With Guillemot's acquisition of Hercules Computer Technology last October, many in the graphics industry were curious of the future relationship between the two companies. After all, since Hercules had already closed its doors, what was the point of buying a once powerful competitor for US$1.5 million dollars?
It turns out Guillemot decided to purchase Hercules not for its products and technology, but instead for its well-known brand name. Back in 1982, Hercules pioneered the add-in graphics business. Over the years, Hercules sold enough graphics products to make them a popular name among many OEM's and consumers. As more competitors began to enter the volatile 3D market, Hercules met increased competition. Once Creative Labs moved into the 3D space, Hercules' retail presence on store shelves began to seriously dwindle.
With the blazing fast introduction of newer graphics chips coupled with this increased competition in the 3D market, companies began to fold under the pressure. With the departure of Canopus in the high-end 3D market, Hercules attempted to enter this space with their jazzed up TNT and TNT2 cards under the Dynamite brand name. While Hercules made some of the best cards based on these chips, the smaller size of the high-end market cut in to Hercules' customer base. Couple this with product delays on their flagship Dynamite cards and readily available, cheaper cards from competitors, and Hercules ran into more trouble than it could handle.
Guillemot on the other hand, had a totally opposite experience in the 3D market. An established brand name in Europe, Guillemot entered the North American market small with high hopes for success. Over the years, Guillemot continued to build mindshare in the hearts of online journalists and consumers. Guillemot's brand name continued to grow and reached critical mass with the Xentor and Xentor 32 line of video cards. With them, Guillemot offered one of the best TNT2 products available and sold it at launch at an incredibly low price of $200 after mail-in rebate. Hercules' excellent Dynamite TNT2 card on the other hand was priced $50 higher!
Once Hercules closed its doors in August, Guillemot seized the opportunity and bought the rights and properties of Hercules. With the Hercules brand name in Guillemot's hands Guillemot has decided to market all future North American video products under the Hercules name. After all, while Guillemot has made lots of headway in the American market, their brand still isn't as well known as Hercules is with most consumers.
The 3D Prophet
Based on NVIDIA's GeForce 256 chipset, the 3D Prophet is available in 2 flavors: those with DDR SGRAM (like the 3D Prophet DDR-DVI reviewed today) and those without. (the 3D Prophet) As mentioned above, for the North American market this product is known as the Hercules 3D Prophet, overseas it is simply known as the Guillemot 3D Prophet.