VOGONS


First post, by RichB93

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Hey everyone,

Been on the lookout for a Voodoo3 3000 since I gave away my one to my brother (and he understandably wants to keep it in his retro PC!).

Anyway, after some misfortune (got a DOA card from Spain, but the seller was very understanding and refunded me), I got my hands on a card from eBay, but it was a later model with a glued on heatsink instead of being mounted with push pins. Not a problem, but I prefer the earlier cards because the holes in the heatsink make it possible to mount a fan very neatly.

Anyway, waffling on, long story short, I got another 3000 (the earlier kind) and it has a v1.00.01 BIOS. The newer card has the 2.15.07 BIOS on it.

Now I'm all for 'if it ain't broke', but I just wonder if there are any real benefits to updating the BIOS on my v1.00.01 card, or should I just keep it as-is? I've found the BIOS archive recommended here (https://3dfxbios.cl-rahden.de/index.php?title=Voodoo3) so I can at least find the BIOSes, but just curious.

Thanks as always!

Reply 2 of 19, by schlomoe99

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You might try here:

http://www.3dfxzone.it/dir/3dfx/voodoo3/bios/roms/

Several (but not all) of the BIOS files hosted on that site have release notes for different revisions.

Reply 3 of 19, by darry

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Updating the BIOS fixed a snow issue in VGA mode for me and for cde .

Voodoo 3 snow/glitches and AGP vs PCI BIOS questions
Re: 70Hz in pure DOS at 1600x1200 (or other) over DVI on an old card (FX5900) with modern monitor is possible

Reply 5 of 19, by RichB93

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Thanks for the replies! Much appreciated. I'll probably leave it myself unless I do actually run into any issues with games.

Semi on-topic (it makes more sense to post it here than to create a new thread), does anyone know if you can just flash a Voodoo3 2000 with a 3000 BIOS? I just bought a cheap (<$30!) Voodoo3 2000 AGP in need of some TLC (a couple of caps and a heatsink, but otherwise working)... anyway, it has 6ns RAM and you can see it uses the same 3000 board design, minus the TV out components. Can I just flash the 3000 BIOS to it, or would it make more sense to modify the 2000 BIOS with 3000 speeds? I didn't know if there's any magical stuff in the BIOS for the TV out stuff, or if its just detected based on card components? Ideally I just want to flash the 3000 BIOS as it would be the neatest method.

Reply 6 of 19, by cyclone3d

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I would test with manual overclocking first.

And also make sure to use a fan to cool the heatsink.

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Reply 8 of 19, by RichB93

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Doornkaat wrote on 2020-10-21, 17:33:

Yes you can just flash the 3000 bios on a 2000 card.
I also recommend testing wether it runs stable at 3000 clocks first like already cyclone3d suggested.

Awesome, thanks guys. Fingers crossed it does - the card has 6ns RAM so at least from that perspective it should be okay, it just depends if the chip itself can run at that speed. Would love to find a good heatsink to install; it'll be getting an old Dell northbridge heatsink attached via thermal tape with a 40mm fan, plus a rear heatsink, and I have some small RAM heatsinks, so I'll install one of those on the voltage regulator. It also needs a couple of caps replacing that have been knocked off, but I've ordered replacements, so they should be easy enough to replace. It'll need some TLC removing the old thermal glue but again, should be okay if I'm careful. It has otherwise been tested as working okay, although I hope the seller didn't test anything too extreme if they were running it without a heatsink at all 😖

Reply 9 of 19, by 386SX

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I don't know if it was just a feeling or a real improvement but I remember having upgraded a Voodoo3 2000 bios to the latest one in the classic AGP version and with the monitor I was using back then I felt the image quality improved in the analog video output stability and sharpness. But who knows, it might have been just a feeling.

Reply 10 of 19, by RichB93

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Just an update to this for anyone else who may be in the same boat... you can't flash a 3000 BIOS to a 2000 card. The 2000 BIOS is 32K, the 3000 BIOS is 64k (40k actually used in the image). I found this the hard way after not noticing and using a tool which allowed flashing of any BIOS regardless... One blind flash later with a BIOS found online and I was back in business.

As for the 2000 card I recieved - scraped off the thermal glue from the original heatsink (a plastic spudger and alcohol is ideal) replaced the missing caps, and the card runs perfectly at 3000 clock speeds. Looks like it's time to modify the 2000 BIOS with 3000 speeds instead.

EDIT: Hmmm.... flashed my modified 32k 3000 BIOS to the card... and the flashing tool reports ROMSIZE as 64... Perhaps all boards *do* have a 64k EEPROM?

EDIT2: ROMSIZE doesn't make any difference. That being said, I found another 3000 ROM and flashed it (64k) and it worked fine. So the first one I found was trash basically.

Last edited by RichB93 on 2020-11-03, 20:30. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 11 of 19, by bloodem

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Sorry to ask but.... wh.... why?
Honestly, I prefer to underclock Voodoo cards instead of overclocking them, especially the Voodoo 3 (which runs very hot, even with a fan).
They really are not very fast cards to begin with, so why bother with overclocking? You only gain... what? 10, maybe 20 FPS in old titles (that already run at 100+ FPS), or almost nothing in games that were not and will never be playable on a Voodoo 3 anyway.
Voodoo 3 2000 is more than enough for any Glide-only game (if that game even runs on Voodoo 3, but that's a whole different topic). It's also perfect for games such as Incoming (which has visual issues with GeForce cards). For anything else, just get a GeForce 2 GTS / GeForce 3 😀

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Reply 12 of 19, by RichB93

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bloodem wrote on 2020-11-03, 18:52:
Sorry to ask but.... wh.... why? Honestly, I prefer to underclock Voodoo cards instead of overclocking them, especially the Vood […]
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Sorry to ask but.... wh.... why?
Honestly, I prefer to underclock Voodoo cards instead of overclocking them, especially the Voodoo 3 (which runs very hot, even with a fan).
They really are not very fast cards to begin with, so why bother with overclocking? You only gain... what? 10, maybe 20 FPS in old titles (that already run at 100+ FPS), or almost nothing in games that were not and will never be playable on a Voodoo 3 anyway.
Voodoo 3 2000 is more than enough for any Glide-only game (if that game even runs on Voodoo 3, but that's a whole different topic). It's also perfect for games such as Incoming (which has visual issues with GeForce cards). For anything else, just get a GeForce 2 GTS / GeForce 3 😀

You have a different use case by the sounds of it. Why not run it faster, I ask? The 2000 card I have has 6ns RAM, and as long as the GPU itself is capable of 166MHz (which it is), why limit it? Yes, I could replace it with a faster card, but why? I want a card that will play Glide games, and also accelerate other games as well as possible.

I get where you're coming from - underclocking for older games that don't need the extra grunt. For some use cases, that's a good idea. But not for me. I want to run it as fast as possible 😉

Reply 13 of 19, by RichB93

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For anyone else playing along at home, please find attached the latest(?) known good 3000 AGP SDRAM BIOS. I've also removed that pesky "Provided By www.V3Info.co.uk" serial number from it and fixed the checksum. I know it makes no difference, but it annoys me when people add stuff like that.

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Reply 14 of 19, by bloodem

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RichB93 wrote on 2020-11-03, 19:02:

You have a different use case by the sounds of it. Why not run it faster, I ask? The 2000 card I have has 6ns RAM, and as long as the GPU itself is capable of 166MHz (which it is), why limit it? Yes, I could replace it with a faster card, but why? I want a card that will play Glide games, and also accelerate other games as well as possible.

The issue is that the Voodoo 3 2000 has a much smaller heatsink than the Voodoo 3 3000. And even on the 3000 models (with the larger heatsink + fan mod), the back of the card (behind the chip) will frequently hit 70+ degrees C (even more if you are using a case with poor airflow). So overclocking a Voodoo 3 2000 without modding the cooling (i.e. adding a bigger heatsink + fan) can seriously decrease the card's lifespan. And, let's face it, they are not exactly cheap nowadays. 😀
And I still fail to see what you'd get in return. I can't think of any games that run well on a 3000, but struggle on a 2000. To each their own, I guess 😀

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Reply 15 of 19, by RichB93

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bloodem wrote on 2020-11-03, 20:30:
RichB93 wrote on 2020-11-03, 19:02:

You have a different use case by the sounds of it. Why not run it faster, I ask? The 2000 card I have has 6ns RAM, and as long as the GPU itself is capable of 166MHz (which it is), why limit it? Yes, I could replace it with a faster card, but why? I want a card that will play Glide games, and also accelerate other games as well as possible.

The issue is that the Voodoo 3 2000 has a much smaller heatsink than the Voodoo 3 3000. And even on the 3000 models (with the larger heatsink + fan mod), the back of the card (behind the chip) will frequently hit 70+ degrees C (even more if you are using a case with poor airflow). So overclocking a Voodoo 3 2000 without modding the cooling (i.e. adding a bigger heatsink + fan) can seriously decrease the card's lifespan. And, let's face it, they are not exactly cheap nowadays. 😀
And I still fail to see what you'd get in return. I can't think of any games that run well on a 3000, but struggle on a 2000. To each their own, I guess 😀

I do agree that the card does need to be adequately cooled! My card arrived sans heatsink and now has a beefy cooler on it, alongside a fan. I've also added a 40mm heatsink to the rear of the card, and a little RAMsink on the regulator for good measure.

A 10% overclock isn't groundbreaking as you say, but for me it's more the fact that I can - I like V3 cards for their compatibility, being able to use Glide, and for games up to a certain age they're plenty fast enough too. I don't know if many 2000 cards had the faster 6ns RAM but for me it was the case of free performance on the table... so why pass it up? 😜

With that being said, I do totally understand why one may want to keep the card at stock or even underclock it, for temp reasons as mentioned.

Reply 17 of 19, by Cyberdyne

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Hey everybody have their hobbies, some of you want to prematurely kill your voodoo cards.... 😉

Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-11-06, 08:06. Edited 1 time in total.

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.

Reply 18 of 19, by RichB93

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Cyberdyne wrote on 2020-11-05, 13:40:

Hey everybody have their hobbies, some of you want to prematurely kill your voodoo cards.... 😉

Not sure how it would be prematurely killed considering it:

- has 166MHz RAM (i.e the same as a V3 3000 has)
- has the same GPU as a V3 3000
- has the same physical card layout of a V3 3000 (minus the TV-out circuitry)
- has active cooling and larger heatsinks than a V3 3000

Everything is running within the spec of what the hardware is capable of. The only difference between a 2000 and 3000 is that the 2000 has a smaller heatsink glued on, and may have slower RAM (but as we've established, my card does not). This was removed on my card, and I have attached a heatsink considerably larger than the original heatsink (or even the 3000 for that matter).

Is there something I'm missing here? 😕

Last edited by Stiletto on 2020-11-06, 08:07. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 19 of 19, by Cyberdyne

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Well in reality higher clocked chips die faster, thats it.

I am aroused about any X86 motherboard that has full functional ISA slot. I think i have problem. Not really into that original (Turbo) XT,286,386 and CGA/EGA stuff. So just a DOS nut.