3dfxzone.it ~ SFFT Drivers ~ MesaFX ~ 3D-Analyze ~ 3dfx Headlines ~ 3dfx Cards ~
Home | Profile | Register | Active Topics | Members | Search | GoogleSearch | FAQ | 3dfxzone.it
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 Index
 3dfx Hardware & Software
 General Discussions
 What if 3dfx never did the Banshee blunder?
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Print topic

Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman
Average

Indonesia
121 Posts

Posted - 25/02/2005 :  17:03:13  Show Profile  Visit Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm referring to this article on firingsquad:

Page 1: http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/3dfxdemise/default.asp

Page 2: http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/3dfxdemise/page2.asp


quote:
Originally posted by Brandon Bell at firingsquad.com

Voodoo2, much like every other product that followed, was created to fill a gap in 3dfx's product cycles. Voodoo2 again took the market in performance, more than doubling Voodoo Graphic’s performance with SLI configurations. Yet through all this, the goal was to deliver Rampage.


Voodoo Banshee

Management changes

It was sometime in between the Voodoo/Voodoo2 period that Greg Ballard came onto the scene as CEO. He was there for marketing, and he was good at it, though there was something missing when it came to technology. He pushed a variety of 3dfx marketing campaigns that helped bring 3dfx to the top. Problems apparently came from his lack of understanding how the graphics industry functioned. Ballard desired to deliver a single chip 2D/3D solution as the competition had thus far done the same.

This would allow 3dfx to enter the mainstream and OEM markets, increasing revenue. It would also renew trust in 3dfx as their ill-fated Voodoo Rush (a multi-chip 2D/3D solution with a separate vendor's 2D core) had created doubters. With limited engineering resources at the time, the only option for this to occur was to remove staff from another project and dedicate them to this. Thus Rampage lost vital engineering resources and Banshee was created.





"...Thus Rampage lost vital engineering resources and Banshee was created"

But what if, say, Greg Ballard never made CEO and 3dfx never did that Banshee fiasco, and stayed on Rampage instead???

I'd also like to point out the 3D accelerator products timeline as shown in the following pic (click the URL below):

http://accelenation.com/graphics/content/tom.history.07.png


Yup, it's pretty interesting to see that Banshee was launched at about the same time with the RIVA TNT. Suppose 3dfx never did the Banshee blunder, and stayed with Rampage, would they be able to launch Rampage at about the same time with RIVA TNT? And suppose they could, was Rampage specification sufficient to killing RIVA TNT completely, halting further advance of nVidia into 3D market?

I also read that Voodoo3 is actually Banshee2. Now, had 3dfx stayed with Rampage instead of Banshee, would this kind of focus in their development strategy be sufficient to launch VSA-100 at, say, December 1998 (it was the time when Voodoo3 was launched), thus killing TNT2 and completely shattering nVidia's hope to dethrone 3dfx?



To conclude, what if 3dfx never did the Banshee blunder? Would it be able to kill nVidia completely? Would it continue dominating 3D acceleration until today? What kind of GLIDE we would see today? Would GLIDE actually dominate the high-end of PC gaming, leaving Micro$oft DirectX for lower ends? Would ATI ever emerge?





VOODOO LIVES FOREVAH!!

Delenn is the hottest sci-fi character ever.

The Galactic Empire vs the Borg vs the Goa'ulds vs the A'millans vs the Trollish Imperium vs the Ancient Guardians
The Phoenix War


Never buy a LiteOn CD Writer. Ever.

gdonovan
Initiate

USA
92 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2005 :  20:44:52  Show Profile  Visit gdonovan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
1) Banshee sold over a million chipsets, hardly a blunder.

2) At some point 3dfx needed to develop a 2D core, and Banshee was it. The same core was used in Voodoo 3.

3) If they had to pull people off Rampage then perhaps 3dfx should have had more engineers.

4) Rampage also suffered from "feature creep" you can't ship a product in a prompt manner if you keep changing the design.

Go to Top of Page

NitroX infinity
Average

Netherlands
352 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2005 :  22:02:32  Show Profile  Visit NitroX infinity's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I agree with gdonovan.

3dfx's product cycle wasn't aggressive enough, that was their major flaw.
If they'd released their products in the following manner, they would probably still have been in business.

1996; Voodoo Graphics + Voodoo Rush
1997; Voodoo 2 1000 + Voodoo Banshee
1998; Velocity + Voodoo 3
1999; Voodoo 4 + Voodoo 5

Also, if they would've added the option to work in SLI (like the Voodoo 2) on the Voodoo 4 and just skipped the Voodoo 5, the Napalm cards (V4) would've been more successfull. Especially if they would have released single-chip Voodoo 4's with 64MB of RAM.
Go to Top of Page

Voodoo5
Average

Canada
157 Posts

Posted - 04/03/2005 :  01:12:16  Show Profile  Visit Voodoo5's Homepage  Reply with Quote
It's very interesting & sad how the company had a near-monopoly on the 3D accelerator market and then suddenly went bust? 3DFX (Greg Ballard) made terrible misjudgements on how the company should have proceeded forward as far as a business plan/model was concerned.

IMHO 3dfx should have never made the decision to manufacture cards and acquire STB for $ 140 million , this and the Gigapixel acquisition for $186 million ate up all the company's profit and induced substantial delays in the release of cards (Voodoo 3, 4 and 5) in a very competitive marketplace at that time, if these cards would have been released on time they would have been the undisputed performance leaders.

Poorer than expected sales of VSA-100 cards an no money in the bank to tie them over until future product releases and poof they sold out to Nvidia for pennies on the dollar

Go to Top of Page

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman
Average

Indonesia
121 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2005 :  16:40:02  Show Profile  Visit Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gdonovan

1) Banshee sold over a million chipsets, hardly a blunder.

2) At some point 3dfx needed to develop a 2D core, and Banshee was it. The same core was used in Voodoo 3.



No, I didn't mean blunder sales-wise. What I meant by blunder is:

1) Taking off the resources from Rampage development

2) Changing their focus from high-end, kickass products like Voodoo Graphics and Voodoo2 to more "mainstream" (performance-wise) cards like Banshee and Voodoo3 (Voodoo3 performance is only slightly higher compared to SLI Voodoo2).

Regarding to 2D/3D solution, I believe 3dfx should move to that kind of approach since AGP. Not that AGP would necesarilly do any good in technical terms, particularly in its early days, but words like "AGP" is necessary to capture public impression (despite the fact that AGP doesn't necesarrily did any good in terms of performance; AGP doesn't mean a jack regarding Voodoo5 architecture); not to mention compatibility issues. Note that GeForce 256 primary strength comes from superior fill rate despite the fact it was the words "Transform & Lightning" which actually captured public impression.

But why, oh why, it had to be Banshee and Voodoo3? What if 3dfx stayed with Rampage, and worried about 2D/3D integration later? Would it help 3dfx better against nVidia's?



quote:
Originally posted by gdonovan
4) Rampage also suffered from "feature creep" you can't ship a product in a prompt manner if you keep changing the design.



According to the article, it's because 3dfx blunders with the likes of Rush and Banshee that withdrawn the resource from Rampage. That's why they kept changing the design, because when the time Rampage was finished, it already outmodeled by everything else in the market so they needed to add more features. Thus, the never ending cycle of "feature creep".

But what if Greg Ballard never made CEO and 3dfx stayed on focus with Rampage, making it direct sucessor to Voodoo2? Would nVidia fail to dethrone 3dfx as king of 3D graphics? Would 3dfx still flourish until today?

If 3dfx never did Banshee on the first place, could they launch Rampage by November 1998 (the time when Voodoo3 was launched), or probably earlier? What is the specifications and supposed capability of the original Rampage? Would it be sufficient to kill nVidia once and for all? (or at least be a start of nVidia's demise?)

And what if 3dfx continue to be the King of 3D until today? (provided they never did the blunder and stay focused on high-end solution) Would we see GLide as the highest 3D (gaming) standard? Leaving Direct3D as "low-end" API? Would 3D gaming today be better if 3dfx continue its domination?

IIRC the reason 3dfx wrote GLide is because Direct3D is awfully absymal those days so 3dfx felt the need to create a better API. Is that true?


VOODOO LIVES FOREVAH!!

Delenn is the hottest sci-fi character ever.

The Galactic Empire vs the Borg vs the Goa'ulds vs the A'millans vs the Trollish Imperium vs the Ancient Guardians
The Phoenix War


Never buy a LiteOn CD Writer. Ever.
Go to Top of Page

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman
Average

Indonesia
121 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2005 :  16:54:30  Show Profile  Visit Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Voodoo5

It's very interesting & sad how the company had a near-monopoly on the 3D accelerator market and then suddenly went bust? 3DFX (Greg Ballard) made terrible misjudgements on how the company should have proceeded forward as far as a business plan/model was concerned.



Agree. STB acquisition was the biggest 3dfx ****-up (probably they still can survive after Banshee and Voodoo3 if they could ship Voodoo5 earlier), but Banshee was the start of the whole downhill (the start of continuing trends of mediocre cards like Vooodoo3), and both STB acquisition and Banshee are parts of Greg Ballard policy to play in "middle-end" market.

Point me if I'm wrong, but I believe the key of domination in 3D graphic is consistent success in high-end products. It's important to have products in both market (like nVidia's Ti and MX product lines), but when one has to choose, I believe high-end should have the most priority.

I mean, look at cards focusing in middle/low ends like S3 Virge, ATI 3D Rage, and Matrox Mystique. ATI did a smart move with Radeon, while Matrox had moved back to their business graphics root, and who ever hear of S3 in 3D cards today?



VOODOO LIVES FOREVAH!!

Delenn is the hottest sci-fi character ever.

The Galactic Empire vs the Borg vs the Goa'ulds vs the A'millans vs the Trollish Imperium vs the Ancient Guardians
The Phoenix War


Never buy a LiteOn CD Writer. Ever.

Edited by - Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman on 05/03/2005 16:56:56
Go to Top of Page

NitroX infinity
Average

Netherlands
352 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2005 :  18:22:46  Show Profile  Visit NitroX infinity's Homepage  Reply with Quote
You seam to forget that mainstream is where the money is. High-end is only a small percentage.

They should have used AGP texturing and HW T&L. That would have given the Voodoo cards some more 'pazsaz'.
Go to Top of Page

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman
Average

Indonesia
121 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2005 :  22:20:36  Show Profile  Visit Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Phalanx

You seam to forget that mainstream is where the money is. High-end is only a small percentage.


While mainstream is the money is, I guess 3D companies need to keep success with high-end flagship product to "keep the brand image". At least that what I think regarding to the way 3D market reacts.

But what if you have to choose between the two? (for example where resources is tight, like the case of 3dfx when they have to choose between Banshee and Rampage) I guess first priority should go to the high-end first, while mainstream market could be handled by "toned-down" version of the flagship product, and/or by previously outdated products.

This is the mistake of 3dfx, I guess. They focus the concentration on middle/low ends like Banshee and Voodoo3 WITHOUT having a really kickass flagship (where Rampage was supposed to be). I believe Voodoo3 success are more attributed to 3dfx loyal fanbase.

Not to mention the importance of middle end products was not really critical during that time, when the technology was not mature enough and the market was more impressed by "the next big thing" instead of "mass affordability".

(And yes, I take Voodoo3 as low/middle end considering its lack of new features (hypes?) and its performance which is only slightly better than SLI Voodoo2)

Nowadays, as the technology is pretty mature now and "goes to the masses" (truly, what is the really big difference between GeForce 6 and GeForce FX? I mean the difference percieved by the market), the middle end market becomes more important.

But still, both nVidia and ATI keep their focus on maintaining breakthroughs and "the next big thing" flagship products, where their low/middle ends are nothing more than "toned-down" version of their high ends, or their previous products.




quote:
Originally posted by Phalanx
They should have used AGP texturing and HW T&L. That would have given the Voodoo cards some more 'pazsaz'.



True. New, "public-demanded hypes" like AGP and HW T/L should be included to keep them "updated" in the market perspective. But a thing they should not overlook is to achieve the highest performance as possible to win the competition. Consider GeForce 256: while its most hyped feature is HW T/L, its actual strength lies on its superior fill rate. Imagine if nVidia came up with HW T/L but displaying a mediocre performance. I guess people just would laugh over it and HW T/L wouldn't be the standard norm like we see today.

Imagine if 3dfx stayed with high-end flagship, introducing FSAA as "the next best thing" but always (on the backstage) concentrating on top performance, beating everything offered by nVidia at that time, and (most importantly) deliver the product **ON TIME**. Probably FSAA, and not HW T/L, that become the "must-have" standard today.


Damn Greg Ballard for driving 3dfx down the hill!



But then, I'm still curious about the supposed performance of the original Rampage. What if 3dfx kept their concentration on that one instead of being distracted by low/mid end products? And what if they manage to deliver Rampage by the time TNT2 was around? Would it make a difference? Or at least starting a difference?

VOODOO LIVES FOREVAH!!

Delenn is the hottest sci-fi character ever.

The Galactic Empire vs the Borg vs the Goa'ulds vs the A'millans vs the Trollish Imperium vs the Ancient Guardians
The Phoenix War


Never buy a LiteOn CD Writer. Ever.

Edited by - Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman on 05/03/2005 22:25:01
Go to Top of Page

gdonovan
Initiate

USA
92 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2005 :  00:23:52  Show Profile  Visit gdonovan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:


1) Taking off the resources from Rampage development




What part of "THEY NEEDED TO DEVELOP A 2D CORE" isn't clear?

They had NONE and the day of a seperate 3D card was gone as soon as the first AGP motherboards were sold.

[qoute]

2) Changing their focus from high-end, kickass products

[/quote]

Totally ignoring the fact that was all they had to release (V1/VII).

This is totally useless speculation.

Go to Top of Page

Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman
Average

Indonesia
121 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2005 :  14:06:13  Show Profile  Visit Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gdonovan
What part of "THEY NEEDED TO DEVELOP A 2D CORE" isn't clear?

They had NONE and the day of a seperate 3D card was gone as soon as the first AGP motherboards were sold.



CRYSTAL. My point is why it had to be Banshee and Voodoo3 instead of something better.

Mind you, neither Banshee nor Voodoo3 has significant improvement (both features and performance) over Voodoo2. YES, they should go for 2D/3D solution since AGP came out, but they should also keep their products the baddest boy in town; they should have kept the performance real high and been keeping up with new features as well (such as 32 bit color). They should go for a totally new architecture instead of keep reusing the old Voodoo architecture over and over again.

Probably, instead of issuing Banshee, they should better allocated the efforts to modify Rampage to make it support AGP like Voodoo5? (Doesn't have to support AGP texturing, though. Just AGP connectability like Voodoo5, but with much better performance & "feature hype" than Banshee/Voodoo3 mediocrity).

Or probably they better stay with Rampage as 3D-only add-on, but make sure it has kickass performance and "next big thing" features (32 bit color, HW T/L, and such) to keep TNT/TNT2 at bay, while 3dfx concentrating on a real AGP, 2D/3D solution as Rampage successor?







quote:
Originally posted by gdonovan
Totally ignoring the fact that was all they had to release (V1/VII).



And where does V1/V2 have anything to do with this? My point is about V1/V2 successors which are basically *mediocre*. Voodoo3 is no better than TNT2 or even Matrox G400 when it goes to non-GLide apps.

Not to mention Greg Ballard policy to move to mainstream and OEM market. Alas, this attempt had practically killed their ability to keep up in high-end competition.




quote:
Originally posted by gdonovan
This is totally useless speculation.



Of course. It won't do jack to bring 3dfx back to life. Hence the name 'speculation'.

I just wonder whether the fall of 3dfx was really inevitable, regardless of Greg Ballard policy (thus Banshee and Voodoo3)?

Or they actually can survive (and even flourish), had they been able to deliver something really "hot" to crush nVidia at that time?

And what if they had stayed? What 3D gaming today would be?


VOODOO LIVES FOREVAH!!

Delenn is the hottest sci-fi character ever.

The Galactic Empire vs the Borg vs the Goa'ulds vs the A'millans vs the Trollish Imperium vs the Ancient Guardians
The Phoenix War


Never buy a LiteOn CD Writer. Ever.

Edited by - Kreshna Aryaguna Nurzaman on 06/03/2005 14:34:47
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Print topic
Jump To:

 

Forum Rules

Legal Info

Privacy

Contact Us

3dfxzone.it

HWSetup.it

ForumZone.it

 

All trademarks used are properties of their respective owners - Forum Graphics and Contents © 2001 - 2014 3dfxzone.it - Forum Engine © Snitz Forums