Fans of old-time console games have no problem, whether it’s running their games on an emulator or resurrecting the original hardware. But on PC, despite the supposed backward compatibility, things are much more complicated. Especially for those of the late 90’s era where a great multitude of games are compatible with certain graphics cards, especially the Voodoo series from 3Dfx.
The SUX 6000, a gaming GPU for retro games
Anthony Zxclxiv, a Russian retro game fan and hardware savvy has created a retro graphics card as a personal project. Which integrates in a graphics card 4 3Dfx VSA-100 chips, used in the classic Voodoo 4 and Voodoo 5 of 3Dfx from the late 90’s. This time with its maximum configuration, which was extremely rare, since 3Dfx fell bankrupt shortly after being launched on the market.
The Zxclxiv project is not only based on four VSA-100 chips, but it also comes equipped with 128 MB of VRAM memory, which is an excessively high configuration for a graphics card of the time. The reason for using 4 chips? It makes use of 3Dfx or SLI Scanline Interleave technology, the forerunner of NVIDIA’s SLI. Which divided the work of rendering an image into several graphics chips, making each one take charge of drawing a scan line. We must also remember that it does not have the complete 3D pipeline as it does not have hardware to carry out the geometric stage of it.
However, when using the classic AGP port, it cannot be installed on a current PC, since they no longer come equipped with the same expansion buses as those that existed twenty years ago. What’s more, to make the graphics chips of yesteryear compatible with current expansion buses, they would have to be redesigned again. And companies like 3Dfx no longer exist.
We will not be able to install it on our current gaming PCs
Unfortunately we will not be able to use these graphics cards in PCs and today we are still waiting for an FPGA implementation of 3D accelerators from the late 90s. Perhaps with the advancement of FPGAs in subsequent years we can see it, but for the moment there are technical limitations for it.
The problem is that such hardware is scarce and FPGA systems for gaming such as the Mister FPGA do not have enough logic gates to implement the hardware of a complete PC with an accelerator from the late 90s. This is why we end up playing games from that era on PCs built through computer archeology of the different pieces of hardware.
Because it has been built with out of production components, its availability is going to be very limited. So there will be few units available. In any case, it is a curious piece of hardware, nothing more than a simple anecdote.