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GRAPHIC ARCHITECTURES
OVER THE YEARS
A ZIP THROUGH GPU DESIGN FROM THE 1960S TO PRESENT DAY
1960S
The 60’s saw architectures based on specific display list instructions
that drew lines and objects using specific pr...
1970S
The 70’s brought the scan convert architecture which translated the
incoming data stream into bitmapped video. This ...
1980S
In the 80’s, frame buffer architectures had arrived. One example is
the ATI Colour Emulation card – incorporated int...
1990S
In the 1990’s, there was explosion of algorithmic graphics
processing. Graphic accelerator cards started to appear. ...
2000S
By 2000 complex graphics processing was proliferating into the
handheld consumer and mobile phone markets. Nokia int...
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Graphic architectures over the years from FTDI

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The evolution of what are widely considered as modern graphics processor units (GPUs) began with the introduction of the first 3D add-in cards back in 1995. This was followed by widespread adoption of 32-bit operating systems and affordable personal computers (PCs). The graphics industry that existed before this point was dependent on more prosaic 2D, non-PC architectures with large price tags. 3D and virtualization PC graphics eventually took over computing gaming, as well as military simulators and medical imaging. Today, graphics display reproduction is used in vast array of applications from industrial to education.

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Graphic architectures over the years from FTDI

  1. 1. GRAPHIC ARCHITECTURES OVER THE YEARS A ZIP THROUGH GPU DESIGN FROM THE 1960S TO PRESENT DAY
  2. 2. 1960S The 60’s saw architectures based on specific display list instructions that drew lines and objects using specific processor units. This was very resource heavy of course.
  3. 3. 1970S The 70’s brought the scan convert architecture which translated the incoming data stream into bitmapped video. This lay the foundation for 3D graphics. One of the key examples of a product using this type of architecture was the Atari 2600, released in 1977, with generation of screen display and sound effects as well as reading of input controllers.
  4. 4. 1980S In the 80’s, frame buffer architectures had arrived. One example is the ATI Colour Emulation card – incorporated into Commodore computers. The card boasted 16kBytes of memory for outputting monochrome green, amber or white text against a black background.
  5. 5. 1990S In the 1990’s, there was explosion of algorithmic graphics processing. Graphic accelerator cards started to appear. In 1992, Silicon Graphics released OpenGL 1.0 and DirectX 1.0 from Microsoft was introduced 3 years later.
  6. 6. 2000S By 2000 complex graphics processing was proliferating into the handheld consumer and mobile phone markets. Nokia introduced the first mobile phone hybrid - the N-Gage - In 2003. Sony’s Playstation Portable was developed the same year. With the advent of OpenGL and DirectX, GPUs added programmable graphics processing. Each pixel could be processed - adding shaping or texture to make the object look shiny, dull or rough.

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