 13 years ago | (#555812)

What is it with all the posts in here moaning about how bad this is, because of how there is no competition and other such...

People, please... are you living in a fantasy land? 3dfx hasn't been any serious competition for Nvidia since the GeForce. As much as you might like to think that the Linux market matters, it doesn't. Nvidia destroyed 3dfx in the Windows market, aka the one that matters.

Contrary to several posts in here, this is not a bad thing. Its the natural course of business.

- 3dfx dominates market
- Nvidia enters market
- 3dfx gets lazy
- Nvidia makes better products
- Nvidia dominates market
- Nvidia continues to make better products, and 3dfx crumbles against the competition.

Its not like Nvidia won because of a Patent war (hello Rambus!), because of backdoor shenagians, or whatever else thats bad. They won by simply flat out making a better product.

People who think this is some kind of disaster want a market where nothing changes. If you actually want innovation and competition, you had better expect that some players will loose at some point! If you want competition but without the potential to loose, you don't really want competition, you want to live in a fantasy world.

ATI is still there, as a better managed company then 3dfx with a better product, they stand a better chance in this market.

Now please... quit bitching about how this is the end of the world. Its not. After the 40th post moaning and whining about it, it really does start to get tiresome.

Re:NVIDIA To Acquire 3dfx Core Graphics Assets Q&A (1)

BitwizeGHC (145393) | more than 13 years ago | (#555813)

Check out the part about acquiring their assets without getting their liabilities as well. Basically it's buying out what enables 3Dfx to do business, leaving them a hollowed-out shell to fend for themselves when it comes to liabilities. Suck-o-rama.

This is great! (1)

deepakhj (182005) | more than 13 years ago | (#555814)

I don't know what is wrong with all you people. But I saw this coming for at least a year and a half. 3DFX sucks ass. They have no good products.. they give excuses to why they don't support 32bit accelerated. NVidia since the TNT has had the superior product. (They became #1 soon after they ipo'd) Look at 3dfx's price 1.67 or so. They are being sued by them, so it would be cheaper to buy them out and own all their patents. Also they get good engineers too. The sad part is i've been telling my dad to buy amd/nvda for 3 years everytime he asks for advice and he still hasn't. Lol


Survival of the fittest. (3)

-=[ SYRiNX ]=- (79568) | more than 13 years ago | (#555815)

In a capitalist market, survival of the fittest is a rule, and 3Dfx just wasn't fit anymore. They were releasing crappy products, failing to license out their technology, and selling their cards only at retail (rather than working to get them integrated or included with new PCs).

A few people here have mentioned the Voodoo 1, 2, and 3's good cost-performance ratios and their stable drivers, and those are very true observations. However, 3Dfx shot themselves in the foot when they stopped marketing their products in any ways that bring in strong revenue. They stopped running television ads and stopped licensing their chip technology to other board manufacturers--and all the revenue dried up right there.

Someone here said that ATI owns 80% of the PC video card market because they get their chips and boards included with OEM systems. ATI has traditionally made somewhat crappy products, but as a business they have thrived because they know how to work themselves into revenue-making positions in the marketplace. They have become so successful as a business, in fact, that they have finally gotten back around to investing more resources in R&D and QA, and the quality of their products has improved radically in the last 2-4 years.

nVidia is especially interesting because they have a pretty even mix (IMHO) of product and marketing excellence. They have figured out how to achieve rapid growth in both areas. The only problem is that they now have only one worthy competitor left on their radar (ATI; Matrox just doesn't have enough market share or technical superiority). When one company in a given industry pulls far, far ahead of all the rest, it means they run the risk of getting lazy.

That hasn't happened with all large behemoths (Sony and Microsoft continue to work hard and produce excellent stuff, for instance), but it has happened with many (General Electric, Phillips/Magnavox). Let's hope that nVidia doesn't get too cozy as it approaches the top of the food chain.

No Need for Chicken Littleism (5)

StandardDeviant (122674) | more than 13 years ago | (#555816)

I see a large number of posts saying that this will lead to stagnation in the video card market, increased prices, blah blah blah, the usual bad things that come with monopoly. I don't think these fears are grounded in a solid grasp of reality.

The video card market is much broader than the high-end-home-user-gamer-speed-freak niche. Although I do not have exact figures to back this up, I'd wager that the total amount of cards sold as integrated solutions (part of a Dell or the like) to both the business and non-gamer household market exceeds the gamer market by a large integer multiple. NVidia IMHO makes the best current 3d hardware, but they have nothing in the business/SOHO/laptop/OEM market that I'm aware of, whereas Matrox and ATI have vast sums of revenue from those markets. With that kind of revenue stream, they could probably each buy NVidia several times over.

In short, don't assume that becuase NVidia has become the de facto monopolist in the gamer market (with a very, very small foothold in the workstation market[1]) they are somehow the totality of the video card market. They will continue to face competition from Matrox and ATI for the forseeable future.

[1] quadro and somebody was telling me the new sgi vpro line of graphics chipsets was based on NVIdia tech


Re:3DFX + NVidia = (1)

AstroJetson (21336) | more than 13 years ago | (#555817)

It's not a given that 3Dfx's marketing staff will be picked up by nVidia. The article said that 3dfx "will substantially reduce all of its workforce". I'm sure some of these people will be hired by nVidia and others will go on to jobs at ATI or Matrox perhaps. But this isn't like a merger. 3dfx is calling it quits and laying off its staff. Also the Board is recommending to the shareholders that they approve the sale of their assets to nVidia. This means IP like patents, trademarks & designs and also capital equipment and inventory. But it will be up to nVidia whether they want to hire any of these people.

On another note...what a hell of a thing to find out right before Christmas. Having been in a similar situation once, I really feel for the employees there that are being let go.

Re:say what? (1)

lewp (95638) | more than 13 years ago | (#555818)

Heh heh heh...

Re:This isn't good.. There HAS to be a better way. (1)

marcovje (205102) | more than 13 years ago | (#555822)

Well, I think that there is also a very substantial pricefall that is going to occur in the 3D market, so this doesn't necessarily mean higher prices.

Also NVidia until know still has delivered quality products for a reasonal price. Monopolies are rarely healthy though.

Pretty nice 3D graphic cards are going to get integrated into the chipset, further lowering prices of a decent system. (for the people that aren't hardcore gamers, or don't do 3D shooters)

Re:Intel, keep your hands OFF! (1)

LafinJack (9054) | more than 13 years ago | (#555823)

No, in this case AMD would buy Intel. :)

3dfx is the old school player in the video card industry, and Nvidia is the 'upstart' who just happens to make better products than the current big player of the time.

GO AMD!!! :D

The ATI countermove... (2)

dialect (75360) | more than 13 years ago | (#555826)

would perhaps be to get together with Matrox?

I think it's good (1)

OO7david (159677) | more than 13 years ago | (#555827)

The way I see it, is now we have 3 major players in the video card ring: nVidia/3Dfx (I will never use their new names), ATi, and Matrox. Now, ATi has a very large market share and I don't see them failing anytime soon, but their going to have to make the best card they can in as little time as possible. Matrox has the best 2D cards around, and they keep getting better (DualHead anyone?), but 2D is becoming less and less of an issue. So with the nVidia and 3Dfx buyout, we, basically, have one company left in the 3D arena. Since all their competition is gone, maybe we don't need this six month cycle any more. Perhaps we could return to the older and less capitolistic year or two year cycle.

The way I see it, video games are about as realistic looking as they can reasonably get (if you have a 1Ghz+ box). So we now need mundane features (t-buffer) instead of fill rates.

Re:What The Hell? (2)

monopole (44023) | more than 13 years ago | (#555831)

The real story here is that 3dfx achieved dominance back in the day and handed control over to marketing and bought STB. Their product declined as a result. In the mean time nvidia got their shit together and started pumping out excellent product with 6 month product generations. 3dfx responded with more marketing and got their ass handed to them. Back when STB was purchased by 3dfx and Diamond by S3 everybody figured Nvidia was not long for the world, instead they are the last one standing. If Nvidia tries the same thing they may last a bit longer, but not by much, either matrox or ati or even intel will get their shit together and hand them their ass. The one problem is that GPU development is nearly as complex as CPU development and doesn't have anywhere near the profit margin. As a result Nvidia may try to up the price in response.

the 3Dfx name (1)

hawkear (172947) | more than 13 years ago | (#555833)

i'm also very interested to see what happens with the 3dfx brand name. could nvidia keep marketing separate products under the 3dfx brand name? if so, what would be the differences between the products sold as 3dfx and those sold as nvidia. interesting indeed.

The 3Dfx name still provokes images of fast, quality video card for quake (or other 3D games), even though their latest cards may have sucked in comparison to NVidia's or ATI's.

From the NVidia Q&A [] :

9. What is NVIDIA's intention for the 3dfx and Voodoo brands?
We believe that the 3dfx and Voodoo brands are well known and respected throughout the industry. We have not finalized our plans for these brands at this time.

Re:Well isn't that special? (1)

itchytr0n (189250) | more than 13 years ago | (#555834)

Actually, CNN reported the first one, and the 2nd.

And for future reference, I hardly consider /. a source for news =)

Damn. (1)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 13 years ago | (#555835)

I have always preferred 3dfx. Quality was better.
  • When I upgraded from my old 2D card a few years ago, I bought a Riva 128ZX and a Banshee. The Banshee had better image quality, especially at higher resolutions, and the drivers were more solid. I kept the Banshee and returned the 128ZX.

  • Later on, ready to upgrade again, I bought a TNT2 and a Voodoo3 3000. After toying with them both for about a week, I returned the TNT2 and kept the Voodoo3. 2D image quality, board quality, and driver quality was just better, and framerates in many games were better, too.

  • Finally, this year, I bought a GeForce, a Radeon, and a Voodoo5, fully expecting the 3dfx card to lose after reading reviews. The Radeon was a crap product with useless drivers and I sold it off right away. The GeForce and Voodoo5 battled it out, but in the end, the GeForce 2D was just too lousy at 1600x1200 and all of my Glide games (some of them among my favorites) looked and played so much better with the Voodoo5...

So now I own just a Voodoo5, which I've been happy with. In essence, I've always found that 3dfx quality just put it head and shoulders above the rest, at least for my tastes.

I hope that Nvidia will start getting 2D right, or I may have this Voodoo5 for a long time...

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