Almost forgotten now 3Dfx Interactive Inc., in the late 90s of the last century, was the absolute leader in the market for graphics processors and video cards. It is this company that has made 3D graphics commonplace, completely changing the world of computer games.
3dfx was founded in 1994 by three people from Silicon Graphics (now SGI) – Ross Smith, Gary Tarolli and Scott Sellers. After some time, they were joined by Gordon Campbell (Gordie Campbell), who left the company tech farm.
Originally 3dfx engaged exclusively in the creation of chips for slot machines. The first slot machine to use the company's solutions was the ICE Home Run Derby, released in 1996. The player was invited to try his hand at baseball. Somewhat later, San Francisco Rush and 3D Hockey slots and many others appeared. Solutions 3dfx also interested manufacturers of game consoles, which began to use them in their products: Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn.
A successful start allowed the company to think about a more interesting and promising market for computer games. So, in October 1996, a Voodoo Graphics. This miracle was created with the help of the company Diamond Multimedia - 3dfx Interactive did not have its own production facilities at that time. The developers did their best by introducing a fundamentally new software interface - Glidoutperforming competitors' solutions. It was a real breakthrough.
Products 3dfx quickly becoming popular. Many OEMs are joining its release. The best games of the time support Voodoo. Following the first creation, appears Voodoo Rush.
The then decisions 3dfx were not video cards in the classical sense. These were precisely 3D accelerators. To work with two-dimensional graphics, it was necessary to have a video card from any other manufacturer. Voodoo connected to it via a special cable and was used only in 3D games that support Glid is not the most elegant solution.
And then the company, now known to everyone and everyone, enters the market NVIDIA. Very quickly, the graphics processors it creates are approaching the performance of processors from 3dfx. At the same time, products NVIDIA was self-sufficient and did not require an additional video card.
In January 1998 appears Voodoo 2built using the same schema. However, this time, an innovative solution appeared - the ability to use several cards at the same time - after leaving 3dfx, forgot about it for a while. In general, the card Voodoo 2 turned out to be a good decision and sold great. It appeared on the market under the slogan "The Power of 2".
Meanwhile, competition in the market is intensifying. Products 3dfx, having a number of huge advantages, it also stands out for a number of small, but very unpleasant disadvantages. For example, the lack of normal support for the software interface OpenGL (however, at first this was not a particular disadvantage - most games were created under Glid). And competitors did not stand still.
In order to strengthen its position in the market, in the same year, 3dfx Interactive acquires a company STB Technologiesengaged in the production of video cards. Now have 3dfx had its own factory facilities and did not depend on OEMs.
And in the fall of 1998, the company NVIDIA is RIVA TNT — a really serious competitor. Voodoo 2 begins to slowly but surely yield. Appears Voodoo Banshee (video cards were already built on the basis of this GPU), and then in July 1999 a new generation: Voodoo 3. But holding positions is getting harder and harder. Apart from NVIDIA, one has to contend with S3 и ATI.
3dfx Interactive releases more and more new video cards. The company is undergoing a complete restructuring. Even the logo was changed to a more fashionable and modern one. But that didn't help either. The company begins to lag behind with the release of new cards. Its new solutions (Voodoo 4 and Voodoo 5) are massive multiprocessor monsters with a noisy cooling system. It came to oddities - some of the company's video cards simply did not fit into other computer cases because of their length. Meanwhile NVIDIA presents one revolutionary solution after another (GeForce256, GeForce 2 GTS).
In a desperate attempt to save the day, 3dfx acquires a small, but with a good scientific potential, company gigapixel. A fundamentally new product was promised - Specter ... Which was never destined to see the light of day.
A sharp drop in turnover, loss of trust among users, lack of finances crippled 3dfx. As a result, in 2000, the company is acquired by its worst competitor - NVIDIA. For 25 million US dollars. In 2002, the liquidation procedure was completed. NVIDIA, for the most part, was only interested in the intellectual property of a competitor. It was immediately stated that no further support for video cards 3dfx will not be carried out.
But until now, by searching the Internet, you can find references to video cards Voodoo. There are even clubs of fans of this rarity and people who collect products marked 3dfx.
Headquarters 3dfx Interactive located in Mountain View, California (Mountain View, California).