The History of the Modern Graphics Processor

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,256   +1,386
TechSpot Elite
Wow, this sure brings back some memories for me. I especially loved this picture:
2019-11-21-image-j.webp

That ATi EGA Wonder was my first video card (that was actually mine). In 1988, I was already a PC nut and my parents gave me parts to build my own PC. The video card was an ATi EGA Wonder that my stepdad bought in 1987 but then upgraded his 386 PC to an ATi VGA Wonder. The cost of that card was $700CAD at the time. I was too young at the time to know this but later on, it really blew my mind when I thought about it because we weren't exactly rich. Adjusted for inflation, $700 in 1987 is over $1600 today and that was JUST ONE PART of it. I shudder to think of what everything else cost but with the exception of the Baby-AT motherboard, 286-16 CPU and 1MB of SIMM RAM, they were all hand-me-down parts from my stepfather's PC that he upgraded. It's still a crapload of money though. I guess I was blessed. :D

It's amazing how this industry has evolved (and has gone to hell at the same time). That's the problem with oligopolies (and the current duopoly/triopoly is even worse), it's too easy for one manufacturer to change what people are willing to pay for a product type. Things were better when the market had several players like ATi, CirrusLogic, S3, SiS, nVidia, 3dfx, Orchid, Oak, Matrox and Diamond. It seemed like every second month a new card was released. It was just crazy.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,256   +1,386
TechSpot Elite
Articles like this confirm that the 70's, 80's and 90's were simply magical.

So glad I was able to live them!
Yeah they were. Innovation was the name of the game and there were so many players involved. Now THAT was real free-market capitalism. The problem with capitalism is that results in oligopolies and/or duopolies like we have now.

Capitalism is a competition but competitions always have winners. When only those winners are left, we're screwed.
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 371   +474
It's a shame 3dfx weren't able to adapt, they did have such a massive advantage on 3D stuff.
I do remember my old Matrox G400. So fancy, with two displays on my computer. :D
 
In 1994 I bought a computer that was built by guys from China. They installed a 48680 mother board from China, which was higher tech because they had a lot of characters in their language.

I had it built to work on art. I bought a Scanner that came with Photoshop LE 2.5 for Windows 3.1. It was 8bit, and with the video card drivers setup, it can show photographs with 16million colors.
I used this as an advantage to start doing digital photo-repair. At the time it was rare to have more than 256 colors. Even today people talk about the tablet was on computers in the 1980's, but those computers had to have a port made for that. So not all computers could have them.
The the computer had 64mb of ram, and it was not a problem to see photographs at 600 dpi and original size.
With a program called Compupic for Dos 6.2, and Windows 3.1, I could see great images in Dos or Windows. I earned enough money to pay for the computer with Photo-repairs. I printed them on an Okijet 2010, the first Epson printer. You could see the dots in the image, but my work could be printed on a color laser printer when people wanted a better quality.
I grew tired of replacing the hard drive in 2005. It could take any hard drive when I put in the information, but in 2005, I was using Photoshop 7. I was not interested in keeping the old computer running until the battery died and lost the programming for the main board, which could be in 2026.
 
I never actually used Windows 3.1 much. I was using OS/2 v2.0 pretty much all the way up to Win95. LOL
I started with a computer that needed someone to create their own program with what is known as spaghetti code. When I heard computers had Windows a program that didn't need to be written, I bought my first programmed computer.
I wanted to try OS2, and I even downloaded it, but while running it, I could not use everything that came with my computer, like the printer, scanner, Photoshop. I didn't want something that didn't have all of that. I had Dos 6.2 for games, but I could view photographs in Dos that was not degraded by a few colors. It was close to true colors.
I had Windows 95 upgrade, but I could not use Photoshop LE 2.5 in it, because it was an 8 bit program and Windows 95 was created to use 16 bit so they could have more colors. Some pictures made for Windows 95 would not run until I added a converter to show them with my 16 million colors.
 

cliffordcooley

Posts: 12,739   +6,107
In case some are confused with the 48680 number. It is actually 80486.

"x86 is a family of instruction set architectures initially developed by Intel based on the Intel 8086 microprocessor and its 8088 variant. <snip> The term "x86" came into being because the names of several successors to Intel's 8086 processor end in "86", including the 80186, 80286, 80386 and 80486 processors."
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,256   +1,386
TechSpot Elite
I started with a computer that needed someone to create their own program with what is known as spaghetti code. When I heard computers had Windows a program that didn't need to be written, I bought my first programmed computer.
I wanted to try OS2, and I even downloaded it, but while running it, I could not use everything that came with my computer, like the printer, scanner, Photoshop. I didn't want something that didn't have all of that. I had Dos 6.2 for games, but I could view photographs in Dos that was not degraded by a few colors. It was close to true colors.
I had Windows 95 upgrade, but I could not use Photoshop LE 2.5 in it, because it was an 8 bit program and Windows 95 was created to use 16 bit so they could have more colors. Some pictures made for Windows 95 would not run until I added a converter to show them with my 16 million colors.
Yep, for some devices, OS/2 was a complete clusterfrack because any devices that were the least bit specialised didn't have drivers (fortunately my Panasonic KX--P1091 printer worked fine). Win95 was pretty sketchy with 8-bit programs which I thought was absurd since backwards-compatibility has always been a critical aspect of the PC.
 
It was a 486 computer with 80 turbo boost and 40 without the turbo turned on.
It was a computer that had a power button, a reset button, and a turbo button.