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3DFx + GLIDE - The Life and Death.

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what year was 3Dfx introduced? i thought i would start a little thread b/c i havent found out and cant get anyone to tell me why 3DFx crashed and burned in or around the summer of 1999, which was about the same time i purchased a 16MB Voodoo3 3DFx card. Still around 2000 i can remember 3Dfx cards and Voodoo 4, 5, & 6 being still mainstream and sold and Glide still supported and almost required on most PC games. Meanwhile Nvidia was buying them out. so how did this happen with 3dFx at the time being the mammoth of a 3D card manufacturer as they were, or did they just sell their technology to other card manfacturers such as ATI and Nvidia.? did DirectX replace Glide? what was wrong with Glide at the time? or was it OPenGL taking over 3Dfx? or was it both? anyway i STILL have my 3Dfx card, and i have to admit sometimes its still fun to whip up the old 500Mhz processor with my 16MB Voodoo 3. kinda like still going back and playing NES and Atari games. anyway i would love to hear back from you and what your thoughts or answers to cause of what could have been a 3D product to keep in step with ATI and Nvidia today and maybe a little more competition to go around. [edited by - opengl_guru on December 15, 2003 12:35:01 PM]

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I don''t know about the corporate machinations that went on, but Glide wasn''t replaced by Direct3D or OpenGL.

Glide was a proprietary API for 3Dfx cards, it was much more low-level than OGL or D3D (or at least felt that way). That has some good points and bad points, but mostly I think the management done by OpenGL/Direct3D drivers is worth Glide dying. Also don''t forget OGL & D3D have been accelerated on Voodoo cards since GLQuake (although perhaps not D3D since it was still at the crappy 6 stage, and it wasn''t a full OGL implementation).

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yes, A.Poster, Voodoo 6. i remember going into Electronics Boutique to buy my video card, and there stood before me, a Voodoo 3, Voodoo 3 Extreme, Voodoo 4, Voodoo 5 and Voodoo 6. I imagine Voodoo 6(now in hindsight looking back) was nothing more than Voodoo 5 "enhanced" as 3dfx was trying to make some money but not sure about that. hmmm wonder if i could find some nice Voodoo 5 and 6 cards out there on Ebay lol.

what i want to know that even at the lower level did Glide not have certain capabilities through 3dfx that OGL and Direct3D/X had? obviously something had to give. i remember though those high end Voodoo Cards being really expensive. my 16MB Voodoo 3 was about $150, from there the price exponentially went up.

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nope, there was definately no voodoo6

what you might mean is that the voodoo5 was actually a voodoo4 with 2 gpu''s (if you can call those a gpu )

there was much talk though about voodoo6 and beyond as the voodoo4 chips were said to be scaleable up to 128 on a !SINGLE! board (now imagine that ) via a technique similar to sli (the voodoo2 had this, you could basically hook together 2 of them and have their rendering speed roughly doubled, and inchrease their max resolution up to 1024x768 which was really high back then)

but the only card beyond a voodoo5 (2 gpu''s) i remember (which was at least produced not talked about, yet i have to see atleast one of them) was some sort of enhanced voodoo5 with 4 gpu''s. afaik it was not marketed as voodoo6.

the reason 3dfx went under was imho the focus on quality vs. speed (t-buffer anyone?) whereas nvidia (coming up a bit after voodoo2 with their tnt, their first usable 3d accelerator) just went for pure speed (just look at the masses, they mostly buy on speed and price no one cared for that motion blur/antialiasing/depth insharpness (is that a word??), which are THE buzzwords coming out today which the voodoo4/5 had already back then).

and glide died for the fact that it was bound to 3dfx cards. i don''t remember it as beeing that much more low level than ogl but this might be because i started 3d programming with glide and was quite not experienced to do much more than basic textured tri drawing.

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yeah maybe i was thinking of voodoo 5 enhanced, but i swear i saw boxes at EB that said Voodoo 6. hmmmm. so things brings a good question.. how come NVIDIA hasnt taken some of 3dfx''s solutions and ideas and used them? why not continue the quest to where you can hook up 2 cards together to effectively get double speed? i know that cards are fast now but it just seems like NVIDIA didnt adopt some of the 3dfx solutions. just imagine if 3dfx would have survived..i believe they would be as big as ATI and NVIDIA. i have been reading more and 3dfx was ahead of the game up until the "last minute" in terms of customer base and graphics power. thus the prices on cards might be lower. just imagine having to choose between 3 cards instead of 2. i will keep my voodoo 3 til it dies..just like my NES and Atari 2600. one of the things i read was that 3dfx died out b/c it failed miserably to keep up sales while the cards kept being shipped out and at the same time were outselling NVIDIA and ATI on a ratio of 2:1. guess you have look to business and management decision making if you want to get down to the nitty gritty details.

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There can only be one AGP port in a system, and it can only really have one device on it, which is why there is no SLI AGP setup that I know of.

The only way you could pull one off would be to stuff both GPU''s onto one card, and the memory backend would probably suffer a bit unless you flat out doubled it again, at which point you''re looking at a half gig of stupid fast ram plus two rather large GPU''s that dump out a whole lotta watts.

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Whatever the cause, the end of 3dfx is one of the sadder stories in the history of computer technology. There have been many other instances in the past when bad business decisions have sunk a better platform (Mac OS vs.DOS, Betamax vs. VHS). This is just the latest of them. What makes it so sad is that to this day Glide is still the best gaming API ever developed. A Glide game running on a Voodoo 5 with 2x FSAA on a fast computer is unmatched by anything nVidia or ATI can do through Direct X. Sad. that is just my opinion and before you start the flaming notice that i am trying to say that if Glide+3Dfx were to survive today ATI and NVIDIA would have their hands full in terms of competition. A LOT of Nvidias technology on their cards and architecture still to this day stems from the 3dfx line. If 3dfx wouldnt have bought out STB and focused on the hard core gamer i believe things would be a LOT different today.

--but guess what? even though 3dfx is dead as a company you can still get updated drivers from voodoo and 3rd party vendors. i found a cool site and am going to update my voodoo 3 and voodoo 5 cards to see if i get a better performance out of them. hey... at least still to date NO and i mean NO NVIDIA card renders 2D better than anything from a Voodoo 3 and up.


[edited by - opengl_guru on December 15, 2003 7:50:34 PM]

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As I recall, back in 98 I had to write my own triangle clip routines to get Glide working the way I needed it to. But once it was working, it was crystal smooth. I was rather proud of it, but bitterly let it go as the rest of the industry slowly let it sink and die.

I recall any game that ran with Glide almost always ran more smoothly for me.

Some of us programmers are so convinced that what we believe in will have its value noticed by others eventually. So, we stick with it. Alas, Glide never recovered. You either go down with it, or move on.

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what kinda app were you using Glide in? oh by the way, 3dfx might be dead as i said, but the same architecture is still being used. anyone with a GeForce 3 Line out there?

The 3DFX(voodoo 1 ) API is contained within the GeForce 3 NVIDIA Graphics Chipset.. no lie.

i'm sitting here testing a Geforce 3 FSAA against my Voodoo 5 and theres simply no comparison whatsoever. Scary.

[edited by - opengl_guru on December 15, 2003 7:59:39 PM]

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Very interesting Series of articles on 3dfx:

I kinda followed TDFX around durring there last year and a half or so (Checking out rumors, press releases and the works right till they fell). Personally i think it was mostly the STB merger that lead them down a slipperly slope and too much time between product cycles (one new product a year), They wern't forward looking enough with technology (no 32 bit color, no T&L...even though these where mostly kinda unsuppored by software at the time they where a huge marketing tool). They also couldnt really crack the OEM market.

Anyways my brother sent me this series of articles he came across since he new I had been kinda following them for a time. Anyways the first article is A case study on to why Tdfx failed, they give so very good points. From what i gather, articles blame the ultimate dimise on diverting too many resources from Rampage project to the Banshee), but they talk STB, product cycles, technology, the gigapixel aquisition (what was that stuff called mosic rendering or something like that???) and much more. Anyhow, It's a really, really good article on the mistakes they made and a must read

article 1


They got a hold of a voodoo 6000 and ran some benchmarks on it...cool pictures of the board too (it is huge!!!)

article 2

A what if story on if they would have got 4500, 5000, and 6000 to market on time. They give a bunch of really cool consipricy theories as well
article 3


If ur interested u can probably find a voodoo 4500/5000 or a prototype 6000 on ebay. As for Glide, (correct me if i'm wrong) but I dont think they really supported it past its initial specification, so it kind of just phased out when it became obsolite. Anyways check out the articles they are very interesting, and so are the bench marks for the 6000.



[edited by - _walrus on December 15, 2003 8:01:18 PM] fixed incorrect links

[edited by - _walrus on December 15, 2003 8:02:15 PM]

[edited by - _walrus on December 15, 2003 8:04:13 PM]bah still trying to fix html tags


[edited by - _walrus on December 15, 2003 8:05:20 PM]

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wow thanks for the wonderful articles! im still reading but had to respond, man things that make you wonder! i feel even more depressed after reading this as i know what could have happened.

NOTE** if you own a Voodoo 3 and above there are avilable drivers out there for Win 98SE, Win 2K and WinXp..no lie! i can give you a link if you need it. or you can go to http://www.3dfx.com and you will get 2 links. if you can get your hands on a Voodoo 5 or a Voodoo 6 off ebay then its worth it to get it. Some say voodoo 6 never existed but as i know i wasnt smoking weed, i knew they existed. if they had made it to the shelves b4 their fall, 3DFX would still be alive, i am convinced now after reading these articles. errr i should have been saying Voodoo 5 5500 and Voodoo 5 6000 respectively, didnt mean to lead anyone on..

[edited by - opengl_guru on December 15, 2003 8:26:21 PM]

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HOLY COW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Voodoo5 6000 D3D Performance Explored: Was 3DMark Biased?

Looking at the performance data presented here it obvious that 3DMark 2000 and 2001 did not offer representative data concerning 3dfx performance in D3D mode. 3DMark 2001 is particularly bad in this respect. In 3DMark 2000 theV5 6000 turns in by far its lowest performance increase over the V5 5500, never approaches Ultra performance, and is only about 10% ahead of the GTS. 3DMark 2001 is even worse, with the V5 6K barely offering the performance of a GeForce DDR--a problem that only exists in this benchmark. Our other tests show the V5 6K as much more competitive.

Its worth noting, however, that the D3D tests the Voodoo5 6000 dominates are all tests run at higher resolutions and color depths. It's possible that one reason the 3DMark 2000 scores seem off-kilter is because this test is almost always run solely in its native resolution of 1024x768. While it's common to run other tests at 1600x1200, the 3DMark's generally are not. Because the V5 6K did not shine as much at these resolutions, it may explain part of why the card failed to impress. While we have no proof to indicate MadOnion (now FutureMark) deliberately sabotaged 3dfx performance, it does seem clear that these tests were not indicative of 3dfx D3D capability. On the other hand, several people I've spoken with have all indicated 3dfx's D3D drivers were still very immature when the company folded, and that substantial performance increases might have been possible had the driver code been fixed.

Regardless of the cause, it now seems clear that the 3DMark tests (particularly 2001) were not and never would've been indicative of Voodoo5 5500 or Voodoo5 6000 performance--at least, not at the resolution and color depth such tests are typically run in. Its beginning to appear that the power of the V5 6K might've been largely wasted when paired with slower machines, monitors incapable of high resolutions, or when running low-resolution games. On the other hand, it was possible (when running a slower computer and using a V5 5500) to turn on FSAA for "free"--performance dropped very little because the system wasn't capable of pushing the video card.

D3D has shown us that the Voodoo5 6000 only truly shines when pushed to resolutions cards of the day could barely reach. Lets examine OpenGL (an API that 3dfx's drivers were far more mature in) and see if the same holds true."



[edited by - opengl_guru on December 15, 2003 8:32:46 PM]

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sorry guys have to post one more.. the conclusion, if you didnt click on the linkeys to read this amazine article!!

Analyzing the Numbers: What's It All Mean?

Looking at our assembled benchmarks, there's no doubt that the Voodoo5 6000 packed one mother of a punch, offering frame rates 30-50% higher than the GeForce2 GTS in most benchmarks and competing well against the Ultra and GeForce3. Yet when you consider the mammoth amount of RAM the V5 6K needed to compete at this level (plus the huge amount of PCB real estate those four GPU's occupied), the card begins to look like less of a deal. The flaws could've been fixed--a die shrink, higher density RAM, and changing back to the original 2x2 design would've taken care of most of them--but unfortunately 3dfx never got the chance.

Had the V5 6K appeared by Christmas of 1999 or the spring of 2000 it would've been very well positioned against its rivals, but by November of 2000 (when 3dfx cancelled it) the card was clearly no longer fit for launch. NVIDIA's single GPU GeForce2 Ultra was breathing down its neck, the GeForce3 wasn't far away, and the 6K's reliance on SDRAM and relatively low clockspeeds was hampering the card more and more. Still, for about a year (if launched properly), the V5 6K would've been the all-time king of video card performance, able to perform well in resolutions its competitors (and siblings) couldn't even have touched.

She may be old and slow by today's standards, but watching the Voodoo5 6000 regularly sock it to the GeForce2 Ultra and take on the GF3; its obvious just how much gamers might've loved this card back in 1999—and make its all the more regrettable that internal conflict and problems at 3dfx prevented the card from ever seeing the light of day.

The Voodoo5 6000 may be an outdated relic today, but looking at the card one still gets a sense of just how high 3dfx was attempting to raise the bar. The Voodoo5 6000 offers a fill rate of 1300 Mpixels per second, a number that puts it on par with GeForce4-era technology. Its memory bandwidth of 10.4 Gb/second outstrips the GeForce3 and Radeon 8500—equaling, in fact, the GeForce4 Ti 4600."



[edited by - opengl_guru on December 15, 2003 8:45:43 PM]

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*sniffle*

Rest in peace, dearest Voodoo, I knew thee well.

I miss all the hype and greatness surrounding the Voodoo line of graphics cards... even if they were outperformed near the end, they jumpstarted the evolution of 3D games.



matrix³
[ email | web | apple gl | linux gl | opengl | freeglut | glui | lua ]

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Im pritty sure the reason 3dfx died is because of the GeForce 256 was cheaper and better that the voodoo 3 and the company delayed releasing the voodoo 4 5 too long and they lost too much of there market even thought the voodoo 5 was a far superior card and contained features that were not seen on video card for a few years later

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Well I''m glad 3DFX is dead. I remember trying to program little OpenGL apps back in 2000, and finding huge numbers of people couldn''t run them, because voodoo cards didn''t support the entire API, had limited texture sizes, lacked a stencil buffer, etc, etc. Back then 3DFX and other crappy manufacturers did a lot of damage to OpenGL''s uptake. Now that the main graphics competitors both offer decent OpenGL support, such issues no longer apply.

A proprietary API such as Glide is never a good thing, and will only ever be of use where there''s a monopoly. Fortunately, 3DFX''s monopoly was short-lived.

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well it would be nice to get a hold of the Glide API to see if i could anything written in it. of course its only for 3dfx cards but since the GeForce 3 still at the core is 3dfx(voodoo1 architecture) then it should be doable. too bad 3dfx didnt get enough time to finish sueing NVIDIA (they ran out of money for lawyers) or to get the voodoo5 6000 in the market.

i just updated my voodoo3 2000 drivers last night and voodoo5 5000 drivers for WinXP and now i am playing GTA 3 and Warcraft 3 off those cards.

you can go to http://www.3dfx.com and click on the first link to look for updated drivers for your card and OS.

anyone know where i can find the Glide API for windows? i know it is open source

[edited by - opengl_guru on December 16, 2003 11:08:20 AM]

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quote:
Original post by OpenGL_Guru
GeForce 3 still at the core is 3dfx(voodoo1 architecture)


I don''t think so.
The GF-FX is the first nVidia product to include 3Dfx technology, AFAIK.


-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

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Personally i think the STB merger was like a kick in the groin b ut as for the voodoo 6000 making it to market, I dont think that would have saved TDFX since it would have been an ultra expensive card and they had nothing up there sleves after this; Rampage was still MIA. They realized money was short and even if they released the VSA-100 products on time that it would have been too long before there next graphics card product release(rampage), that's why they went after gigapixels mosaic techonogy and aquired all that tv tuner technoloy (to generate short term cash flow). Anyhow,most money was to be made in the oem market, i think that's why they put alot of resources into creating the banshee. But i think that Nvidia had a good hold on the OEM market by this time. Also because of the merger TDFX stopped suppying chips to 3rd parties; this caused NVidia to be the only major supplier of chips to board manufacturers. No only did this give nvidia more shelf space but everytime u went to check a benchmark review, there was one voodoo3 versus 4 different nvidia cards based on the same chip. This game NVidia alot more exposure on the retail end of things. Another problem with TDFX not pushing into the OEM market was the inability to have windowed 3d-hardware acceration (from what i recall the voodoo1/2/3/banshee couldnt run in windowed opengl mode).

Anyhow, It was sad to see them go, but NVidia and ATI are still quality companies. Anyways I still have my voodoo 4500/ banshee and 3000 lying around somewhere, maybe i'll end up framing them or something

[edited by - _walrus on December 16, 2003 11:38:42 AM]

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quote:
Original post by Ingenu
quote:
Original post by OpenGL_Guru
GeForce 3 still at the core is 3dfx(voodoo1 architecture)


I don''t think so.
The GF-FX is the first nVidia product to include 3Dfx technology, AFAIK.


-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-





geforce fx using TDFX Tech

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i thought i had read(and i will give you the link if i can find it again explaining how the later GeForce cards, namely GeForce 3 and above have included some of the 3dfx core technology. maybe they didnt publicly announce it but it is obvious with the GeForce FX and with the help of some of x-3dfx''s knowledge people, as explained in that think (courtest of walrus ) that one of the major components of the 3dfx core and ideas, i.e. RAMPAGE are built onto this chip....it will be good for 3dfx to get a little more recognition even though it is "dead". as far as i am concerned if i can go onto the official x-3dfx website and download new drivers for my voodoo for win 2000 , winXP and play GTA 3 and warcraft 3 then its not dead, just the doors are closed. 3dfx started it all, but i guess when you start it all and you are on top that leaves you open for competitors to build their cards on top of your ideas and you feel like you are king and you are for a while, but you get too cocky and before you know it you hit bottom. i believe and have read some of this mentality still plagues NVIDIA today.

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i still love 3dfx cards, voodoo and GLIDE i will admit...Still to this day there is not a video card available on the market that can match 3dfx''s style of rotated-grid super-sampled FSAA. The Voodoo5 6000 was the most powerful card in 3dfx''s arsenal, and it could not only boast 2x and 4x sampled AA, but was the ONLY card that could do 8x.

i got a score of 3435 for my 3D Mark tonight(of course for 3dfx cards this isnt a reliable benchmark) from my Voodoo5. i also have updated patches for it that make it possible for me to play games like Blood Rayne and other games which use the T&L shaders and pixel shader hardware features. the company might be dead but the hardware is not as drivers continue to be built. i just got an offer to work on updated drivers for these cards and i accepted as i will also be coding in openGL also doing my regular thing, at work and in working on my game. ill be busy for a while dontcha think?

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