|Sit there for a minute, and think about some of the greatest feelings in the world. Feelings of accomplishment, feelings of happiness, and you can't forget about feelings of satisfaction. There's nothing like kicking back to watch a movie you've heard everyone talking about and having a ball watching it, hanging on to each and every line and every action sequence as if there was no tomorrow.|
|When dealing with movies, you have the type that are hyped beyond belief because they are excellent movies, and those that are hyped beyond belief because the marketing team behind the movie has the money and the gall to push a horrible movie. Unfortunately this practice is not limited to the movie industry, take away the big screen and film projector and replace it with a monitor and a video card, and what do you get? None other than that beloved computer hardware industry of ours, even more specifically, the video market.|
We've all felt the pains of the fast paced computer hardware industry, with new generations of CPUs coming out around every 12 months, it's difficult to keep up with, and to budget, a PC hardware enthusiast as a full time or even a part time hobby. It seems like the technology never stays the same long enough for any one person to stay on top for a reasonable amount of time, and if you're just using the hardware, imagine what it must be like reviewing all of the hardware ;) In any case, if you all thought that the CPU industry moved quickly, you're about to meet something a little more fast paced, an industry dominated by energy filled game-a-holics that can't help but drool over the latest screen shots of the next generation in PC games, of course, we're talking about none other than that same video chipset market mentioned earlier. With new product releases making their way onto the shelves from video card and video chipset manufacturers every 6 to 9 months, as opposed to the 12 to 15 months for most CPU manufacturers, it is even more difficult keeping up with the video industry. While the exact causes of the rate of change in the video industry are more complex than "gamers want faster 'puters" the bottom line is that the market evolves at a much more fast paced rate than any other in the computer hardware industry.
Because of this incredible rate of evolution, manufacturers often have to rush with the production and delivery of a product in order to make sure that they aren't left with a huge surplus of chips no one wants, as was the case with the old 8MB Voodoo2 boards that no one cared for. A considerable amount of market research, sales predictions, and demand calculation goes into every video card/chipset release that graces the eyes of the users that drive the industry. Because of this wonderful set of market analysis, video chipset manufacturers know exactly when to release what they have planned, and all it takes is a breakthrough product to throw the entire system off track.
This was the case with 3dfx's original Voodoo graphics accelerator, as it took the definition of 3D acceleration to a new level, taking the throne away from the previous holder, Rendition, a name now known to a very small population. The Voodoo dominated the market for close to a full year before competing manufacturers such as nVidia started releasing competitive products that came close to matching it in terms of performance. The reign of the original Voodoo prompted the hype surrounding the release of the 3dfx Voodoo2, unfortunately the release was not kept as dramatic as its predecessor since it took a couple of months for nVidia to pump out a strong competitor, the TNT. Then came, what many will call, an overclocked Voodoo2, the 3dfx Banshee which took the power of a Voodoo2 and added 2D support as well as AGP interface compatibility. The public seemed increasingly disappointed with 3dfx's releases after the original Voodoo, primarily because an owner of a Voodoo was able to hang on to the card for a considerably longer time and still have a high-end competitive system at that time, than a Voodoo2 or Banshee owner could at the time of the release of those two products. 3dfx can't take all of the blame for the highly competitive market they participate in; they just have to understand that the market will complain unless they repeat that one great success over again. There isn't a person out there that wouldn't mind having a 3D accelerator that would remain at the head of the pack for the next year, instead of finding him/herself wanting an upgrade after about 6 months.
As any good company would, 3dfx understands that you can't please the entire industry, everyone is going to have their favorites, however 3dfx is a company that aims to please as much as they can, and their latest attempt at doing so comes in a multi-flavored 2D/3D accelerator solution creatively dubbed, the 3dfx Voodoo3. History has already told us that the Voodoo3 won't place a great deal of distance between itself and the competition, however whether or not 3dfx's latest concoction is right for you depends entirely on the type of user you are and your interests as a gamer. How do we find out? Strap yourselves in, AnandTech is on another video card roller coaster ride, 3dfx is back with the third installment in the Voodoo trilogy, but unlike George Lucas' award winning creation, this sequel isn't something to get your hopes too high for.