Canopus & 3dfx (1997-1999)
Canopus was the top of the line in the North America consumer market. (Quantum3D's primary focus was arcade and workstation) Innovative non-reference designs with extra features, robust drivers and extra utilities set their products apart. Unfortunately with changing market conditions, shorter design cycles and cut throat pricing Canopus was unable to compete profitably in the consumer graphics market. Around April of 1999 Canopus announced they were pulling out of the desktop graphics market and retreated back to high end video editing software and hardware market where they still thrive to this day.
Press release 1999-
Due to the very short life cycles for graphics boards and the consolidation of the graphics chip and board industry, Canopus Corporation in the US has decided to concentrate its efforts on Digital Video Editing products. Canopus Co. in Japan will continue to produce the World's best graphics cards for the Japan market and these boards will be made available through limited distribution arrangements in markets outside Japan as well. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you and we assure you that if you have purchased any graphics product from us WE WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT YOU with technical support and the terms of our 3 year warranty!
They may have only been selling 3dfx based cards for less then three years but Canopus was clearly *the* class act in the graphics market second only to Quantum3D.
The Canopus Pure3d- Featuring 6 megs of ram (unlike most Voodoo Graphics boards that had just 4 megs) along with RCA & S-video jacks for TV out display this was the "kick ass" piece of hardware to own in 1997. (Note this card does not have the fan header for Pure Kool fan option.)
Canopus Pure3d LX- Rarely seen was the less expensive LX board *without* TV out. Note this card has the fan header connector point near the GENDAC chip. This card is very difficult to obtain and only the second I have ever seen.
Screenshot taken via www.webarchive.org December 6th 1998.
(Note the link above no longer works since Canopus has added a "no robots" txt file which unfortunately impacts even vintage archive records)
One visitor after stopping by the site mentioned that he had purchased a Pure Kool brand new back in April 1998! Then he proceeded to dig through his files, found the original invoice from Canopus, scan it in and here it is for your viewing pleasure!
Pure3D with Pure Kool option- Canopus had the "Pure Kool" fan listed as an option available after board purchase from selected third party vendors, this appears to be the final configuration. Other style fans have been seen on Pure3D boards but all of them were press cards out for review.
Pure3D II- Canopus returned with the Pure3d II and the only V2 card with a fan right out of the box! Note the 1 inch shorter non-reference design and TV out features, it also had a cool green LED that would shine through the RCA connector to let you know the card was functioning during 3d operation. There were also two other versions of this card- The LX which had no TV out or fan (but could still be used for SLI operation) and in the UK it looks like they sold another version that had TV output but no fan.
Pure3D II LX- Since the LX was less expensive then the regular Pure3D II card a number of people purchased them for use in SLI operation. The TV wasn't functional on the slave card anyway during SLI and a fan could be added for $19.99 plus shipping. Once again the Canopus cards were hailed as the "kick ass" gear to have when released.
Spectra 2500- What's a Nvidia card doing here? Well this is a Canopus page and this puppy has a unique feature that was incorporated to work with all 3dfx V1 and V2 cards plus a bonus for the the Pure3D II cards.
You know how on a normal Voodoo pass-through setup the Voodoo card outputs the video signal to the monitor right? On the Spectra 2500 it works backwards! The video out signal from the 3dfx board is fed into a special port on the Spectra card. This way there was no degradation of the 2D signal over 1024 x 768 AND you could enjoy TV out with ANY 3dfx card since the signal was being fed into the Spectra 2500, pretty slick those Canopus engineers!
The name Canopus gave this setup was Witchdoctor.
If you had a Pure3D II card you could take it one step further- The Canopus Voodoo II cards had an internal passthrough connector so you could hook up your single or SLI Canopus Voodoo setup to a matching internal connector on the Spectra 2500. The 3dfx video signal was then run in direct with no pass through cable degradation at all.