iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






September'2001 3Digest
3dfx Velocity 100 (Voodoo3 500)

By Andrey Vorobiev

This chip is presented by 3dfx Velocity 100 8 MBytes, AGP videocard.


  • 3dfx Velocity100 (Voodoo3 500) chip, 143 MHz clock rate;
  • 8 MBytes SGRAM memory in four EliteMT 7ns microchips, 143 MHz clock rate, 128-bit bus;
  • Peak speed of scene drawing in multitexturing mode is 143 megapixels/sec and 286 megatexels/sec (after enabling the second TMU in Glide/OpenGL).

Tweaks up to 175/175 MHz (see summary diagrams).

This is the last issue of article about Velocity100, after which it will be placed into the archive. We are to verify the moral death of this card, both due to the death of 3dfx, and due to unfitness of this 8 MBytes card for today games.

For the 20th of June'2001 the latest drivers versions from OmegaDrive is 1.02a and from Iceman is beta8.

x-3dfx 1.07.95 drivers were said to support anti-aliasing, but that turned out to be fiction.

To all appearances there will not be any drivers support from ex-3dfx from now on. This verifies the moral death of the whole Voodoo3/4/5 line. The analysis of tweaked drivers from various enthusiasts has shown the absense of anything new, except for just few.

As you can see from graphs the latest drivers from 3dfx (namely 3dfx!) are rather effective comparing to old versions. But 3D picture quality increased along with this driver's evolution. There was almost only dithering before, and now there's more of clearness and so on. And still there are some artefacts. The first is the absense of true trilinear filtering in OpenGL games even with multitexturing disabled (the second texture module is enabled of course). The fact of strict enabling of multitexturing was unofficially confirmed by 3dfx (they said about Voodoo5 in the same situation). As I understand strict enabling of multitexturing though spoiling trilinear filtering is present in 3dfx drivers as well. By the way, WickedGL drivers show the same.

Speaking about drivers from x-3dfx, I shall mark that they turned out to be rather good and sometimes even more productive than 1.07.00 from 3dfx, therefore we used them for calculating usability coefficients.

You can compare screenshots with reference ones (NVIDIA GeForce3).

Games / Cards 1 2 3 4 5 6
3dfx Voodoo3


Games / Cards 7 8 9 10 11 12
3dfx Voodoo3


Games / Cards 13 14 15 16 17 18
3dfx Voodoo3


Games / Cards 19 20 21 22 23 24
3dfx Voodoo3

Game list:

  1. Quake3
  2. Unreal
  3. Unreal Tournament
  4. No One Lives Forever
  5. Serious Sam
  6. Colin McRAE Rally2
  7. American McGee's Alice
  8. Mercedec Benz Truck Racing
  9. Sacrifice
  10. F.A.K.K. 2
  11. Need For Speed V (Porshe 2000)
  12. Real MYST
  13. Blade of Darkness
  14. Giants
  15. 3DMark2001: Game1
  16. 3DMark2001: Game2
  17. 3DMark2001: Game3
  18. 3DMark2001: Game4
  19. 3DMark2001: Dot3
  20. 3DMark2001: EMBM
  21. 3DMark2001: Vertex Shaders
  22. 3DMark2001: Pixel Shaders
  23. Black & White
  24. Undying

There are moire, sand and texture blink effects in Real MYST:

Colin McRAE Rally2 works good only with drivers older than 1.07.00 from 3dfx and with drivers from x-3dfx.

I want to note that there's a hidden feature in 1.07.00 drivers concerning HSR (Hidden Surface Remove) technology that deletes some hidden surfaces in the game to free the GPU, but as there's no hardware support for this feature, this is done by the drivers and CPU.

However, HSR is ineffective. This feature isn't working on Voodoo3 cards with 1.07.00. But it works after installation of the latest drivers, though with the same problems as on Voodoo4/5. Read about it in the corresponding article about Voodoo5.

In addition here are two ways of enabling the second texture module in Velocity 100.

1. Via the Registry:

REGEDIT4 [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Servces\Class\Display\0000\Glide] "FX_GLIDE_NUM_TMU"="2"

(There can be other branch than \0000\, just find the one that is responsible for Velocity 100 drivers).

2. Via autoexec.bat, by adding this variable: 'SET FX_GLIDE_NUM_TMU=2'.

WickedGL mini-driver enables the second texture module automatically.

2D quality of this card is good enough in 1024x768 and even in 1280x1024. But there are some speed problems in 1600x1200 resolution as well as slight "soaping" effect.

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