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Voodoo5 5500's DirectX Support

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First post, by the_ultra_code

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Hello VOGONS members!

I have a hopefully simple question regarding the famous Voodoo5 5500: What DirectX versions does it support? According to this forum topic over here, all Voodoo cards between the Voodoo3s and the Voodoo5s received drivers that somewhat supported DirectX 8, but that they were not able to completely support all DX8 features and caused system instability, and thus it was better to stick to the DX7 drivers. Are these statements true?

Any help would be appreciated!

Oh, and two bonus questions: How well does the Voodoo5 5500 fare under DOS with DOS games, and how well does it do with early Glide games such as Tomb Raider?

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Reply 2 of 22, by the_ultra_code

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The Serpent Rider wrote:

Voodoo 5 works fine with DirectX 9 library.

But that would be unofficial, would it not? Did 3dfx ever release DX9-targeted drivers for the 5500, let alone DX8-targeted ones?

Edit: Also, for what version of DX was the 5500 even built for? I have heard with a lot of more modern cards that they were built with a certain DX version in mind. Is that the case with the 5500?

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Reply 3 of 22, by The Serpent Rider

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But that would be unofficial, would it not?

And so? There's rarely any problem with that if drivers are mature enough.

Also, for what version of DX was the 5500 even built for

Originally Napalm chips were designed to compete with TNT2 cards as Voodoo 3 4000 (Voodoo 4 4000) with DirectX 6.1 support. Unfortunately 3dfx were lacking competence as of late 1998 to pull this off.

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Reply 4 of 22, by spiroyster

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the_ultra_code wrote:
The Serpent Rider wrote:

Voodoo 5 works fine with DirectX 9 library.

But that would be unofficial, would it not? Did 3dfx ever release DX9-targeted drivers for the 5500, let alone DX8-targeted ones?

I can't see how it would be offical since 3dfx were consumed by nVidia long time before Directx9 came out.

I wasn't aware of any Voodoo supporting shaders (software or hardware), required for Dx8 onwards? They didn't even support hardware TnL?

Reply 5 of 22, by the_ultra_code

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The Serpent Rider wrote:

But that would be unofficial, would it not?

And so? There's rarely any problem with that if drivers are mature enough.

True, although I like to stay with, most of the time, official stuff. Just a personal preference. 😀 So, to rephrase, what is the latest DX version that the official drivers support?

The Serpent Rider wrote:

Also, for what version of DX was the 5500 even built for

Originally Napalm chips were designed to compete with TNT2 cards as Voodoo 3 4000 (Voodoo 4 4000) with DirectX 6.1 support. Unfortunately 3dfx were lacking competence as of late 1998 to pull this off.

Interesting.

I will say that PhilsComputerLab mentioned in this video of his that he used DX8.1 with his Voodoo5, so I guess that is a good starting place perhaps.

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Reply 6 of 22, by the_ultra_code

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According to this archived 3dfx page, it states that DX7 is required. However, that page is from 1999, before DX8 was released.

However, finding the same final beta driver that I found on PhilsComputerLab's page on the "Voodoo Files"'s page, in the provided notes for the driver, it states that support for DX8.0 was added.

So, am I correct in saying that the latest driver from 3dfx for the 5500 has a "base" requirement of DX7, yet supports DX8, however incompletely?

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Reply 7 of 22, by The Serpent Rider

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So, am I correct in saying that the latest driver from 3dfx for the 5500 has a "base" requirement of DX7

No. Only Direct3D games from late 1999.

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Reply 8 of 22, by the_ultra_code

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The Serpent Rider wrote:

So, am I correct in saying that the latest driver from 3dfx for the 5500 has a "base" requirement of DX7

No. Only Direct3D games from late 1999.

Not trying to sound mean, but, what does that mean? Are you saying that the card only supports DX7, or that is also supports DX8? You are kinda giving me vague answers.

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Reply 10 of 22, by the_ultra_code

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derSammler wrote:

He means that Direct3D games from late 1999 have a "base" requirement of DX7, not the latest driver from 3dfx for the 5500.

My bad. Sorry, I didn't understand. 😀

Okay, this got me thinking. I think I have been thinking about this the wrong way, and therefore feel kind of stupid.

It's not that the driver requires either DX version, it's just that it supports both. Therefore, it doesn't matter what DX version I use, it's just that I have to use one of them, correct?

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Reply 11 of 22, by Justin1091

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It doesn't matter. I Always use latest Directx9.0c. If you look at the display tab it shows DDI version : 7.0. That means the driver supports up to DX7. This doesn't mean you can't get newer DX games to run, you may have garbage on the screen or bad FPS. A non official driver may fix this, but you won't get the same experience as using a certified DX8 card for most games.

Taken from the voodoo5 driver readme:
System Requirements
•Voodoo4 or Voodoo5 AGP or PCI video card
•Windows 95/98/ME
•16 MB of memory
•Microsoft DirectX 7.x or higher <-------------------------------------------
•Intel(r) or AMD(r) compatible CPU

Installation Instructions
Install DirectX 7.x before completing the installation instructions below. <-------------------------------------------
1.Start Windows 95/98/ME
2.Before you begin, uninstall previous copies of 3dfx Tools and reboot
3.Install DirectX 7.x or DirectX 8 (when available) <-------------------------------------------

There you have it, you should use at least DX7, but installing DX9 is fine (and probably better).

Reply 12 of 22, by the_ultra_code

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Justin1091 wrote:
It doesn't matter. I Always use latest Directx9.0c. If you look at the display tab it shows DDI version : 7.0. That means the dr […]
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It doesn't matter. I Always use latest Directx9.0c. If you look at the display tab it shows DDI version : 7.0. That means the driver supports up to DX7. This doesn't mean you can't get newer DX games to run, you may have garbage on the screen or bad FPS. A non official driver may fix this, but you won't get the same experience as using a certified DX8 card for most games.

Taken from the voodoo5 driver readme:
System Requirements
•Voodoo4 or Voodoo5 AGP or PCI video card
•Windows 95/98/ME
•16 MB of memory
•Microsoft DirectX 7.x or higher <-------------------------------------------
•Intel(r) or AMD(r) compatible CPU

Installation Instructions
Install DirectX 7.x before completing the installation instructions below. <-------------------------------------------
1.Start Windows 95/98/ME
2.Before you begin, uninstall previous copies of 3dfx Tools and reboot
3.Install DirectX 7.x or DirectX 8 (when available) <-------------------------------------------

There you have it, you should use at least DX7, but installing DX9 is fine (and probably better).

That was very helpful. Thanks!

However, I plan to stick to DX7. I plan to throw a Voodoo5 5500 (assuming it works) I got for a steal (relatively speaking) on ebay into my P3 system, which is my OP DOS/mid-to-high-end Win98SE machine, and because I use that machine to play early Win9X and above games, I need DX7's backwards compatibility to handle those earlier DX titles, because IIRC DX8 doesn't have full backwards compatibility with the early versions of DirectX, unlike DX7.

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Reply 13 of 22, by KCompRoom2000

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the_ultra_code wrote:

I need DX7's backwards compatibility to handle those earlier DX titles, because IIRC DX8 doesn't have full backwards compatibility with the early versions of DirectX, unlike DX7.

Okay, I don't know where you've heard that from, I thought DX8 was compatible with everything the previous versions were compatible with?

I still post here, but only occasionally.

Reply 14 of 22, by Justin1091

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the_ultra_code wrote:

Hello VOGONS members!

Oh, and two bonus questions: How well does the Voodoo5 5500 fare under DOS with DOS games, and how well does it do with early Glide games such as Tomb Raider?

Not too good. I never found out how to adjust the refresh rate under DOS (Voodoo2 allows you to do this easily). Most games won't start with SLI on IIRC, or won't start with emm386.exe present

But, I think most of them run when you to this:

SET SSTH3_SLI_AA_CONFIGURATION=0 (disables SLI)

If that won't work, in config.sys put REM in front of emm386 driver

This is that the variable controls:

SSTH3_SLI_AA_CONFIGURATION
OS: all
HW: VSA100-based cards
Desc: SLI/AA setup
Note: (*) (!) works only at Glide-level?
Value:
1, 2, 4 chip cards
"0" - SLI & AA disable
"1" - SLI disabled, 2 sample AA enabled
2, 4 chip cards
"2" - 2-way SLI enabled, AA disabled
"3" - 2-way SLI enabled, 2 sample AA enabled
"4" - SLI disabled, 4 sample AA enabled
4 chip cards
"5" - 4-way SLI enabled, AA disabled
"6" - 4-way SLI enabled, 2 sample AA enabled
"7" - 2-way SLI enabled, 4 sample AA enabled
"8" - SLI disabled, 8 sample AA enabled

That means with a V5 5500 you can disable SLI, but keep AA enabled. I tried this with Carmageddon 1 and it looked incredible! You would need to put =1 or =4 at the SET SSTH3_SLI_AA_CONFIGURATION
This can be unstable and won't work for all games (for example starting the Replay function in Carmageddon would instantly crash with AA enabled). Just start with =0, if it runs you can try =1 or =4.

And about the DX backwards compatibility where did you hear that? I don't think that's true. I even play DX3 games with DX9.0C installed.

Reply 15 of 22, by the_ultra_code

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Justin1091 wrote:
But, I think most of them run when you to this: […]
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But, I think most of them run when you to this:

SET SSTH3_SLI_AA_CONFIGURATION=0 (disables SLI)

If that won't work, in config.sys put REM in front of emm386 driver

This is that the variable controls:

I'm sorry, is this a DOS built-in variable or a variable part of some sort of 3dfx software for DOS?

Justin1091 wrote:

And about the DX backwards compatibility where did you hear that? I don't think that's true. I even play DX3 games with DX9.0C installed.

Oh. Well, in that case, I'm stupid. I read the following on Wikipedia:

Prior to DirectX 10, DirectX runtime was designed to be backward compatible with older drivers, meaning that newer versions of the APIs were designed to interoperate with older drivers written against a previous version's DDI. The application programmer had to query the available hardware capabilities using a complex system of "cap bits" each tied to a particular hardware feature. Direct3D 7 and earlier would work on any version of the DDI, Direct3D 8 requires a minimum DDI level of 6 and Direct3D 9 requires a minimum DDI level of 7.

I believe this deals with the hardware with which DirectX interacts with and nothing to do with was DX versions a given DX version with backwards compatible with, no? If so, I'm hopeless. 😀

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Reply 16 of 22, by spiroyster

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I think you are going to struggle with a P3 and Voodoo5 with any Dx8 game or later. Maybe even some Dx7 games.

As I said in my previous post, Voodoo5 doesn't even support hardware TnL (TnL is Dx7) and certainly can't do anything shader related in hardware (shaders introduced in Dx8). This means the CPU will have to do it for you. Any game requiring this will not be able to offload these computations to the gfx so you will be straining an already strained CPU. The later the game (Dx9 etc) the more likely it requires these Dx features. You will be forced to either use a different code path (no nice looking graphics, no shaders, no TnL ... it all depends what device Caps are checked, and whether or not the software supplies an alternative path. look up 3DAnalyze and what it does) or reduce the quality/resolution to even make it playable. Either keep to games which don't require later Dx features, or upgrade the CPU.

Just because you *can* run Dx8/9 software with a Voodoo5, doesn't always mean its going to be an enjoyable experience. I don't have a Voodoo5 or know which games require TnL, but if a game requires a certain level of Dx, it probably means it is using features that the required version of Dx supplies. This of course isn't always the case and needs to be checked on a per game basis, but lack of hardware TnL and shader support is one of the reasons 3dfx went out of fashion and failed to keep up with the gaming status quo.

Reply 17 of 22, by the_ultra_code

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spiroyster wrote:

I think you are going to struggle with a P3 and Voodoo5 with any Dx8 game or later. Maybe even some Dx7 games.

As I said in my previous post, Voodoo5 doesn't even support hardware TnL (TnL is Dx7) and certainly can't do anything shader related in hardware (shaders introduced in Dx8). This means the CPU will have to do it for you. Any game requiring this will not be able to offload these computations to the gfx so you will be straining an already strained CPU. The later the game (Dx9 etc) the more likely it requires these Dx features. You will be forced to either use a different code path (no nice looking graphics, no shaders, no TnL ... it all depends what device Caps are checked, and whether or not the software supplies an alternative path. look up 3DAnalyze and what it does) or reduce the quality/resolution to even make it playable. Either keep to games which don't require later Dx features, or upgrade the CPU.

Just because you *can* run Dx8/9 software with a Voodoo5, doesn't always mean its going to be an enjoyable experience. I don't have a Voodoo5 or know which games require TnL, but if a game requires a certain level of Dx, it probably means it is using features that the required version of Dx supplies. This of course isn't always the case and needs to be checked on a per game basis, but lack of hardware TnL and shader support is one of the reasons 3dfx went out of fashion and failed to keep up with the gaming status quo.

Thanks for the concern, but don't worry, I don't plan to play many DX7 games, if any, most likely no DX8 games with the Voodoo5 either. That's why I have my P4 machine. 😀 I mainly plan to play late mid-to-late DOS games and games up to DX7 on the PC (especially all of the Need for Speed games up to Porsche Unleashed).

Besides, I do plan to upgrade my P3 system's CPU from an 800MHz to a 1GHz Slot 1 P3 soon, so as to eliminate as much of the CPU bottleneck as possible for the Voodoo5.

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Reply 18 of 22, by dr.zeissler

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Some games don't use DX7/8 features like TnL or Shaders but do install DX81 like severance blade of darkness.

Much more interesting would be using a voodoo5:

- play on glide in 16bit without S3TC but with AA?
or
- play on ogl in 32bit with s3tc

what will be the better choice?

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Reply 19 of 22, by The Serpent Rider

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- play on glide in 16bit without S3TC but with AA?

VSA100 drivers are capable to force 32-bit color in Glide, just like wrappers or emulators.

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