Tech: My First 3D Accelerator
Back in the day, many video cards didn't have integrated 3D acceleration, and if you wanted high-end gaming performance in your rig, you'd have to buy and install a separate, 3D-only card that hooked up to your old mostly-2D video card. The first (and only) one of these I ever purchased was the Diamond Monster 3D II.
It was, like many of these types of video cards, pretty close to the original 3Dfx VooDoo II reference board. I bought the 90 MHz, 12 MB version, which, at the time, was the pinnacle of 3D performance (nowadays, of course, the Monster 3D II is many times slower than even an integrated video solution). The kicker, though, were the included games - the incredible Battlezone, the pretty-looking Incoming (also released for the Dreamcast), and some others that were more forgettable.
Using my outdated 266 MHz Pentium II, the Monster 3D II made stuff like the original Half-Life and FFVII leap off the screen. It was a great card, but it was finally retired when I obtained a TNT2, and later, a GeForce2. It never broke down, it never glitched up, it just glided along (forgive the pun).
(Note: the current king of the hill is the GeForce 8800 GTX, using DirectX 10, with a core clock of 575 MHz. It uses up as much power as a freaking XBox 360, but it runs F.E.A.R. at 1600x1200 at 127 fps. w00t.)