Prototype of the ultimate unreleased 3dfx GPU sells on eBay for $15,000

Graphics playing cards price greater than they used to, but it surely seems that they’ll get even extra costly after they’re additionally a uncommon collector’s merchandise. A late-revision prototype of the unreleased Voodoo 5 6000—meant because the flagship of the Voodoo 5 GPU household—offered on eBay this week for $15,000, a value that makes the GeForce RTX 4090 look low-cost by comparability.

The GPU was mentioned to be in “wonderful situation” and seems to be totally practical—vendor gtastuntcrew302 posted a screenshot of the cardboard attaining a rating of 6,995 in 3DMark 2000 run at a 1024×768 decision. These playing cards have been by no means offered at retail, and solely about 1,000 prototypes have been manufactured, in response to Piotr Gontarczyk’s Polish-language historical past of 3dfx.

“This card was personally reworked by the well-known 3DFX engineer Hank Semenec for totally secure 8X FSAA (I’ve personally verified that this card is rock strong at 8X),” wrote the vendor. “In contrast to a variety of different Voodoo 5 6000 prototypes, this one is from the later phases of the 6K prototype venture the place the overwhelming majority of bugs have been ironed out.”

Primarily based on the identical VSA-100 structure because the single-GPU Voodoo 4 4500 and the dual-GPU Voodoo 5 5500, the 6000 features a complete of 4 VSA-100 chips with entry to 32MB of RAM apiece. It may need been capable of beat modern GeForce 2 and Radeon 7000-series GPUs, however these GPUs every used a single chip, making them a lot simpler to fabricate and cheaper to purchase. VSA-100 additionally lacked full assist for the Direct3D 7 and Direct3D 8 graphics APIs, each of which have been supported by Nvidia and ATI GPUs on the time.

Early prototypes additionally had knowledge corruption bugs that restricted them to AGP 2x speeds, although the prototype from this eBay itemizing seems to have resolved these bugs. The retail model of the cardboard would have required an exterior energy brick as a result of it wanted extra energy than the AGP graphics slot may present—a rarity on the time, although at this time’s GPUs just about all require further energy through some inner connector. The prototype attracts its further energy from an inner 4-pin Molex connector, which was generally used for laborious drives, optical drives, and different inner equipment on the time.

Nvidia purchased 3dfx in late 2000, earlier than the Voodoo 5 6000 or something prefer it may come to market. Nvidia and ATI (after which, AMD, after AMD purchased ATI) have been the one main gamers within the devoted graphics marketplace for greater than twenty years till Intel lastly launched its first Arc devoted GPUs in 2022.

Itemizing picture by gtastuntcrew302/eBay

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