Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Discussion about old graphics cards, monitors and video related things.

Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby okenido » 2018-2-11 @ 11:51

Just asking since i got a Voodoo3 in the computer I bought. Never had one before. Voodoo cards seems to have very good reputation. What makes them so good ?

I have some other cards available : MX440, Rage Pro, 9200, 9200SE, FX5200, FX5500, geforce 3Ti... Should i go for the Voodoo for my Pentium3 - Windows XP build ? [i know XP is a bit demanding, but its' part of the challenge :D]
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Scali » 2018-2-11 @ 12:12

okenido wrote:Just asking since i got a Voodoo3 in the computer I bought. Never had one before. Voodoo cards seems to have very good reputation. What makes them so good ?


They were extremely fast at the time, and what's more, they had their own custom Glide API, which was widely supported by early accelerated games.
So VooDoo cards run the most games from the early days of 3D acceleration, and they also generally perform the best.

The cards you mention are much newer though, from the days that 3DFX already went belly-up. So there is no comparison really.
You'll want a VooDoo card if it's the Glide games you want to play.
For OpenGL and Direct3D games, there's many newer, faster, more advanced cards.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Dystopia » 2018-2-11 @ 12:16

The reason 3Dfx cards have the reputation they have is that were by far the best option for 3D graphics in the early days. Voodoo 3 is about when 3Dfx started falling behind against Nvidia, but the real bloodbath came after that.

Voodoo drivers for XP are dodgy at best. Stick with Nvidia or ATI for XP.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby uzurpator » 2018-2-11 @ 12:23

Its mostly nostalgia.

3dfx cards were the first actually successful 3d accelerators and for the 90s gamers they were "the thing" to have. It was a real shocker to see Quake running at 60fps in "high resolution" of 640x480 and pudding on the walls instead instead of 30fps 320x200 and walls made of bathroom tiles :)

Because they were the first, many early games only supported 3dfx properitary Glide API. For example original Unreal did not even offer D3D or OpenGL at launch and run very, very dodgy on them when they became available.

The last game that actually used Glide to great effect was Diablo II, which run well either on software or glide rendering, because D3D runs very, very badly, even now.

EDIT: however, IMO 3dfx cards are win95/98 only, for later times there are much more compelling options to be had.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby firage » 2018-2-11 @ 12:48

There's a lot of nostalgia, but probably the biggest thing is the proprietary Glide API. 3dfx is the only hardware 3D option for several 90's games.

Unreal and Diablo II, etc, see no spectacular benefit besides on period (P2 or slower) hardware, where you have some pretty significant performance advantages.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby uzurpator » 2018-2-11 @ 12:53

Unreal and Diablo II, etc, see no spectacular benefit outside of better performance on period hardware.


Diablo II "3d" support is horrendously bad. It supposedly has 300mhz and 64 mb ram hardware requirements, but when using the D3D port, it would bring 1700+ athlon with GF440 to its knees. Moreover - in glide the game looks much better then D3D.

I played that thing for a decade, and was doing so in software mode, because I had no glide compatible card and D3D support is _that_ bad.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby firage » 2018-2-11 @ 13:04

Perhaps. D2 was always fine to me with DirectDraw rendering, various configurations.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby okenido » 2018-2-11 @ 13:45

Mmh i see :)

I didnt tried to play 3D games on XP with this card, i suspect the previous owner never tested since he sold it as a "Computer for Office 97" :lol:
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby dionb » 2018-2-11 @ 14:16

okenido wrote:Mmh i see :)

I didnt tried to play 3D games on XP with this card, i suspect the previous owner never tested since he sold it as a "Computer for Office 97" :lol:

Yep. Lots of mid-range computers back then had one, and were sold to people who really only needed an entry-level PC but could be convinced to part with more money. Bit like still happens these days with CPUs - at work all our laptops have pretty beefy Core i5s, but IT doesn't even support any hardware that would remotely challenge an i3, let alone these beasts :dead:
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Jo22 » 2018-2-11 @ 14:28

uzurpator wrote:3dfx cards were the first actually successful 3d accelerators and for the 90s gamers they were "the thing" to have.

Ahem. Like Win98, it was the thing to have for the when-the-90s-were-almost-over-gamers. ;)
Mortals like me, rather stuck around with DirectDraw and DX3/5 capable hardware.
About when DX6 was released, MMX was considered the new hot thing.
It could replace 3D cards, they said (hah! humour they had!).
But that's just my point of view and I could be wrong.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby FFXIhealer » 2018-2-11 @ 20:52

Another cool feature of the original Voodoo1 and Voodoo2 cards that tends to get overlooked about back in the mid/late '90s is that they were add-on cards...on purpose. They only did 3D since most computers already had working 2D video chips. So rather than replace or reinvent the wheel, they just made an add-on card with a pass-through and it was a great idea at the time. It meant that instead of upgrading the entire computer (potentially), you only bought one card and BAM! Instant gaming.

Yeah, the Glide API meant that games had near-direct access to hardware and was ridiculously fast for its day. DirectX always had a bit of overhead and it still does to this day, but you don't notice it anymore because of how stupid-powerful computers are compared to back in the late '90s. That overhead is why Vulkan is actually pretty cool.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby leileilol » 2018-2-11 @ 20:53

They were the first cards that weren't impractically slow, supported lots of blend functions and gamma control. It made the most logical sense to support them as they were both popular and did "The Right Thing" with regards to capabilities (many were looking for just bilinear filtering+fog+fast 640x480 in '96)

There is the cult aspect to watch out for though, especially considering what "looks best on 3dfx" could be a matter of being familiar to the default high gamma correction setting or not noticing the dithering that got filtered out, and the early attempts at tacking D3D renderers in late development/post-release games that were always iffy (but could be as capable as Glide, given time and competence)
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
Geforce256 isn't released as a beta on New Years '99 under the Quadro brand
DOS gaming isn't a bilinear 320x200 16:10
DOS PCs aren't better than the Macintosh
DOSBox is not for running Windows 9x
SGL != Glide
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby emosun » 2018-2-11 @ 21:11

They're good for anything that supports glide , but if the games doesn't support glide then they are unremarkable. There are a few much newer gpu's that can be used in place of them.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Errius » 2018-2-11 @ 21:46

I recently played the original Unreal on a Voodoo2 for the first time ever. Wow! This must have blown people's minds in the 90s.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-2-12 @ 09:24

Well the 3Dfx Voodoo 1 was insane, later on the Voodoo 2 was even better and faster, also the SLI that you can add second Voodoo 2 card and use it with the first one was way too OP back in the 90`s.. Later one they did make the Voodoo 3 that was really faster then anything from the competition ATi, nVIDIA, S3..
Glide was also very important, as this API was the thing that make the real difference...
The Voodoo Rush was the very first 3Dfx card that was 2D and 3D in one card capable, still the 2D chip was from other company, not 3Dfx itself, as they was more focused on the 3D.....
The Voodoo Banshee was the first attempt for 2D/3D all in one, but it was not so 3D powerful...
3Dfx did make the things right on Voodoo 3 series where both 2D was from them and the 3D was very fast....


But that was about it when 3Dfx did gone on the wrong way right after Voodoo 3 and Avenger chip they did make bad decisions and mistakes, like they did buy the STB systems a board manufacturer so they can produce their own cards instead of selling chips to board vendors like Diamond, ASUS, creative and others. That was great mistake, as they did put lot of money into STB instead of pushing the new Rampage chip and Specter cards. Also the Voodoo 4 and Voodoo 5 series cards was just little modified versions of the original Voodoo 3 Avenger chip rebranded into VSA name, and they did lag behind nVIDIA and GEforce 256....

I think if 3Dfx did not make stupid mistakes back then they was going to be alive, and nVIDIA or ATi was going do bankrupt, but the acquisition of STB systems was the biggest mistake they did, also the old technology they did use in Voodoo 5, and the rebranding of Voodoo 3, if they did not do that retarded mistakes, they was going to shine above nVIDIA...
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby phosgene » 2018-2-12 @ 10:59

Scali wrote:For OpenGL and Direct3D games, there's many newer, faster, more advanced cards.


And for those cards there's OpenGLide.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Munx » 2018-2-12 @ 11:42

Voodoo1 was the first good 3D accelerator that actually made games run @ 30+ fps and didnt fill the screen with artifacts and errors while doing it.
Voodoo2 in SLI was the undisputed performance king in 1998 (even if it was a really backwards over-conveluted and expensive)
The other cards, while no longer on top when it came to performance, still had some good things going for them and attract retro enthusiasts with Glide support.
And the fact that 3dfx is no longer alive makes the cards even more attactive.
Also, nostalgia. 3dfx was THE thing to have and people want it either because they had it in their system years ago or did not have it and want to experience it.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-2-12 @ 11:52

Munx wrote:Voodoo1 was the first good 3D accelerator that actually made games run @ 30+ fps and didnt fill the screen with artifacts and errors while doing it.
Voodoo2 in SLI was the undisputed performance king in 1998 (even if it was a really backwards over-conveluted and expensive)
The other cards, while no longer on top when it came to performance, still had some good things going for them and attract retro enthusiasts with Glide support.
And the fact that 3dfx is no longer alive makes the cards even more attactive.
Also, nostalgia. 3dfx was THE thing to have and people want it either because they had it in their system years ago or did not have it and want to experience it.


Where did you forget the Voodoo 3 ?!? As V3 was the top video card back then as well, and things did got very retarded with Voodoo 4 and 5 series...
S3 Savage 4 i think with Metal API was very good as well, but was buggy and not many games did support it....
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Munx » 2018-2-12 @ 12:29

Radical Vision wrote:
Munx wrote:Voodoo1 was the first good 3D accelerator that actually made games run @ 30+ fps and didnt fill the screen with artifacts and errors while doing it.
Voodoo2 in SLI was the undisputed performance king in 1998 (even if it was a really backwards over-conveluted and expensive)
The other cards, while no longer on top when it came to performance, still had some good things going for them and attract retro enthusiasts with Glide support.
And the fact that 3dfx is no longer alive makes the cards even more attactive.
Also, nostalgia. 3dfx was THE thing to have and people want it either because they had it in their system years ago or did not have it and want to experience it.


Where did you forget the Voodoo 3 ?!? As V3 was the top video card back then as well, and things did got very retarded with Voodoo 4 and 5 series...
S3 Savage 4 i think with Metal API was very good as well, but was buggy and not many games did support it....

For glide games, yes, V3 was still the best, but this was a time when OpenGL and DirectX were taking over and Nvidias TNT2 was better for that. Totally agree that V3 was still good, though.

For Metal I looked all over the interwebz and only found Unreal engine games that supported it. Its a shame, since it made games like Unreal Tournament run much better.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-2-12 @ 12:54

Many things are shame, for example of today games and game industry look what nVIDIA make with their money and software, they make crap that look little better and run like crap on all hardware, like PhysX, Tessellation and other ones they just suck... On other hand AMD did invent Mantle and give it to the OpenGL makers, so they did make Vulkan, that is great API, compared to all other alternatives, but not many games use it and that is shame...

Shame is 3Dfx did make idiot things that ended up them dead, shame is also S3 did not have the Metal API in more games... Shame is brands like ABIT, Soyo, Aopen did die or are not anymore in the industry in the same way...

Yes the Voodoo 1 and Voodoo 2 was unmatched even without Glide, but still without Glide both V1 and V2 was going to be only faster then the competition, but the graphics was going to be the same crap as on ATi, MatroX, S3, nVIDIA...
For me (i think for many others as well) 3Dfx was the king on the GPU market from Voodoo 1 passing Voodoo 2 and last great card from them was the Voodoo 3, after that all did go on the downhill pretty fast and the things got too messed up..
The biggest mistakes of 3Dfx was they did use outdated hardware and rebrand after Voodoo 3, the purchase of STB System and the specially not using Rampage architecture in 2000 that was going to crush nVIDIA bad, as 3Dfx did have the Rampage/Specter chip and cards even in 1997, and according to some other enthusiasts the level of performance the Rampage did have was like above GEforce 3, and something on par with GEforce 4, but the stupid decisions 3Dfx founders did make after Voodoo 3 did cost them all they got.... They did try to make all in one like Intel to make their own chips, cards, API and all, but they did miss ONE very important point that Intel is giant and they have tons of resources, and they can do whatever s**ts they want (as we can see so many years what crap intel did all over the place) and still get no harm or to be close to bankrupt, 3Dfx did think they will be the only king like intel, but on video cards, but they were wrong, as the competition nVIDIA did bring the GEforce 256 that did have newer tech, umached performance by the time, and that was the end of 3Dfx as one GEforce 256 was so much cheaper to produce, while only one Voodoo 5500 was at least twice the price, not to mention the Voodoo 6000.... If only 3Dfx did bring the Specter cards and the Rampage chip they was going to rule all over, and not even need of VSA and Voodoo 4 or 5......

There are even some pissed off ppl as i did found a site where they did crap all over 3Dfx bcuz of the rebrand of the Voodoo 4 and 5, but don`t know where the site is, but at least i have one picture of it...
This is also why nVIDIA are still alive today, as they did never make the mistake to show middle finger to all board partners, and to go on their own and making all GEforces and Quadros only by themselves. Some times when someone gets too cocky and too greedy sh*t happens very fast and hit very hard, like in the case of 3Dfx. No one lives only on old glory, nVIDIA are not, intel seems did think this way, but AMD did show them previous year with Zen, that no one can rely on old glory, at least not for much long.....
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