How come no one ever cloned an Voodoo 5 6000 PCB?
I see on ebay that its possible to get an VSA100 processor for as low as 8$ per chip. It sounds pretty cool to make an PCB to fit those onto.
And i remember some people had clean 56k PCBs from when 3DFX kicked the bucket.
The blank pcb's you remember were not of the final revision which even that didn't work as planned. They didn't manage to mass produce 100% stable cards under FSAA so they stopped the project. It took 3 years until a former engineer created what is now known as Hank's PCI Rework which makes the Rev3400/3700/3900 run FSAA8x without system freeze.
Funny enough the Rev2600A2 didn't have this problem even thought it was an earlier design. This one's mine:
The complexity of the board probably plays into it. Getting 4 VSA-100 chips to play nice with each other, and having separate memory for each chip makes for a lot of extremely fine traces and redundant components. I don't think it can be done by hand.
Correct. The board is very complex and that's why 3dfx took so long in creating it (they started in mid 1999) and eventually never mass produced because of the bug I mentioned.
The problem is cost, it will cost at least several hundred dollars to make these cards and that would be bulk, even more for a small run given their complexity.
The cost is another issue. On dedicated 3dfx forums this topic has come up before and they investigated how much it would cost for a specialized company to reverse engineer the V5 6000 pcb and they received a quote for 30k Euro or so plus 5 original cards that would be destroyed in the process as they would basically peel them layer by layer. And noboby would front that kind of money not to mentioned agree to the destruction of the original cards.
Another explored option was to ask former 3dfx head engineer now at nVidia to support this and give out the schematics to build a new one. He said the problem was that nVidia legal department wouldn't approve it since they would be using patented technology and trade marks even if they were creating outdated cards.
From a collectors point of view it's more appealing to have an original card than a replica one. For purists even modifying the cooling on "Goddess" is seen as sacrilege.
Retro-gamer & VGA Collector
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