Event Coverage

HardwareZone's 10th Anniversary: The 1998 - 1999 Era

The GPU Scene - 1999

The GPU Scene - 1999


  • Voodoo finally announced the much anticipated Voodoo 3 chipset, which was based heavily on the earlier Banshee and Voodoo 2 chipset. As we noted while testing the Voodoo 3 2D/3D card , it was fast, especially on games that were optimized for the Glide API, but sadly still lacked 32-bit color rendering. Looking back, the card didn't offer much improvement over the earlier Voodoo 2 and was eventually completely outclassed later by the NVIDIA's GeForce 256 and ATI's Radeon.
  • NVIDIA later improved on the success of the RIVA TNT chipset by introducing the TNT2. TNT2 is mostly similar to its predecessor, but included support for AGP 4X and up to 32MB of Video RAM. Additionally, the TNT2 was manufactured on a more advanced smaller process technology than the older TNT and could hit much higher clock speeds. We had the Canopus Spectra 5400 Premium Edition AGP in our labs, a really high-end RIVA TNT2 card and were absolutely thrilled with its performance. Its price, however, was just as thrilling, but in a different way - S$550!

 TNT2 arrives! It continued to offer competitive 3D performance and 32-bit color support, and in our tests, we found that its graphics were of higher quality. 3dfx was now really feeling the heat.

  • In that same year, Matrox released its G400 chipset, which was essentially a refined and more powerful version of the earlier G200. It included multiple monitor output support and had a new 3D feature known as Environmental Mapped Bump Mapping. We reviewed the Matrox Millennium G400 Dualhead , and although it provided average 3D performance, we were absolutely delighted by its 2D performance and the quality of its graphics, as you would expect from a Matrox card.
  • In mid-1999, NVIDIA landed the killer blow to 3dfx by announcing its new GeForce 256 chipset. Along with Microsoft's DirectX 7.0 standard, it ushered in a new era in 3D gaming as Transform & Lighting (T&L) processes were now handled by the GPU. This provided a tremendous boost in the quality of graphics as well as frame rates. We reviewed Creative's 3D Blaster Annihilator , and were impressed with the quality of its graphics and high frame rates.

 The GeForce 256, a true legend amongst graphics cards. Hardware-support for T&L brought about unprecedented gains in performance and image quality.



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