3Dfx and Voodoo3
Yesterday, Wednesday, January 27, 1999, 3Dfx held a press conference on top of the Zugspitze, the highest Mountain in Germany. The conference was held by Greg Ballard, CEO of 3Dfx, Brian Bruning and Nick Pandher. We heard the latest news about Voodoo3 and what will happen in the 3D-card business now that 3Dfx acquired STB.
- Voodoo3-3000 silicon in final and running fine at the promised 183/183 MHz core/mem-clock. Supposedly 3Dfx managed to clock it even higher already. Voodoo3-3000 will be the high-end Voodoo3, and 3Dfx is saying that it will easily be the fastest 3D-chip available.
- Voodoo3-2000 is also on track. This version will be the same as Voodoo3-3000, but only running at 125/125 MHz core/mem-clock. The 2000-version is targeted to the lower-cost OEM-market and also supposed to go directly on motherboards. All features will be identical to the 3000-version, only the clock is less. This includes a 128-bit memory interface.
- As you already know, the Voodoo3 will not be able to do 32-bit rendering. 3Dfx thinks that this feature is impacting performance too much, so that they didn’t even bother including it into the silicon. Many other journalists agree with me when I say that it would have been nice to leave the decision to the consumer. 32-bit rendering could have been an option, which we could have turned off by ourselves.
- Voodoo3 will be able to offer digital output for flat panels. It will need a special 3Dfx-chip for that, called ‘LCDfx" (I may be wrong with that name, sorry). Normal Voodoo3-cards will not include this chip, so you will require special boards that offer digital out.
- Voodoo3 will support AGP, but it will not support AGP-texturing. This is an important thing to consider! AGP-support as we know it from ATI, Matrox, NVIDIA or Intel does always support AGP-texturing as well. For many of us, AGP-texturing is what we all used to talk about when talking about AGP in general. Voodoo3 will still not be able to texture directly from system memory, thus large textures will only be displayable as long as they fit into the 16 MB onboard memory of the Voodoo3. However, don’t forget that Voodoo3 will be using 3Dfx’s own texture compression, which should make sure that pretty large textures will be supported by this chip.
- At the end of June there will also be a Voodoo3-4000. This version of the Voodoo3 was expressively ‘de-hyped’ by Greg Ballard yesterday. Unlike what some publication say about the ‘4000’, it will be nothing but a Voodoo3 that will include support for 4x AGP. Intel’s 440JX (‘Camino’) chipset will launch by the end of June and 3Dfx wants to have a 3D-chip ready that can support this new feature. Voodoo3-4000 will NOT REQUIRE 4 xAGP, as Greg Ballard pointed out yesterday.
- 3Dfx targets the release of Voodoo3 into April 1999, but things seem to be running very well, so that Greg Ballard mentioned the possibility of a release date in March already.