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3DFX Voodoo3 3000 Videocard Review

3DFX Voodoo3 3000 Videocard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: 3dfx has established itself as one of the market leaders in manufacturing high-quality, high-performance 3D chipsets and cards.
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: 3DFX Dec 28 1999   P. Masrani  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > 3DFX Voodoo3 3000

Card Spec's

Specifications

- 166MHz 128-bit 2D/3D core
- 16MB of 166MHz SDRAM
- 350MHz RAMDAC
- 333 MTexels/sec
- 166 Mpixels/sec
- 7 MTriangles/sec
- 2.66GB/s peak bandwidth
- Resolution support of up to 2048x1536
- Glide/Direct3D/OpenGL support
- Integrated TV/S-video output
- AGP 1x, 2x support
- Single pass trilinear mip-mapping
- 16-bit 3D rendering support

The ultra-high speed RAMDAC provides resolution support upto 2048x1536 at an ergonomical 75Hz refresh rate. Speaking of which, it supports refresh rates from 60Hz to an amazing 160Hz! The Voodoo3 does not provide support for 32-bit colour rendering or AGP texturing. But performance-wise, it really takes off thanks to a dual 32-bit rendering pipeline capable of unleashing 2 texels per clock cycle.

Bundled stuff with the retail box includes: Voodoo3 driver/tools CD, Need for Speed 3, Descent 3, Unreal and a Quick Install manual. These games are enough to keep you hooked for hours and drooling at how quick your new Voodoo3 3000 is. A detailed manual isn't included but sufficient on-CD documentation is available in HTML format. Upon first inspection the thing that catches your eye most is the large silver heatsink that rests upon the Voodoo3 chip and the Voodoo3 certainly needs it! This heat sink is removable as and when needed to accomodate a specialized cooling fan/heatsink combination. But more on that when PCinsight reviews cooling units. There are 8 2MB German-made Seimens SDRAM chips seated on the board as well. The board I received has 6ns SDRAM chips. By calculating the inverse of 6ns (1 / 0.000000006) then dividing that number by 1,000,000, you get the resultant speed of the SDRAM in MHz. Neat trick huh? As the Voodoo3 2000 and 3500 had RAM access times of 7ns and 5.5ns, respectively. The SDRAM speed of the 2000 is 143MHz and the speed of the 3500 is 183MHz. The graphical rendering feature set of the 3000 is identical with the 2000 and 3500. The overall speed difference of the 3000 and the faster 3500 is simply a small percentage difference. 10 percent points to be exact. The only thing that the 3500 offers above the 3000 is video editing capabilities and an FM/TV tuner, which of course comes at a price premium. The 3000 does offer TV output through an S-Video connector built into the 3000 itself next to the analog out. Included with the kit, is a cable with an S-Video out connector on one side (to plug in the card) and a composite video connector on the other side. Using this, you can take a regular RCA cable and attach your TV or VCR on this end. The 2000 doesn't offer any of this. But all in all, you get what you pay for, right? Like the rest of the Voodoo3 line, the 3000 has a fixed 1:1 ratio between the core clock and SDRAM speed. So by increasing either of these speeds, you are in effect increasing the other.

Performance Results


Before we get on with the actual benchmarking here is a description of the testing platform that we used. Now before you break out into uncontrollable laughter when looking at the configuration, understand that Pentium III 600s and Athlon CPUs are not easily available in India. "Well, how about a Pentium III/450?" -- Uhhh, well, I just get can't afford that right now! ;) So in the mood and understanding that we are in, let us loudly label the following setup as the PMSC (or Poor Man's Supercomputer).

Testing Platform


Celeron 333 - Slot 1 (clocked at 333MHz and overclocked to 416MHz)
Soyo SY-6KL motherboard (66x5 @ 333Mhz, 83x5 @ 416 MHz)
96MB SDRAM
Samsung 0432A 4.3 GB Hard disk drive (UDMA/33 enabled)
Viewsonic E653 15" Monitor
3dfx Voodoo3 3000 drivers (ver. 1.03.04)
Windows 98

For OpenGL testing, Quake3 Demotest v1.09 was used in the normal and fastest settings. Since the Voodoo3 line does not have support for 32-bit rendering, we did not run the high quality setting. Quake 2 was also used to test the OpenGL performance of the 3000. For Direct3D performance, we used Expendable, Forsaken and 3DMark99 MAX Pro with all tests and enabled. For your viewing pleasure we have also added benchmark results under Unreal. Each of these tests will be run 3-times with the end result being the mean value of the 3 runs.

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Contents of Article: 3DFX Voodoo3 3000
 Pg 1.  3DFX Voodoo3 3000 Videocard Review
 Pg 2.  — Card Spec's
 Pg 3.  Benchmarks: 3DMark 99 MAX
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: Quake 2 / Quake III
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Forsaken / Expendable
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Unreal
 Pg 7.  Drivers
 Pg 8.  Conclusion

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