Dr. Jon Peddie has just written a three-volume The History of the GPU, published by Springer, tracing its history, the ecosystem and environment, and new developments in the industry. These are the first and only books to cover the entire history of the GPU, from the origins of concepts in the 1950s to the supercomputers and smartphones it powers today.
The GPU has gone from an esoteric semiconductor of interest to gamers and CAD designers to a part of everyone’s daily life. It powers our smartphones, automobiles, virtual and augmented reality, video games, and AI training.
A GPU has an integrated transform and lighting engine, but these were not available until the end of the 1990s. Heroic and historic companies expanded the development and capabilities of the graphics controller in pursuit of the ultimate device, a fully integrated self-contained GPU.Fifteen companies worked on building the first fully integrated GPU, some succeeded in the console, and Northbridge segments, and Nvidia was the first to offer a fully integrated GPU for the PC.
Silicon Graphics (SGI) introduced T&L first in 1996 with the Nintendo 64 chipset with integrated T&L but didn’t follow through. The need to integrate the transform and lighting functions in the graphics controller was well understood and strongly desired by dozens of companies. Nvidia was the first to produce a PC consumer level single chip with T&L in October 1999. All in all, fifteen companies came close, they had designs and experience, but one thing or another got in their way to prevent them succeeding.
In the early 2000s the number of GPU suppliers consolidated to three whereas now, the number has expanded to almost 20. In 2022 the GPU market was worth over $250 billion with over 2.2 billion GPUs being sold just in PCs, and more than 10 billion in smartphones.
The power and history of these devices is not only a fascinating tale, but one that will aid your understanding of some of the developments in consumer electronics, computers, new automobiles, and your fitness watch.
Dr. Jon Peddie is a recognized pioneer in the graphics industry, President of Jon Peddie Research, and named one of the world’s most influential analysts. Peddie has been an ACM distinguished speaker and is currently an IEEE Distinguished visitor. He lectures at numerous conferences and universities on topics about graphics technology and the emerging trends in digital media technology. Former President of Siggraph Pioneers, he serves on the advisory boards of several conferences, organizations, and companies and contributes articles to numerous publications. In 2015, he was given the Life Time Achievement award from the CAAD society. Peddie has published hundreds of papers to date; and authored and contributed to eleven books, His most recent books are, “Augmented Reality, where we all will live”, “Ray Tracing, a Tool for all“.You can find more information about Dr. Peddie’s books on his publisher’s site, Springer, and on retail sites like Amazon.