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Encyclopedia > 3DFX
3dfx Interactive
Fate Acquired by NVIDIA
Successor NVIDIA
Founded 1994
Defunct 2000
Location San Jose, California, USA
Industry Semiconductors
Products Voodoo Graphics Series
Key people Ross Smith

3dfx Interactive was a company which specialized in the manufacturing of cutting-edge 3D graphics processing units and, later, graphics cards. After dominating the field for several years in the late 1990s, by the end of 2000 it underwent one of the most high-profile demises in the history of the PC industry. It was headquartered in San Jose, California until, on the verge of bankruptcy, its intellectual assets (and many employees) were acquired by its rival, NVIDIA Corporation. Image File history File links 3dfx logo File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) (pronounced ) is the worlds largest GPU company and a worldwide leader in GPU technologies for video cards, graphics cards, workstations, desktop computers, handhelds and more. ... NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) (pronounced ) is the worlds largest GPU company and a worldwide leader in GPU technologies for video cards, graphics cards, workstations, desktop computers, handhelds and more. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ... 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Nickname: Location of San Jose within Santa Clara County, California. ... Official language(s) English Capital Sacramento Largest city Los Angeles Area  Ranked 3rd  - Total 158,302 sq mi (410,000 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 770 miles (1,240 km)  - % water 4. ... A semiconductor is a material that is an insulator at very low temperature, but which has a sizable electrical conductivity at room temperature. ... 3dfx Interactive was a company which specialized in the manufacturing of cutting-edge 3D graphics processing units and, later, graphics cards. ... The rewrite of this article is being devised at Talk:3D computer graphics/Temp. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles. ... A graphics/video/display card/board/adapter is a computer component designed to convert the logical representation of visual information into a signal that can be used as input for a display medium. ... For the band, see 1990s (band). ... 2000 (MM) was a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... While being one of the first personal computers, the Altair 8800 was considered a mere toy due its lack of abilities. ... Nickname: Location of San Jose within Santa Clara County, California. ... NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) (pronounced ) is the worlds largest GPU company and a worldwide leader in GPU technologies for video cards, graphics cards, workstations, desktop computers, handhelds and more. ...

Contents

Early history

Founded in 1994 by Ross Smith, Gary Tarolli and Scott Sellers (all SGI alumni), with backing from Gordie Campbell's TechFarm, 3dfx released its famous Voodoo Graphics chip in 1996. The company only manufactured the chips and some reference boards, and initially did not sell any product to consumers; rather, it acted as an OEM supplier for graphics card companies, who designed, manufactured, marketed, and sold their own graphics cards which included the Voodoo. Image File history File links 3Dfxlogo. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ... Silicon Graphics, Inc. ... 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... A technical blueprint of a system that is intended for others to copy. ... Original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, is a term that refers to a situation in which one company purchases a manufactured product from another company and resells the product as its own, usually as a part of a larger product the original company is selling. ...


3dfx became popular mainly due to their great success within the arcade market. At the time, arcades were a very visible place to go visit and see the latest in 3D gaming and technology. The first arcade machine that 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics hardware was used in was called ICE Home Run Derby, a game released in 1996. Later that year they were featured in more popular titles, such as Atari's San Francisco Rush and Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey.[1] 3Dfx received a lot of focus from the media because of the obvious graphical prowess of these titles, and that new game consoles such as Nintendo 64, Sony PlayStation, and Sega Saturn would be showcases for similar next-generation graphics. It generated a lot of very positive mindshare among gamers for 3dfx. Voodoo Graphics was some of the best arcade hardware at the time, and it was coming to the home PC. This article is about a corporate game company. ... San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing (also known as San Francisco Rush and Rush) is an arcade racing game set in San Francisco, California. ... Wayne Gretzkys 3D Hockey - Wikipedia /**/ @import /skins/monobook/IE50Fixes. ... The Nintendo GameCube is an example of a popular video game console. ... The Nintendo 64 ) is Nintendos third home video game console, and its third home video game console for the international market. ... The original PlayStation was produced in a light grey colour; the more recent PSOne redesign sports a smaller more rounded case. ... The Sega Saturn ) is a 32-bit video game console, first released on November 22, 1994 in Japan, May 11, 1995 in North America and July 8, 1995 in Europe. ... One of the main objectives of Advertising and promotion is to establish what is called mind share (or share of mind). ...


Voodoo Graphics PCI

A Diamond Monster 3D, utilizing the Voodoo 1 chipset
A Diamond Monster 3D, utilizing the Voodoo 1 chipset

After a fortuitous drop in EDO DRAM prices due to the volatile DRAM market, Voodoo Graphics cards became feasible for the consumer PC market. The Voodoo 1, as the Voodoo Graphics would be later known, was notable for its lack of an onboard VGA controller. As such, a Voodoo-equipped PC still required a separate VGA graphics card, meaning it was very expensive to have both 3D and 2D acceleration. The Voodoo 1 occupied a separate PCI slot and only engaged when the host PC ran a 3D game that had been programmed to use the card. A pass-through VGA cable daisy-chained the VGA card to the Voodoo 1, which was itself connected to the monitor. Although this was a cumbersome arrangement that somewhat hurt the analog signal quality of the separate 2D card, PC gamers were willing to put up with it to gain what was, at the time, the best in 3D graphics. ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1067x886, 196 KB) Summary A Diamond Monster 3D Voodoo Graphics add-in card with pass-through connector. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1067x886, 196 KB) Summary A Diamond Monster 3D Voodoo Graphics add-in card with pass-through connector. ... Diamond Multimedia is a company that specializes in many forms of multimedia technology. ... Diamond Multimedia is a company that specializes in many forms of multimedia technology. ... DRAM is a type of random access memory that stores each bit of data in a separate capacitor. ... VGA redirects here. ... A graphics/video/display card/board/adapter is a computer component designed to convert the logical representation of visual information into a signal that can be used as input for a display medium. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The elementary meaning of daisy chain is a garland created from the daisy flower, generally as a childrens game. ...


The Voodoo 1's main competitors were cards from PowerVR and Rendition. PowerVR produced a similar 3D-only add-on card with capable 3D support, although it was not comparable to Voodoo Graphics in either image quality or performance. 3dfx saw intense competition in the market from cards that offered the combination of 2D and 3D acceleration. While these cards, such as Matrox Mystique, S3 ViRGE, and ATI 3D Rage, offered unquestionably inferior 3D acceleration, their low cost and simplicity often appealed to OEM system builders over the addition of another expensive and limited-use card (especially with the then-unproven 3D game market). Rendition's Vérité V1000 was an integrated (3D+VGA) single-chip solution as well that was perhaps Voodoo's closest competitor, but it too did not have comparable 3D performance (equal quality, however) and its 2D was considered merely adequate relative to other 2D cards of the time (slower than ViRGE, Rage, and Mystique). PowerVR is the division of the digital computing company Imagination Technologies (formerly VideoLogic) which designs the IP for the visual processing part of their business. ... Rendition was a maker of 3D graphics chipsets in the mid- to late-90s. ... The Mystique and Mystique 220 are 2D, 3D, and video accelerator cards for personal computers designed by Matrox. ... The Virtual Reality Graphics Engine (ViRGE) graphics chipset was one of the first 2D/3D accelerators designed for the mass market. ... The ATI Rage is a series of graphics chipsets offering 2D GUI acceleration, video acceleration, and 3D acceleration. ...


Glide API

Originally developed for use within the specialized resource constrained environment of an arcade game, Glide was created to handle error prone tasks like chip initialization for the programmer, but implemented nothing more than what the Voodoo hardware was directly capable of. This strategy differed from that of other 3D APIs of the era (Direct3D, OpenGL, and QuickDraw 3D), which hid low-level hardware details behind an "abstraction layer," with the goal of providing application developers a standard, hardware-neutral interface. A application programming interface (API) is the interface that a computer system, library or application provides in order to allow requests for services to be made of it by other computer programs, and/or to allow data to be exchanged between them. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) is a standard specification defining a cross-language cross-platform API for writing applications that produce 3D computer graphics (and 2D computer graphics as well). ... QuickDraw 3D, or QD3D for short, is a 3D graphics API developed by Apple Computer, originally for their Macintosh computers, but delivered as a cross-platform system. ...


The advantage of an abstraction layer is that game developers save programming effort and gain flexibility by writing their 3D rendering code once, for a single API, and the abstraction layer allows it to run on hardware from multiple manufacturers. This advantage is still in place today. However, in the early days of the 3D graphics card, Direct3D and OpenGL implementations were less mature than today, and computers were much slower and had less memory. The abstraction layers' overhead crippled performance in practice. 3dfx had therefore created a strong advantage for itself by aggressively promoting Glide, which was designed specifially around the Voodoo hardware, and therefore did not cause the performance hit of a higher level abstraction layer.


The killer application for the Voodoo was the MiniGL driver developed specifically to allow hardware acceleration of the game Quake, by id Software, on 3dfx cards. The driver implemented only the subset of OpenGL used by Quake. A killer application (commonly shortened to killer app) is a computer program that is so useful or desirable that it proves the value of some underlying technology, such as a gaming console, operating system, or piece of computer hardware. ... MiniGL is a cut-down version of the OpenGL 3D graphics API. It was developed by id Software in order to provide a cross-platform hardware abstraction layer for their Quake series games, the first to directly support acceleration on graphics cards. ... Zombies attacking the player at the starting of Episode 1, Mission 3: The Necropolis. ... id Software (IPA: officially, though originally ) is an American computer game developer based in Mesquite, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. ...


By 2000, the improved performance of Direct3D and OpenGL on the average personal computer, coupled with the huge variety of new 3D cards on the market, and the closure of 3dfx, would make Glide obsolete.


Voodoo Rush

Intergraph Intense3D Voodoo
Intergraph Intense3D Voodoo

In August 1997, 3dfx released the Voodoo Rush chipset, combining a Voodoo chip with a 2D chip that lay on the same circuit board, eliminating the need for a separate VGA card. Most cards were built with an Alliance Semiconductor AT25/AT3D 2D component, but there were some built with a Macronix chip and there were initial plans to partner with Trident and Media Reality, but no such boards were ever marketed. The Rush had the same specifications as Voodoo Graphics but performed worse because the Rush chip had to share VRAM bandwidth with the CRTC of the 2D chip, and was not directly present on the PCI bus but had to be programmed through linked registers of the 2D chip. Like the Voodoo Graphics, there was no interrupt mechanism, so the driver would have to poll the Rush in order to determine whether a command completed or not; the indirection through the 2D component added significant overhead here and tended to back up traffic on the PCI interface. The typical performance hit was around 10% compared to Voodoo Graphics, and even worse in windowed mode. Later Rush boards released by Hercules had 8 MiB VRAM and a 10% higher clock speed to close the performance gap, but in the marketplace the damage had already been done by a reputation for performance issues and driver bugs. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1534x720, 275 KB) Intergraph Intense3D Voodoo accelerator card. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1534x720, 275 KB) Intergraph Intense3D Voodoo accelerator card. ... Intergraph was founded in 1969 as M&S Computing, Inc. ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Alliance Semiconductor Corporation designs and manufactures memory and memory-intensive logic. ... An old Trident SVGA card with TVGA9000 chip. ... Hercules Computer Technology, Inc. ... The three-letter acronym MIB may refer to any of several concepts: Management information base, a computing information repository used (for example) by SNMP In marbles, any marble, but esp. ...


A rare, third version was produced which featured a Cirrus Logic 2D chip instead of the earlier model. This version fixed the PCI bus collisions and memory interface problems, but there was little interest from graphics board manufacturers and only a few hundred units (if even that) were produced before the Rush was finally discontinued in early 1998.[citation needed] Cirrus Logic NASDAQ: CRUS is a fabless semiconductor supplier specializing in analog, mixed-signal, and DSP chips. ...


Voodoo2

Main article: Voodoo2
STB Blackmagic 3D in SLI
STB Blackmagic 3D in SLI

In 1998, 3dfx released Voodoo's successor, the popular Voodoo2. The Voodoo2 was architecturally similar, but the basic board configuration added a second texturing unit, allowing two textures to be drawn in a single pass. The Voodoo2 chip The Voodoo 2 was a GPU made by 3dfx. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1330x829, 281 KB) A pair of STB Blackmagic 3D cards (3dfx Voodoo2-based) connected in SLI. Cards scanned by me. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1330x829, 281 KB) A pair of STB Blackmagic 3D cards (3dfx Voodoo2-based) connected in SLI. Cards scanned by me. ... This is a list of defunct graphics chips and card vendors. ... 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean [1]. // Coated in ice, power and telephone lines sag and often break, resulting in power outages. ... The Voodoo2 chip The Voodoo 2 was a GPU made by 3dfx. ...


A problem with the Voodoo2 was the fact that it required three chips and a separate VGA graphics card, whereas new competing 3D products, such as the ATI Rage Pro, NVIDIA RIVA 128, and Rendition Verite 2200, were single-chip products. Despite this shortcoming, the card's dithered 16-bit 3D color rendering limitation, and an 800×600 resolution limitation, no other manufacturers' products could match the smooth framerates that the Voodoo2 produced. It was a landmark (and expensive) achievement in PC's 3D-graphics. Its excellent performance, and the mindshare gained from the original Voodoo Graphics, resulted in its success. Many users even preferred Voodoo2's dedicated purpose, because they were free to use the quality 2D card of their choice as a result. Some 2D/3D combined solutions at the time offered quite sub-par 2D quality and speed. Highcolour (or Hicolour, Highcolor, Hicolor, Thousands on a Macintosh) graphics is a method of storing image information in a computers memory such that each pixel is represented by two bytes. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with List of common resolutions. ...


The arrival of the NVIDIA RIVA TNT with integrated 2D/3D chipset would offer minor challenge to the Voodoo2's supremacy months later. The RIVA TNT (For TwiN Texel) was a 3D graphics chipset manufactured by NVIDIA. It was released in late 1998 and cemented NVIDIAs reputation as the chief rival of then industry leader 3dfx. ...


SLI

The Voodoo2 introduced Scan-Line Interleave (SLI) to the gaming market. In SLI mode, two Voodoo2 boards were connected together, each drawing half the scan lines of the screen. For the price of a second Voodoo2 board, users could essentially double their 3D throughput. A welcome result of SLI mode was an increase in the maximum resolution supported, now up to 1024×768. Despite the high cost and inconvenience of using three separate graphics cards, the Voodoo2 SLI scheme was clearly the pinnacle of gaming performance at the time. Scan Line Interleave (SLI) from 3dfx is a method for linking two (or more) video cards oder chips together to produce a single output. ... A scanline is a line on a CRT tube, made up of dots. ... XGA, the eXtended Graphics Array, is an IBM display standard introduced in 1990. ...


SLI capability was not offered in subsequent 3dfx board designs, although the technology would be later used to link the VSA-100 chips on the Voodoo 5.


Having since acquired 3dfx, NVIDIA in 2004 reintroduced the SLI brand (now for Scalable Link Interface) in their GeForce 6 Series. ATI Technologies has also since introduced its own multi-chip implementation, dubbed "CrossFire". Although Scalable Link Interface and Crossfire operate on the original SLI principle, the algorithms used are now totally different. 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other meanings of SLI, please see SLI. NVIDIA SLI Logo Scalable Link Interface (SLI) is a brand name for a multi-GPU solution developed by NVIDIA for linking two (or more) video cards together to produce a single output. ... The GeForce 6 Series (codenamed NV40) is NVIDIAs sixth generation of GeForce graphics chipsets. ... The current version of the article or section is written like a magazine article instead of the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia. ... CrossFire is a brand name for ATI Technologies multi-GPU solution, which competes with its rival nVidias Scalable Link Interface (SLI). ...


Voodoo Banshee

Creative 3D Blaster Banshee AGP

Near the end of 1998, 3dfx released the Voodoo Banshee, which used a lower price to aim at a more mainstream consumer market. A single-chip solution, the Banshee was essentially a legacy VGA core combined with an overclocked but incomplete (only one Texture Mapping Unit) Voodoo2. The Banshee's single-chip form factor dictated a 128-bit memory bus, like the first Voodoo. Performance wise, the Banshee was a mixed bag. In scenes which used multiple textures per polygon, the Voodoo2 was substantially faster, due to the second TMU. In scenes dominated by single-textured polygons, though, the Banshee would match (or even slightly exceed) the Voodoo2 due to its higher clock speed. While it was not a hit on the scale of the Voodoo 1 or 2, the Banshee sold a respectable number of units, although 3dfx started losing some market share to NVIDIA's RIVA TNT. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1043x766, 185 KB) Summary A 3dfx Voodoo Banshee AGP video card. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1043x766, 185 KB) Summary A 3dfx Voodoo Banshee AGP video card. ... Creative Technology Limited (SGX: C76, NASDAQ: CREAF) is a listed manufacturer of computer multimedia products based in Singapore where the firm was initially founded by Sim Wong Hoo (born 1955) on July 1, 1981. ... 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean [1]. // Coated in ice, power and telephone lines sag and often break, resulting in power outages. ... Spherical texture mapping Texture mapping is a method, pioneered by Edwin Catmull, of adding detail, surface texture, or colour to a computer-generated graphic or 3D model. ... Polygons are used in computer graphics to compose images that are three-dimensional in appearance. ... The RIVA TNT (For TwiN Texel) was a 3D graphics chipset manufactured by NVIDIA. It was released in late 1998 and cemented NVIDIAs reputation as the chief rival of then industry leader 3dfx. ...


While the 3D performance was somewhat of a disappointment, Banshee's 2D core was anything but. It rivaled the fastest 2D cores from Matrox, NVIDIA, and ATI. The chip was equipped with a 128-bit 2D GUI engine and a 128-bit VESA VBE 3.0 VGA core. It was perhaps the fastest MS-DOS performer released, certainly at the time. Windows performance was equally impressive. The graphics chip capably accelerated DirectDraw and supported all of the Windows Graphics Device Interface (GDI) in hardware, with all 256 raster operations and tertiary functions, and had hardware polygon acceleration. All of this helped the 2D core be able to boast near-theoretical performance with a null driver test in Windows NT. 3dfx had indisputably fixed part of the weakness of the older Voodoo Rush with its slow 3rd-party 2D chip.[2][3] Matrox Electronic Systems Ltd is a Canadian company based in Dorval, Quebec, which produces video card components and equipment for personal computers. ... The current version of the article or section is written like a magazine article instead of the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia. ... 2D computer graphics is the computer-based generation of digital images—mostly from two-dimensional models (such as 2D geometric models, text, and digital images) and by techniques specific to them. ... A graphical user interface (GUI, often pronounced gooey) is a type of user interface which allows people to interact with a computer and computer-controlled devices which employ graphical icons, visual indicators or special graphical elements called widgets, along with text labels or text navigation to represent the information and... VESA BIOS Extensions (VBE) comprise a VESA standard, currently at version 3, that defines the interface that can be used by software to access compliant video boards at high resolutions and bit depths. ... Microsofts disk operating system, MS-DOS, was Microsofts implementation of DOS, which was the first popular operating system for the IBM PC, and until recently, was widely used on the PC compatible platform. ... DirectDraw is part of Microsofts DirectX API. DirectDraw is used to render graphics in applications where top performance is important. ... GDI is short for Graphics Device Interface or Graphical Device Interface, and is one of the three core components or subsystems of Microsoft Windows. ... Suppose the smiley face in the top left corner is an RGB bitmap image. ... Windows NT is a family of operating systems produced by Microsoft, the first version of which was released in July 1993. ...


Sega Dreamcast

In 1997, 3dfx was working with Sega to develop Sega's next video game console. The process involved two competing designs: a unit called "Katana" being developed in Japan using NEC and VideoLogic technology vs. the "Blackbelt", a system designed in America using a GPU from 3dfx. This deal had the potential to get 3dfx's foot in the home console door, provided the Blackbelt became the console that would become the Sega Dreamcast. Unfortunately for 3dfx, Sega chose the NEC solution. 3dfx sued Sega for breach of contract when the Katana was chosen, accusing Sega of starting the deal in bad faith to take 3dfx technology, and eventually the case was settled out of court; but the failure of the Blackbelt was 3dfx's own doing. Sega Corporation ) is an international video game software and hardware developing company, and a former home computer and console manufacturer. ... Sega Corporation ) is an international video game software and hardware developing company, and a former home computer and console manufacturer. ... Four different video game consoles from different generations. ... The Dreamcast , code-named Dural, Dricas and Katana during development) is Segas fifth and final video game console and the successor to the Sega Saturn. ...


When 3dfx declared its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in April 1997, it made the mistake of revealing every detail of the contract with Sega. By law, when a company files an IPO in the United States, it has to make public all details of its business and financial situation, but sensitive information can be kept secret, so long as it does not materially affect the company's statement of its financial position and outlook. Sega had been keeping the development of its next-generation console secret during this competition, and was outraged when 3dfx publicly laid out its deal with Sega over the new system in the IPO; Sega quickly quashed the Blackbelt and used the Katana as the model of the Dreamcast. An initial public offering (IPO) is the first sale of a corporations common shares to public investors. ...


Decline

In early 1998, 3dfx embarked on its Rampage development project, which was to be a new graphics card that would take two years to develop, and would supposedly be several years ahead of the competition once it debuted. The company hired hardware and software teams in Austin, Texas to develop 2D and 3D Windows device drivers for Rampage in the summer of 1998. The hardware team in Austin initially focused on Rampage, but then worked on transform and lighting (T&L) engines and on MPEG decoder technology. (Later, these technologies were part of the NVIDIA asset purchase in December 2000.) 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean [1]. // Coated in ice, power and telephone lines sag and often break, resulting in power outages. ... Nickname: Live Music Capital of the World Location in the state of Texas Coordinates: Country United States State Texas Counties Travis County, Williamson County Government  - Mayor Will Wynn Area  - City  296. ... Windows XP loading drivers during a Safe Mode bootup A device driver, or a software driver is a specific type of computer software, typically developed to allow interaction with hardware devices. ... Transform and Lighting is a computing term used in computer graphics, generally used in the context of hardware acceleration (Hardware T&L). Transform refers to the task of converting coordinates in space, which in this case involves moving 3D objects in a virtual world and converting 3D coordinates to a...


Voodoo3 and strategy shift

Main article: Voodoo3
Voodoo3 3000 AGP box art.
Voodoo3 3000 AGP box art.

3dfx executed a major strategy change just prior to the launch of Voodoo3 by purchasing STB Technologies, which was one of the larger graphics card manufacturers at the time; the intent was for 3dfx to start manufacturing, marketing, and selling its own graphics cards, rather than functioning only as an OEM supplier. This alienated 3dfx's OEM customers, all of whom chose to switch, and source their 3D chips from other manufacturers, rather than do business with a company who was their direct competitor at retail. With the purchase of STB 3dfx created a line of Velocity boards (a STB brand) that used crippled Voodoo3 chips, as a product to target the low-end market. The chip came with only a single functional TMU, making it similar to a Voodoo Banshee. 3dfx Voodoo3 box art Voodoo3 was a series of computer gaming video cards manufactured and designed by 3dfx Interactive. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x768, 326 KB) Summary One of the several 3dfx Voodoo3 box art images. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x768, 326 KB) Summary One of the several 3dfx Voodoo3 box art images. ... This is a list of defunct graphics chips and card vendors. ... Original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, is a term that refers to a situation in which one company purchases a manufactured product from another company and resells the product as its own, usually as a part of a larger product the original company is selling. ...


This strategy change was one of the main contributors to 3dfx's downfall; the company did not sell any Voodoo 4 or 5 chips to third party manufacturers. The company was also presumably distracted by the need to focus both on the retail market as well as the OEM market, selling cards to computer manufacturers. The latter was hard-won business, but provided a steady income to fund subsequent development. A significant requirement of the OEM business was the ability to consistently produce new products on the six month product refresh cycle the computer manufacturers required; 3dfx did not have the methodology nor the mindset to the focus on this business model. In the end, 3dfx opted to focus on the retail business using its own manufactured and branded products.


The Voodoo 3 was heavily hyped as the graphics card that would make 3dfx the undisputed leader but the actual product was below expectations. Though it was still the fastest by a small margin, the Voodoo 3 lacked 32-bit color and large texture support, features that fledging rival NVIDIA included in the competing RIVA TNT2. While at the time, few games supported large textures and 32-bit color, and those that did generally were too demanding to be run at playable framerates, the features "32-bit color support" and "2048x2048 textures" were much more impressive on paper than 16-bit color and 256x256 texture support. The Voodoo3 sold relatively well, but was disappointing compared to the first two models and 3dfx gave up the market leadership to NVIDIA. The RIVA TNT2 was a 3D graphics chip manufactured by NVIDIA starting in early 1999. ...


As 3dfx attempted to counter the TNT2 threat, they were caught off guard by NVIDIA's GeForce 256, which took the performance crown by a wide margin, making it superior to the Voodoo 3 in all respects (except price). 3dfx missed a product cycle as they attempted to match the GeForce. The GeForce 256 (codenamed NV10), often known simply as the GeForce, was the first of NVIDIAs GeForce product-line. ...


Voodoo 4 and 5

Main article: Voodoo 5
Voodoo5 5500.

The company's next (and as it would turn out, final) product was code-named Napalm. Originally, this was just a Voodoo3 modified to support newer technologies and higher clock speeds, with performance estimated to be around the level of the RIVA TNT2. However, Napalm was delayed, and in the meantime NVIDIA brought out their landmark GeForce 256 chip, which shifted even more of the computational work from the CPU to the graphics chip. Napalm would have been unable to compete with the GeForce, so it was redesigned to support multiple chip configurations, like the Voodoo2 had. The end-product was named VSA-100, with VSA standing for Voodoo Scalable Architecture. 3dfx was finally able to have a product that could defeat the GeForce. Voodoo 5 box art The Voodoo 5 was the last and most powerful graphics card line that 3dfx Interactive released. ... Image File history File links V5-5500-press. ... Image File history File links V5-5500-press. ... The RIVA TNT2 was a 3D graphics chip manufactured by NVIDIA starting in early 1999. ... The GeForce 256 (codenamed NV10), often known simply as the GeForce, was the first of NVIDIAs GeForce product-line. ...


However, by the time the VSA-100 based cards made it to the market, the GeForce 2 and ATI Radeon cards had arrived and were offering higher performance at that price point. The only real advantage the Voodoo 5 5500 had over the GeForce 2 GTS or Radeon was its superior anti-aliasing implementation, and the fact that it didn't take such a large performance hit (relative to its peers) when anti-aliasing was enabled. 3dfx was fully aware of the Voodoo 5's speed deficiency, so they touted it as quality over speed, which was a reversal of the Voodoo 3 marketing which emphasized raw performance over features. 5500 sales were respectable but volumes were not at a level to keep 3dfx afloat. The GeForce 2 (codenamed NV15) was the second generation of GeForce graphics cards by NVIDIA Corporation. ... Development Radeon 256 The first-generation Radeon GPU was launched in 2000, and was initially code-named Rage 6, (later R100), as the successor to ATIs aging Rage 128 which was unable to compete with the GeForce 256. ... In digital signal processing, anti-aliasing is the technique of minimizing aliasing (jagged or blocky patterns) when representing a high-resolution signal at a lower resolution. ...


The Voodoo 5 5000, which had 32 MiB of VRAM to the 5500's 64 MiB, was never launched, as the smaller frame buffer didn't significantly reduce cost over the Voodoo 5 5500. The framebuffer is a part of RAM in a computer allocated to hold the graphics information for one frame or picture. ...


The only other member of the Voodoo 5 line, the Voodoo 4 4500, was as much of a disaster as Voodoo Rush, because it offered performance well short of its value-oriented peers combined with a late launch. Voodoo 4 was beaten in almost all areas by the GeForce 2 MX — a low-cost board sold mostly as an OEM part for computer manufacturers — and the Radeon VE.[4] The GeForce 2 (codenamed NV15) was the second generation of GeForce graphics cards by NVIDIA Corporation. ... Development Radeon 256 The first-generation Radeon GPU was launched in 2000, and was initially code-named Rage 6, (later R100), as the successor to ATIs aging Rage 128 which was unable to compete with the GeForce 256. ...


One unusual trait of the Voodoo 4 and 5 was that the Macintosh versions of these cards had both VGA and DVI output jacks, whereas the PC versions only had the VGA connector, and lacked DVI. Also, the Mac versions of the Voodoo4 and 5 had an Achilles' heel in that they did not support hardware-based MPEG2 acceleration, which hindered the playback of DVD's on a Mac equipped with a Voodoo graphics card.

Voodoo5 6000 prototype.

The Voodoo 5 6000 never made it to market, due to a severe bug resulting in data corruption on the AGP bus on certain boards, and was limited to AGP 2x. It was thus incompatible with the then-new Pentium 4 motherboards. Later tests proved that the Voodoo 5 6000 outperformed not only the GeForce 2 GTS and ATI Radeon 7200, but also the faster GeForce 2 Ultra and Radeon 7500. In some cases it was shown to compete well with the GeForce 3, trading performance places with the card on various tests.[5] However, the production cost of the card, particularly the 4 chip setup and 128 MiB of VRAM, would have likely hampered its competitiveness. Image File history File links F3_3. ... Image File history File links F3_3. ... The Voodoo 5 6000 and its accompanying Voodoo Volts power supply The Voodoo 5 6000 was an unreleased graphics card that was the last and most powerful model ever designed by 3dfx. ... New Intel Pentium 4 with Hyper Threading logo The Pentium 4 is a seventh-generation x86 architecture microprocessor produced by Intel and was the companys first all-new CPU design since the Pentium Pro of 1995. ... The GeForce 2 (codenamed NV15) was the second generation of GeForce graphics cards by NVIDIA Corporation. ... Development Radeon 256 The first-generation Radeon GPU was launched in 2000, and was initially code-named Rage 6, (later R100), as the successor to ATIs aging Rage 128 which was unable to compete with the GeForce 256. ... The GeForce 2 (codenamed NV15) was the second generation of GeForce graphics cards by NVIDIA Corporation. ... Development Radeon 256 The first-generation Radeon GPU was launched in 2000, and was initially code-named Rage 6, (later R100), as the successor to ATIs aging Rage 128 which was unable to compete with the GeForce 256. ... The GeForce 3 (codenamed NV20) was NVIDIAs third-generation GeForce chip. ...


In late 2000, not long after Voodoo 4's launch, several of 3dfx's creditors decided to initiate bankruptcy proceedings. 3dfx would have had virtually no chance of successfully contesting these proceedings, and instead opted to be bought by NVIDIA, ceasing to exist as a company. Most of the design team working on "Rampage" (the successor to the VSA-100 line) was transferred to the team working on what has since become the GeForce FX series. Notice of closure stuck on the door of a computer store the day after its parent company, Granville Technology Group Ltd, declared bankruptcy (strictly, put into administration - see text) in the UK. Bankruptcy is a legally declared inability or impairment of ability of an individual or organizations to pay their... NVIDIA GeForce FX logo The famous Dawn demo was released by NVIDIA to showcase pixel and vertex shaders effects of the GeForce FX Series The GeForce FX (codenamed NV30) is a graphics card in the GeForce line, from the manufacturer NVIDIA. // Overview NVIDIAs GeForce FX series is the fifth...


NVIDIA, having acquired 3dfx mainly for its intellectual property, announced that it would not provide technical support for 3dfx products. Drivers and support have since been available at Voodoo Files, while NVIDIA did offer a limited time program where 3dfx owners could trade in their cards for NVIDIA's.


Cause of decline

3dfx's decline is a matter of debate. Some attribute it to 3dfx lavishly spending on its employees — it reported spending $30,000–50,000 on company lunches and other perks a month, even up to the last two weeks before it went under.


3dfx's fall is most often attributed to managerial prioritizing of research and development. Voodoo cards were typically highly expensive, and left the mid and low end of the market to ATI and NVIDIA. NVIDIA chose short development cycles, whereas 3dfx pursued lengthy, ambitious development cycles, and NVIDIA and ATI cards eventually ended up with better overall performance, with Matrox holding the edge in image quality. NVIDIA's flagship GeForce 256 and GeForce 2 GTS are often given credit for the demise of the competing Voodoo 3 and Voodoo 5, respectively, and thus that of 3dfx. However, it is also important to note that the GeForce's midrange derivative, in the form of the GeForce 2 MX, was what successfully targeted the masses and grabbed a huge amount of market share for NVIDIA. By the time that 3dfx rolled out the Voodoo 4 4500 to counter the MX, it was late to the market and failed to match Nvidia's offering in price and performance. Matrox Electronic Systems Ltd is a Canadian company based in Dorval, Quebec, which produces video card components and equipment for personal computers. ... The GeForce 256 (codenamed NV10), often known simply as the GeForce, was the first of NVIDIAs GeForce product-line. ... The GeForce 2 (codenamed NV15) was the second generation of GeForce graphics cards by NVIDIA Corporation. ... 3dfx Voodoo3 box art Voodoo3 was a series of computer gaming video cards manufactured and designed by 3dfx Interactive. ... Voodoo 5 box art The Voodoo 5 was the last and most powerful graphics card line that 3dfx Interactive released. ...


When Greg Ballard became CEO of 3dfx in 1997, analysts marked it as a turning point since Ballard was a marketing guru, but he failed to understand R&D in the graphics industry. His attempt to develop a single-card 2D/3D solution in the forms of the Voodoo Banshee and the Voodoo3, even though that was 3dfx's weak point, ended up costing the company millions in sales and lost market share as well as diverting vital resources from the Rampage project. The phrase research and development (also R and D or R&D) has a special commercial significance apart from its conventional coupling of scientific research and technological development. ...


3dfx also released word in early 1999 that the Voodoo2 would not support DirectX when running in Windows 2000. OpenGL support and Glide support would remain, but this announcement caused many eager gamers to switch to alternative Nvidia or ATI offerings for their new machines.


The "Rampage" project, which 3dfx put much effort into but never was able to bring to market, debuted in 3dfx's labs in December of 2000, within weeks of the sale of 3dfx's assets to NVIDIA. The Rampage design team was using a pioneering synthesis tool set which was still under development as the design proceeded.


In addition, the company continued to vacillate on its commitment to the delayed Rampage project versus the need for short-term retail products, such as the Voodoo 3 and Napalm/VSA-100. Because Rampage was oft-delayed — it had been scheduled to show at the 1998 Comdex — 2D and 3D driver software was up and running when it hit the lab. 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean [1]. // Coated in ice, power and telephone lines sag and often break, resulting in power outages. ... COMDEX (Computer Dealers Exhibition) was a computer expo held in Las Vegas, Nevada, each November from 1979 to 2003. ...


However, the impending release of Rampage was too little, too late. The deal to "wind down" the company was less than 2 weeks from closure at that point. The history of and participants in the 3dfx/NVIDIA deal making can be read in the respective companies financial filings from that time period. The resolution and legality of those arrangements (with respect to the purchase, 3dfx's creditors and its bankruptcy proceedings) was still being worked through the courts as of August 2006, nearly 6 years after the sale. For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ...


While some have speculated that shipping the "Rampage" might have saved 3dfx, the fact remains that the company never mastered the new concept of relatively cheap, high-performance dies with integrated 2D acceleration, which was to become the de facto standard of PC graphics cards very soon. The success of "Rampage" would not have simply depended upon raw performance, but also the cost of manufacturing, very much reflected in retail prices. According to documents from late in 3dfx's life, the "Rampage" core was evidently not too much more than a more powerful version of the VSA-100, with an entirely separate chip code-named "Sage" required for T&L and hardware shader operation; though to their credit, support for DDR-RAM was implemented. It remains unknown whether "Rampage" would have been a practical product, let alone enough to keep the company alive in the card industry. De facto is a Latin expression that means in fact or in practice. It is commonly used as opposed to de jure (meaning by law) when referring to matters of law or governance or technique (such as standards), that are found in the common experience as created or developed without...


Chip table

Chip Release Date Components
(PPxTMU)6
Core
(MHz)
Memory
(MHz)
Fillrate7
Pix/Tex
Memory
Bus Width9
Memory
(MiB)
Bus
Voodoo Graphics October 1996 SST-1 chipset (1x1). No VGA. 50 50 50/50 64-bit×2 4/6 EDO PCI
Voodoo Rush April 1997 SST-96 chipset (1x1). 2D Chip. 75 75 75/75 64-bit×2 6/8 EDO PCI
Voodoo2 January 1998 SST-2 chipset (1x2). No VGA. 90 90 90/180 64-bit×3 8/12 EDO PCI
Voodoo Banshee October 1998 Single-Chip (1x1) (2D/3D) 100 110 100/100 128-bit 8/16 SD/SG AGP 1x/PCI
Velocity 100 July 1999 Avenger core (1x1). 1 Disabled TMU. 143 143 143/143 128-bit 8 SG AGP 2x
Velocity 200 Not released Avenger core (1x1). 1 Disabled TMU. 143 143 143/143 128-bit 16 SG AGP 2x
Voodoo3 1000 March 1999 Avenger core (1x2) 125 125 125/250 128-bit 8 SG AGP 2x
Voodoo3 2000 April 1999 Avenger core (1x2) 143 143 143/286 128-bit 16 SD/SG AGP 2x/PCI
Voodoo3 3000 April 1999 Avenger core (1x2) 166 166 166/333 128-bit 16 SD/SG AGP 2x/PCI
Voodoo3 3500 July 1999 Avenger core (1x2), A/V processor 183 183 183/366 128-bit 16 SD AGP 2x
Voodoo 4 4200 Not released 1 x VSA-1018 (2x1) 183 183 366/366 128-bit 32 DDR AGP 4x/PCI
Voodoo 4 45005 October 2000 1 x VSA-100 (2x1) 166 166 333/333 128-bit 32 SD AGP 4x/PCI
Voodoo 4 4800 Not released 1 x VSA-100 (2x1) 166 166 333/333 128-bit 64 SD AGP 4x/PCI
Voodoo 5 5000 Not released 2 x VSA-100 (2x1) 166 166 667/667 128-bit×2 321 SG AGP 2x/PCI
Voodoo 5 55005 June 2000 2 x VSA-100 (2x1) 166 166 667/667 128-bit×2 642 SD AGP 2x/PCI
Voodoo 5 6000 Not released 4 x VSA-100 (2x1) 166/1834 166/1834 1333/1333 128-bit×4 1283 SD AGP 2x
  • 2D/3D - products released before the Banshee can only display 3D graphics..
  • 1 Shared by two processors; effectively 16 MiB VRAM.
  • 2 Shared by two processors; effectively 32 MiB VRAM.
  • 3 Shared by four processors; effectively 32 MiB VRAM.
  • 4 The Voodoo 5 6000 was originally intended to have a core and memory clock of 183 MHz, but 3dfx reduced the clock speed to 166 MHz in an attempt to get the boards stable while operating in 2/4/8x AA modes. Since the instability problem was due to a design flaw in the PCB the reduction in clockspeed did nothing in regards to the problem. 3400 and 3700 boards with the "PCI bus modification" by ex-3dfx engineer H.S. run stable in all modes with speeds upwards of 190 MHz.
  • 5 Macintosh versions were released later with the same specs, but only in PCI.
  • 6 Pixel pipeline/s x Texture management unit/s (TMU).
  • 7 Fillrate is measured in Megapixels/sec for pixel fillrate and Megatexels/sec for texture fillrate. Taking advantage of double texture fillrate per clock cycle requires the game engine to make use of multitexturing.
  • 8 Daytona core
  • 9 Voodoo boards with multiple chips often have independent memory busses for each chip's memory bank. This resulted in boards with large amounts of memory, but the memory was split between the completely separate chips. So while a Voodoo2 has 8 or 12 MiB of RAM, this RAM is split up between the texture and framebuffer.
In the case of Voodoo2 12 MiB, there is 4 MiB texture RAM for each texture processor and 4 MiB for the framebuffer. When a game is not multitexturing, a total of 8 MiB texture memory is available. With multitexturing, this is halved to 4 MiB. SLI, however, does not double the available RAM because the boards separately calculate their part of the scene.
This split-RAM architecture caused the resolution limits on the older boards. For Voodoo Graphics' 4 MiB RAM (2 MiB framebuffer) framebuffer size only allowed for a 640 × 480 resolution when z-buffering was used. Some games managed 800 × 600 without z-buffer, but they were few and far between. MechWarrior 2 3Dfx Edition was one such game.[6]

VGA redirects here. ... Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is a type of random access memory that stores each bit of data in a separate capacitor. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Synchronous Graphics random accsess memory SGRAM is based on SDRAM, but includes graphics-specific read/write functions SGRAM also retrieves blocks of data and so reduces the number of reads and writes that memory must carry out. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... The 3dfx VSA-100 (Voodoo Scalable Architecture) was a GPU designed for the Voodoo Graphics series of expansion cards. ... The first Macintosh computer, introduced in 1984, upgraded to a 512K Fat Mac. The Macintosh or Mac, is a line of personal computers designed, developed, manufactured, and marketed by Apple Computer. ... The framebuffer is a part of RAM in a computer allocated to hold the graphics information for one frame or picture. ... Z-buffering is a term in computer graphics which refers to management of image depth coordinates in 3-d graphics, mainly used in hardware, more seldom in software. ...

References

  1. ^ Donovan, Gary. 3dfx/Quantum3D Arcade Hardware, The Dodge Garage, accessed July 26, 2006.
  2. ^ Pabst, Thomas. New 3D Chips - Banshee, G200, RIVA TNT And Savage3D, Tom's Hardware, August 18, 1998.
  3. ^ 3dfx Specifications: Voodoo™ Banshee AGP/PCI, 3dfxzone, accessed July 26, 2006.
  4. ^ Lal Shimp, Anand. 3dfx Voodoo4 4500AGP, Anandtech, October 23, 2000.
  5. ^ Jasper. 3dfx Voodoo 5 6000 Review, Sudhian, July 26, 2006.
  6. ^ Kanajana. Kanajana's Mechwarrior 2 3D Page, updated November 13, 2005.

See also

A graphics/video/display card/board/adapter is a computer component designed to convert the logical representation of visual information into a signal that can be used as input for a display medium. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles. ...

External links


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