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Posted: October 10, 1999
Written by: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy
Estimated Retail Price: $218 US from Price Watch
3dfx's Voodoo3 is one of the fastest 3D accelerators on the market. The Voodoo3 3500 is essentially the same as the Voodoo3 3000, except it offers a higher clock speed and more features than you can shake a stick at. Not limited to TV-tuner, TV-output, FM, and video capture, the Voodoo3 3500 falls in the same category with such cards as the G200 Marvel and ATI All-In-Wonder.
The features specified by 3dfx don't point out the Voodoo3's weaknesses (for obvious reasons). There are a few significant weaknesses, however, including the lack of 32-bit rendering, a stable OpenGL ICD, and the lack of support for large textures. Although not all games use these features, it's fair to predict that most will in the near future.
The Voodoo3 3500 TV ships with Unreal (full version), ULead VideoStudio (full version), and WinDVD (full version). Since Unreal is a bit old, the card is packaged with a coupon for a free upgrade to Unreal Tournament.
I was somewhat hesitant to install the Voodoo3 3500 until the first Unreal Tournament demo was released (if you didn't know, the first release of the UT demo was Glide only). When I first installed the card, things were a bit rough. The driver installation took a few reboots and a few crashes before things were smooth. My first action after installing the latest drivers was to try out the TV-tuner. I was a huge fan of the G200 Marvel when it was released because the TV-tuner was extremely high quality, so I was looking forward to seeing what this baby could do.
However, the Voodoo3 3500's TV-tuner fell slightly short of my expectations. I noticed that the output was a bit blurry (on my 19" monitor, full screen) and the remote had a few problems as well. I'll go on to explain these later.
Overall, things weren't too bad. Unreal Tournament ran smooth as butter at 1024x768 and Quake2 easily chugged along at 1600x1200. No games had problems, nothing crashed, and every program I tried was silky smooth.