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Voodoo3 Tweak Guide (Page 1/6)

Updated: September 22, 1999
Written by: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy

The Voodoo3 is already damn fast, but for some games (especially at high resolutions) the frame rate can drop to unacceptable levels. Fear not, loyal tweakers, you can tweak a Voodoo3 like any other component in your PC.

Note - some of these tweaks may not apply to your system and/or Voodoo3.

Recommended BIOS settings for Voodoo3

The first step to tweaking your Voodoo3 is ensuring that your BIOS is configured correctly. These are not official settings, so all of these are from my experiences and what I believe to be the best settings for Voodoo3 cards. If your system is not acting normal or has problems with these, try going back and changing them, or read the next page for 3dfx's recommended settings.

You should restart your computer, and hit delete (or the corresponding key indicated on the screen) to enter your BIOS setup. If you've never explored the BIOS, you may be out of luck. This requires at least moderate skill and experience. Also, not all motherboards have a BIOS that even gives users the option to adjust some of these. If your motherboard does not support one or more of the following, simply skip those steps, or guess something close to it. You probably won't harm anything by trying. Try adjusting these settings. Performance, stability, and compatibility should increase.

Assign IRQ to VGA (or video) - Must be enabled or set to "auto". Your Voodoo3 will most likely require an IRQ. If you disable this, your system will probably have errors or games will refuse to run properly.

Video BIOS cacheable - Should be enabled. This feature should boost performance slightly.

Video BIOS shadow - Should be enabled. This, too, should boost performance slightly. If you experience problems, disable this and restart your PC.

VGA Palette Snoop - Should be disabled. This is an old feature that is not required by the Voodoo3.

PCI Palette Snoop - Should be disabled. This is somewhat like the feature above. It should not be enabled for the Voodoo3 unless problems occur.

C8xxxx-CBxxxx Shadow (where xxxx is any # or A through F) - Should be disabled. I always disable video shadowing because it often creates conflicts with other devices in a PC. You can try enabling these a few at a time and if your system remains stable, performance should increase.

AGP Aperture size - The AGP Aperture size is the total amount of system memory available to an AGP video card. Because the Voodoo3 does not take advantage of AGP, this can be neglected or set to the default value (usually 256 MB). However, if your system continually has hard drive swapping or poor memory performance, try the values below:

If you have:
  • 128+ MB ram: Set to 64 MB or 32 MB (try both, pick which is better)
  • 96 MB ram: Set to 48 MB or 24 MB (try both, pick which is better)
  • 64 MB ram: Set to 32 MB or 16 MB (try both, pick which is better)
  • 48 MB ram: Set to 24 MB or 12 MB (try both, pick which is better)
  • 32 MB ram: Set to 24 MB or 12 MB (try both, pick which is better)
  • 16 MB ram: Set to 24 MB or 12 MB (try both, pick which is better)
If your BIOS does not offer these settings, try the closest available value. If your BIOS does not offer an option to change the aperture size, consult your motherboard manual or leave this setting alone.

For information on these BIOS settings and plenty of others, consult the CPU / Motherboard tweak guide; available in the tweaking section.

Once you've booted to Windows and everything appears to be working fine, get ready to install some new drivers. If you have problems, try using 3dfx's recommended settings, available on Page 2.

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