We will start with ATI’s first hybrid 2D/3D on the same chip, the Rage Pro. When cards based on this chipset shipped the driver included only supported Direct3D at the time. There was absolutely no OpenGL support in the drivers. This being ATI’s top of the line 3D card at the time did not bode well for them, cutting out a good chunk of the enthusiast crowd. It was not until much later that OpenGL support was included in future driver releases. Driver releases were few and far between at the time as well. This was just the beginning of ATI’s track record for drivers. When the Rage 128 was introduced it boasted a full feature rich hardware design. However, we soon found out drivers were keeping this video card from performing at it’s best. But they were a lot better then the Rage Pro drivers for sure. In fact ATI was also releasing drivers at a faster pace then they did on the Rage Pro. ATI card owners still found themselves mixing and matching driver components to find the best performance and image quality. ATI then made an ambitious move in the hardware area by introducing their Rage Fury MAXX video card which brought in their method of dual core chipsets. However this card was ill-fated giving ATI the most trouble with drivers they have ever had. Enthusiasts were highly anxious to see the MAXX in action, but it just wasn’t happening the way ATI had envisioned. Then the Radeon 64 came to market and ATI came out with much better optimized BETA drivers with more releases then ever before. However most felt they still were not tapping the potential of the GPU.
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Original URL, circa 2002: http://hardocp.com/article.html?art=MzEy