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Trident Microsystems was a supplier of display-processors for flat panel displays (plasma, LCD, etc.), currently under Chapter 11 reorganization. At one time, Trident was also a supplier of PC graphics chipsets and sound controllers.
Established in 1987, Trident (along with Oak Technologies) gained a reputation for selling inexpensive (for the time) but slow SVGA chipsets. Many OEMs built add-in-boards using Trident VGA chipsets. As the PC graphics market shifted from simple framebuffer displays (basic VGA color monitor output) to more advanced hardware acceleration (multi-resolution, SVGA output; not to be confused with 3D hardware-acceleration), Trident continued its strategy of selling modestly performing chips at compelling pricepoints. In the mid-1990s, the company (briefly) caught up with its main competition: the TGUI-9680's feature-set was comparable to the S3 Graphics Trio64V+, although the Trio64V+ outperformed the 9680 in true-color mode.
The rapid introduction of 3D-graphics caught many graphics suppliers off guard, including Trident. It was not until the late 1990s that Trident finally released a competitive chip, the TGUI-9880 (Blade3D.) By this time, Trident's reach had once again retreated to the low-end OEM market, where it was crowded by ATI, S3, and SiS.
Meanwhile, in the laptop market, Trident was an early pioneer of embedded-DRAM, a semiconductor manufacturing technique which combines a graphics-controller and framebuffer-RAM on a single chip. The resulting combo-chip saved precious board-space by eliminating several RAM chips normally required for framebuffer storage.
Although Trident enjoyed some success with its 3DImage and Blade3D product-lines, the entry of Intel into PC graphics signaled the end of the bottom-end, graphics-chip market. Trident partnered with motherboard chipset suppliers several times to integrate its graphics technology into a motherboard chipset (i.e. ALi CyberALADDiN, VIA MVP4), but these achieved marginal success. Faced with a contracting market and rising research and development costs (due to the increasing sophistication of 3D-graphics rendering), Trident announced in June 2003 a substantial restructuring of the company.
In late 2003, XGI completed an acquisition of Trident's former graphics division.
Around the same time Sigma Designs inc purchased Trident's TV business
The following lists are not complete.
- TVGA 8200LX (1987)
- TVGA 8800 (1988) - first S/VGA compatible chipset (ISA), 512KB framebuffer
- 8800BR (512KB, 128KB banks only)
- 8800CS (512KB, 64KB banks + old/new mode support)
- TVGA 8900 - high-color (65,536) display-mode support, 1MB framebuffer
- 8900B (up to 1MB)
- 8900C (up to 1MB, SVGA, ISA)
- 8900CL (up to 2MB, SVGA, ISA/VLB. Slightly faster than earlier 8900 cards)
- 8900D (up to 2MB, 8900CL w/ bugs corrected)
- 8900DR (SVGA, ISA, max 1MB)
- TVGA 9000 - first integrated (VGA+RAMDAC) VGA chipset
- 9000 (low component version)
- 9000B (1992)
- 9000C (1992) - External RAMDAC
- 9000i - (rev. a/b/c, 512KB, 9000 w/ onchip 15/16bit DAC + clock gen)
- 9000i-1 (1994) - appeared on Trident's VC512TM ISA video cards
- 9100B - Slightly faster 9000
- TVGA 92xx, TVGA 938x, TVGA 94xx - first Windows accelerators
- 9400CXi (max 2MB, truecolor, onchip 24bit DAC + clock gen)
- 9420DGi (PCI, 9400 w/ 2D acceleration [BitBLT, ...])
- 9430DGi (PCI, 9420 w/ hardware cursor)
- TGUI 9440 (1994) - first performance competitive Windows 2D-accelerator (2MB PCI/VLB)
- 9440AGi (PCI, 9430 w/ 16bit DAC interface + programmable clock)
- 9440-3 - Unknown changes, differently designed Trident logo, rare
- TGUI 966x - similar to 9440, 64-bit datapath
- 968x - motion video accelerator (zoom + YUV->RGB, Directdraw overlay)
- 9680 - (64bit, 1-4MB, 9660 w/ video acceleration)
- 9682 (9680 with video in)
- ProVidia 9685 (TV video out, UMA)
- 3DImage9750, 3DImage9850 - first Windows 3D-accelerators (4-8MB PCI/AGP)
- 3DImage 9750 (64bit, PCI/AGP, TV out)
- 3DImage 9753
- 9753WAVE (9753 + 32voice wavetable, 0.35ym, 208PQFP)
- 3DImage 9754
- 3DImage 9750DVD (9750 with DVD decoder)
- 3DImage 9850 (Faster 9750 core, AGP2X, AGP only)
- 3DImage 985DVD (DVD Acceleration)
- 3DImage 9850+ (Faster)
- 3DImage SME-GMA (Superscalar, Memory Enhanced, Graphics Mode Adaptability. Laptop graphics chip with 6MB embedded DRAM, smooth scaling for non-native resolutions and hardware MPEG2 decoding for DVD playback. Based on 9850+ Core.)[verification needed]
- Blade3D 9880 (1999) - first performance competitive Windows 3D-accelerators (8MB PCI/AGP)
- Blade3D Turbo 9880T - 135Mhz clockspeed, up from 110Mhz on the Blade 3D vanilla.
- Blade T16 9950 - little known
- Blade T64 9970 - dual-pixel quad-texture engine, AGP4X, 32MB of memory, 64-bit datapath
- Blade XP 9980 Same as T64 except 128-bit datapath, 200Mhz vs. 166Mhz
- XP4 - DirectX 8 chip.
- XP4E - AGP8x support.
- XP8 (cancelled) - DirectX 9 chip, marketed for under $100US.
- XP10 (cancelled) - PCI Express controller.
- Cyber9397 and Cyber9397DVD
- CyberBlade Ai1
- CyberBlade e4-128
- CyberBlade i1
- CyberBlade i7
- Blade XP
- XP4m16/XP4m32 - embedded memory.
- XP8 (cancelled) - DirectX 9 chip.
- ALi CyberALADDiN-T ()
- ALi CyberALADDiN-P4 (CyberBLADE XP2)
- ? (codename Napa2T)
- ? (codename Napa2-P4)
- ? (codename Napa2-Banias)
- Trident 4DWAVE-DX/NX, based on the T² platform which is also used by SIS and ALi for their own audio interfaces. Supports Q3D 2.0.