The REAL Thing - GLQuake and Quake II (GL) Performance of 3D Accelerators

Cards With 3Dfx Voodoo Chip (add-on Cards)

Diamond’s Monster 3D, Orchid’s Righteous 3D, Skywell’s Magic 3D, Guillemot’s MAXI Gamer 3Dfx, Helios’ 3D Voodoo, RealVision’s Flash 3D, Canopus Pure3D

All in all there’s currently hardly any doubt about it, Voodoo rules the Quake world. Now since Quake rules the gaming world, 3Dfx Voodoo is pretty much unavoidable for any gamer, at least for the ones with a Socket 7 system. A Pentium II doesn’t make that much of a difference anymore, so that all of you that have Socket 7 systems don’t have to feel bad not owning one of this miraclous Slot One boxes. Whatever Socket 7 CPU you’ve got, you’ll be surprised how much gaming power a Voodoo card can give to your system. The 2.5 to 5 times faster Voodoo 2 is already on the horizon whilst Voodoo still rules. 3Dfx is one of the few other computer hardware companies next to Intel, that doesn’t have to worry about its future.

Whilst Diamond’s Monster 3D, Orchid’s Righteous 3D, Skywell’s Magic 3D, Guillemot’s MAXI Gamer 3Dfx, Helios’ 3D Voodoo and RealVision’s Flash 3D are all only using 2 MB of texture memory, the Pure3D from Canopus is using 4 MB. The Pure3D also offers you a beautiful configurable TV out, so that this card is clearly my number one recommendation for Voodoo cards. It’s additionally nice to know that this card is cheaper and faster than Diamond’s Monster 3D.

Cards With 3Dfx Voodoo Rush Chip (stand-alone Cards)

Intergraph Intense 3D Voodoo, Hercules Stingray 128/3D

Although the idea of putting a 2D chip together with a Voodoo - like chip on one graphic card certainly isn’t bad, there are quite a few questionable points. First of all the Voodoo Rush performs considerably worse than Voodoo in GLQuake and Quake II and the 2D performance of the Alliance chip is also not really up to highest standards anymore. Voodoo Rush cards cost double of a Diamond Stealth II S220 with Rendition’s Verite 2100 chip, which doesn’t score considerably worse in GLQuake. All in all the Voodoo Rush cards are certainly not bad and they are better in Direct3D than under the OpenGL gaming engine, but I wonder how anybody wants to justify the price against competitors with the RIVA 128 and Verite 2x00. The Stingray 128/3D has 2 MB more texture memory than the I3D, but the reason why it’s faster than the I3D is only due to the driver.

I’ve actually got a little tidbit for you regarding the Intense 3D Voodoo. I stumbled over it by accident when I benchmarked the I3D after the Stingray 128/3D. As you can see the Hercules Stingray 128/3D scores better than the I3D. This is due only to the driver of the Hercules card. Now if you want to have the same performance with your I3D you can do the following (nasty) thing : Get the latest Hercules Stingray 128/3D drivers and install them with your I3D. After the reboot Windows95 will tell you that you’ve installed the wrong drivers. Now over install the I3D drivers and answer ’yes’ each time the installation procedure asks you if you want to keep the newer file. Reboot again. Voila, now you’re running the I3D with the kernel of the Hercules drivers. That means 10% performance increase for free ! Thanks Hercules !

Cards With NVidia RIVA 128 Chip

Diamond Viper V330, Canopus Total3D 128V, Elsa Victory Erazor, STB Velocity 128, Asus V3000

NVidia understood what’s important. Lots of people aren’t just impressed by astronomical 3D Winbench scores, but they want to play GLQuake on their card as well. Hence they eventually released their first alpha version OpenGL gaming engine and although the screen is pretty dark and the images aren’t perfect yet it’s already pretty impressive and certainly quite fast, especially on fast machines. Socket 7 CPU owners should think into getting an AGP Socket 7 board however, because the performance of the OpenGL game engine is considerably higher with AGP versions than with PCI cards.

NVidia made clear that this alpha version is only the beginning. Image quality is as likely to improve as performance. I will look out closely for the next release of the Riva’s OpenGL engine and will update this page immediately.

Cards With Rendition’s Verite 2x00 Chip

Diamond Stealth II S220, Hercules Thriller3D

Currently there’s only Diamond’s Stealth II S220 available with the Verite 2100, but pretty soon there’ll be Hercules’ Thriller 3D with the Verite 2200 and some other manufacturers will come out with V2200 boards as well. I personally think that the Verite 2x00 is currently the most underestimated 3D chip and I hope that the Thriller3D will change this. The OpenGL game engine performance of the V2100 is certainly not bad, particularly with slower Socket 7 systems. The 3D image quality is excellent and the better V2x00 boards like the Thriller3D will come with stereo glasses connector, which I think is one of the coolest things in 3D.

  • ElMoIsEviL
    Wow. I own every single card in this review (holding my Matrox M3D as I write this).
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