So you've got a $10 bill in your wallet, and you walk into a store looking to buy a T-shirt. An eager salesman approaches you and directs you towards their latest collection of $90 dress shirts, now when all you happen to have in your wallet is that $10 bill, the knowledge your new found sales friend is not helping you at all by introducing you to the latest in fashion for $90. This same scenario can be seen duplicated among video card manufacturers in the industry, just as the example of the man looking for a $10 shirt and being pointed in the direction of $90 fashion, most gamers on a budget surfing around for a low-cost 3D solution are being introduced to the latest candidates for the Voodoo2 or Voodoo3 killers at the "low price" of $259.99. blade3dcore.jpg (12547 bytes)
A low-cost video solution at a price that is already twice your allocated budget doesn't really help you all that much, and knowing how fast the card is doesn't detract from the fact that it's still out of your price range.

It makes very little sense for all of these large manufacturers such as Matrox and nVidia to leave the low-cost video market in the dust, if anything, they should be concentrating on the low-cost market even more than the high performance market. As we've all learned from Intel's incredible success with the sub-$1000 PC campaign and the Intel Celeron processor, cheaper sells, and as far as the majority of video card manufacturers are concerned, they just haven't been selling.

On the low end of things, there have been a few contributors to the sub-$1000 PC campaign from video card manufacturers, one of the most popular being a company called Trident. Typically associated with the word "crap" among gamers, Trident has never truly had a competitive product on the market, and their presence in the 3D driven world of gaming is just about as prominent as that "friend" of yours that never seems to get invited to any parties. At last year's Fall Comdex, Trident's booth held the first eye catching demonstration this reviewer has seen from the company in years: a Trident video card running a game at a pleasing frame rate with a level of image quality that rivals some of the industry's bad boys. Trident had a product so eye-catching in fact, that VIA chose them, out of all of the possible manufacturers, to include this "revolutionary" (at least for Trident) product as the integrated video core on their low-cost MVP4 chipset, and as AnandTech reported, the MVP4 looks like an instant hit for the sub-$1000 market. What on earth would cause a company like VIA, already struggling to balance the weight of the Super7 market on their shoulders, to pursue Trident as a partner in such a delicate venture? Trident must have something special on their hands, but what? Let's find out as AnandTech takes a look at the barely publicized Blade 3D from Trident, and let's see if we can develop a new word to associate with the name Trident.

History repeating itself?

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