Today we will be previewing the GeForce3 which is NVIDIA's third generation graphics processing unit (GPU) which was developed internally under the code name NV20. Based on the NV2A, which is the graphics processor for the Xbox, NVIDIA continued the GeForce name due to strong brand name recognition.
The GeForce256 made it's debut some eighteen months ago and today's high-end models, such as the GeForce2 Pro and Ultra, are synonymous with unparalleled speed in rendering 3D graphics. The GeForce256 was a revolutionary product as it was the first graphics chipset that contained an on-board graphics processing unit targeted for the consumer market.
Prior to the GeForce, NVIDIA had achieved unprecedented success with its TNT series of chipsets. The TNT was a breakthrough in 3D graphics at the time as it was able to render multiple textures simultaneously. It was around this time that NVIDIA began to draw upon it's Silicon Graphics roots.
SGI has been a leader in the hardware acceleration of 3D graphics and with the development of OpenGL they were able to provide developers with a high level and powerful graphics language. SGI is focused on the professional workstation market, which includes computer aided applications for design, engineering, and manufacturing (CAD/CAM).
id Software's GLQuake
When John Carmack of id Software shook up the gaming community back in 1996 by using OpenGL to develop the graphics engine for Quake, the floodgates had opened. It was the beginning of the 3D graphics wars. And now we can clearly see the direction that NVIDIA took.
Outfitted with a strong management team, that was also technically savvy, and a burning desire to succeed, NVIDIA made an investment in designing a low-cost and powerful graphics processing unit for the mainstream user. NVIDIA began to develop extensions to the OpenGL language which allowed developers to expose the advanced features of the GeForce.
Next Page: An Overview of the GeForce