Skip to main content

UK Artist Reimagines World's First GPU in Lego

(Image credit: Twitter user @Bhaal_Spawn)

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 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.

  • Solandri
    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).

    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.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voodoo2
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeForce_256
    Reply
  • Crustier
    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.

    Cheers Ben
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Solandri said:
    2) The first 3D GPU was the 3dfx Voodoo2 (the original Voodoo was a 2D GPU with a texture unit).
    No, it's referring to the first time a product was released with the GPU nomenclature. Check out the second paragraph of this article:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_processing_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.

    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.
    I feel you, mate.
    Reply