Friday, August 17, 2018
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10 Rare and Unreleased Graphics Cards

Many times we get the chance to check out new graphics cards and technology before they are released at trade shows like the Consumer Electronics show. It is often that many of these products do not make it to market for one reason or another. Here we have compiled a list of 10 Rare and Unreleased graphics cards.

1. 3dfx Voodoo5 6000

3dfx Voodoo5 6000

3dfx really wanted to stick it to Nvidia and their answer was going to be the Voodoo5 6000. This card was powered by 4x 166 MHz VSA-100 processors, each with 32 MB of 166 MHz SDRAM. This means it was the worlds first 128 MB graphics card! It also had an external power connector that came with an AC power adapter. With its enormous price tag $600 and amazing specifications the Voodoo5 6000 became one of the most hyped video cards of all time.

As the Voodoo 5 6000 was still being hyped at the next great video card and rumors on the next generation “Rampage” chipset from 3dfx were floating around Nvidia had the GeForce 3 on target for a January 2001 release. 3dfx on the other hand gave no comment on any sort of launch or timeframe for Rampage. Finally in late November of 2000 3dfx announced that the Voodoo5 6000 was canceled. This was a huge blow to 3dfx fan boys and enthusiasts waiting for this highly anticipated card.

There were of course test cards of the Voodoo5 6000 produced and there are still some reviews of the card online. The test results from these reviews showed that the Voodoo5 6000 outperformed the GeForce 2 Ultra and the Radeon 7500. These were the fastest iterations of those cards at the time. In some tests the Voodoo 5 6000 performed just as well if not better than the GeForce 3.

See Also: A Look Back: 3dfx Graphics Cards

2. Sapphire 9800 PRO MAXX

Sapphire 9800 Pro Maxx

At Computex 2003 Sapphire was showing off a prototype card in their 9800 PRO MAXX. This card was equipped with two R350 chips with their own heatsink fans. The chips were said to be working in parallel, so technically it would be like having two 9800 Pro’s on a single card. This card also featured a diagnostic LED and Firewire port. Of course the card was never released, but served as a starting point for dual-chip cards for Sapphire.

3. ASUS ROG MARS III

ASUS ROG MARS III

If you happened to attend Computex 2012 you might have caught a glimpse of this card, the ASUS Republic of Gamers MARS III. This graphics card packed two GeForce GTX 680’s on a single board. On top of that the card had 8 GB of VRAM and a massive triple fan cooler with a pretty cool Republic of Gamers design. Both of the GTX 680 GPUs were configured in SLI using a PLX PEX8747 bridge chip. While this configuration did not have more CUDA cores than NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 690 the extra 4GB of VRAM and overclocking potential made it one very anticipated card. Power to the card was by way of three 8pin connectors. To the disappointment of many this card was never released it was just made to show ASUS’s engineering prowess.

4. ATi Radeon HD 2900 XTX

ATi Radeon HD 2900 XTX

In 2007 everyone was really excited about the Ati Radeon HD 2900 XTX. This was set to be the flagship model in ATi’s DirectX 10 lineup and was going to be taking on NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800 GTX and 8800 Ultra. The card would feature 1GB of GDDR4 memory, which was the highest memory offered on a consumer-based card at the time. The memory would run along a 512-bit bus, which was also a first for a consumer card. The card was very long because of the included cooling fan. There were three Radeon HD 2900 XTX prototypes as you can see in the above photo. AMD we on to scrap all 1GB variants of the HD 2900.

5. ATi Radeon HD 5950

ATI Radeon HD 5950

Back in 2009 AMD was doing away with its X2 nomenclature for its dual-GPU cards. At this time an engineering sample of a card equipped with dual 5850 GPUs was spotted. The GPUs were cooled by a set of orb-style coolers. The card measured 12 inches long, which made it as long as the HD 5970. This was the only known sighting of the card and we are really unsure what happened to this card.

Bob Buskirk
the authorBob Buskirk
About 10 years of computer experience. Been messing around with electronics since I was 5, got into computers when I was in highschool, been modding them ever since then. Very interested in how things work and their design.
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