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.
|Date released||September 1995|
|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.