Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

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

Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Munx » 2018-2-12 @ 14:12

3dfx's main problem was that they had amazing hardware in the plans for tomorrow, but not today. Voodoo 2 was the start of this. As powerful as these cards were, they are just higher-clocked V1s with an extra TMU. Then the Voodoo3, again, while powerful, was just the same architecture, just integrated into a single chip. And at this point the competition caught up not only with features like the year before, but with performance too.

They kept re-releasing the same architecture for years while only having the next one on paper. This might have worked if they hadn't went crazy with their purchases, but that will sadly stay as speculation.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Srandista » 2018-2-12 @ 14:31

Well, their biggest problem, probably even bigger then acquisition of STB Systems and showing middle finger to all their partners (and that was major f**k up) was taking people from Rampage team and assign them for work on Banshee. It doesn't matter, if Banshee would be huge success (and it really wasn't), but that delayed work on Rampage for 6 months! 6 months, which just few months later was time, in which Nvidia was releasing their new architectures. And also, their approach to Rampage was same like 3D Realm's for Duke Nukem Forever. If it's not miles better then anything else, we will not release it. But this approach can really only work if you have monopoly, not when there is competition releasing new stuff every 6 months, and for all people in market (low-end, middle-end, high-end).
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby firage » 2018-2-12 @ 14:43

I don't know if six months on the Rampage would've made a difference. What they needed to have was the Voodoo5 5500 and a mainstream TNT2 killer out at least six months earlier.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-2-12 @ 14:45

Well intel did about the same, after Pentium III Intel did try Pentium IV, but the architecture was a mess, and they did see that, so for the LGA 775 after Pentium 4 early models, they did go back on the Tualatin drawings, and change the core and the architecture to the point they did use it last couple of decade and more, as all processors after Pentium IV (LGA 775 based ones) are on most of their roots Tualatin, till today on Skylake, Covfefelake... So this thing did work for intel, but they seems to have platinum architecture there, also AMD did have money problems, they did buy ATi by that time, also they did have problems inside the company that did lead to not many great products after Athlon 64, so this is other reason why Intel did have this architecture so successful for them...

While 3Dfx they did have also great architecture, but seems it was not so good like the Tualatin one, and nVIDIA did catch up... Problem is they did need to release the Rampage right after the GEforce 256 to stomp them, but it did not happen...
There are like 2 or 3 working Rampage Specter cards, and as far as it known the performance is insane, is well above the GEforce 256, but it was way too late.....
Also 3Dfx was making war with all, bcuz normally GPU brands like AMD and nVIDIA have war between only them, while 3Dfx was against nVIDIA, ATi, S3, MatroX, they did have their own API Glide, that was declared war to Microsoft and the Direct X (as we all know M$ have more money then intel have, so if you get in their way they will trash you) , also they did buy STB so that was declared war to all board vendors + massive amount of money on the wind, and the rest is history...

Im wondering only one thing, why all the 3Dfx founders and engineers did not come back with new name and start massive production of something like Rampage, or other stuff. For example Nokia was swallowed by M$, but yet here they are back in the game after 10 years, the old owners and CEO of Nokia did buy back what M$ did buy back then, and here they are...



I heard stories that the Rampage was there even back in 1997 or 1998 not sure, so they did have it, but they did not use it in the right time...
3Dfx did try to be the Intel of Video cards, but that did not work well for them, as Intel is giant monopoly company, that even did pay millions of dollars back in 2003-2006 period of time, just to ensure that AMD will be out of the game, so that is how much money they have, while 3Dfx was far far away from having even 1/3 of that... Also they did show middle finger on M$ (while nVIDIA in the same time was partners with them bcuz they did know how powerful M$ is) with the Glide API, and middle finger to all board partners when they buy the STB... Too much mistakes and arrogant behavior in too short time....
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby firage » 2018-2-12 @ 15:15

In the end, it was NVIDIA introducing their short product cycles to the market. 3dfx worked with a steady ~14 month schedule between generations. NVIDIA met the V3 with TNT2, released the GeForce 256 to no competition and had the superior GeForce2 in time for Voodoo5.

They couldn't move as fast. STB didn't help with that and they had bet everything financially.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Unknown_K » 2018-2-12 @ 15:20

There was really no good competition for the Voodoo 1 and Voodoo 2 cards around at the time. Nothing compared to seeing Tomb Raider patched to run on a Voodoo 1 for the first time.

Voodoo 3 lost its lead in image quality to other cards, but GLIDE games and raw speed made it worth having. I remember getting the first STB TNT1 card in AGP and while it was buggy as hell after a few driver releases I could see how it would end 3dfx because of image quality and speed.

I was one of the few that had great hopes for the Voodoo 5500 and went to Bestbuy to snag one (finally 32 bit color). While I liked the card it was a bit pricey and not as fast as I had hoped but 4x AA was cool.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby leileilol » 2018-2-12 @ 23:00

and here we go with the cult aspect i've mentioned...

Rampage would probably only really compete with the Neon250 and Matrox G400 had it come out. Let's not delude ourselves on 3dfx pride fueld from their aggressive marketing campaigns.


Radical Vision wrote:Where did you forget the Voodoo 3 ?!? As V3 was the top video card back then as well,


The only "Better than everything else" about the Voodoo3 for its time i'd say would be its TV out only.
Voodoo2s aren't 100mhz stock
Geforce256 isn't released as a beta on New Years '99 under the Quadro brand
386DX vs SX isn't about a missing FPU
DOS gaming isn't a bilinear 320x200 16:10
DOS PCs aren't better than the Macintosh
Old PCs aren't 'aesthetic'
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby dionb » 2018-2-12 @ 23:29

I just checked Anandtech's review of the Voodoo 3 and at the time it came out, it (the 3000) was the fastest video card in almost all games, so it was the 'top card'. But not unreservedly so - it had no 32b colour, no texture compression (or any AGP texturing for that matter). And of course the TNT2 came out soon afterwards and relegated it back - but for a few months the Voodoo 3 did top benchmarks easily, plus the build quality and (2D) image quality was significantly better than most nVidia-based cards for a long time.

So to be fair it did have its 5 minutes of fame. But it wasn't much longer than that.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-2-13 @ 08:49

leileilol wrote:and here we go with the cult aspect i've mentioned...

Rampage would probably only really compete with the Neon250 and Matrox G400 had it come out. Let's not delude ourselves on 3dfx pride fueld from their aggressive marketing campaigns.


Radical Vision wrote:Where did you forget the Voodoo 3 ?!? As V3 was the top video card back then as well,


The only "Better than everything else" about the Voodoo3 for its time i'd say would be its TV out only.



What the hell, for some unknown reasons for me i was watching years ago the performance chart ot 3Dfx cards, and the Voodoo 3 was the king of the hill like his predecessors, it was the fastest video card out there...
After Voodoo 3 the things did got messed up and 3Dfx died....
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Scali » 2018-2-13 @ 09:42

dionb wrote:plus the build quality and (2D) image quality was significantly better than most nVidia-based cards for a long time.


Is that really true though?
I mean, there were tons of OEMs building NV-based cards. Were they all of poor quality? There's bound to be some decent ones as well, right?
I know I had a GF2GTS from Asus back in the day, and I did the mod of removing some capacitors from the last stage of the low-pass filter. The result was incredible. The image quality was now as sharp as the Matrox cards I used.
I find it hard to imagine that there wasn't a single OEM out there who didn't fix the output filter for their NV cards.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby dionb » 2018-2-13 @ 12:56

Scali wrote:
dionb wrote:plus the build quality and (2D) image quality was significantly better than most nVidia-based cards for a long time.


Is that really true though?
I mean, there were tons of OEMs building NV-based cards. Were they all of poor quality? There's bound to be some decent ones as well, right?[/]
There's two sides to that, firstly the RAMDAC, secondly the filters.

The V3 used a RAMDAC of 300MHz (2000) or 350MHz (3x00), vs 250MHz on the Riva TNT and Rage 128. That means higher resolutions were possible. The TNT2 and Rage 128 Pro later matched the 300MHz, but not until Geforce GTS and Radeon was 350MHz reached.

As for the analog filters, you're right that that's a lot less clear-cut (and certainly cannot be gleaned from any specs).
[q]I know I had a GF2GTS from Asus back in the day, and I did the mod of removing some capacitors from the last stage of the low-pass filter. The result was incredible. The image quality was now as sharp as the Matrox cards I used.
I find it hard to imagine that there wasn't a single OEM out there who didn't fix the output filter for their NV cards.

If there is I haven't seen it yet. Back in the day I was running with a Sun GDM-20E20 20" monitor, usually at 1280x960. The cards I remember clearly were a Diamond Viper V550, Powercolor TNT2-M64, an ATi Rage Pro LT, Voodoo 3-3500 and Matrox G450. I ditched the TNTs because it was so awful - even the Diamond; the Rage Pro LT was better, but at that relatively high resolution still not good enough. As for the V3-3500 and G450, I couldn't honestly see the difference. Later I upgraded to a Sony GDM-W900, usually doing 1600x900. There the G450 was better, but only just so. Also by then my main PC had a GeForce 8800GT (iirc an Asus) which was just as good.

Now a sample of two is not very representative, but the Viper V550 in particular should have been a flagship high-end device. Last weekend I picked up a Viper V770, Diamond's TNT2-Ultra flagship. So far not used it beyond 320x240, but I have a CRT with better specs than that 20E20, so should be able to do a subjective test - although not vs a Voodoo unless I find one.

If there are better TNTs out there I'd love to hear it, I like high desktop resolutions and hate blurry images...
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Scali » 2018-2-13 @ 13:16

Was the RAMDAC speed all that relevant though? These cards weren't fast enough for accelerating games in high resolutions anyway (clearly you wouldn't buy these cards if high-res 2D was your thing, that's what brands like Matrox specialized in, these cards were aimed at the consumer/gamer).
As long as they could do 640x480 and 800x600 at 60 Hz or more, that was good enough.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby dionb » 2018-2-13 @ 13:43

Scali wrote:Was the RAMDAC speed all that relevant though? These cards weren't fast enough for accelerating games in high resolutions anyway (clearly you wouldn't buy these cards if high-res 2D was your thing, that's what brands like Matrox specialized in, these cards were aimed at the consumer/gamer).
As long as they could do 640x480 and 800x600 at 60 Hz or more, that was good enough.

Desktop resolution and gaming resolution are two different things (unless you have a very low-res screen or an extremely powerful GPU). Even if gaming was only possible at 800x600, you could - and if you had a half-decent monitor would - run the desktop at higher resolutions (like my 1280x960@76Hz). Now 1280x960 isn't pushing the RAMDAC that hard, certainly not with a relatively low refresh rate, but the filters are usually the bottleneck for image quality. You'd have to have a truly awful card to notice differences at 800x600 (although that Powercolor was that bad), but over 1024x768 you really started to see differences - and that by no means was a crazy high resolution, even in 1999.

Matrox was certainly the benchmark in those days, 3dfx came close, but you were deep in GeForce/Radeon era before nVidia/ATi-based cards caught up. If you *only* played games that was irrelevant, but if you had to look at the desktop for long periods, maybe because of school/uni/work, it meant the difference between getting a headache the morning after an evening working or not.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Scali » 2018-2-13 @ 14:26

dionb wrote:but if you had to look at the desktop for long periods, maybe because of school/uni/work, it meant the difference between getting a headache the morning after an evening working or not.


But that's my point: you wouldn't buy these cards if that's your usage pattern.
Not to mention that high-res monitors were very expensive back then (higher resolution generally also meant larger screens, and 14-15" was the standard among gamers, 17" and beyond was very expensive), so it was just a different market, as I said.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby dionb » 2018-2-13 @ 14:49

Scali wrote:
dionb wrote:but if you had to look at the desktop for long periods, maybe because of school/uni/work, it meant the difference between getting a headache the morning after an evening working or not.


But that's my point: you wouldn't buy these cards if that's your usage pattern.

Why not? After a week's hard working or studying, who says you can't spend the weekend playing Unreal? This was my exact use case at the time (er, apart from perhaps a bit less hard studying and a bit more gaming than was good for me or my results :# ). Writing a 4000-word paper, handing it in minutes before a deadline, sleeping a few hours, then gaming all day. I was by no means the only one, pretty much everyone I knew who was into computers & PC gaming had a similar usage pattern.
Not to mention that high-res monitors were very expensive back then (higher resolution generally also meant larger screens, and 14-15" was the standard among gamers, 17" and beyond was very expensive), so it was just a different market, as I said.

Real high-res monitors were very expensive, but in 1999 even the entry level was 15" capable of 1024x768@75Hz, and someone buying a high-end video card might well have a mid-range 17" CRT which could do 1024x768@85Hz, 1152x864@75Hz or 1280x960@60Hz. You'd easily see the difference between good filters and bad ones at those settings. I certainly did, even before I got hold of that Sun GDM-20E20 around 2001 somewhere.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby Radical Vision » 2018-2-13 @ 14:59

Back in the days of many GPU brands different then todays nvidia vs AMD, nothing was better then MatroX when it comes for 2D image quality, second was ATi...
And about NOvideo, well they did have even years after 3Dfx trash quality and colors compared to ATi cards, that did have superior image quality and better colors...
NOvideo GEforce cards was never meant to be more then gaming cards, and this is why the Radeon is much better in all other aspects, like way bigger resolutions, better colors, better image quality, also the All In Wonder series that did have many features...
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby spiroyster » 2018-2-13 @ 15:19

Radical Vision wrote:NOvideo GEforce cards was never meant to be more then gaming cards, and this is why the Radeon is much better in all other aspects

Not really. It's only the last couple of years that the Radeon had been suffixed with 'Pro' for AMD totl (ATi FireGL -> AMD FireGL -> AMD FirePro -> AMD RadeonPro). ATi certainly never aimed 'Radeons' at anything other than gaming market. Back in the day it was: Radeon vs GeForce, FireGL vs Quadro (workstation market).
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby brostenen » 2018-2-13 @ 15:23

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 ?

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]


Depends....
The nostalgia factor is huge, as well as the populair factor. Everyone seems to want one, and that is mostly duo to the fact, that a lot of games had Glide support. Picture quality wise, it is highly argueable, if Voodoo cards deliver a better end result. Some cases the answer is no, and in other cases the answer it yes. Last but not least, it usually comes down to the thing of personal taste.

As a collectors item. Then yes... At least one Voodoo card of some sort has a right to be in every collection. Now that you have a V3, then it might be time to find a Matrox G400-Max and a TNT2-Ultra as well. They are perhaps the 3 big ones regarding late-late 90's gaming (1998 to 99).

I would say, that the reputation is perhaps a mix of retro-hype and personal nostalgia. Yes they had Glide, yet glide is just yet another API, if we set the popularity aside. It could might just as well have been Power-VR that had dominated back then. (I am thinking in terms of retrospect)
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby anthony » 2018-2-13 @ 16:58

What I know about 3dfx problems, there were huge expenses on manufacturing. Even low cost v4 made like high-end product (and even v3). And look at nvidia based cards at that era, it’s garbage or at least “cost effective” assembly.
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Re: Are Voodoo graphics card THAT good ?

Postby brostenen » 2018-2-13 @ 17:27

anthony wrote:And look at nvidia based cards at that era, it’s garbage or at least “cost effective” assembly.


Ohhh.... Huh?? Like in every nVidia based cards?? I beg to differ....

TNT2-Ultra-01.jpg

TNT2-Ultra-02.jpg

TNT2-Ultra-03.jpg


A lot of nVidia cards were garbage, that for shure though a good number of cards were well build.
Difference was, that nVidia made the chip, card makers made the card. As for 3DfX, they did it all in house.
(only a few ones made cards other than 3DfX)
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