For those feeling nostalgic, the world's first GPU has been recreated in Lego. This is not to be confused with the world's first Lego graphics card, as that's been done a long time ago.
The project comes from the artist idspi from England, who goes by the twitter handle @Bhaal_Spawn. She pieced together a blocky replica of the Nvidia GeForce 256 -- one of the first official GPU's made. Prior to this GPU, there were graphics processors in various forms, but the GeForce 256 is what Nvidia used to officially coin the term GPU.
The ‘world’s first GPU’, the Nvidia GeForce 256 (1999) is now available* in LEGO!3D graphics have never been so blocky - in a good way.(*😉 - I may have too much time on my hands)#retrogaming #pcgaming pic.twitter.com/V4aTRpGdeLJune 16, 2020
The PCB is made from green bricks, with an impressive amount of detail. The display connectors, VGA and DVI, are all clearly visible as are the memory modules and cooling fan. There is even a cable between the cooling fan and the PCB -- just like the graphics card from 1999.
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Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.
1) I was expecting the transistors on the GPU IC replicated in legos, not a clunky, toy-like lego construct which looks kinda like a GPU (any GPU).Reply
2) The first 3D GPU was the 3dfx Voodoo2 (the original Voodoo was a 2D GPU with a texture unit). Released February 1998. The Nvidia GeForce 256 didn't come out until August 1999 (even the Voodoo3 pre-dated it). And it was a terrible GPU with many hardware bugs. I know because I was a 3D developer at the time and my company decided it should get GPUs other than 3dfx to be sure our software was compatible. I was the (un)lucky one who got the GeForce 256. I wasted a lot of time trying to quash what I thought were software bugs, but turned out to be Nvidia hardware bugs.
Didn't the Amiga have separate CPU, graphics and sound modules? (I only vaguely remember, we had a 1000). The Amiga 2000 had graphics cards available according to Wikipedia - in 1987.Reply
No, it's referring to the first time a product was released with the GPU nomenclature. Check out the second paragraph of this article:Solandri said:2) The first 3D GPU was the 3dfx Voodoo2 (the original Voodoo was a 2D GPU with a texture unit).
And the original 3DFX Vodoo card was as much of a 3D accelerator as anything of its era. In fact, that was its only purpose, as it had to be paired with a separate 2D graphics card for traditional 2D graphics and Windows acceleration.
Sure, you can take a stroll down memory lane and call out which cards were first with features like Transform & Lighting (GeForce 256), which cards had custom programmability (Rendition Verite), which introduced floating-point (Radeon 9700) and first to support D3D Shader Model 1.0.
All valid points of debate, but I think it's a settled fact that GeForce 256 was the first consumer graphics card to be marketed as a GPU.
I feel you, mate.Solandri said:I was the (un)lucky one who got the GeForce 256. I wasted a lot of time trying to quash what I thought were software bugs, but turned out to be Nvidia hardware bugs.
Crustier said:Didn't the Amiga have separate CPU, graphics and sound modules? (I only vaguely remember, we had a 1000). The Amiga 2000 had graphics cards available according to Wikipedia - in 1987.
Bit late but a reply... ;)
Separate chips yes, but "real" video cards were of use only to those involved in high end graphics and video work. Was only towards the late end of the Amiga era that games started supporting video cards - and the cards generally cost more than the computer, so were far and few between.
Babylon 5 had a lot of its CGI made on Amigas with Toaster cards - was the main reason I started watching the show ;)