In the Forums...
Posted: February 1, 2000
Written by: Greg Heasley
3dfx continues its Voodoo3 series with another flavor of the popular Voodoo3 chipset, the Voodoo3 3000 PCI. Why PCI, you might ask? Why not? Not everyone has an AGP slot, after all. Instead of throwing the 3000 PCI into a PIII 600 or Athlon 750, we decided to put it into an older system for this review. How does a Pentium (p5) 200 MHz sound? This is a likely system to use a Voodoo3 3000 PCI with, so we thought it'd be perfect.
The Voodoo3 3000 PCI sports the same features as its AGP brethren, except it lacks TV-Out. The card is fast, with a 333 megatexel per second fill rate and a 166 MHz clock speed -- all on the old PCI bus. Even though the Voodoo3 is fast, it does lack some important features, such as large texture support and 32-bit rendering. This has become a major problem, that I'm sure you are all very aware of. The 2D features and image quality remain on the same level as the other Voodoo3 boards, which is for the most part, great.
Why PCI? Simple. Some people don't have an AGP slot. People with older computers usually don't have one, and some newer PCs don't even have them. Many people that have a 'store bought' or 'name brand' PC end up with onboard ATi Rage chipsets or worse. And with Intel's new i810 and i820 chipsets that also use onboard video many more people with a possibly very fast system are stuck with substandard graphics cards. This is where 3dfx's PCI Voodoo3s come into play. It gives you an option that you normally can't forsee. Plus, the AGP Voodoo3s don't really take advantage of the AGP buses extra bandwidth, so you're not losing much by going the PCI route. The Voodoo3 3000 PCI also makes a very good temporary card. If you want to wait for the next generation of cards before forking out $250+, the V3 is a great option. The only other competitive cards available in PCI versions are TNT and Voodoo2 based cards. Since these are both quite old, the Voodoo3 3000 PCI has a large market to dominate.