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3DFX Voodoo3 3000 Videocard Review
3DFX Voodoo3 3000 Videocard Review - PCSTATS
3dfx has established itself as one of the market leaders in manufacturing high-quality, high-performance 3D chipsets and cards.
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: 3DFX Dec 28 1999   P. Masrani  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > 3DFX Voodoo3 3000


3dfx in the future...

Following the Voodoo3, 3dfx is under development of the Voodoo4 and Voodoo5. These cards are being produced simultaneously and are based upon the VSA-100 (VSA = Voodoo Scalable Architecture) which is the core chip. The VSA-100 does support additional features which are not supported by the previous Voodoo line such as 32-bit rendering, AGP 4x, 64MB texture memory access (per chip) and 2K x 2K texture size support. 3dfx's newest chip will communicate via a 32-bit data path and consists of 14 million transistors as compared to 8 million on the Voodoo3. But probably the biggest feature is the return of SLI. Technically, it is different from the SLI used in Voodoo2 but the main objective is to be able to utilize more than one VSA chip simultaneously. In the Voodoo2, SLI was achieved by the use of 2 boards and that was the limit. Now, 3dfx will utilize SLI on a single board. The upcoming Voodoo5 6000 will have 4 VSA-100 chips in SLI configuration, 128MB texture memory, full-screen anti-aliasing and 3dfx's T-Buffer technology. And get this... The estimated maximum pixel fill rate is 1.47 GIGApixels/sec!!! Yes, I said GIGA! On first release, the estimated street price is said to be around $600 (US) for the Voodoo5 6000. That is pretty expensive but as technology advances beyond that, the cost will go down (but then again, the gaming requirements will go up!).

Now alot of criticism has been thrown on 3dfx for not introducing 32-bit rendering on their Voodoo3 line. Also that 3dfx does not support onboard T&L (transform & lighting). Naturally, this will occur between competitors similar to how Indian politicians throw mud on each other. But in the technological arena competition is good. It keeps producing higher quality and cheaper priced components. The only winners are the consumers. That's great news...

Let's see how 3dfx's competition responds to the 1.47 Gpixels/sec... I for one, am certainly waiting!

Final Thoughts

Frame rate Vs. Image Quality. Even on lower end platforms like the Celeron, this baby pumps out the frames with a fury! I would certainly recommend this board to anyone who wants smooth, high-performance 3D-acceleration by their side. Is 32-bit rendering useless? Not all at! Some people do want 32-bit over framerate. Unofficial polls though favour the framerate majority. Considering the performance hits of most 32-bit rendering cards in the market, I would gladly stick by a 16-bit speed demon which is the 3dfx Voodoo3 3000. To put it simply, if you are going the way of multiplayer games, you certainly want the absolutely fastest performance out of your card, which would of course be in 16-bit. People who just don't care about framerates want the absolute best image quality possible. Alot of people don't even notice the difference in image quality from 16 to 32-bit. This is a choice for your to decide

The only drawbacks I can see (aside from no 32-bit rendering) is that the Voodoo3 (and before) only have support for 256x256 texture sizes and lack of AGP-texturing support. 256x256 textures are fine but future games will definately be capable of putting out 2048x2048 texture sizes. AGP texturing allows for textures that are larger than local graphics memory to be stored in system memory and can be accessed through the AGP bus with a nominal performance hit. As it is now, 3dfx uses its proprietary DME transfer which allows a 2.66GB/sec bandwidth available to transfer textures around in local memory.

At around $150 (Rs. 6750), it is certainly worth every paisa if you are an avid gamer and need the most performance at your fingertips. Since it isn't available in India yet, go knock down the door of your local computer bania and tell him to stock up on some of these cards.

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Contents of Article: 3DFX Voodoo3 3000
 Pg 1.  3DFX Voodoo3 3000 Videocard Review
 Pg 2.  Card Spec's
 Pg 3.  Benchmarks: 3DMark 99 MAX
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: Quake 2 / Quake III
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Forsaken / Expendable
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Unreal
 Pg 7.  Drivers
 Pg 8.  — Conclusion

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