The History of the Modern Graphics Processor, Part 3: The Nvidia vs. ATI era begins
With the turn of the century the graphics industry bore witness to further consolidation. In the consumer graphics market, ATI announced the acquisition of ArtX Inc. in February 2000, for around $400 million in stock. ArtX was developing the GPU codenamed Project Dolphin for the Nintendo GameCube, which added significantly to ATI’s bottom line.
On November 14, 3dfx announced they were belatedly ceasing production and sale of their own-branded graphics cards, something that had been rumoured for some time but largely discounted. Adding fuel to the fire, news got out that upcoming Pentium 4 motherboards would not support the 3.3V AGP signalling required Voodoo 5 series.
Prior to the Voodoo 5’s arrival, ATI had announced the Radeon DDR as “the most powerful graphics processor ever designed for desktop PCs.” Previews of the card had already gone public on April 25, and only twenty-four hours later Nvidia countered with the announcement of the GeForce 2 GTS (GigaTexel Shader). The latter included Nvidia’s version of ATI’s Pixel Tapestry Architecture, named Nvidia Shading Rasterizer, allowing for effects such as specular shading, volumetric explosion, refraction, waves, vertex blending, shadow volumes, bump mapping and elevation mapping to be applied on a per-pixel basis via hardware.
Image credit: Abstract yellow and blue via Shutterstock.
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