A Visual History Chart Of Graphics Cards

Nowadays, when the word “rig” is uttered, the first thing that comes to mind is three graphics cards bridged together. GPUs always fascinated me and left me hungry for more information, specifically about the evolution of the graphics card over the years. After searching the internet for hours, I failed to find the data I was seeking in a simple, informational chart complete with history and release dates. Finally about five months ago, I decided to create one myself and now I’m sharing it with you. Be advised, clicking on the thumbnail below will open the full-size chart (14,000px × 6,135px and approx. 6mb).

Graphics Cards History Chart

Graphics Cards History Chart

Having in mind that this chart is useless in low resolutions, direct links are listed below. Medium ones have 3000 pixels horizontally, which is barely enough for a rough view. The large ones have 14000 pixels horizontally, and are suitable for print even on high resolution plotters or flatbed printers for a nice wall print of 120 x 55 centimeters on 300dpi respectively. I created three different color schemes. There is no difference in the information within the chart, just the color.

Medium:

RedBlueGreen

Large:

RedBlueGreen

I’m completely open for comments and suggestions. This is version 1.0 of this chart, and it will be updated in the future.

- Luka Bošković – Loo

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Discussion
  1. Brings back some nice memories! I honestly am killing myself trying to remember what I had before my Geforce 2, but I simply can't. I'm pretty sure I still have them in a box somewhere though :).

    Geforce 2 Ultra (first card I was ever super excited about. Still have it.)

    9700 Pro (first card I ever modded!)

    Geforce 6600 GT (temporary replacement after the 9700 died, still have this too)

    X850 Pro (I still love that card! Gave it to my pops who finally replaced it with a 4850)

    2x HD 4870 (ya, a huge JUMP...still rocking these now)

    HD 6970 (in the mail!!!)
    Wow, awesome chart Loo!

    I'd forgotten that the GeForce name came out in 1999 with the GeForce 256 and can the GeForce 2 really be a decade old?!
    Fennecfox
    Very cool, I share this with friends. Thanks for including Descent! There community is awesome and so is the game.

    Does Crysis still boast the best graphics, if so then why are we getting better cards, we need better games first! (although the price reduction of older cards is nice)

    Can't wait for Crysis 2 =D


    I remember Descent... didn't know a lot of people still played it. The rarest game genre (nearly dead) nowadays is 3D space shooters it seems (action-based, not the RPG/Strat ones), except on consoles kind of. PC however seems to have little going for it in that category.... really hope SoL actually comes out.

    There is a game more taxing than Crysis, it's Metro 2033. Turn off Advanced DoF and Tessellation (way too much fps loss for too little gain), then it's playable on Very High. Other than that, nothing really... and Crysis 2 will be less taxing because it's optimized for consoles... has way less geometry and no open levels.
    Until a month ago i was still rocking the Radeon 8500 64mb everyday 24/7 since its release! A fantastic chart i must say all the evolutions into context for someone like me whos not into pc gaming, thank you!
    Very helpful graph. Full to look at and gives some good memories of the various cards I've had through the years.

    nvidia 8800gts

    nvidia 6600gt

    ati radeon 9500pro

    ati rage 128pro

    don't know prior to that, whatever came built in...

    As some others have mentioned it would be useful to see performance comparisons. Maybe you could capture the information here: Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart
    I adore my VooDoo 2 too... I've put it in a frame, black canvas behind it, it's hanging on my wall... better masterpiece than all the others.
    Thanks for the stroll down memory lane Loo. Takes me back to the old Voodoo cards and late night sessions of shooting down aliens on Incoming.
    WOW those bring back memories, I remember burning my finger on the voodoo 3 3000. I still have my geforce 6800 that I spent the day reading on these very forums about how to unlock the extra shaders. Still have a ATI 9800 pro sealed in the box that I got from an RMA because the 1st one ended up warping like a skateboard. I didn't see my old Hercules 3d prophet card in there yet, think that was one of the 1st cards I've owned that had cooling on the memory and voltage regulators.
    wooo hoooo niceeee Bobbbb :) That's a lot of cards, plus, your choices were interesting... you didn't stick on one brand... you could make your own private history... I got mine! :D
    Very cool! Especially the core clocks and such, never seen those for all the old cards!

    I went from a voodoo1, to a voodoo2, then SLI voodoo2s, then a Rendition card of some sort, then a voodoo3 3000(this died due to a passive sink and open case) then a GF2 of some sort, then GF4 mx440 (aka gf2 redux), then a Ti4200(fan died, card roasted), then a laptop 6800 semi-ultra, then a 4830, and now a 4890.