ATi was once again battling NVIDIA in 2008 as ATi’s Radeon HD 3870 X2 was pitted against NVIDIA’s GeForce 9800 GX2. Well ASUS went ahead and upped the ante by mounting three Radeon HD 3850 GPUs on a single card. ASUS was able to achieve this by using MXM modules and clever use of heatpipes and watercooling. Each HD 3850 MXM module has a 320 stream shader core which is clocked at 668 MHz and has 512 MB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 1650 MHz. The chips are in CrossFire so you have a total of 1.5 GB available memory. The card of course never made it to retail, but again was to show ASUS’s engineering prowess.
When the original GeForce GTX 480 was released the GF100 graphics processor on it was not fully unlocked, one SM was disabled which brought the number of CUDA cores down to 480. This was done for better power consumption and heat control. There were full version of the GeForce GTX 480 out there that did make use of all 512 CUDA cores, but they were really rare. These cards used an aftermarket Accelero Xtreme Plus cooler from Arctic Cooling because the stock cooler was not good enough to handle the heat. The card had core/shader/memory clocks of 801/1601/950MHz, compared to the 701/1401/924MHz on the reference model. No retail versions of this card were ever released.
EVGA and ASUS were battling for the best dual GeForce GTX 680 card as ASUS had their MARS III card (which we showcased on the previous page) and EVGA had their GTX 680 2Win Gemini. The EVGA GTX 680 2Win Gemini packed two GeForce GTX 680 GPU’s inside but only had 4 GB of VRAM (2 GB per GPU). The card did pack high clocks that NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 690 and featured an 8+8+8 power phase design. The card had a shocking 4 slot design! Just like ASUS’s MARS III the EVGA GTX 680 2Win Gemini was never released.
MSI’s Lightning cards have been very popular and when NVIDIA launched their GeForce GTX 780 Ti GPU enthusiasts were waiting for MSI to make a lightning version of the card. Well they did, but only 12 total. Not much has changed from the MSI’s own GTX 780 Lighting card as the PCB sports the same 20-phase design, two 8-pin power connectors, V-Check points and Military Class 4 components. The one noteable change is the MSI has replaced the ELPIDA memory modules with Samsung ones instead. For full details of this card check out our article here.
The successor to the Voodoo 5 series was codenamed “Rampage”. This chipset was supposed to raise the bar in the graphics industry like the original Voodoo card did. 3dfx was going to move away from the Voodoo name opting for Spectre as the product line. The product line would have 3 cards, the Spectre 1000, Spectre 2000 and Spectre 3000. The way it would work is that a card with a single Rampage chip would be called a Spectre 1000, a card with a single Rampage chip and a Sage transformation and lighting unit would be called a Spectre 2000 and a board with 2 Rampage chips and one Sage transformation and lighting unit would be called a Spectre 3000.
At the time it would have been slated for release the Spectre flagship card (Spectre 3000) would have blown anything out of the water! Nvidia wouldn’t have had anything to compete until the GeForce 4 card. It is crazy to think that some rumors point out that Rampage was in development as far back as 1997.
It is not known how many Rampage board were made, some people say around 20-30. There are only 2 real instances that we have seen photos of the illusive Rampage powered cards.
See Also: A Look Back: 3dfx Graphics Cards
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