The TMS34010, released in 1986, is the first programmable graphics processor integrated circuit. It is a full 32-bit processor with graphics-oriented instructions built in, so It can serve as a combined CPU and GPU.
Design took place at TI facilities in Bedford, UK and Houston, Texas, U.S.A. First silicon was working at Texas Instruments (TI) in Houston in December 1985, and first shipment (a development board) was to IBM's workstation facility in Kingston, New York, in January 1986.
The TMS34010 is a bit addressable, 32-bit processor, with two register files, each with fifteen general purpose registers and sharing a sixteenth stack pointer register. Unlike all other microprocessors up to that time, it included instructions for drawing into two-dimensional bitmaps, arbitrary variable-width data, and arithmetic operations on pixel data. The TMS34010 is not limited to executing hardwired primitives, and is capable of executing any general-purpose program in addition to graphics programs. The TMS34010 is supported by a full ANSI compliant C compiler.
The successor to the TMS34010, the TMS34020 (1988), provides several enhancements including an interface for a special graphics floating point coprocessor, the TMS34082 (1989). The primary function of the TMS34082 is to allow the TMS340 architecture to generate high quality three-dimensional (3D) graphics. The performance level of 60 million vertices per second was quite advanced at the time.
TI made an unsuccessful effort in 1987 and 1988 to convince games makers such as Nintendo and Sega to write 3D games and create a new console market. In 1987 TI provided the first demonstration of true real-time 3D games with stereo sound effects on a personal computer (PC), using a small TMS34010 adapter card (called "The Flippy"). The Flippy was designed as the basis of a game development system for consoles and as a PC gaming card in its own right. TI's effort foreshadowed the creation of 3D game consoles by both companies as well as Sony in the early 1990s, and the creation of the 3D game and graphics adapter markets in PCs.
The TMS34010 was used in many arcade games of the late 1980s through the 1990s.
From Atari Games:
- NARC (1988)
- Smash TV (1990)
- Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
- Super High Impact (1991)
- Total Carnage (1992)
- Mortal Kombat (1992)
- Mortal Kombat II (1993)
- NBA Jam (1993)
- WWF WrestleMania (1995)
Video cards and accelerators
The TMS34010 was used on a video card for an Apollo/Domain workstations. It was an Appian Graphics Rendition IV.
- "TI's TMS34020 Graphics System Processor". (31 October 1990). Microprocessor Report.