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13 Years of Nvidia Graphics Cards

13 Years of Nvidia Graphics Cards

Nvidia’s history begins with the NV1 chip, sold by SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics as the STG-2000. That board included a 2D card, 3D accelerator, sound card, and a port for Sega Saturn game controllers—all on the same PCI board. The best-known of these cards is the famous Diamond Edge 3D, released two years after Nvidia’s inception.

The principal problem with the NV1 was in its management of 3D: it used quadratic texture mapping (QTM) instead of the technique used currently, which is based on polygons. DirectX appeared just after the card was released, and it used polygons, so the NV1 was a failure over the long term. Among the points worth mentioning are that the memory of the graphics card could be increased on certain models (from 2 MB to 4 MB) and that many of the games optimized were ported from the Saturn, since the card used a similar architecture.

Nvidia NV1
Date released September 1995
Card interface PCI
Fillrate 12 Mtexels/s
DirectX version -
Memory Type EDO/VRAM
Maximum memory 4 MB
Memory clock frequency 75 MHz
Memory bus 64 bits
Maximum bandwidth 0.6 GB/s
Maximum resolution 600 x 1 200 / 15 bits
Video out 1 x VGA

The NV2 used the same rendering method and was never completed. It was to have been used in the Dreamcast console (which replaced the Saturn), but Sega finally chose a polygon-based technology (PowerVR) and Nvidia abandoned QTM in favor of polygon-based rendering with the NV3.

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  • 5 Hide
    geckoar , July 30, 2008 7:11 AM
    Nice Job with this... Now could we see a look back on ATI and all of their years?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , July 30, 2008 7:33 AM
    No way will nvidia release a 9800GT or 9800GTS as stated in the article, because there is already a 9800GTX, unless nvidia wants to kill themselves.
  • 1 Hide
    shmuls , July 30, 2008 7:49 AM
    Here's a fun game for all the family: Can you name all the games pictured by their screenshot and year alone? I got 11 out of 19, can anyone name all 19? I'm sure lots of you can name the more recent ones, but how many hardcore gamers out there can get the earlier ones as well?!

    p.s. Great article, now lets see what Nvidia has in store for us in Q3/4!!
  • 0 Hide
    giovanni86 , July 30, 2008 7:55 AM
    Great article. I like how at the end the one selling the most is Intel. Good stuff.
  • 4 Hide
    radnor , July 30, 2008 9:53 AM
    Not a bad article, but comes with a strange timing behind it. Is Nvidia selling THAT bad ?

    To make this a top of the line article, ya should include the Matrox Cards (Excelent in the early days), 3Dfx cards (V3000 and SLI V2 would still eat TNT2 in Image quality and performance), and last but not least (the sole survivor) ATI cards.

    Now that would be a sight for sore eyes.
  • 1 Hide
    Malovane , July 30, 2008 9:55 AM
    So is this a history lesson or a eulogy?
  • 1 Hide
    dieseldre2k , July 30, 2008 11:36 AM
    awesome trip down memory lane. thanks for the article. was wondering if could u make an ATI article also.

    and then maybe an AMD and Intel one too =P
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , July 30, 2008 11:54 AM
    I would like to see the pictures organized in the order they are here in the slideshow. Also, could you perhaps rename them according to both card AND game so that when I scroll over them I can see what game it is? It would be of interest to me to research and consider purchase or download of an emulator of these old games.

  • 1 Hide
    hurbt , July 30, 2008 12:21 PM
    My first thought when reading this article was that it's an obituary... lets review the history of Nvidia because ATI is kicking the crap out of them with their 4800 series... I know Nvidia isn't going anywhere, but that was just my first thought...

    I owned a TNT back when I first went to college. Descent 2 was so great on it, as was Total Annihilation. Half-life wasn't half bad on it either. It couldn't hold a candle to a couple Voodoo2's in SLI, though :)  Too bad I had to return one of them, b/c I couldn't go without beer money. You gotta have your priorities straight in college, or you will get side-tracked...
  • 0 Hide
    invlem , July 30, 2008 12:49 PM
    My 3D evolution:

    Hercules 3d Prophet (2mb!!)
    Diamond Voodoo 2 (8mb)
    3DFX Voodoo 3 3000 (16mb)
    ATi 7500 Pro (64mb)
    ATi 9800 Pro (128mb)
    eVGA 8800 GT (640mb)

  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 30, 2008 12:53 PM
    Would be nice to read something like that about ati.
  • 0 Hide
    spuddyt , July 30, 2008 1:28 PM
    be fair, the 4870x2 was only sent to certain websites, I think they didn't have a choice but to not review it (whether they would have done or not is irrelevant and untested)
  • 0 Hide
    theLaminator , July 30, 2008 1:43 PM
    I'd like to see an article like this about the history's of AMD, ATI and Intel if thats possible. Great read
  • 0 Hide
    harrycat88 , July 30, 2008 1:44 PM
    My 3D evolution:
    Western Digital Paradise MPEG (2MB) PCI - Buggy with IRQ conflicts
    STB Voodoo2 (12MB) PCI
    Matrox G200 (8MB) AGP - Unstable
    TNT2 Ultra (32MB) AGP - What a disappointment, locked up on every game
    3DFX Voodoo 4 4500(32MB) AGP
    gForce 2 MX200 (32MB) AGP - NV4_display.dll BSOD all the time. JUNK
    3DFX Voodoo 5 5500 (64MB) AGP and PCI
    gForce 7800GS OC (256MB) AGP - NV4_display.dll BSOD 7 out of 10 times. Handicapped performance and over priced.
    ATi X1950PRO (512MB) PCI-E and AGP
    Ati HD3850 (512MB) PCI-E and AGP
    ATi HD4850 coming soon.
    On every Nvidia based card I purchased, I had to turn around and replace it with something else. I've learned my lesson to never purchase another Nvidia based product again.
  • 0 Hide
    scooterlibby , July 30, 2008 1:53 PM
    Awesome sideshow. I'd love to see one regarding Radeon and including more picture examples from the earlier competitors.
  • 1 Hide
    can007 , July 30, 2008 1:57 PM
    Yeah, even though Intel "GPU" were the most that had been sold. It is still the worst "GPU" ever too.
  • 0 Hide
    slayeristight , July 30, 2008 2:36 PM
    Very fun to reminisce the old hardware and think about what was going on back then and what games you were playing.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , July 30, 2008 2:53 PM
    Heh, you should try ATI's history. I believe they go back even further than Nvidia does.
  • 0 Hide
    mr roboto , July 30, 2008 3:18 PM
    My mom's Dell had a Riva 128 that I used to play Quake on. As far as I remember it was a decent card and never struggled to play the games of the day. I still remember the first time I fragged one of those zombies in Quake. That was something special when you could see the blood spray in the air. New games need to get back to frags. The last good game to have frags was Company of Heroes OF and even then it left something to be desired.
  • -1 Hide
    eklipz330 , July 30, 2008 3:31 PM
    13 years of FAILURE

    i joke i kid
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