Direct3D team office has a Wall of GPU History

One for the PC gaming nerds.

I still remember my first Voodoo card.

Whippersnapper! :slight_smile:

I remember my first EGA card - and being reasonably excited about 640 x 480 and sixteen colors of graphics (not just text) at once.

Me too. It was a Voodoo 3 and I was so excited to support 3D graphics on my Win 98 computer. It ran Everquest quite well.

It’s interesting to see how the size, weight and power (+heat) aspects of GPUs have grown. In a few decades, it might be common to buy a $1000, 10lbs, liquid-cooled GPU with a $100, hand-sized add-on that contains everything else.

We aren’t that far off right now!

I should really dig out my own collection and document them. I really have a ton of boards, including some fairly rare ones like an NVIDIA NV1, which didn’t even render triangles. The first card I wrote drivers for was the TNT, though. I continue to be astonished at the progress that’s been made.

That’s impressive.

Somebody needs to make the I/O of a smartphone and an eGPU compatible with each other. The phone could plug into the GPU like a Nintendo cartridge into the console.

How did the NV1 render without triangles?

Almost all the pieces are there already. The GPU just needs a lane or two of PCI-e. USB-C is already compatible with PCI-e physically; some minor protocol changes and a software stack are all you need. For all I know, some phones might have the HW support already. I imagine it’s coming in any case, since it would give you Thunderbolt compatibility, which has other uses.

With “quad patches”. You could emulate triangles by wasting one of the vertices, but that throws away half the horsepower. It also did some weird stuff to simulated curved surfaces by distorting the texture mapping. All a complete dead end, but it’s funny to think that triangle rendering wasn’t always the obvious way forward.

I skipped from Hercules Monochrome to SVGA (and a 286 to a 486DX). But I remember running even EGA games was fun. Not so much CGA–I’d mostly rather just use black and white than that one color palette.

I also went from that 486 to a Pentium III. I bypassed the whole “separate 3D and 2D cards” phase altogether, and had some cheapo 3D card built into the motherboard. From there, it was WinXP computer with a GeForce 6100 onboard.

I never really upgraded cards or much else. My first discrete graphics card is the GT1030, on an 8-year-old computer.