Thanks Nexty for sending this in!
nVidia has undoubtedly built the largest "name" in the graphics market with their GeForce family, when it was thought that no one could ever top the retail name branding of 3dfx's "Voodoo" line of cards. The GeForce line of chips has spawned away from the original add-in PC market that 3dfx was for the most part, trapped in. While still keeping its lead in the performance market, nVidia has spawned the older and slower variants of the GeForce family to other computing markets. nVidia now has GeForce branded chips in laptop computers and Apple systems, not to mention the same basic technology being used to power nForce chipset motherboards and Microsoft's X-Box console.
In short, the GeForce has come a long, long way in 3 short years.
With that being said, nVidia's recent releases of the GeForce3 and GeForce3 Titanium families have been fairly un-eventful. While the cards were/are extremely fast, and quickly dominated the graphics market, there weren't any "killer" features that made people run to stores and pick up the cards. nVidia followed the "speed first, features later" approach, which to be frank, worked out quite well for them. While Quincunx anti-aliasing and the Lightspeed Memory Architecture were great and all, but the only real difference that end consumers saw was more speed. The pixel and vertex shaders were also nice, but since no games implemented them, consumers saw no reason to pay attention to them.
ATI, on the other hand, has been piling on the features for their latest generation of video cards, giving us decent multi-monitor support. Not to mention, the ATI Radeon 8500's performance has dramatically increased since it's initial release, and now is faster than the GeForce3 Ti500 in many benchmarks. Even though ATI has struggled as of late to break nVidia's grip on the enthusiast / gamer market, their Radeon 8500 series pose a strong threat to nVidia. With impending competition and the aging of the GeForce3 line of cards, clearly a new processor was needed to maintain nVidia's lead in the market.
News source: GamePC