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Revision as of 16:40, 28 April 2013 by Martin (Talk | contribs) (Game GLINT)

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3DLabs' first tap into the consumer graphics market was in November 1995 with its Game GLINT (also known as GiGi) chip. It is a scaled-down variant of 3DLabs' GLINT 300TX chipset released a year earlier, which was designed for professional 3D and CAD applications. The only graphics card produced using this chip was Creative Labs' 3D Blaster VLB. It is a unique card in that it is the only existing consumer-level 3D accelerator (and texture mapper) for the VLB bus, and it was designed for 80486 VLB users who wanted Pentium-level gaming performance. It has 1 MB graphics memory for display frame buffer and 1 MB texture memory. The 3D Blaster VLB can be used as a standalone 2D/3D graphics card or as a 3D-only accelerator when paired with a 2D graphics card in the same system through a VGA pass-through cable (in the same manner that cards based on 3Dfx's Voodoo Graphics and Voodoo2 chipsets function). The 3D Blaster VLB supported Creative Labs' own proprietary API known as Creative Graphics Library (CGL). Only a handful of CGL games were ever released (more information here) and only these games take advantage of the 3D Blaster VLB's 3D rendering features. Games that do take advantage of the 3D Blaster VLB usually run in higher resolution (640x400 or 640x480) and with additional graphics detail. However, with these additional rendering features enabled, performance in supported games is less than desirable (unless one has a VLB Pentium system) and reviewers knocked the card. Most gamers at the time opted to upgrade to a PCI Pentium system instead. The 3D Blaster VLB was supplanted several months later by its PCI bus counterpart, the 3D Blaster PCI, which used Rendition's Verite 1000 chip and had better game compatibility and performance.

The 3D Blaster VLB nowadays is a very rare card and usually if it shows up on auction websites, the price will be very high. The 3D Blaster VLB also supposedly supports Direct3D if the graphics memory upgrade module is installed. However, the memory upgrade module is more difficult to find than the 3D Blaster VLB itself, and would also be very steeply-priced. Unlike 3DLabs' other graphics chips and chipsets, the Game GLINT does not support OpenGL.

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