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3dfx Voodoo3 3000 PCI (Page 1/3)

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.


3D Features
  • 166 MHz clock speed
  • 166 MHz Memory Speed
  • 16MB of 6ns SDRAM
  • 7 million triangles per second
  • 333 megatexels per second fill rate
  • 128-Bit 3D acceleration
  • Dual, 32-bit texture rendering architecture
  • True multi-texturing: 2 textures per-pixel per-clock
  • Full hardware setup of triangle parameters
  • Support for multi-triangle strips and fans
  • Single pass, single-cycle bump mapping
  • Single pass, single-cycle trilinear MIP-mapping
  • Sub-pixel and sub-texel correction with 0.4x0.4 resolution
  • Per-pixel atmospheric fog with programmable fog zones
  • Floating point Z-buffer (W-buffer)
  • True per-pixel, LOD MIP mapping with biasing and clamping
  • Highly accurate LOC calculations
  • Texture compositing for multi-texture and special effects
  • Support for 14 texture map formats
  • 8-bit palletized textures with full bilinear filtering
  • Texture compression through narrow channel YAB format

2D Features
  • Fully integrated 128-bit VGA and 2D engine
  • High speed 128-bit Windows GUI acceleration
  • Hardware acceleration of Bresenham line draw, 2-edge polygon fill, scissor/rectangle clippers and full 256 ROPs
  • Internal 256-bit datapath
  • Source and destination chroma-keying for DirectDraw
  • Color expansion and single-cycle block writes
  • Accelerated 8, 16, 24, and 32-bit modes

Video Subsystem
  • Support for ultra-high resolution displays on PC monitors, LCD flat panels, and HDTV
  • Resolutions up to 2046x1536 at a full 75Hz screen refresh rate
  • YUV 4:2:2 and YUV 4:2:0 planar support
  • 30 frames per second DVD playback with no dropped frames
  • Supports the latest MPEG2 software CODECs via DirectShow
  • De-interlacing using Bob and Weave
  • Separate gamma correction for video and graphics
  • Auto page flipping using VBI for smooth motion video
  • 16 MB high-speed SDRAM memory
  • 350 MHz Integrated RAMDAC

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?

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.

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