The Fall of Voodoo

DocNo

Gawd
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Apr 23, 2012
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654
Wow, lots of memories of cards long past (Orchid, Rendition - Rendition II and the first release of AutoCAD 386 - but that's another thread!)

I still have some of my older cards - my Voodoo is rattling around a box in my basement somewhere. I dunno what I did with my old 386 and 486 computers at this point. I really wish I would have kept some of them. The 386 was a full size AT board - half the RAM was DIP, the other SIMM. Mid-transition to SIMM :)
 

DejaWiz

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And now... 17 years later? What do we have? People rich &/or stupid enough to pay 800 dollars for a GFX card they don't need.
"Need" is subjective. I felt the "need" to spend $720 on my 980Ti so I could get the absolute most out of my 144Hz monitor, without spending $1000+ on a GTX Titan.

The V5 5500 retailed for around $300 back in late 2000. That is the equivalent of about $430 today.

The V5 6000, if it was ever released, was projected to carry around a $600 price tag back then...the equivalent of around $850 today.
 
Joined
Mar 18, 2013
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3,590
I don't think the video cards could do compute at that time.
Or... We could put some fake news posts on the social media about how old hardware gets insane hash rates. I would sell off my enormous collection of "classic" hardware to suckers for a fortune.

I heard the control valve and master cylinder in an eight inch floppy will do all the hashes. All at once.
 

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
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Feb 9, 2002
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Remember when GLQuake hit the scene? For us old timers it seems like it was just yesterday. I don't know about anybody else, but that game and technology grabbed a hold of me and made me a gaming fiend for many years. The Voodoo graphics card that drove that game was a godsend for gamers used to bland 2D gaming and ushered in an era of 3d gaming goodness that still continues today. So what happened to 3Dfx and why aren't we still gaming on their products today? Here's another take on the subject and one worth reading if you are interested in the history of 3D gaming/technology.

Strangely, 3Dfx didn’t so much draw interest as blow the lid off of a trend that redefined how we think of video games. Its graphics processing units were just the right technology for their time. And, for that reason, the company was everywhere for a few years … until it wasn’t. So, what happened-why did 3Dfx turn into a cautionary tale?
That game was hardly the first full 3D rendered game available. One is example is the game "Descent". It came out much earlier and eventually was made to use the 3DFX Glide driver. However, Quake certainly did more to grab everyone and really get the masses clamoring for 3D accelerators.

Definitely was a leap for gaming on the PC.
Indeed it was.

The fall of 3DFX ? they were too good, and Nvidia pulled a Disney ( if you can't make something better, buy the competition )
NVIDIA purchased 3DFX to acquire a couple of technologies and branding in case they wanted to do something with it. I don't believe they got 100% of the business and I know they never took on 3DFX's debt.

I still haven't read the article, but from what I remember at the time it was mostly caused by them being greedy and trying to vertically integrate.

They wanted a bigger piece of the pie, so they bought video card maker STB in order to sell their own video cards rather than just GPU's.

When they started phasing out their other board partners they shrunk their distribution network at the same time as they had so much money tied up in STB that they had less to spend on R&D and fell behind Nvidia and ATI in the GPU development race.

This resulted in constant delays and trying to slap more GPU's on a single board to make up for disappointing GPU performance and eventually bankruptcy.
This is precisely what happened. However, as I recall 3DFX was already falling behind NVIDIA technologically speaking at the time they bought STB. Basically, the company was mismanaged and run into the ground. It made a decision that I don't think anyone would have thought was a good idea if they had known 3DFX's exact financial situation.

I've posted this video before, but it's frankly better than any article. Watch the full thing, it's really interesting.

The big stand out thing to me is really how nothing has changed much from what 3DFX first innovated on over two decades ago now, and how it was basically the innovation of Gary Tarolli that made it all happen.

And yes - It was basically the choice to waste a bunch of time trying to make AIO cards / vertically integrate that killed them. If they would have just stuck with selling a chip and focused on doing what they did best by just putting out a higher performing 3D GPU they likely would have survived.

Again, 3DFX's GPUs were falling behind NVIDIA technologically. As I remember It, this was the case before they bought STB.
 

DejaWiz

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This is precisely what happened. However, as I recall 3DFX was already falling behind NVIDIA technologically speaking at the time they bought STB. Basically, the company was mismanaged and run into the ground. It made a decision that I don't think anyone would have thought was a good idea if they had known 3DFX's exact financial situation.
nVidia's focus on OGL and DX (instead of a proprietary API) also helped them secure a strong OEM supply chsim revenue stream, while 3Dfx relied solely on the "small potatoes" niche of gaming PCs, since their attempt of partnering with gaming console manufacturers failed. Couple that with the debt of the STB purchase leaving little room for R&D, this left nVidia in a position to throw a lot of money at R&D from that OEM supply chain revenue.

Back at the time of 3Dfx's ultimate demise, I worked for Compaq/HP performing assembly and run-in. In almost every business desktop with an add-in video card, it was almost always an nVidia based card of some sorts.
Matrox was second (cheaper, but less capable).
ATI third (more expensive, and oftentimes backordered due to tight supply).

While 3Dfx was attempting to ride their former coattails of success during the V5 release, nVidia was sewing new coattails for themselves. The rest is history.
 

daglesj

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I never went true Voodoo.

I was a Matrox Mystique/M3D PowerVR user which looked great and didn't need a pass through cable.

I think however, after that I switched to a 3Dfx Banshee which wasn't a bad card at all.
 

Dan_D

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nVidia's focus on OGL and DX (instead of a proprietary API) also helped them secure a strong OEM supply chsim revenue stream, while 3Dfx relied solely on the "small potatoes" niche of gaming PCs, since their attempt of partnering with gaming console manufacturers failed. Couple that with the debt of the STB purchase leaving little room for R&D, this left nVidia in a position to throw a lot of money at R&D from that OEM supply chain revenue.

Back at the time of 3Dfx's ultimate demise, I worked for Compaq/HP performing assembly and run-in. In almost every business desktop with an add-in video card, it was almost always an nVidia based card of some sorts.
Matrox was second (cheaper, but less capable).
ATI third (more expensive, and oftentimes backordered due to tight supply).

While 3Dfx was attempting to ride their former coattails of success during the V5 release, nVidia was sewing new coattails for themselves. The rest is history.
Well, that's just it. Because of it's decisions 3DFX was lagging nVidia in a big way. Cards like the Voodoo 5 5500 and unreleased Voodoo 5 6000 were nothing more than a brute force approach at performance by adding more dated VSA 100 chips, RAM etc. They were falling well behind on features at a time when nVidia was pushing the envelope.
 

Mystikos

n00b
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Nov 24, 2008
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glide pwned direct3d at the time. glide made blood look like liquidy blood instead of red pixels and offered great lighting effects. I miss those times. I remember a kid so happy to show me golden eye on n64 and I laughed at em bitch you aint played qwcl on a voodoo pc :)
 

jlbenedict

[H]ard|Gawd
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Good times... dual Voodoo 2's.. along with an Aureal SQ2500... that was what games were meant to be played on
 

Ozarkboy

[H]ard|Gawd
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I remember it well, I had bought the Voodoo 5 5500, was such a blazing card, then 3dfs was bought out, my card was no longer supported, it became a boat anchor at that point. Bought my first Geforce card after that and never went back. :)
 

eclypse

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Dec 7, 2003
Messages
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Still own a mint pair of stb voodoo 2 12mb 3dfx cards installed in a vintage win98 build and another vintage build with a voodoo 5 5500.

Also a banchee? (Can't spell it) i got in an old Pentium 250mmx Packard bell system I bought years ago at a salvation army.. I think I paid $60 bucks for it.. but didn't care.. could not walk away from it as it looked identical to the first ever pc I bought back in 95. Hehe.

I could light this place up with many boxed photos from all the 3dfx cards I've owned and sold off over the years.

Voodoo1,v2,v3.. never bought the voodoo 4 or 5 back when they were at the stores :/

Wish 3dfx would come back and give nvidia some competition and regain there status!
 

DocNo

Gawd
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Apr 23, 2012
Messages
654
That game was hardly the first full 3D rendered game available. One is example is the game "Descent". It came out much earlier and eventually was made to use the 3DFX Glide driver.
I was trying to remember why I bought my 3dfx card and indeed it was for Descent - thanks for helping with that!

For other fans of Descent, if you didn't know - a new version is in the works: https://descendentstudios.com

I am not nearly as twitchy as I once was :(
 

Verge

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Still own a mint pair of stb voodoo 2 12mb 3dfx cards installed in a vintage win98 build and another vintage build with a voodoo 5 5500.

Also a banchee? (Can't spell it) i got in an old Pentium 250mmx Packard bell system I bought years ago at a salvation army.. I think I paid $60 bucks for it.. but didn't care.. could not walk away from it as it looked identical to the first ever pc I bought back in 95. Hehe.

I could light this place up with many boxed photos from all the 3dfx cards I've owned and sold off over the years.

Voodoo1,v2,v3.. never bought the voodoo 4 or 5 back when they were at the stores :/

Wish 3dfx would come back and give nvidia some competition and regain there status!
3dfx is nvidia
 

Dan_D

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Yes I know but I think you what I mean.. they bought them for there sli tech.
Except SLI on NVIDIA cards has nothing in common with 3DFX's SLI. Scalable Link Interface is different than Scan Line Interleaving.
 

Stoly

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Except SLI on NVIDIA cards has nothing in common with 3DFX's SLI. Scalable Link Interface is different than Scan Line Interleaving.
IIRC SLI was dead for quite a while until PCI-E came out.

Many people blame nvidia for 3dfx demise as if they made a hostile take over. But its only 3dfx to blame. They paid for their mistakes. nvidia was just there to pick up the pieces.
AFAIK it was actually a good deal for many at 3dfx as most of the engeneering team went straight to nvidia and got a secure job with better pay.
 

Cranky1970

Weaksauce
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Sep 2, 2017
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I remember my first Diamond Monster 4 meg card that i had , and i have cherished memories of my Voodoo 3 3000 16 meg card , ahh the good ole days....
 

Burticus

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I remember it well, I had bought the Voodoo 5 5500, was such a blazing card, then 3dfs was bought out, my card was no longer supported, it became a boat anchor at that point. Bought my first Geforce card after that and never went back. :)
I did that too. I paid cash money for that 5500 and it was awesome for a while. Then the shit went down. I sold my card to a coworker at a loss because I was afraid I'd never see another driver for it. That turned out to be not true, the community stepped up and made their own drivers. Replaced it briefly with an ATI card (maybe an 8500?) which kind of sucked (and drivers really sucked) which got replaced by a GF 3 ti-200, a fine card that I kept for years.
 

kreno

Weaksauce
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Jul 4, 2004
Messages
109
I bought a Monster 3D Voodoo1 back in the day for GLQuake, then moved to a Matrox G200, Voodoo3 3000 was next, was amazing for Tribes performance since it needed GLide to work very well at the time.
 

Trimlock

[H]F Junkie
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Sep 23, 2005
Messages
15,200
I remember that at the time of 3dfx’s demise I had stopped following them almost completely.

There were a few hopefuls that specter was going to revolutionize the industry but in reality there was no product, just more fluf from them.
 

nervegrind3r

[H]F Junkie
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Jan 28, 2005
Messages
9,271
I know this is old but I bought 3dfx stock shortly before nvidia took them over because it was dirt cheap.....well it didnt work out. If I only invested in nvidia at that time I think they were at 30ish.
 

DejaWiz

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I know this is old but I bought 3dfx stock shortly before nvidia took them over because it was dirt cheap.....well it didnt work out. If I only invested in nvidia at that time I think they were at 30ish.
8.5x ROI today...dang that would have been a nice gain.
 
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