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December 15, 2000 4:18 PM   Subscribe

NVidia just bought all the intellectual properties of 3DFX. [more]
posted by Steven Den Beste (8 comments total)

 
3DFX announced its most recent quarterly results today and they're a royal disaster. The company has been losing money for years and it's apparent they have no plan left for turning the business around. By doing this they at least manage to salvage some value for their stockholders.

I frankly doubt that NVidia will hire many of the 3DFX employees; they don't really need them. NVidia's reason for doing this was mainly to terminate 3DFX's lawsuit, and to pick up the rights to the intellectual property in question.

Oh, and NVidia says that continuing support for 3DFX products will be the responsibility of 3DFX -- only 3DFX won't exist to do it. That leaves owners of 3DFX products high and dry.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 4:26 PM on December 15, 2000


Wow. ATI and Nvidia are left to duke it out. Hopefully for a long time, I prefer cheap prices.
posted by john at 4:27 PM on December 15, 2000


Don't count out Matrox.

In the mean time, a comment: 3DFX is the source of most of its own problems. It's widely accepted that purchasing STB and going into the board business was a massive blunder. And that's not the only one they made.

NVidia beat 3DFX fair and square, with superior engineering.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 4:34 PM on December 15, 2000


I read an interview with the CEO of Matrox a while back in Maximum PC. He complained about how difficult it was to write complete OpenGL drivers when Nvidia has had them for a while now. If you can't write drivers then no matter how fast your card is, it won't perform. I don't give Matrox much time left.

ATI is a much bigger company then Nvidia so they can just throw money at the problem. The Radeon was a nice product until Nvidia release the new drivers that boosted all their card's performance. Always a nice thing.
posted by john at 4:55 PM on December 15, 2000


I despair of ever seeing progress in video cards again. Designers have focused on 3D performance and allowed 2D performance to basically stagnate. However, 2D performance is far more important for basic productivity tasks and makes the overall system feel much more responsive, even if the CPU isn't any faster. Frankly, I wish I could just buy a nice, screaming-fast 2D video card for my Mac with no 3D capability at all. Why pay for capabilities I never use?
posted by kindall at 5:11 PM on December 15, 2000


In case anyone's interested, here are a couple of interviews which fill in some details.

Among other things, it makes clear that NVidia has no intention of working on drivers for 3DFX cards. They're also not going to be selling the VSA-100 (though they'll own it), and 3DFX will no longer have the right to do so (before the liquidation). It looks like Quantum3D got screwed. I wonder if they'll be given the opportunity for a big "last buy" before the deal goes through.

Kindall, the reason there hasn't been a lot of improvement in 2D for a while is that we've reached the asymptote where it can't really be improved much anymore. That was why everyone was competing so strongly for 3D; it was an area where they could differentiate themselves, since everyone's 2D performance was nearly the same. And no-one will make a chip without 3D ever again, because you're probably the only person in the market who'd buy it.

Generally speaking, in the PC market, if you want the very best 2D performance Matrox has always been the brand. But I don't know if Matrox makes anything which will run in a Mac. It's a relatively small market (compared to PCs), and it's taking everything Matrox has to keep up in PCs. I don't think they have any engineers to spare. (Matrox isn't all that large.)

For you, some good news: NVidia is coming to the Mac. (Take my word for it; when you see it, you'll be glad.) The Geforce 2 MX is cheap (PC boards built around it tend to run in the range of about $120) and performance is outstanding. AND it supports dual-monitor. Don't be too surprised if that doesn't appear on the Mac in the next three-six months. (It may even be available already. But I know NVidia plans for it to move there.) The limiting factor, of course, is drivers. And they may decide to start with OSX and simply ignore everything previous to that. (In my opinion, that would be wise.)

NVidia already supports Linux and BeOS on the PC.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 7:50 PM on December 15, 2000


I can't imagine I'd be the only person buying a card without 3D. I mean, surely I'm not the only person on the planet who uses their computer as more than a really, really expensive time-waster.
posted by kindall at 10:18 PM on December 15, 2000


Nosing around a little more, I've found that ProMax has a Matrox-based AGP card that supports two monitors. It's compatible with AGP-based G4s and with the Cube. I was actually thinking about a Cube as my next machine, if only I could hook two monitors up to it. $300 is not bad for a two-monitor setup, either.
posted by kindall at 10:27 PM on December 15, 2000


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