3dfx pre-production Banshee

A word about the cards on these pages- To generalize they are boards that were manufactured by 3dfx direct and not yet available to the general public. The boards fall into a number of different categories and I'll try to explain each type as they come up.

Developer kit boards- 3dfx sent developer kits out to the various companies that made video cards, included in the kits of course would have been several sample boards known as "reference" cards. Before 3dfx came along most third party board makers seemed to make their own PCB designs. After the Voodoo Graphics and Voodoo II hit the market and there were so many players involved in selling cards most manufactures could not afford to "be different" and were content to sell cards based off the reference design (a trend that continues to this day.)

Perfect example of boards *most likely* from developer kits below would be the Voodoo II & Banshee with SDRAM. They are clearly pre-production due to date codes and/or internal 3dfx markings and production cards from a number of companies follow their design.

Press "preview" boards? Less certain of being developer kit boards would be the Banshee with SGRAM and the black PCB Voodoo 3 as those PCB design numbers are rarely if ever seen. Build dates, bios revisions or PCB features clearly indicate they are not production cards... this is an area I have to look into further to find out where these cards fit into the scheme of things. It's possible these two cards are samples that were sent out to the press for "preview."  The only place I have seen these two PCB designs were in such articles and will show the "press" versions for comparison. Another note about press cards... writers liked to use terms like "Alpha" & "Beta" samples like the cards were software which I do not know if is a correct description or note. I'm going to check with several sites that did previews and see if 3dfx actually used those terms or the writers of the articles did. 

Banshee pre-production (24-98 date code) board with unknown 0.31 beta bios, 8 MB of SGRAM (I also have a 16MB version of this same board), stereo glasses, composite and S-video outputs!  A number of boards described in the press as "alphas" were sent out as preview units, some even had fans!  PCB #600-0033-03 

Blank Banshee PCB from former 3dfx engineer, dated 32-98. One can safely assume that this is an 4 or 8 MB design (yes, the Banshee chip also supported 4 MB configurations!) I have seen only one production board sold to the public that used this PCB and it was so long ago that the name escapes me.

Banshee pre-production (34-98 date code) reference board, version 1.00.01 bios dated in Aug'98, 16 MB SDRAM. I spent a long time researching this board and comparing it to production units. It's very close to an Innovision Mighty Banshee except for the fact it was made months before Innovision released a Banshee for sale! It pre-dates the general Banshee release date by 6-8 weeks. I even went as far as to compare a number of Banshee SDRAM bios dumps with a hex editor looking for clues since the card is just about devoid of any markings. You would be surprised how little some of the production bios are changed from brand to brand, on most only the manufactures name on the boot up splash is different! Another clue besides the date is the missing FCC and CE markings and yellow resistors commonly used on pre-production 3dfx boards.

PCI Banshee developer board dated 36-98 (Sept 1-5, 1998), Banshee chip dated 35-98 (Last week in August, 1998) bios "1.00.01-ET" internally dated August 24th 1998 indicating card is "3Dfx Banshee Version 1.00 3Dfx Interactive, Inc."

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