3dfx Voodoo 5 6000 Rare GPU Prototype Auction Ends With A Massive Winning Bid

Hand holding a 3dfx Voodoo 5 6000 graphics card in front of a PC monitor.
A graphics card that never actually made it to market just scored a big payday for the owner, who listed the ultra-rare prototype on eBay. We're talking about the 3dfx Voodoo 5 6000 that we wrote about last week, a truly legendary GPU and valuable collector's item. Just how valuable? Well, the winning bid for the card listed in "excellent condition" (and as shown above) settled at a cool 15 grand.

The card attracted dozens of offers starting at $10 and quickly ramped up from there. Looking through the bid history with partially redacted usernames, it's evident a bidding war of sorts broke out between several interested parties, one of which ultimately won the auction a day before the listing ended. There were also a few retracted bids in the amounts of $10,000, $14,100, and $15,000.

According to the listing, this is a working, later model prototype with most of the notorious bugs having been stomped out, making it an even more desirable collector's piece.

"This card was personally reworked by the well known 3DFX engineer Hank Semenec for fully stable 8X FSAA (I have personally verified that this card is rock solid at 8X) Unlike a lot of other Voodoo 5 6000 prototypes, this one is from the later stages of the 6K prototype project where the vast majority of bugs have been ironed out," the seller noted in the auction.

Closeup of the '3dfx' and 'not for resale' stickers on the back of a Voodoo 5 6000 graphics card.

The seller originally purchased the prototype GPU from a friend. With that friend's blessing, they ultimately decided to part ways with it because they own other pieces of vintage hardware that mean more to them, and wanted to see the ultra-rare graphics card go to a collector that will "truly view it as...the ultimate holy grail piece for most if not all 3dvx enthusiasts/collectors."  And hey, the prospect of a chunky payday makes it easier to come to such decisions.

There exist a variety of reasons why the Voodoo 5 6000 never released to retail. It came into existence towards the end of 3dfx's run in the discrete graphics card game before the company sold its assets to NVIDIA in 2001. While it never released, prototypes did find their way into the hands of reviewers.

Armed with four VSA-100 processors (built on a 250nm process) clocked at 166MHz and 128MB of video memory, benchmarks showed the Voodoo 5 6000 beating the GeForce 2 Ultra, and being competitive with NVIDIA's next-gen (at the time) GeForce 3 series.

The buyer won't be able to run the card inn a modern system because it leverages an AGP interface that has long since moved out of the way for PCI Express, but they do now own a $15,000 collector's piece that could conceivably go up in value over time.