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Caprice Bourret


Voodoo 3 - 2000

During the past few years the words 'Voodoo' and '3dfx'have been synonymous with 3D graphic cards which have set the standards for others to follow. That trend has changed to some extent today as in most cases their latest offering the Voodoo3 on an equal clockspeed fails beats the much vaunted TNT2 even though the Voodoo3 has been designed with 16bpp rendering in mind. However even though the TNT2 per clock cycle is faster than the Voodoo3 it would find it difficult to beat outright the flagship Voodoo3 3500 in most cases.

There are 2 realities which must not be forgotten in this situation, one is the fact that the Voodoo3 does 'external' rendering only at 16bpp and thus image quality is far from desirable as there is a significantly noticeable difference with any card running at 32bpp. This however has been done with the pure gamers in mind who value speed above all else, who turn down features and lower resolutions to get that extra 5-6 fps.

The other is that without any form of AGP texturing present, with texture heavy games looming on the horizon Voodoo3 owners might find speed severely lacking. Especially as the current trend is to focus on 32bit textures which are larger than the Voodoo3's supported resolution. It is true that it will be downsampled to 16bit and then displayed but since the texture is downsampled onboard graphic card local memory there will be a performance hit if there are lots of large textures which have to be reduced at once on local memory.

As part of the 3 model Voodoo3 package the Voodoo3 2000 board I have for testing is designed and priced to compete with other Mass-Market 3D cards like the Savage4 from S3.The difference between the V3 2000 and its faster bothers are clock speed and the lack of a TV-out. With a street price of just $129, the Voodoo3 2000 could very well be the holder of the price/performance crown with the possible exception of the Savage4 which might prove to be the case with added features.


The Voodoo3 2000 feature set:

6 million triangles/second
286MegaTexel/second fill rate
143MHz Core Clock Speed
100 billion operations per second
Supports resolutions up to 2048x1536
Full 128-Bit 2D accelerator
DVD Hardware Assist
Supports DirectX, Glide and OpenGL
Single Pass, Single Cycle Bump Mapping
Single Pass, Single Cycle Trilinear MIP-Mapping
Patented Multi-Texturing Programmable Fog Tables
Sub-Pixel and Sub-Texel Correction
Sub-pixel and sub-texel correction to 0.4x0.4 resolution
Per-pixel atmospheric fog with programmable fog zones
Floating point Z buffer (W buffer)
True per-pixel, LOD MIP mapping with biasing and clamping
Highly accurate LOC calculations
Support for 14 texture map formats
8-bit palletized textures with full bilinear filtering
Texture compression through narrow-channel YAB format
Support for multi-triangle strips and fans
Gouraud Shading
The 2D Specs
Fully integrated 128-bit VGA and 2D engine
High-speed 128-bit Windows GUI acceleration
Hardware acceleration for Bresham line draw, 2-edge polygon fill, scissor /rectangle clippers and full 256 ROPs
Internal 256-bit datapath
Source and destination chroma-keying for DirectDraw
Color expansion and single-cycle block writes
Accelerated 8, 16, 24 (packed), and 32-bit modes
Video Subsystem
Resolutions of up to 2046x1536 at a full 75Hz screen refresh rate
YUV 4:2:0 planar support
30 frames per second DVD playback with no dropped frames
Supports the latest MPEG2 software CODECs via DirectShow
De-interlacing using Bob Weave
Separate gamma correction for video and graphics
Auto page flipping using VBI for smooth motion video
300MHz Integrated RAMDAC
Supports up to 24 bits per pixel or 16.7 million colors


For anyone expecting the Voodoo3 2000 to run away with the lower-end of the 3D accelerator market, you are definitely out of luck, But it will be one of the top runners in the price/performance market. Even though it does not do 32bit rendering at all its Raw Speed will make up for this shortcoming , as evident in the Savage4 review at Anandtech which proved that the Voodoo3 2000 has better CPU scaling and better performance at higher resolutions than preview boards of its main market rival the Savage4.

Although the benchmarks wouldnt set your blood boiling immedialtely they do provide excellent performance for the price. This is not a board for the Power-Gamer but more for the price conscious, who have decently fast processors which might not make use of a Board like the TNT2. You only have one issue left to think about : Do I wait for a Savage4 or not ? Well it depends you might just need one or two more weeks to decide as the reviews will start puring in ...Quite how it will stack up against this competition is anyone's guess at the moment.The V3-2000 might loose out on the Savage4 only because of the 32bit and S3TC issues , nonetheless make no mistake this is a Great card.


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