TECH NEWS – No less than EIGHT (!) 3DFX Voodoo 2 GPUs were needed to run Valve’s game from 1998. Huh…
3DFX might not be a familiar name – this company was fully acquired and absorbed by NVidia at the end of 2000, and they tried as much as they could with discrete graphics with the Voodoo GPUs. Performance-wise, they weren’t that good, proven by Ross Tregemba’s build on the HardOCP forums.
He needed a year to find the Quantum3D Obsidian 2 200SBi boards. Tregemba explains what these are: „If you’re not familiar with these boards, they are basically two 3dfx Voodoo 2 chipsets in SLI on a single board. 4 boards = 8 Voodoo 2 chipsets that were used to achieve 4 tap rotated grid FSAA with no performance loss. These boards were used for military simulation and even NASA used them for certain configurations.”
The first board Tregemba found had a black PCB with a 125 MHz EDO, but this was later used on revised, green PCB boards. However, he found one with a unique BIOS (546-0014-05), not seen on other cards! He could buy more from the same seller, but the twist was that the other boards had 100 MHz EDO. Tregemba managed to find a „faulty” product: he thinks he got the black PCB one that was made at the end of its production, and the parts of it got mixed up before the green PCB’s manufacturing began!
Two boards worked flawlessly, but the other two had issues (one of them had texture problems, and the other one displayed blue tinted images in 2D). They were fixed on a hardware level, and Tregemba then was able to build this config (or brick…). While it doesn’t sound interesting on paper, let’s think about it: the Voodoo 2 was released in February 1998 with 8 or 12 MB of memory. It wasn’t that powerful in its age, but if you hook multiple of them together, it can pack a punch.
So this video proves how technology has evolved since then… but we still didn’t get Half-Life 3! And yes, there is some SLI going on here. 3DFX was ahead of its time!!!