NV1

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Nvidia NV1 / STG2000
Nvidia old logo.svg
The old Nvidia logo
Release date 1995
Codename NV1
Rendering support
Direct3D none

Nvidia NV1, manufactured by SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics under the model name STG2000, was a multimedia PCI card released in 1995 and sold to retail as the Diamond Edge 3D. It featured a complete 2D/3D graphics core based upon quadratic texture mapping, VRAM or FPM DRAM memory, an integrated 32-channel 350 MIPS playback-only sound card, and a Sega Saturn compatible joypad port. As such, it was intended to replace the 2D graphics card, Sound Blaster-compatible audio systems, and 15-pin joystick ports, then prevalent on IBM PC compatibles.

History[edit]

Several Saturn games were converted to NV1 on the PC such as Panzer Dragoon and Virtua Fighter Remix. However, the NV1 struggled in a market place full of several competing proprietary standards, and was marginalised by emerging Triangle polygon-based 2D/3D accelerators such as the low-cost S3 Graphics ViRGE, Matrox Mystique, ATI Rage, and Rendition Vérité V1000 among other early entrants.

Diamond EDGE 3D 3400

NV1's biggest initial problem was its cost and overall quality. Although it offered credible 3D performance, its use of quadratic surfaces was anything but popular, and was quite different than typical polygon rendering. The audio portion of the card was of questionable quality, receiving ratings of merely acceptable quality in reviews, with the General MIDI quality receiving lukewarm responses at best (a critical component at the time). The Sega Saturn console was a market failure compared to Sony's PlayStation, and so the unique and somewhat limiting support of these gamepads was of limited benefit. Nvidia, by integrating all of these usually separate components, raised their costs considerably above what they would have been if the card had been designed solely for 3D acceleration.

During the NV1's release timeframe, the transition from VLB/ISA (486s) to PCI (Pentiums and late model 486 boards) was taking place, and games often used MIDI for music because PCs were still generally incapable of large-scale digital audio playback due to storage and processing power limitations. Reaching for the best music and sound quality, and flexibility with MS-DOS audio standards, often required 2 sound cards be used, or a sound card with a MIDI daughtercard connector. Additionally, NV1's 2D speed and quality were not competitive with many of the high-end systems available at the time, especially the then-critical-for-games DOS graphics speed. Many consumers were simply not interested in replacing their often-elaborate system setups with an expensive all-in-one board and so the heavy integration of NV1 hurt sales simply through inconvenience.

Diamond EDGE 3D 2120

Market interest in the product quickly ended when Microsoft announced the DirectX specifications, based upon polygon rendering. This release by Microsoft of a major industry-backed API that was generally incompatible with NV1 ended Nvidia's hopes of market leadership immediately. While demos of quadratic rendered round spheres looked good, experience had proved working with quadratic texture maps was extremely difficult. Even calculating simple routines was problematic. Nvidia did manage to put together limited Direct3D support, but it was slow and buggy (software-based), and no match for the native triangle polygon hardware on the market.

Subsequent NV1 quadratic-related development continued internally as the NV2.

3D games that supported NV1[edit]


Retail products[edit]

YUAN 3DS-100

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]