Introduction
Established in 1987, Trident gained a reputation for selling inexpensive (for the time) but slow SVGA chipsets. Many OEMs built add-in-boards using Trident VGA chipsets. As the PC graphics market shifted from simple framebuffer displays (basic VGA color monitor and later multi-resolution SVGA output) to more advanced 2D hardware acceleration such a BitBLT engine and color-space conversion (not to be confused with 3D hardware-acceleration), Trident continued its strategy of selling modestly performing chips at compelling price points. In the mid-1990s, the company (briefly) caught up with its main competition: the TGUI-9680’s feature-set was comparable to the S3 Graphics Trio64V+, although the Trio64V+ outperformed the 9680 in true-color mode. The rapid introduction of 3D graphics caught many graphics suppliers off guard, including Trident. It was not until the late 1990s that Trident finally released a competitive chip, the TGUI-9880 (Blade3D). By this time, Trident’s reach had once again retreated to the low-end OEM market, where it was crowded by ATI, S3, and SiS. Meanwhile, in the laptop market, Trident was an early pioneer of embedded DRAM, a semiconductor manufacturing technique which combines a graphics-controller and framebuffer memory on a single chip. The resulting combo-chip saved precious board-space by eliminating several RAM chips normally required for framebuffer storage as well as providing other advantages, offset by a higher manufacturing cost-per-bit. In this market it competed with NeoMagic. Although Trident enjoyed some success with its 3DImage and Blade3D product-lines, the entry of Intel into PC graphics signalled the end of the bottom-end, graphics-chip market. Trident partnered with motherboard chipset suppliers several times to integrate its graphics technology into a motherboard chipset (i.e. ALi CyberALADDiN, VIA MVP4), but these achieved marginal success.


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