For a period of time, 3dfx led the charge in discrete graphics with its Voodoo hardware, before ultimately being absorbed by Nvidia at the end of 2000. As a blast to the past, however, a modder has taken some rare hardware powered by a bunch of Voodoo GPUs and built a "brick" to play Half-Life.
Ross Tregemba posted his custom build on HardOCP's forums, where he goes by TheeRaccoon. He explains that he spent a year trying to track down multiple Quantum3D Obsidian 2 200SBi boards, which are apparently pretty rare.
"First of all if you're not familiar with these boards, they are basically two 3dfx Voodoo 2 chipsets in SLI on a single board. 4 boards = 8 Voodoo 2 chipsets that were used to achieve 4 tap rotated grid FSAA with no performance loss. These boards were used for military simulation and even NASA used them for certain configurations," Tregemba explains.
The first one he came across had a black PCB with a full-length heatstink and 125MHz EDO that was found on later green PCB revision boards.
"The board also had the rare "546-0014-05" BIOS. I've contacted every Quantum3D collector that I know personally and so far it's the only known 200SBi with this configuration in existence," Tregemba says.
To his surprise, the person who sold him the card had three more, along with the bridge and all of the necessary hardware to mount them. The other three boards matched the first one, except for the use of slower 100MHz EDO.
"The only logical explanation that I can come up with is that these boards were manufactured at the EXACT point where they were switching to the new green PCB models and some parts got mixed in the process. Which makes this a very unique brick!," Tregemba adds.
Two of the boards worked fine and the the other two had issues—one presented texture errors and the other showed blue tinted images in 2D. He managed to fix the issues on the hardware level, then cobbled together his brick. He posted a video to YouTube showing the system in action.
Check it out:
"This configuration was more for a gorgeous image as the additional horsepower is for the AA. However, you get Voodoo 2 SLI performance with AA at no expense to performance," Tregemba says.
Rebuilding old PCs to play Half-Life seems to be a thing, though in this case, Tregemba built something truly unique.