ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 Review :: Short History of Multi-GPU Cards

02-13-2008 · Category: Hardware - Video Cards

By Ben Sun

The first multiple GPU consumer video card to hit the market was the Voodoo 5 5500 card from a company known as 3DFX in 2000. The V5 5500 had two VSA-100 video chips, 64MB of SDRAM memory and a DirectX 6 feature set which competed with the GeForce GTS card. This solution offered the best image quality with FSAA enabled of that generation, but without HW T+L and the demise of the parent company, wasn’t successful.

ATI released their first consumer multiple graphics solution in the form of the Rage Fury Maxx in early 2000 to compete with the GeForce 256 SDR and S3 Savage 2000. The Rage Fury Maxx had the issue of not working at all in Windows XP, the new operating system from Microsoft at the time, and performance that was lower than the competition at the time the GeForce 256 SDR. The RFM also had no Hardware T+L capabilities, which put it at a disadvantage compared to the competition.

The next card I want to discuss is the GeForce 7950GX2 card. This card was based upon two 7900GT cards being used on the same PCB and in many respects is the precursor to the 3870X2 as the names are similar and the idea is pretty close. There were two cards connected by a bridge chip on the 7950GX2. The 7950GX2 was a stop-gap measure until the 8800GTX was released in late 2006. The 7950GX2 was a transition card to the next generation, as the R680 is the transition to the R7xx series hopefully coming later this year.