rasz_pl wrote on 2023-04-12, 03:57:
W.x. wrote on 2023-04-11, 23:19:
I would guess it was already around $150, maybe even lower like $133.
yes it got slightly cheaper in 1998, but not far enough to reflect its "performance". For contrast S3 quickly faced reality and price corrected hard.
Well, first note, Rage Pro in its prime had one big disadvantage, they could not make working and good OpenGL driver. Now, many people judge rage pro only according latests drivers (usually from late 1998 period, or up to 2001-2002). But in its prime (1997, and early 1998), it was Direct3D only card. As you can see in Tomshardware review from january 1998, it still cannot deliver any fps in GLQuake and Quake 2 games.
Quake 2 benchmark had becoming a standard quickly for measuring performance in reviews, and it didnt put good light on rage pro, so after january 1998, they worked hard to finally make OpenGL drivers. Not sure, when they were released, but on may 1998 Ati driver CD, that I have, it was already there. It didn't install with official drivers , but it was there, in installation CD. But it was more like Quake 2 openGL driver, not universal.
So, you are right, that price seem little bit too high. Ati realized, that they cannot compete with Voodoo1, which was simply better, and always tried to put price just under it, close enough. Why?
It's because, Rage Pro had several advantages.
First, Direct 3D performance of rage pro, was very close too voodoo1. 3dfx had also problems with drivers in first phase, and its Direct3D performance was never too great. So when you're comparing Direct3D games, you can see, that rage pro is about same performance level as voodoo1.
But it has several advantages:
1) It is 2d/3D card, with good, almost matrox-like , Image quality. If you want to use voodoo1, and have such good quality, you need to buy 2d adapter from good manufacturer, not cheapsest one. And it adds to cost.
2) It has also AGP version, which can come handy, when you are short of free PCI slots. voodoo1 is PCI consumer... if you want to use 2D card, you usually go with PCI , so it eats up 2 PCI slots. With AGP rage pro, you can save 2 PCI slots, and go with AGP, if you have AGP motherboard
3)It has 800x600 resolution in 3D. 8MB version allowed even high 2D resolution. With voodoo1 + 2D card combo, to get 8MB 2D card, you would need really high amount of money, over 2MB (usually) solution. This was really advantage for some people.
4)Ati Rage Pro worked also in windowed mode. Voodoo1 was full screen only card.
5)Rage Pro offered optional TV out, and ATi also supported good DVD/ TV out support with drivers/software. Again, this was incredible advantage for some people.
Imagine, they wanted to use voodoo1, how much need they pay for 2D solution with 4MB or 8MB memory, and TV out. (this is btw reason, why S3 realized this and in latest Virge version, GX2, they added TV out)
(very small ) 6) advantage Ati Rage pro had still CIF, with its performance, it was smoking some games (Tomb Raider 1 for example)
(to the S3 thing, and their much lower price reality check, you cannot compare Virge and Rage Pro, Virge was competing with Rage II, not rage pro. S3 didnt have any decent card in 1997, they were just out of mainstream businness, until not so good S3 Savage 3d, so they basicaly skipped 1997-mid 1998 generation of graphic cards, in which Rage pro belongs )
These all advantages were reason, why they were so confident to put Rage Pro price just under voodoo1. You cannot just compare voodoo1 with rage pro based only just few benchmarks (and even OpenGL later ones, where voodoo1 performed good, or they even used Glide version), they didnt targeted equal audience.