Josh from PenStarSys has just posted his latest take on the state of 3D. Josh always has some insightful commentary on the 3D industry in these articles and he gives enough history and background information to make even a newbie feel like an expert after reading.
"NVIDIA started out in something of a maverick position. The company was constantly pushing the boundaries of technology and features, often using the very latest fabrication process and pushing 3D features farther than any other company at that time. Their first success, the Riva 128, was designed around Direct3D and OpenGL, and while it gave up some quality features it was a fast chip. The competing Voodoo Graphics from 3Dfx was more focused on Glide and used a Mini-GL to support OpenGL. The Riva TnT pushed the envelope further by supporting 32 bit rendering and two separate pixel pipelines (TnT stood for Twin Texel) while 3Dfx introduced the Voodoo 2 which had one raster chip with two separate texturing engines. Going further we see NVIDIA as the first to design an integrated Transformation and Lighting Unit (T&L) and four separate pixel pipelines with the GeForce 256 and further refined the architecture with the GeForce 2."