The Boards

We’ve known since last November that 3dfx would be producing a total of five different boards based on their VSA-100 (Voodoo Scalable Architecture) chip.  Those boards are the Voodoo4 4500 PCI, Voodoo4 4500 AGP, Voodoo5 5000 PCI, Voodoo5 5500 AGP and the Voodoo5 6000 AGP. 

Here we have a quick refresher on what distinguishes each one of these boards from the rest:

Voodoo4 4500 AGP & PCI

  • Single 3dfx VSA-100
  • 32MB memory
  • 2 pixels per clock rendered
  • 333-367 megapixels/s
  • 2 sample full-scene anti-aliasing
  • $179 US

The Voodoo4 4500 is targeted at "mainstream consumers" and is thus the more cost effective single VSA-100 product. The Voodoo4 4500 will be available in both PCI and AGP versions at $179. Think of the Voodoo4 4500 as the Voodoo3 3000 with 32-bit rendering, large texture support, and 32MB of memory. Expect performance similar to the Voodoo3 3000, but with greatly enhanced image quality thanks to these new features.

Voodoo5 5000 PCI

  • Dual 3dfx VSA-100 SLI
  • 32MB memory
  • 4 pixels per clock rendered
  • 667-733 megapixels/s
  • Real-time full-scene anti-aliasing (2/4 sample)
  • T-Buffer digital cinematic effects
  • $229 US

The entry level for the Voodoo5 line, the 5000 PCI, is actually just $50 more than the Voodoo4 4500. You get quite a lot for that $50 though, including double the fillrate and T-Buffer effects thanks to a second VSA-100 chip. However, the 32MB of memory is slightly less effective here since texture data will be duplicated in memory thanks to the dual chip configuration. Also note that the Voodoo5 5000 is PCI only at this point. Performance is theoretically double the Voodoo4 4500 without full scene anti-aliasing enabled, or approximately the same as the 4500 with it enabled.


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Voodoo5 5500 AGP

  • Dual 3dfx VSA-100 SLI
  • 64MB memory
  • 4 pixels per clock rendered
  • 667-733 megapixels/s
  • Real-time full-scene anti-aliasing (2/4 sample)
  • T-Buffer digital cinematic effects
  • $299 US

The first AGP card in the Voodoo5 line up is the 5500, which is much like the 5000 PCI with an additional 32MB of memory and an AGP interface. The increased bus transfer rate and onboard RAM serve to enhance performance as game complexity increases.

All this will cost you $50 more than the 5000 PCI, primarily to pay for the additional RAM. If RAM prices drop, expect the cost difference between the boards to also drop.


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Voodoo5 6000 AGP

  • Quad 3dfx VSA-100 SLI
  • 128MB memory
  • 8 pixels per clock rendered
  • 1.33 - 1.47 gigapixels/s
  • Real-time full-scene anti-aliasing (2/4 sample)
  • T-Buffer digital cinematic effects
  • $599 US

The Voodoo5 6000 is definitely the mother of all graphics cards with easily the highest fillrate of anything available at its launch. With 128MB of RAM, texture space should not be a problem as this card will have more RAM than many systems have. 3dfx is shooting for 85 fps at 1024x768x32 in Quake 3 with full scene anti-aliasing enabled - not too shabby.

The price is quite high at $599 and is clearly targeted at the hardcore gamer. We know some people will buy it because quite a few people paid about $600 for a Voodoo2 SLI setup when it was released. The 6000 AGP will feature an external 100W power supply that hooks up to the board via a connector on the cards back plate.

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