iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






October'2001 3Digest:
3dfx Voodoo3 3000

By Andrey Vorobiev

This chip is presented by 3dfx Voodoo3 3000 16 MBytes, AGP videocard.


  • 3dfx Voodoo3 3000 chip, 166 MHz clock rate;
  • 16 MBytes SDRAM memory in eight Hyundai 5.5 ns microchips, 166 MHz clock rate, 128-bit bus;
  • Peak speed of scene drawing in multitexturing mode is 166 megapixels/sec and 333 megatexels/sec.

Overclocks to 200/200 MHz (see summary diagrams).

For the 20th of October'2001 the latest drivers version 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. Therefore entire 3dfx Voodoo3 line will be placed to the archive.

As you can see from graphs the latest drivers from 3dfx (namely 3dfx!) are rather effective comparing to old versions. But WickedGL 3.00 mini-driver wasn't of any use.

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 taken on this card with reference ones taken on 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 - -
Games / Cards
3dfx Voodoo3

Game list:

  • 1. Quake3 Arena
  • 2. Unreal2 - for GeForce cards, Unreal - for all other
  • 3. Unreal Tournament
  • 4. No One Lives Forever
  • 5. Serious Sam
  • 6. Colin McRAE Rally2
  • 7. Red Faction
  • 8. Rally Trophy
  • 9. Sacrifice
  • 10. Venom
  • 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
  • 25. Anachronox
  • 26. Max Payne

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.

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

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