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Info History of nVIDIA Graphics cards Vol. 1

yjfy

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History of nVIDIA Graphics cards Vol. 1
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nVIDIA was founded on April 5, 1993, by Jensen Huang,Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem.

1. NV1

May 22, 1995 nVIDIA Corporation and SGS-THOMSON announced the introduction of the NV1 and STG2000X Multimedia Accelerators.

The NV1 and STG2000X are the first complete Multimedia Accelerators to deliver the power of real-time photorealistic 3D graphics, video based special effects, full-motion video acceleration, and concurrent high-fidelity audio, in a single chip.

1.1 nVIDIA
1.1.1 NV1
1.1.1.1 Chip Evaluation board
Chip Evaluation board of NV1 graphics card.
NV1_ES.jpg
(From EDGE magazine Februay 1996)
 
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yjfy

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1.1.1.2 Product Evaluation board

The NV1 graphics card is initially positioned as a 3D game graphics card, so its Product Evaluation board is naturally related to games and is equipped with a universal GAME port.

July 31, 1995 Sega and nVIDIA reached an exclusive license agreement. However, Sega’s gamepads are not compatible with the universal GAME port. Seeing that there will be a lot of Sega games ported from the face, nVIDIA designed the Sega game port version.

1.1.1.2.1 Game port version

The NV1 graphics card rushes to the bright future of 3D games, and the official promotional picture theme of its Product Evaluation board is games.

This Product Evaluation board, 2/4MB VRAM.

NV1_Next_Generation_Issue.jpg


(From NEXT Generation Issue #10 October 1995)
 
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yjfy

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1.1.1.2.2 Sega game port version

This NV1 graphics card is a picture taken by Alexander Medvedev of ixbtlabs.com in nVIDIA internal museum on 2003.

This version has 4MB VRAM, NVSGP (NV SeGa Port) chip, and an external game daughter card.

EDGE_3D_3400_ES_1.jpg
 
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yjfy

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1.1.2 STG2000X

STG2000X_ES.jpg
This picture is from anandtech.com and is a collection of Huang Renxun's office. The ST logo in the picture shows that this is the design of the STG2000X chip graphics card undertaken by SGS-THOMSON. In fact, the design work is undertaken by NV. What is interesting is that the chip on the Chip Evaluation board of STG2000 is not STG2000X but NV1, and the video memory is DRAM instead of VRAM. This also shows that NV1 chip supports VRAM/DRAM, STG2000X is only for low-end, artificially limited to only support 2MB DRAM.

This graphics card is a Chip Evaluation board, not a Product Evaluation board. The NV1 chip and the NV1 Product Evaluation board have been basically finalized at this time. With the addition of Sega, nVIDIA added the NVSGP chip, which was later NVSGP (NV SeGa Port) chip, to support Sega games handle. Diamond, the first to follow up the pace of nVIDIA's research and development, has also experienced this situation.
 
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yjfy

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1.2 Diamond Multimedia

May 22, 1995 Diamond Multimedia Systems, Inc. announced its endorsement of a new generation of Multimedia Accelerators from nVIDIA Corporation and SGS THOMSON Microelectronics.

November 7,1995 Diamond Multimedia ships Edge3D Series based on nVIDIA technology.

Diamond is nVIDIA’s earliest and most important partner. Diamond has the most complete product line based on nVIDIA’s early display chips, the largest output, and the most representative. This article focuses on Diamond graphics cards, supplemented by other manufacturers’ distinctive graphics cards to introduce early nVIDIA chip graphics cards.

In addition, another important reason is that Diamond does not strictly control engineering samples, and even uses well-functioning engineering samples directly for OEM or retail. Since most of the engineering samples are in the early stage of graphics cards, they have an unparalleled effect on the research of graphics history. There are very few engineering samples from other manufacturers. Although the main reason is that the manufacturers destroy almost all of them, our level of identification is not high enough to distinguish these engineering samples.

There has been no monograph on the identification of computer board samples.In the computer hardware collection world at the beginning of 2000, computer collections and CPU collections have become independent series, and there have been many well-known collectors.Computer parts, mainly computer boards and cards, are still groping due to their complexity and variety and the difficulty of collecting them.In the collection of nearly 20 years, engineering samples have gradually become the focus of my collection and research.
"Sample of computer hardware board and card" is the crystallization of my research results over the years, and plays an important role in guiding the identification of computer hardware samples.

1.2.1 Edge 3D 3000 series (NV1 Chip)

Diamond Edge 3D 3000 series graphics cards use NV1 chips. There are two models of Edge 3D 3240/3400XL. Edge 3D 3240XL adds a 2MB video memory daughter card and attaches a green/white "3400" sticker to become Edge3D 3400XL.

In fact, Edge3D 3240/3400XL has two versions. Diamond cooperated with nVIDIA very early to develop Edge 3D equipped with GAME port version, and later developed Edge 3D with Sega game port version. This version with Sega gamepad is the official version.

Because NV1 comes standard with VRAM video memory, the development of VRAM video memory NV1 graphics card is difficult and costly. Only Diamond mass-produces VRAM video memory NV1 graphics card. NV1 graphics cards from other manufacturers are either difficult to produce or use DRAM version of NV1 graphics cards.

1.2.1.1 Game port version

1.2.1.1.1 Early Product Evaluation board

Although this card has the Diamond LOGO, it is not the early Product Evaluation Board of Diamond, but an engineering sample of nVIDIA. For the need of publicity, or its Edge 3D graphics card has not yet formed, or the new product is confidential, it directly affixed its own LOGO to the nVIDIA graphics card for emergency.

The early Product Evaluation board of Diamond should be the style of the main daughter card.
EDGE_3D_3240_ES.jpg
(From Computer Gaming World January 1996)
 
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yjfy

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1.2.1.1.2 Late Product Evaluation board

This late Product Evaluation board expands the 2MB VRAM in the form of a daughter card and has been finalized. Although this graphics card is quite complete, it is a version that does not support Sega gamepads and was abandoned.

Note that the graphics card BIOS version is marked as V1.00A.
EDGE_3D_3400_ES.jpg

(From PC Mag on December 5, 1995)
 
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yjfy

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1.2.1.2 Sega game port version

1.2.1.2.1 Qualification Sample

This Edge 3D graphics card is a picture taken by Anand Lal Shimpi of anandtech.com in Huang Renxun’s office on September 23, 2002.

This Edge 3D graphics card is an Qualification Sample/Customer Sample.

Diamond’s Qualification Sample/Customer Sample graphics cards and some early graphics cards will have LOGO stickers on the chips, and the EngineeringSample/Qualification Sample in the official promotional pictures also have LOGO stickers.

Although this Edge 3D graphics card is Qualification Sample/Customer Sample, its BIOS version is the official version, marked as V1.00. It can be seen that there is no letter suffix behind the official BIOS.

EDGE3D_3240_anandtech.com.jpg
(From anandtech.com)
 
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yjfy

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1.2.1.2.2 Official product

1.2.1.2.2.1 EDGE 3D 3400XL

This graphics card is very similar to the above Qualification Sample. The NV1 chip and NVSGP chip have the same date, or the EDGE 3D 3000 series early cards all use IBM's VRAM memory and have a white "3400" label. The PCB date of this graphics card is 9536 weeks, and the production date stamp is 9543 weeks.

And I have a graphics card with the earliest PCB date of 9534 weeks, but the chip date used by the graphics card is later than the chip used by the graphics card at 9536 weeks. The production date stamp is 9547 weeks, 9545 weeks later than the release date.
EDGE_3D_3400XL_9536_1.jpg

EDGE_3D_3400XL_9536_2.jpg
 
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yjfy

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The PCB date of this VRAM video memory daughter card is 9533 weeks, which can be regarded as an early PCB date. This is because the video memory daughter card has an earlier finalization date and has been finalized in the Game port version. The production date stamp of this daughter card is 9550 weeks.

The later PCB date is 9537 weeks, but it is 9545 weeks. It is estimated that there are daughter cards that use IBM VRAM video memory earlier than 9533 weeks.
EDGE_3D_3400XL_9536_3.jpgEDGE_3D_3400XL_9536.jpg
 
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yjfy

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1.2.1.2.2.2 EDGE 3D 3240XL

The NV1 chip is 9531 weeks, the NVSGP chip is 9534 weeks without TM marking, and the NV DAC64 chip has an earlier date, 9509 weeks, which is earlier than the date announced by nVIDIA (9521 weeks),Same as the chip date of the late product evaluation version of the game port version.
EDGE_3D_3240XL_9536.jpg
 
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yjfy

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1.2.1.2.2.3 EDGE 3D 2200XL

Some people say that the following EDGE 3D 2200XL graphics card is fake, because the STG2000X chip is replaced with NV1. In fact, I found this card from an electronic waste recycling station. This graphics card appeared late, with a PCB date of 9646 weeks. It is a chip error graphics card, which also shows that the NV1 chip supports DRAM. Last year, I bought another EDGE 3D 2200XL on eBay. Both of its ST chips were replaced by NV chips. The seller also tested it with the software, but the seller gave a non-existent postal number and said it was lost. I think it has been collected by a certain collector and you will see it in the future.
EDGE_3D_2200_NV1.jpg
 
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yjfy

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1.2.2 Edge 3D 2000 series (STG2000X Chip)

Diamond Edge 3D 2000 series graphics cards have Edge3D 2120/2200XL, Edge3D 2120XL can increase 2 slices of 512KB DRAM to expand to 2MB, and paste the green/white "2200" sticker to become Edge3D 2200XL.

There is no GAME port version for Edge3D 2120/2200XL. It may be that the STG2000X chip was launched a little later, nVIDIA has cooperated with Sega, and there is no need to continue to develop the GAME port version.

1.2.2.1 Engineering sample

EDGE_3D_2200_ES.jpg
(From PC Mag on December 5, 1995)

This board type is the late Product Evaluation board. It can be seen that it is slightly different from the common retail version, and the obvious change is the position of the aluminum electrolytic capacitor in the lower right corner of the main chip. The version number of the BIOS on the graphics card seems to be marked as V1.00C, at least the length of the handwriting can be judged that there are letters after V1.00, which also proves that the BIOS of the engineering samples has a letter suffix.
 
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yjfy

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1.2.2.2 Qualification Sample

Diamond's EDGE 3D 2000 series graphics card saw the earliest PCB finalization date is also 9534 weeks, and the PCB date of this card is 9534 weeks. The stamp on the back of the graphics card is 9542 weeks, which means that 9542 weeks is the production date of the card. 11/7/95 (9545weeks) ships Edge3D. This Edge3D 2120XL was produced before the release date, and the version number on the graphics card BIOS is V 1.00E. It can be seen from the previous EDGE 3D engineering samples that the BIOS version number of the engineering sample has a letter suffix at the end, while the official version does not have a letter suffix at the end.

This graphics card is a sampling of the official product before retail, and is used in the Qualification Sample for the final test of the BIOS version. I have bought and sold nearly 100 EDGE 3D graphics cards. Only the BIOS of this card is special. Although I wrote "Sample of computer hardware board and card" , I can only identify this card as the earliest graphics card. Until this article was written recently, I checked a lot of information to determine whether it was a sample or a sample of the earliest known nVIDIA chip graphics card in the hands of collectors.

Why can I collect thousands of engineering samples while other collectors are hard to find? This is because I have invested a lot of time, researched in-depth, unique insight, and some elements of luck.
EDGE_3D_2120_V1.00E.jpgEDGE_3D_2120_V1.00E_1.jpg
 
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1.2.3.3 Official product
1.2.3.3.1 EDGE 3D 2200XL

EDGE_3D_2200XL_SEGA_3D.jpg
The BIOS of this graphics card is VN1.00. "N" should be the meaning of NEC PC-9821 special edition, this BIOS version of the graphics card does not display on the PC.
 

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1.2.3 Boxed
1.2.3.1 Game Port version
box-edge.gif
This designed box comes from the Diamond website and is the original design. With the intervention of Sega, it was abandoned. Later, this box was slightly modified to be used in the NEC dedicated version.
 
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yjfy

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1.2.3.2 Sega game port version

The box of this design is a concept map, and the theme of the box is Sega Games. It was announced that the EDGE 3D series of graphics cards will focus on supporting Sega games.

box-edge_2.jpg
 

yjfy

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1.3 Leadtek Research Inc.

6/01/1995 Leadtek Research Inc. announces Proview GD400 and Proview GV500.A suggested list price for GD400 at $249 (1MB DRAM) and for GV500 at $399 (2MB VRAM).

1.3.1 Proview GD400 (STG2000X Chip)

Proview GD400 is based on SGS-THOMSON's STG2000 Multimedia Accelerator, with 1MB DRAM and socket-upgradeable to 2MB with PCI 2.0 bus plug and play supported, display resolution from 640x480 at 256/32K/16.7M colors up to 1280x1024 256 colors are provided.

The PCB dates of several Proview GD400 graphics cards I have seen are all 9547 weeks. It is estimated that this card will only be produced in one or two batches symbolically.

GD400.jpg


1.3.2 Proview GV500 (NV1 chip)

Proview GV500 is based on nVIDIA NV1 Multimedia Accelerator, with 2MB VRAM and upgradeable to 4MB. Proview GV500 is not mass-produced, so the model is mistaken as GD500.
 
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yjfy

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1.4 Jazz Multimedia

NOVEMBER 1, 1995 - Jazz Multimedia, Inc. announced the introduction of 3D Magic.

Jazz's 3D Magic is based on the same technology as Diamond's Edge 3D card, but 3D Magic actually surpasses it with features not offered by any other 3D accelerator card manufacturer, such as built-in SRS™ 3D sound and the availability of a Jazz Output to TV Projection Card option. Thus, all 3D game titles and software ported to nVIDIA will run perfectly with Jazz's 3D Magic, including Sega titles.

There are two DRAM versions of 3-D Magic, based on SGS THOMSON'S STG2000 multimedia accelerator chip. The 3-D Magic 1MB DRAM version will have an expected street price of $239.00 and a 2MB version will be priced at around $289.00. Two VRAM configurations, based on nVIDIA Corp's NV1 multimedia accelerator chip, are also available for PCI in a 2MB version, for approximately $339.00 -- and a 4MB version to sell for around $489.00. Jazz Multimedia's 3D Magic in Q1 in 1996, at most major computer retail outlets bundled with several exciting 3D game titles.

1.4.1 3D Magic DRAM(STG2000X chip)

1.4.1.1 Early Engineering sample

The early Engineering sample did not use the STG2000X of the DRAM memory version but the all-round NV1 chip.
3D_Magic_ES.jpg
(From weirdo on twitter.com )
 
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1.4.1.2 Late Engineering sample
3D-Magic_GinX.jpg

3D-Magic_GinX_1.jpg

3D-Magic_GinX_2.jpg

3D-Magic_GinX_3.jpg

Generally, it is possible to print the FCCID on the engineering sample card, because you can select the code first, and then register the selected code. There is no need to paste FCCID on engineering samples, unless it is evaluated, displayed, and sold directly, which is very likely. There are often engineering sample graphics cards that are packaged for retail sale, which should be the case for this graphics card.
 
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