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Is it worth it for me to get a Voodoo card?

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Reply 20 of 128, by AlexZ

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I would also consider Riva TNT or ATI Rage 128 32MB (performance wise between TNT and TNT2) instead of Voodoo 1. It will be a lot cheaper.

Pentium III 750E, ECS P6BXT-A+, 384MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, Voodoo 2 12MB, 80GB HDD, Yamaha SM718 ISA, 19" AOC 9GlrA
Athlon 64 3400+, MSI K8T Neo V, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 256MB, 250GB HDD, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS

Reply 21 of 128, by bloodem

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luk1999 wrote on 2021-08-18, 16:42:

@drosse1meyer
You can always try to overclock your cpu to 200 MHz (just set multiplier to 3x) and check how much your framerate improve.

It depends on the CPU. Some of them are multiplier locked (limited). I have a Pentium 166 (non-MMX) which will ignore multipliers higher than 2.5 (basically, it will just ignore the 3.0 multi, because 3.5 is interpreted as 1.5 on non-MMX CPUs).
As for Pentium MMX, I think they're all locked (limited) except for the 233 SKUs (which go all the way up to 3.5). The others only accept lower multipliers.

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 9 x Socket 7 / 12 x SS7 / 1 x Socket 8 / 14 x Slot 1 / 5 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 8 x Socket A / 2 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 7 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
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Reply 22 of 128, by drosse1meyer

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luk1999 wrote on 2021-08-18, 16:42:

@drosse1meyer
You can always try to overclock your cpu to 200 MHz (just set multiplier to 3x) and check how much your framerate improve.
Later you can use FSB 75 MHz if your board supports it.

This board/CPU combo won't post with that setting even though it has 3x... I can get 180 mhz though

bloodem wrote on 2021-08-18, 17:32:
luk1999 wrote on 2021-08-18, 16:42:

@drosse1meyer
You can always try to overclock your cpu to 200 MHz (just set multiplier to 3x) and check how much your framerate improve.

It depends on the CPU. Some of them are multiplier locked (limited). I have a Pentium 166 (non-MMX) which will ignore multipliers higher than 2.5 (basically, it will just ignore the 3.0 multi, because 3.5 is interpreted as 1.5 on non-MMX CPUs).
As for Pentium MMX, I think they're all locked (limited) except for the 233 SKUs (which go all the way up to 3.5). The others only accept lower multipliers.

Yes I think that is what must be going on. Is there a list of multiplier locked Pentium CPUs?

I know for certain that my machine won't post with 3.0 x 66. Since I can get 3.0 x 60 then pretty sure its something up with this processor...

P1 Build: Packard Bell - 233 MMX, Voodooo1, 64 MB, ALS100+
P2 Build: Dell Dimension R400 - 400 Mhz, GeForce2 32 MB, 128 MB
P3 Build: PIII @ 1 Ghz, 128 MB, GeForce2 GTS 64 MB
Macintosh: Performa 630CD - 6300 board @ 120 MHz, 64 MB, triple boot

Reply 23 of 128, by aha2940

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I never had a voodoo card back in the day, my first 3D card was a TNT2 and then went with nVidia cards for many years. Now, I have a voodoo 3 3000 PCI card (ironically, it was given to me like 15 or so years ago, but I never cared about it and since it is not branded, I always thought it as a crappy 2D card, until I recently plugged into a PC). Anyway, from my experience, later voodoo cards (3, 4 and 5) are not worth it, because:

- The games that can use them properly like half-life, Unreal, or Quake 2 will run equally well or even better using Direct3D or OpenGL on nvidia or ATi cards.
- The DOS games that only support Glide 3D acceleration do not seem to work in 3D mode with the voodoo 3, it seems to be related to the drivers or something.
- The Windows games that only support Glide, like NFS2SE and PoD, usually require manual changes and hacks for them to detect the voodoo 3 card.

So, for DOS and early Windows games with only GLide 3D acceleration, voodoo1 and maybe 2 are the way to go IMO.

Reply 24 of 128, by Gmlb256

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aha2940 wrote on 2021-08-19, 04:01:
I never had a voodoo card back in the day, my first 3D card was a TNT2 and then went with nVidia cards for many years. Now, I ha […]
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I never had a voodoo card back in the day, my first 3D card was a TNT2 and then went with nVidia cards for many years. Now, I have a voodoo 3 3000 PCI card (ironically, it was given to me like 15 or so years ago, but I never cared about it and since it is not branded, I always thought it as a crappy 2D card, until I recently plugged into a PC). Anyway, from my experience, later voodoo cards (3, 4 and 5) are not worth it, because:

- The games that can use them properly like half-life, Unreal, or Quake 2 will run equally well or even better using Direct3D or OpenGL on nvidia or ATi cards.
- The DOS games that only support Glide 3D acceleration do not seem to work in 3D mode with the voodoo 3, it seems to be related to the drivers or something.
- The Windows games that only support Glide, like NFS2SE and PoD, usually require manual changes and hacks for them to detect the voodoo 3 card.

So, for DOS and early Windows games with only GLide 3D acceleration, voodoo1 and maybe 2 are the way to go IMO.

Agreed. One advantage of using the early Voodoo cards (except Rush) is that it also allows you to use an actual video card (for better D3D or OpenGL acceleration and/or to improve DOS compatibility) of your choice unlike the later ones.

Only the Voodoo Graphics and Voodoo2 cards are the most interesting for me.

Reply 25 of 128, by Joseph_Joestar

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-08-19, 04:12:

Agreed. One advantage of using the early Voodoo cards (except Rush) is that it also allows you to use an actual video card (for better D3D or OpenGL acceleration and/or to improve DOS compatibility) of your choice unlike the later ones.

There's a trade off though. With those cards, you need to use a pass through cable which results in image quality degradation whenever the non-Voodoo card is used (e.g. while showing the Windows desktop). This becomes very noticeable at 800x600 and higher resolutions. However, it can be worked around by using a KVM switch instead of a pass through cable.

On the other hand, the Voodoo3 has superb image quality straight out of the box. It also has that "22-bit color" thing, but I'm not sure how much that actually matters.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 26 of 128, by leileilol

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It's just marketing for a post filter that tries to smudge the dithering out, often resulting with bleeding purples and "vaseline detail" in the process. YMMV on whether that "looks better", it's more obvious when the default gamma is also at play (1.3/1.7)

For any other hardware to compare that to, try the Nintendo 64 as an example. Like 3dfx, it's connected to SGI and employs a similar, though more aggressive filter intended to remove dithering (in a smaller pixel buffer so more noticeable), and also has edge anti-aliasing (which is also present on 3dfx, but very rarely implemented. You'd see it on only the splash logos and some Tomb Raider build)

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Reply 28 of 128, by Gmlb256

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-08-19, 04:45:

There's a trade off though. With those cards, you need to use a pass through cable which results in image quality degradation whenever the non-Voodoo card is used (e.g. while showing the Windows desktop). This becomes very noticeable at 800x600 and higher resolutions. However, it can be worked around by using a KVM switch instead of a pass through cable.

On the other hand, the Voodoo3 has superb image quality straight out of the box. It also has that "22-bit color" thing, but I'm not sure how much that actually matters.

I don't have any issues with image quality degradation when using the VGA passthrough, the video card I'm using with the Voodoo has 230Mhz RAMDAC and connected with a very short cable. I'm also using a CRT screen for my old machines.

As leileilol said, the Voodoo cards features dithering techniques that makes the 16-bit color mode look "better" and the main reason why people says that it looks blurry on 3Dfx. This is a feature that gets overlooked and glossed over on many articles related to 3Dfx.

Reply 29 of 128, by Joseph_Joestar

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-08-19, 12:12:

I don't have any issues with image quality degradation when using the VGA passthrough, the video card I'm using with the Voodoo has 230Mhz RAMDAC and connected with a very short cable. I'm also using a CRT screen for my old machines.

The length/build quality of the cable and a good 2D card can indeed minimize the degradation, but it's impossible to avoid it entirely due to the very nature of the process.

On my system, text gets slightly blurry and colors become a bit washed out at 800x600 at 16-bit colors. It gets worse as the resolution and color depth increase further.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 30 of 128, by drosse1meyer

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-08-19, 12:12:
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-08-19, 04:45:

There's a trade off though. With those cards, you need to use a pass through cable which results in image quality degradation whenever the non-Voodoo card is used (e.g. while showing the Windows desktop). This becomes very noticeable at 800x600 and higher resolutions. However, it can be worked around by using a KVM switch instead of a pass through cable.

On the other hand, the Voodoo3 has superb image quality straight out of the box. It also has that "22-bit color" thing, but I'm not sure how much that actually matters.

I don't have any issues with image quality degradation when using the VGA passthrough, the video card I'm using with the Voodoo has 230Mhz RAMDAC and connected with a very short cable. I'm also using a CRT screen for my old machines.

As leileilol said, the Voodoo cards features dithering techniques that makes the 16-bit color mode look "better" and the main reason why people says that it looks blurry on 3Dfx. This is a feature that gets overlooked and glossed over on many articles related to 3Dfx.

I was able to avoid using a passthrough as I have my Virge going to an extron scaler to DVI, while the voodoo is connected straight to the display's VGA input, and just switch sources when I start a glide game.

P1 Build: Packard Bell - 233 MMX, Voodooo1, 64 MB, ALS100+
P2 Build: Dell Dimension R400 - 400 Mhz, GeForce2 32 MB, 128 MB
P3 Build: PIII @ 1 Ghz, 128 MB, GeForce2 GTS 64 MB
Macintosh: Performa 630CD - 6300 board @ 120 MHz, 64 MB, triple boot

Reply 31 of 128, by Gmlb256

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drosse1meyer wrote on 2021-08-24, 00:35:
Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-08-19, 12:12:
Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-08-19, 04:45:

There's a trade off though. With those cards, you need to use a pass through cable which results in image quality degradation whenever the non-Voodoo card is used (e.g. while showing the Windows desktop). This becomes very noticeable at 800x600 and higher resolutions. However, it can be worked around by using a KVM switch instead of a pass through cable.

On the other hand, the Voodoo3 has superb image quality straight out of the box. It also has that "22-bit color" thing, but I'm not sure how much that actually matters.

I don't have any issues with image quality degradation when using the VGA passthrough, the video card I'm using with the Voodoo has 230Mhz RAMDAC and connected with a very short cable. I'm also using a CRT screen for my old machines.

As leileilol said, the Voodoo cards features dithering techniques that makes the 16-bit color mode look "better" and the main reason why people says that it looks blurry on 3Dfx. This is a feature that gets overlooked and glossed over on many articles related to 3Dfx.

I was able to avoid using a passthrough as I have my Virge going to an extron scaler to DVI, while the voodoo is connected straight to the display's VGA input, and just switch sources when I start a glide game.

This makes me wonder sometimes how degree the passthrough was problematic as the Voodoo card has a 135MHz RAMDAC which is not great for high resolutions. I acknowledge that it is inevitable that there will be image quality degradation because of this and it's not an elegant solution.

I have used various 2D cards (S3 Trio64V+, S3 ViRGE/GX, CL GD-5446, etc) at resolutions up to 1024x768. My Trio64V+ which was built by STB was slightly blurry at 1024x768 16-bit color and the Cirrus card was the blurriest of all even at lower resolutions probably due to mine being a noname one. Using 1280x1024 on any card I have also gets the image quality degraded but I don't use that resolution.

Issue aside though, it's fun to see the game window displaying nothing on the 2D card prior switching sources.

Reply 32 of 128, by drosse1meyer

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-08-24, 01:11:
This makes me wonder sometimes how degree the passthrough was problematic as the Voodoo card has a 135MHz RAMDAC which is not gr […]
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drosse1meyer wrote on 2021-08-24, 00:35:
Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-08-19, 12:12:

I don't have any issues with image quality degradation when using the VGA passthrough, the video card I'm using with the Voodoo has 230Mhz RAMDAC and connected with a very short cable. I'm also using a CRT screen for my old machines.

As leileilol said, the Voodoo cards features dithering techniques that makes the 16-bit color mode look "better" and the main reason why people says that it looks blurry on 3Dfx. This is a feature that gets overlooked and glossed over on many articles related to 3Dfx.

I was able to avoid using a passthrough as I have my Virge going to an extron scaler to DVI, while the voodoo is connected straight to the display's VGA input, and just switch sources when I start a glide game.

This makes me wonder sometimes how degree the passthrough was problematic as the Voodoo card has a 135MHz RAMDAC which is not great for high resolutions. I acknowledge that it is inevitable that there will be image quality degradation because of this and it's not an elegant solution.

I have used various 2D cards (S3 Trio64V+, S3 ViRGE/GX, CL GD-5446, etc) at resolutions up to 1024x768. My Trio64V+ which was built by STB was slightly blurry at 1024x768 16-bit color and the Cirrus card was the blurriest of all even at lower resolutions probably due to mine being a noname one. Using 1280x1024 on any card I have also gets the image quality degraded but I don't use that resolution.

Issue aside though, it's fun to see the game window displaying nothing on the 2D card prior switching sources.

For me, it was more an issue of practicality, but it would be interesting to see how well the extron would work with the Virge vga passthrough'd a Voodoo card. Maybe I'll play around with that if I ever get a M/F VGA cable. The card I have didnt come with a passthru, and I was just swapping cables until the idea above dawned on me, with the added benefit of avoiding any degradation. Thankfully this monitor has plenty of inputs. Let that be a lesson to the kids out there - never skimp on display inputs 😉

At any rate, the reason I have the extron to begin with is because my LCD doesn't like many lower resolutions. So this setup kind of fails with ouputs lower than 640 without going back to swapping cables. (I was looking for a good passthrough but didn't want like 3 feet of cable bunched up and there weren't many options.) However I will try my damnedest to get a game running a 640x480, I find it fun to tweak options and experiment, just like back in the day.

P1 Build: Packard Bell - 233 MMX, Voodooo1, 64 MB, ALS100+
P2 Build: Dell Dimension R400 - 400 Mhz, GeForce2 32 MB, 128 MB
P3 Build: PIII @ 1 Ghz, 128 MB, GeForce2 GTS 64 MB
Macintosh: Performa 630CD - 6300 board @ 120 MHz, 64 MB, triple boot

Reply 33 of 128, by Shreddoc

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I've got a 233Mhz Pentium MMX with a Voodoo2, free hand-me-downs from many years ago, which I'm fortunate enough to have accidentally kept. But I didn't actually *use* 3dfx back in the original years, so I'm in a similar position as the OP.

While I do share the technical enjoyment of the 3dfx/Voodoo ecosystem, the truth is that NFS2:SE (<-- LGR's retrospective vid) is the only Glide game I occasionally fire up. That's pretty cool. There are some other good-ish Glide racers too, I think Pierre32 mentioned them. But if you're only an occasional casual racer then a swathe of vehicle-control games, however impressive, may not fill a lot of your day.

I also tend to share the already-tabled opinion that almost the entire gamut of Windows 3D games is adequately-if-not-better covered by much cheaper and more easily found Direct3D and/or OpenGL cards.

So the value then is in appreciation of the hardware itself (which applies to me - I'm a hardware guy and I just love having the card and occasionally looking at it and/or using it), and/or, of the fairly specific Goldilocks Zone of Glide games allowed by your particular setup.

Reply 34 of 128, by chublord

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By sheer luck I still have a Voodoo1 in my 486 system (the only system I have that survived the move), and it's been fun trying the GLQuake and Whiplash. Both are a huge improvement over software rendering. It actually will run Quake3 too, barely! But to answer the OP, it might be a 'better buy' to just a get a more powerful CPU and brute force it in software mode...given the high prices of these cards nowadays.

IBM Valuepoint 486 DX4-100, Opti 802G, 50 MHz FSB, Voodoo1+S3 864, Quantum Fireball EX 4.0 GB, Seagate Medalist 1.6 GB, 128 MB FPM, 256k L2

Reply 35 of 128, by Jasin Natael

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For a Pentium MMX I wouldn't get a Voodoo 1, it is appropriate time frame wise but it is still pretty limiting and you have to deal with pass through and all that annoying jazz.

I wouldn't get a Voodoo 2 either....then you have a bottle neck. This goes doubly for a V3, that is just a waste of performance.

I have a V3 in my K6-3+ machine and even with that CPU it is bottlenecking the card fairly badly.

If you can get a Banshee for the right money that would be a good choice, ticks all the boxes and isn't a HUGE bottleneck with a Pentium MMX, although you are still leaving frames on the table.

Honestly, owning two Voodoo cards myself they are great and i'm glad I got them but I only gave like $25 each for my Voodoo 3's. If I had to pay current market pricing.......I just wouldn't bother.

There are other options and for a Pentium MMX ....3d acceleration just isn't going to be ideal with ANY card.

Now if you want to find a K6-3+ and really push that Socket 7 board....now you get the gist of why this retro computing is never ending cycle.

Reply 36 of 128, by Gmlb256

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Jasin Natael wrote on 2021-08-26, 20:40:

There are other options and for a Pentium MMX ....3d acceleration just isn't going to be ideal with ANY card.

Most people stating that 3D acceleration is not worth for a Pentium MMX are actually aiming unrealistic expectations. Back then most games aimed around 30 FPS or a bit lower.

I find the early 3Dfx cards appropriate for a Socket 7 computer even if they are bottlenecked on 1998+ games.

Last edited by Gmlb256 on 2021-08-27, 00:15. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 37 of 128, by leileilol

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True that. There's bottlenecking for EVERY video card since 1997. PowerVR PCX2's framerate potential isn't possible on 96-98's computers either, which must mean you're expected to only use that for souped-up P3/P4's, right?

F that gatekeep noise, put a Voodoo2 in. So what if it's not exceeding 60fps or meeting those meaningless Forsaken bungholiomarks? Performance isn't everything when there's driver compatibility, d3d caps and blending/mtex functionality etc. that the non-bottlenecked cards likely can't offer.

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Reply 38 of 128, by Tetrium

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Personally I think a Voodoo 1 would benefit your rig (it is very similar to the P1 166MMX with Stealth II s220 (Rendition Verite 2100) and Voodoo 1 a friend of mine used to have back in the day).
Back then a Voodoo 1 would have been a nice upgrade, especially seeing how limited PCs were back in that era compared to how much they would gain in just a few years it took to rush CPUs to 1GHz and move into what I would escribe as the GeForce era.
Your PC will be thankful and it will run a couple games somewhat better, but personally I wouldn't consider the current price tag (I'm thinking roughly €100 or so??) worth it imho. Your experience will be relatively limited in which exact games will show any meaningful visual upgrade if only because the 200MMX is fairly limited in what it can provide to the graphics card. That said, some games will probably provide a nice (and significant) visual update anyway with a Voodoo 1 in that rig (Glide games of course, but it would be best for you to look at it from a game-to-game perspective).

TLDR? I personally wouldn't do it. If, then perhaps better to invest that money in a second retro rig which may offer you (much?) more retro-game experience for the amount of money it will cost you.

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Reply 39 of 128, by Jasin Natael

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2021-08-27, 00:08:
Jasin Natael wrote on 2021-08-26, 20:40:

There are other options and for a Pentium MMX ....3d acceleration just isn't going to be ideal with ANY card.

Most people stating that 3D acceleration is not worth for a Pentium MMX are actually aiming unrealistic expectations. Back then most games aimed around 30 FPS or a bit lower.

I find the early 3Dfx cards appropriate for a Socket 7 computer even if they are bottlenecked on 1998+ games.

Well, to be honest I didn't say it wasn't worth it, I simply said it wouldn't be ideal.

I stand by this as it's true. Sure there are lots of early Glide games a Pentium MMX will run just fine, Turok /Tomb Raider or something like that comes to mind. But the OP specifically mentioned Unreal.....and lets be honest a Pentium MMX isn't going to hit a constant 30FPS even with a V2/V3 on that CPU, and there are plenty of other games that this is true.

And honestly what conceivable reason would someone limit themselves to just a Pentium when there are so many faster S7 chips to be had for peanuts. Even a middling K6/2 400 will handily beat the Pentium here for almost no money. At at the point you upgrade that then you moght as well upgrade to a Voodoo 2 or Banshee and then it's just a constant spiral.

Of course if he wants to keep the Pentium just because of nostalgia or he has plenty of other retro machines and just wants one in the line up that is perfectly fine, but that isn't the argument here.

The point is if we are looking at it logically there is absolutely a huge bottleneck running a Voodoo 3 with a Pentium MMX and other significantly CPUS exist to upgrade for almost no money so if you want the better GPU just get the better CPU and if you aren't going to do that....then why bother to upgrade anything at all?

If any of that makes sense, just my 2 cents of course.