A Quick History of Multi-GPU Video Cards

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Warrior017

That Gigabyte 3D1... I don't know what it is, probably the distinct look of isometric circuitry... but that must be the most beautiful board I've seen (in all, including motherboards, gpus, misc pc add-on pci cards, and other electronic's guts).

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Jeffredo

I have a Voodoo 5 5500 PCI. Rather a waste of money, but it did run my Glide games quite nicely. It was the best thing I had for Diablo II - the FSAA actually applied itself to the 2D maps along with the characters. Looked great.

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tenchymuyo2

Back then I had a Voodoo3. I've never owned a dual. When I buy, I just take whatever the top of the line is and purchase the one that's two versions lower. Currently I have a Gigabyte 460. It works just fine for every game still coming out.

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Rift2

I own a Voodoo 2 going with the original Voodoo purple box...

Hope it goes up in valve like 700.00 would be nice paid like 70.00 for it on ebay.

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vrmlbasic

3dfx was ahead of its time with the "multicore" stuff. Unfortunately I always had the impression that they were doing that out of desperation, as their GPU tech kept lagging behind, but isn't that the mother of innovation?

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santonel

Where's the Bitchin' Fast 3d? I couldn't help but notice it wasn't in the list!

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usmckozmo

I rocked an Asus GeForce 7950 GX2 in my Athlon 4600+ box for like 7 years. Best card I ever owned, and I go so much life out of it. The outer fan seized, and I wired in a fan I got off Ebay for 6 bucks, and eaked another year out of it before it BSOD'd itself a replacement GTX 580.

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LatiosXT

Am I weird in thinking the original 9800 GX2 design was pretty interesting with two PCBs sandwiched around a common heatsink?

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AFDozerman

Man, I forgot how tiny those blowers used to be...

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vrmlbasic

I remember an old 486 computer that used passive cooling for the CPU. I wonder if those wimpy fans on these depicted GPUs would even be enough to reliably cool today's low-power CPUs.

A time when dual-slot GPUs were the exception instead of the norm, a time when $500 bought the "VIP" passes to the high-performance GPU club instead of just barely getting you past the door...

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AFDozerman

Well, you can't directly compare prices, though. Inflation *has* ravaged the USD since then, so they aren't quite that exorbitantly priced these days, although 3000 dollars is still dickpiss high.

I wonder what VIA's new procs need to cool them. These fans might just do.

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jgottberg

I have fond memories of my Motion 9 778 video card coupled with my 3DFX voodoo 3D card. A Pentium 233mhz w/MMX, 8MB RAM and 2.1 Quantum Fireball hard drive. All that was circa 1993.

That rig played Quake like nobody's business :)

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vrmlbasic

1993? Are you sure? I was under the impression that 3dfx didn't even exist then.

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praetor_alpha

That's suspicious. MMX didn't come out until 1997, when 8 MB of RAM would be unusable.

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CantankerousDave

He probably meant 1998. I bought a 200MHz Pentium (pre-MMX) system in 1997 with similar specs. Lord, I paid too much for that thing...

I don't really think the Voodoo 2 counts as a multiple GPU card. Sure, it has three chips on it, but only because they couldn't squeeze all those functions into a single one back then. The elusive Voodoo 5 certainly counts, but not the 2.

Ironically, I have a tricked-out vintage system I built for fun sitting in my office closet. Dual 400MHz PII Slot 1 CPUs, 32MB of RAM, 3.2GB HDD, a Matrox Rainbow Runner card for 2D and video capture, a Voodoo 2 for 3D, and a Creative DVD-R and decoder board. The tangle of pass-thru cables around back for all those video cards is hilarious.

I'm flashing back to the bad old days of configuring IRQs and manually setting memory ranges in NT 3.51... We have it soooo easy nowadays.

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jgottberg

You guys are absolutely correct. I built that box in 1997. And the proc was actually a Pentium 166. It wasn't until later I "splurged" on the 200 w/mmx. Sorry about that! After I read the comments, I got to thinking about the timeline. It seems like eons ago.

And very true. Back then, building a PC actually required some technical expertise lol. You haven't lived until you've installed and configured a modem in a PC running Win 3.1.

How many FPS are you getting on Crysis with that vintage rig, Dave? ;)

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CantankerousDave

I wouldn't even be able to *install* it - my boot drive isn't bit enough to hold the game. And can you imagine loading all that texture data at 16MB/s over an IDE interface? Besides, Win2K tops out at DX9, but this PCI graphics hardware predates even my AGP Geforce 256, with its then-fancy hardware transform & lighting. Maaaaybe DX7?

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praetor_alpha

I got a Pentium 2 running about 8 months ago. 256 MB RAM, Rage 128, 17" CRT, 40 GB HD, Windows 98... pretty sweet for old stuff. http://theandrewbailey.com/article/120/Project-Twentieth-Century-Resurrection

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CantankerousDave

Dude, that's epic levels of RAM for that era (I have a video editor program from that era that called for 128MB of RAM, which I thought was insanely high at the time). I only had 8MB dimms. Swanky PC-133, though. I might add a RAID for video capture using a pair of old 27GB IDE drives and a Promise dual IDE controller just like the old days. Assuming I have a free PCI slot, that is. I'm using Windows 2000 since I had a legit copy gathering dust.

Nice writeup on STALKER on the site. That's my "comfort food" game. Which says a lot about me, really...

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TheRyGuy

Ah, I remember the days of my Core i7 920 and GTX 295...What a beast machine back then

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praetor_alpha

I actually had a 9800GX2 not long after it came out. I used the EVGA step up program to get a GTX 280 about 2 and a half months later for almost nothing.