If you think games like Halo and Grand Theft Auto are “retro,” you’ve probably never heard of 3DFX. It was a scrappy little company that competed with Nvidia in the early days of discrete graphics cards for home PCs. While the Voodoo series of GPUs can just about handle a modern version of Tetris (if you leave ray tracing off), they were beloved back in the 90s…so much so that someone just spent a huge chunk of cash just to own one of the last 3DFX prototype cards.
The Voodoo 5 6000 was 3DFX’s final GPU design before the company was sold to Nvidia. According to Wikipedia, there were a little over 100 of the experimental graphics cards created in 2000. The last few of these cards were intended to be the final retail version, but they never made it to store shelves.
A version of the card with the working number 3700, a near-final revision, popped up on eBay a couple of weeks ago. It was sold out of Washington state and spotted by KitGuru. The seller claims to be a collector who could “personally verify” that the card runs in compatible hardware and that it was personally revised by 3DFX engineer Hank Semenec. The winning bidder paid a nice, even $15,000 for a piece of personal computer history. Shipping was free.
The Voodoo 5 6000 connected to motherboards using the now-extinct Advanced Graphics Port, packing a whopping 128 megabytes of memory and a GPU clock of 166MHz. It would have been the first GPU to combine four processors and memory banks to hit those numbers. Its big selling point was to be the ability to run full-scene anti-aliasing at 8X to avoid “jaggies.” The auctioned-off unit included a custom adapter cable to power the card via a Molex plug.