3dfx Making a Comeback?

pendragon1

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Doesn't seem like the kind of company that would get into this business. I am guessing this is going to be nothing but slapping the 3dfx brand on existing products and reselling them. It's a marketing stunt of the worst kind.

https://jansenproducts.com/

I don't want to be "that guy," but looking at that team it doesn't inspire any confidence.
yeah thats not them...
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SeymourGore

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Yar, if they are going to have a product come out this winter, I don't see how they'd be able to develop a product that quickly unless they're a AMD or Nvidia AIB.

Don't get me wrong, it'd be cool if it is actual new hardware - just seems awfully quick, especially considering how much work it's taking Intel to bring a new high end GPU to market. I haven't been keeping up with other display adapter companies (PowerVR, Matrox), but I'm assuming that none of them have any hardware that could be easily converted to something that plays games comfortably (the thought being, new 3DFX could buy them out for their tech).

I didn't realize the 3DFX branding was going to be available again. Seems like a smart move would've been for Intel to jump on the branding, maybe dig up a old exec from 3DFX and market their high end dedicated GPUs as Voodoo's.
 

Verge

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Don't get me wrong, it'd be cool if it is actual new hardware - just seems awfully quick
They don't have any IP, it's not a matter of speed, it' a matter of complete and utter impossibility. Nobody without an extensive patent portfolio will ever make a new GPU, as they will be instantly sued by AMD/ARM/INTEL/NVIDIA.
 

SeymourGore

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It'd be more interested... if instead of being a Nvidia or AMD AIB, they ended up being a Intel AIB for their upcoming high end GPUs. Position themselves as the EVGA for Intel's GPU. I'd be on board with that strategy.
 

SamuelL421

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...
It’s sort of interesting that someone is dusting off the bones and putting a fresh coat of paint on the brand, but the biggest surprise that could happen here is this company emerging as an early manufacturer of Intel DG2 cards. Don’t hold your breath on that one, that’s just speculation. Let’s at least hope whatever comes out of this is competent.
It'd be more interested... if instead of being a Nvidia or AMD AIB, they ended up being a Intel AIB for their upcoming high end GPUs. Position themselves as the EVGA for Intel's GPU. I'd be on board with that strategy.

I'd be all for this move as well. Highly doubtful, but it would be a smart marketing move to dust off a fondly remembered brand to launch a new product. Not going to happen considering Intel wouldn't recognize good marketing if it slapped them in the face.
 

MrC4

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Maybe my worthless 3dfx shares will be worth something after being dead for 20 years. ;)
 
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Lakados

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Its funny to see everyone here thinking nvidia owns 3dfx. They never bought them completely and the 3dfx stock will still for sale/traded up until what 2014? Nvidia only bout key IP rights and tech. Not 3dfx as a whole.
There real motive was to be able to abtain all the 3dfx hardware engineers if I recall right.
give me a little time. I actually have the court paperwork on the bankruptcy and other related triles related to 3dfx
Yeah, they wanted their talent and work, not their name or branding. By the time NVidia bought that out they were already pretty much a dead company.

The talent that stayed got moved over and developed what would become the Geforce FX series, and the other half went to ATI to later develop the Radeon X series

Though in legal filings this has been drummed up.
San Francisco-based Jansen Products acquired the 3dfx assets on July 23, 2021, and announced in August 2021 that they plan to revive the brand and release new lines of graphic cards.
What I want to know really is with what IP, over the past two decades they have been chopped up pretty badly, I can't imagine what they could do that would actually get a product to market without infringing on a whole array of patent trolls that will sue them back into the Bay.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Yeah, they wanted their talent and work, not their name or branding. By the time NVidia bought that out they were already pretty much a dead company.

The talent that stayed got moved over and developed what would become the Geforce FX series, and the other half went to ATI to later develop the Radeon X series

Though in legal filings this has been drummed up.
San Francisco-based Jansen Products acquired the 3dfx assets on July 23, 2021, and announced in August 2021 that they plan to revive the brand and release new lines of graphic cards.
What I want to know really is with what IP, over the past two decades they have been chopped up pretty badly, I can't imagine what they could do that would actually get a product to market without infringing on a whole array of patent trolls that will sue them back into the Bay.

True, Nvidia didn't buy all of 3dfx, but I did vaguely remember hearing that they owned the branding. Maybe that was incorrect?

I have to assume that if there is any truth to this at all, and it is not just a prank, that this is branding only. and nothing else remains of the original company. Sort of how you can buy small cheap made in China "Polaroid" TV's these days.

I'll repost my thoughts I originally posted on TheFPSReview here:

So they claim they acquired a dead brand 8 business days ago, and already have new video cards to announce, the development of which take at least a couple of years, by a large number of highly specialized engineers.

Sure, they could have started before acquiring the brand, but still, at least someone would have heard of the GPU development effort in that time. Things like this don't go unnoticed in the industry. The only significant GPU development I am aware of outside of Nvidia and AMD in the last several years is Intel.

The only way this could be true is if this "Jansen Products" is a front for Intel, and they plan on naming their newly developed GPU brand 3dfx.

That just doesn't sound likely though. It would seem unlikely Nvidia would sell the 3dfx brand to an upcoming competitor, and using alternate branding really isn't Intel's way. They are quite proud of being "big blue".

My money is still on hoax/social experiment, because none of this makes any sense at all.
 
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Lakados

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True, Nvidia didn't buy all of 3dfx, but I did vaguely remember hearing that they owned the branding. Maybe that was incorrect?

I have to assume that if there is any truth to this at all, and it is not just a prank, that this is branding only. and nothing else remains of th eoriginal company. Sort of how you can buy small cheap made in China "Polaroid" TV's these days.

I'll repost my thoughts I originally posted on TheFPSReview here:

So they claim they acquired a dead brand 8 business days ago, and already have new video cards to announce, the development of which take at least a couple of years, by a large number of highly specialized engineers.

Sure, they could have started before acquiring the brand, but still, at least someone would have heard of the GPU development effort in that time. Things like this don't go unnoticed in the industry. The only significant GPU development I am aware of outside of Nvidia and AMD in the last several years is Intel.

The only way this could be true is if this "Jansen Products" is a front for Intel, and they plan on naming their newly developed GPU brand 3dfx.

That just doesn't sound likely though. It would seem unlikely Nvidia would sell the 3dfx brand to an upcoming competitor, and using alternate branding really isn't Intel's way. They are quite proud of being "big blue".

My money is still on hoax/social experiment, because none of this makes any sense at all.

https://www.cnet.com/news/nvidia-buys-out-3dfx-graphics-chip-business/
"Graphics chipmaker Nvidia bought out one-time rival 3dfx Interactive on Friday, another landmark in the consolidation of the graphics hardware industry.
Under the terms of the agreement, Nvidia will give 3dfx $70 million in cash and 1 million shares of common stock for the patents, brand names, and current inventory relating to 3dfx's graphics chip business. In addition, a patent infringement suit between the two companies will be dismissed when the transaction is closed. Nvidia will not acquire 3dfx's graphics board business." - CNet article on the topic from 2002

I find this more likely that Huawei has spun off its graphics division as they aren't legally able to get access to the needed silicon to make anything at this stage and this is the branding they are launching it under instead. There was talk back in 2020 about them trying to get a consumer graphics card to market. Their AI accelerators were actually pretty good and were capable of standing up to NVidia pretty well there so they have the IP and the Talent but no means of producing it. So perhaps spinning it off and launching under a brand like 3DFX makes a degree of sense there, but that is a long-ass stretch but still more feasible in my mind than a startup coming from nothing out of nowhere.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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https://www.cnet.com/news/nvidia-buys-out-3dfx-graphics-chip-business/
"Graphics chipmaker Nvidia bought out one-time rival 3dfx Interactive on Friday, another landmark in the consolidation of the graphics hardware industry.
Under the terms of the agreement, Nvidia will give 3dfx $70 million in cash and 1 million shares of common stock for the patents, brand names, and current inventory relating to 3dfx's graphics chip business. In addition, a patent infringement suit between the two companies will be dismissed when the transaction is closed. Nvidia will not acquire 3dfx's graphics board business." - CNet article on the topic from 2002

I find this more likely that Huawei has spun off its graphics division as they aren't legally able to get access to the needed silicon to make anything at this stage and this is the branding they are launching it under instead. There was talk back in 2020 about them trying to get a consumer graphics card to market. Their AI accelerators were actually pretty good and were capable of standing up to NVidia pretty well there so they have the IP and the Talent but no means of producing it. So perhaps spinning it off and launching under a brand like 3DFX makes a degree of sense there, but that is a long-ass stretch but still more feasible in my mind than a startup coming from nothing out of nowhere.

So my memory was correct. And interesting about Huawei.

Just hope it doesn't come with free bonus Chinese spyware in the drivers :p
 

Lakados

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So my memory was correct. And interesting about Huawei.

Just hope it doesn't come with free bonus Chinese spyware in the drivers :p
There are easier methods to get our data legally at this stage. But I would not be surprised about the amount of “Metrics” it collected.
http://www.thelec.net/news/articleView.html?idxno=804
“Huawei Technologies will be installing a Cloud and AI Business Group in Korea this year in a bid to penetrate the Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) server market currently dominated by NVidia.

The business group may later on be spun off for further growth, according to industry sources on April 3.”
 

Zarathustra[H]

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There are easier methods to get our data legally at this stage. But I would not be surprised about the amount of “Metrics” it collected.
http://www.thelec.net/news/articleView.html?idxno=804
“Huawei Technologies will be installing a Cloud and AI Business Group in Korea this year in a bid to penetrate the Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) server market currently dominated by NVidia.

The business group may later on be spun off for further growth, according to industry sources on April 3.”

If it is Huawei, it is probably not for me, but this is really evidence of the free market working. There is a supply shortage, it causes prices to rise, this results in the market seeming lucrative to new entrants, and that eventually brings the market in line again.

Not sure how effective it will be in this case though, as the real supply constriction is in latest gen fab capacity, and that won't change if yet another fabless chip designer enters the fray.
 

Lakados

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If it is Huawei, it is probably not for me, but this is really evidence of the free market working. There is a supply shortage, it causes prices to rise, this results in the market seeming lucrative to new entrants, and that eventually brings the market in line again.

Not sure how effective it will be in this case though, as the real supply constriction is in latest gen fab capacity, and that won't change if yet another fabless chip designer enters the fray.
Well Fabs are coming, their existing AI accelerators are pretty custom order so they don’t need a lot of the TSMC 7+ space for that and can likely get access to that under previous agreements. Anything they announce at this stage probably won’t have a launch till 2022 or 2023 at which time Apple will be on 3nm, AMD & NVidia on 5nm, freeing up a large portion of the 7nm supply for others where this could safety sit. That would allow them to put out a mid/low end part with decent margins. They could also put them up at Samsung instead of TSMC if they aren’t needing large dies. So there’s a few options especially now that memory prices are coming back down.
But I would see this as a big deal for an India/China launch plan, registering out of the US avoids a lot of international scrutiny which lets them dodge any of the Huawei issues. This is assuming that Huawei has anything to do with this at all, which again long stretch. But it’s the best option I can muster beyond “obvious scam”.
 

Lakados

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I seen that roomer before but I never seen anything to back it up. the roomer is that the FX line was going to be the successor to the rampage but the FX line lacks (in hardware at lest) table fog, 8-it plaetted textures, t buffers and many other things 3dfx was know for. If the FX was from 3dfx you’d think they’d retain it in hardware.
It was the first GPU that was made in conjunction with the staff from 3DFX but contained very little of their processes. By that point much of the 3DFX tech portfolio was old but it was the first to include their SLI tech and some specific algorithms inside the hardware to improve performance. The FX monicker was little more than a throwback to signify the merger and was less of an actual merger. The Voodoo 3 series launched in 1999, and was kind of a flop the 4 was a knee-jerk launch trying to edge out the GeForce 256(which was a failure), and the 5 was a complete failure. The FX series launched in 2003 some 4 years later. By that time tech had progressed to a point that much of what had made the Voodoo cards great had been replaced by DX9.
Also at that time, the Xbox had been out for a few years so programming between PC and Xbox launches was much easier if you excluded the 3DFx tech altogether.
Note:
8-bit pleated textures were completely replaced and improved upon in DX9.0 with their DXT1 compression format, which was launched almost 2 years prior in 2002. But NVidia did support the 3DFx 8-bit palletized textures up to the Geforce 4 series cards but chose to remove them afterwards for whatever reasons they came up with, they were probably BS and I suspect it was because Microsoft put pressure on them so they could see a better adoption for DX9.0.
 
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NattyKathy

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lmao I'm not sure how the Intel angle is gaining any traction... all of this is SO not their style. Even it being a new NV AiB manufacturer seems far-fetched, unless it's an overambitious startup in which case this will be fun to watch.
 
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Lakados

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but do you have anything to back it up? I read things like this many time over the years but never had anyone back it up.

no Geforce never did 8-bit palletized textures at lesft not in hardware, they were emutlated within the drivers all the way up to the FX line. stating wiht the gf6 they doped it all together.
I only remember it from an interview many years ago where they were talking with some of the 3dfx guys who went over to NVidia and they were talking about what it was like at 3dfx in the final days and working on the voodoo 5 and stuff like that, so I will have to dig that out. It's been a long time since I was doing development for 3DFx stuff, but how they handled their 8-bit Paletted Textures was mostly software-based as well, and I also remember packaging those textures to be a PITA...but how much of that was the shitty PC I owned at that time who's to say.
 

GoodBoy

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Sounds like bullshit to me.

20 years after bankruptcy, assets were acquired?? Nvidia got all of that 20 years ago.

The only related business that I am not sure what happened to, was the supply of VSA100 chips to some arcade machine manufacturers. Nvidia destroyed most VSA100 chips (possibly unsold voodoo cards too, I don't know), but some were kept to support arcade machines that used them. That might have been some 3rd party company and completely unrelated aside from using the chips though.

Still, seems unlikely that any physical assets would still be around after 20 years. The Brand/Trademark, some patents exist, but nVidia got all of that I thought. If the brand wasn't part of what nVidia acquired, then maaybe someone bought it.
Still, feels more like a scam than anything else. I can see it now "3dfx kickstarter! Help us raise 100 million dollars to get these video cards produced! Stretch goal: 110 million, full RGB on the cards." Which would suck up as much money as it could, and result in vaporware. They are just using the nostalgia that succeeded for Nintendo and Atari as a weak point to scam people.

Or, they will quickly get hit with a cease and desist if nVidia does in fact own the trademarks.
 

Halon

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The Voodoo 3 series launched in 1999, and was kind of a flop the 4 was a knee-jerk launch trying to edge out the GeForce 256(which was a failure), and the 5 was a complete failure. The FX series launched in 2003 some 4 years later. By that time tech had progressed to a point that much of what had made the Voodoo cards great had been replaced by DX9.
The Voodoo3 was a *huge* hit; it was still fast and widely supported enough to net sales, but it marked a turning point when competitors began to advertise features that were meaningfully better than 3dfx’s. Their long term problem that killed them - aside from blowing through money like water at an almond farm - was in failing to prioritize Rampage, getting bogged down in R&D for the VSA cards, and not cutting SLI loose sooner. Rampage itself would have been expensive to manufacture but I’ve heard reliable reports that it would have been a very big deal.

Anyone worried about 3dfx’s patents should put those concerns to rest. Anything they had expired years ago, and would be distinctly quaint by modern standards. Nobody’s even bothered implementing Glide, FXT1, or RGSS antialiasing, it’s ancient history.

I’m intrigued by the Intel and Huawei suggestions. If Nvidia didn’t bother renewing the trademark, that’d be a weirdly ruthless way to jump start the brand by living like a hermit crab in a famous old one…
 

NattyKathy

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I still think this is Nvidia. Why let only the AIBs set prices?
that would be pretty hilarious if this is how NV announced that, with a 7-dimensional psyop that trolled people into thinking it was fake with intentionally-sloppy marketing.

Guess we'll all see tomorrow who called it! If nothing else has been a fun game for a week.

edit to add: if it is real cards, the PCBs better be GREEN :p
 

Lakados

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The Voodoo3 was a *huge* hit; it was still fast and widely supported enough to net sales, but it marked a turning point when competitors began to advertise features that were meaningfully better than 3dfx’s. Their long term problem that killed them - aside from blowing through money like water at an almond farm - was in failing to prioritize Rampage, getting bogged down in R&D for the VSA cards, and not cutting SLI loose sooner. Rampage itself would have been expensive to manufacture but I’ve heard reliable reports that it would have been a very big deal.

Anyone worried about 3dfx’s patents should put those concerns to rest. Anything they had expired years ago, and would be distinctly quaint by modern standards. Nobody’s even bothered implementing Glide, FXT1, or RGSS antialiasing, it’s ancient history.

I’m intrigued by the Intel and Huawei suggestions. If Nvidia didn’t bother renewing the trademark, that’d be a weirdly ruthless way to jump start the brand by living like a hermit crab in a famous old one…
I remembered the ATI and NVidia stuff being far more common at that point and cheaper but looking at articles from 1999 they do say it was a good selling card so, yeah can't really argue against that.

In terms of 3dfx patents yeah those have expired but trying to make a card now without infringing on NVidia, AMD, Intel, and all those other groups out there, not to mention the plethora of patent trolls out there would be unimaginable to me.
 

alxlwson

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What if
that would be pretty hilarious if this is how NV announced that, with a 7-dimensional psyop that trolled people into thinking it was fake with intentionally-sloppy marketing.

Guess we'll all see tomorrow who called it! If nothing else has been a fun game for a week.

edit to add: if it is real cards, the PCBs better be GREEN :p


Yeah, like regular normal 1996 green. With 3/16" thick PCB and real gold traces. Not 200x BFG green. I want cyanide and arsenic salt residue and real lead solder. Fat gold fingers. Lol

Seriously though, this has gotta be a troll, right?!

right?








right?
 

griff30

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3DFX, I loved your Voodoo5 5500 AGP, We're no strangers to love but you know the rules and so do I.
A full PCIE16 with Ray tracing and DDR6 is what I'm thinking of ,You wouldn't get this from any other guy.
I just wanna tell you how I'm feeling Gotta make you understand.


Sorry, had to. Nostalgia.
May be a front for any number of companies trying to break into the 3D graphics card business. If true, more the merrier.
 

travm

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if people liked 3dfx why did it go bankrupt?
Its actually a good read. You should google that.

Basically, they spent all their money on hookers and blow R&D that didn't produce products; then got caught when Nvidia came out of nowhere and could make 3d graphics cards that actually worked, so they spent more money on a couple botched launches.
Their big comeback chip(s, technically it was two) turned into bulldozer (seemed like a good idea, should be fast, wasn't on both counts. oh and the power draw lol... 4 pin molex connectors). No money, and all their products were uncompetitive.

Someone correct me if i'm wrong, but I think they demo'd a version of the voodoo 5 that came with its own external power supply. It needed more juice than contemporary PSU's could provide.

Initially their tech was 3d graphics world changing.
 

LOCO LAPTOP

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if people liked 3dfx why did it go bankrupt?
Its actually a good read. You should google that.

Basically, they spent all their money on hookers and blow R&D that didn't produce products; then got caught when Nvidia came out of nowhere and could make 3d graphics cards that actually worked, so they spent more money on a couple botched launches.
Their big comeback chip(s, technically it was two) turned into bulldozer (seemed like a good idea, should be fast, wasn't on both counts. oh and the power draw lol... 4 pin molex connectors). No money, and all their products were uncompetitive.

Someone correct me if i'm wrong, but I think they demo'd a version of the voodoo 5 that came with its own external power supply. It needed more juice than contemporary PSU's could provide.

Initially their tech was 3d graphics world changing.
What he said, plus 3dfx basically invented SLI way back in 97 or 98.
 
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