Fans are recreating tech history by building their own vintage 3dfx Voodoo graphics card

 GPU against blue background.
GPU against blue background.

At one point in history, a 3dfx-powered graphics card was nearly synonymous with consumer-accessible 3D acceleration thanks to tons of old Voodoo cards back in the 90s outfitted with 3dfx hardware. And now, two enthusiasts are building their own custom version of a classic Voodoo graphics card.

Twitter / X users Oscar Barea and Ash Evans have been working on the project since 2022, as reported by Tom's Hardware. Their custom "VoodooX" card is based on the 3dfx VSA-100 GPU, which has been used in many 3dfx cards, including the 3dfx Voodoo4 4500 and Voodoo5 5500. The card uses auctioned-off "new" VSA100 chips, made popular by Voodoo4 GPUs, which makes running the VoodooX with 32MB of RAM within the range of VSA100’s 64MB. Despite this, it’s taken quite a bit of effort to make it work.

One of the most impressive features of this project is the support for DVI video output, an upgrade from analog VGA video. DVI is essentially a precursor to the current HDMI format and the visual bump from DVI for the VoodooX is impressive. The next hurdle is creating a switch that can toggle between 32MB and 64MB RAM.

The VoodooX graphics card is a nostalgic trip in computing history

3dfx GPUs are a fascinating and vital part of computing history. Early in 2023, a vintage 3dfx Voodoo5 GPU was auctioned off for a whopping $15,000. These parts and prototypes are especially valuable because they had all been sold following the sale of 3dfx and its assets to Nvidia after its bankruptcy in 2000.

Seeing passionate fans work so tirelessly to revive such an important piece of tech history is incredible. It gives the rest of us a glimpse of something based on what was once one of the best graphics cards ever created — the 3dfx Voodoo.

There’s clearly enough love for the company that when a — now revealed to be a parody — account claiming to be 3dfx emerged on Twitter / X, plenty of tech enthusiasts held out a cautious hope that we would be seeing a new Voodoo graphics card. Those days are long behind us, as current owner Nvidia would never put out another chip in that name again, which makes getting to revisit those days through a passion project more than worth its weight in gold.

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