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.





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

About Luka 1 Article
PC Enthusiast. Bachelor of Arts.

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Avatar of I.M.O.G.

Glorious Leader

25,037 messages 3 likes

Luka, thanks for sharing this with us! Its a truly impressive compilation!

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Avatar of EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner

76,580 messages 3,299 likes

Now this is pretty darn cool if you ask me!!!! Awesome work! :thup: :drool:

I wonder if my boss would be mad if I printed this on our plotter? Maybe I'll do it after hours.

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Avatar of xoke


2,188 messages 0 likes

That was really impressive! I had a laugh looking at the games from the same period too and remembering my first 9800 Pro...I was the coolest the day I got that card. :thup:

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New Member

7 messages 0 likes

Further suggestions

I think this information lends itself well to a chart. I too find the subject interesting.

I have a few design and content suggestions for you.

- I found myself flipping back & forth between the specs for each card and their respective photos. It'd be easier to read the chart if these were in the same row or column. Colour coding the spec boxes with the manufacturer names was helpful.
- game titles do provide context, but the choices seem pretty arbitrary. I'd suggest cutting this list down to the major 1-2 games from each respective year. Some games you mention weren't even 3D titles. Maybe put the titles themselves in the grey bar area, between the year markers. On that note, Doom 2 was released some years before Quake.
- include API information as well as game titles. It'd be interesting to see when the Glide era began/ended, or how many years it took MS release successive versions of DirectX.
- it's hard to tell from the specs how the cards would perform next to each other. Maybe use texture or pixel fill-rates?
- include original MSRP under specs
- layer the chart a little:for instance you could have a line graph representing average transistor counts or some all encompassing figure behind the main chart.

Other subtitle suggestions:
'The rise of ATI and nVidia'

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click to expand...
Avatar of I.M.O.G.

Glorious Leader

25,037 messages 3 likes

Nice input midijunky. If you'd be interested in coordinating, I've notified the author his article was published and he should be around before long. Maybe he has some ideas about how to make those happen, and others or yourself can help contribute.

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Avatar of King107s


1,636 messages 0 likes

What about Quake 3 in 1999? best FPS ever made :)

I think some ATI cards were left out of 2008 and 2009...

Lets see... Ive had...
nVidia Riva TNT2
nVidia GeForce 256
nVidia GeForce 4 Ti 4600
nVidia GeForce FX 5850 Ultra
nVidia GeForce 6600GT
ATI HD4870 Toxic
ATI 2X HD4890 CF

Oh, and nice work :)

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Avatar of Mr Alpha
Mr Alpha

Senior Member

998 messages 0 likes

Man, does this ever bring back memories. :)

It is interesting to see how the number of players in the market has shrunk while the HSFs just keep getting bigger.

The games don't seem arbitrary to me. I think I own like 90% of 'em.

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Avatar of David

Forums Super Moderator

15,810 messages 11 likes

This picture is better than porn.

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Avatar of fundip


489 messages 0 likes

This picture is better than porn.

that is the best rating system i have ever seen. more reviewers should adopt it. instead of the 1 thru 10 system it will be:

better than porn

as good as porn

not as good as porn

its so easy to understand, why hasnt anyone else thought of this. it will make decision making less of a hassle since i, like most people, already understand everything in terms of pornographic literature anyway.

very nice

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Avatar of Omsion


2,379 messages 0 likes

That is an awesome chart (though the title may be a bit excessively sized :p)

ATI 128 Pro -> FX5200 -> 7600GT -> 8800GTS -> GTX460

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