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NVIDIA vs. 3Dfx - TNT vs. the Voodoos

Overall Summary

NVIDIA's RIVA TNT is not the new wonder chip as some people may have expected. However it is sticking up very well against its toughest competitors from 3Dfx. 3Dfx has still got an edge in applications that are available in a Glide version and in games that don't strain the CPU as much, thus giving a dual Voodoo2 configuration the chance to show its power. However, there are many occasions where TNT is at least as good as single Voodoo2, dual Voodoo2 and certainly better than Voodoo Banshee. At the same time is TNT offering excellent frame rates and excellent image quality at resolutions that none of its competitors from 3Dfx are able to offer. So it may be true that Unreal is currently best played on a Voodoo2 in SLI and that there are a few more Glide applications that make the 3Dfx products look better, but in the long run TNT will easily win. The clear advantages

  • price,
  • higher screen resolutions,
  • image quality significantly better,
  • AGP 2x texturing,

are more important than huge frame rates of Voodoo2 SLI in some applications.

Of course I also found some problems of TNT, but those are minor driver bugs or only significant to a minority. The one problem I have is that I get scrambled stuff after switching back from the Windows desktop to Quake 2 in full screen mode, but that isn't done by many people and NVIDIA is already working on a driver fix. The second problem is the huge amount of current that TNT requires. Some LX motherboards are unable to supply this high current, which could make it impossible to run TNT on those motherboards. One example is the Asus P2L97.

I enjoyed playing Half-Life Day One on TNT at 1152x864 and I'm playing Quake 2 online at this resolution on TNT every day for two weeks now. Shogo is looking great too on TNT, and it also runs fine and smooth at 1152x864. I wonder what should make me spend a whole lot more money on two Voodoo2 cards, which cannot supply the high screen resolution and which take a lot of space in my system as well as producing a lot of heat. There's certainly still quite a lot of justification for Voodoo2, but if you are wondering which 2D/3D combo to buy. go for TNT and see if you feel like adding two Voodoo2 cards later on. I doubt that you will.

  • Pure nostalgia. Tom's Hardware is awesome for keeping 14 year old articles around, I read the whole thing and it brought back memories.
  • xkm1948
    Ahh now this brings back some old memories.