Real3D Starfighter

by Anand Lal Shimpi on March 10, 1998 11:32 PM EST

With a company like Intel it is obvious that the i740 would have to pack a major punch, and it is clear that it does. Giving the ATI Xpert@Work some competition, the Real3D StarFighter is the second video card out on the market that supports AGP 2X mode, it is because of the i740's support for AGP 2X that Real3D could remove all texture memory off the StarFighter. Instead of searching the StarFighter for textures stored in the limited local memory of the video card, a 3D game or application will use the Accelerated Graphics Port as a means of retrieving the textures from System Memory, meaning much larger textures can be easily handled and manipulated without even the slightest twitch by the chipset.

The StarFighter reviewed here was an AGP card, sporting 4MB of onboard SGRAM with an optional 4MB SO-DIMM (Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Module) for a total of a possible 8MB Frame Buffer on the card. Real3D will also release PCI versions of the StarFighter, using their proprietary PCI to AGP bridge, the PCI card will act much like the AGP StarFighter in that it will fool programs into thinking that it is an AGP card while retrieving textures from the Local Texture Memory present on the card. As long as your programs don't exceed the texture memory allocated to the card (8MB or 16MB depending on which card you buy) you will receive AGP-like performance. starfighter-1.jpg (8295 bytes)
It is because of this technology, coupled with the ability to transfer on the sidebands of the AGP Bus allow the StarFighter to run in resolutions up to 1280 x 1024 in both 2D and 3D situations. Even 12MB Voodoo2 cards are limited to a maximum of 800 x 600 in Quake 2 (GL), in comparison, a 4MB StarFighter AGP can run at 1024 x 768 without the use of any external RAM add-ons.

Real3D chose to include a standard SO-DIMM expansion socket on the StarFighter as mentioned above, unfortunately the card tested by Anand Tech didn't feature any of the extra perks the i740 chipset supports, such as TV-Output. The i740 processor itself remains hidden by the massive heatsink on the StarFighter, during normal operation the heatsink is warm to the touch, however it is nothing you should worry about. A Voodoo2 card can easily generate in excess of twice as much heat in the same system.

One of the most notable features of the StarFighter AGP has nothing to do with the speed of the chipset, or the construction of the card, rather the first class software bundle Real3D provides with this card. The software bundle includes special demo versions of Criterion RedLine Racer, Sega's Daytona USA, Moto Racer, Andretti Racing, trueSpace, as well as Incoming and Wing Commander Prophecy to name a few.

Card Specifications Installing the StarFighter
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  • MonkeyPaw - Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - link

    I dunno, I have a good feeling about 3DFX. I suspect that they will be the only game in town before too long. OpenGL? DirectX? No chance compared to Glide!
  • dakishimesan - Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - link

    I totally agree. Though I am still holding a candle for S3.
  • pcfxer - Thursday, November 9, 2017 - link

    You funny bugger lol!
  • ozzuneoj86 - Monday, January 11, 2021 - link

    I don't know, despite the decent performance here, I have a feeling that Intel is going to give up on discrete graphics for 23-24 years or so. Maybe some Earth shaking event, like a global pandemic or something, will get them drive them to release another video product.
  • 0ldman79 - Wednesday, January 19, 2022 - link

    They won't do it for a pandemic, I predict it will be related to some kind of encoding or encryption task, possibly done on a GPU due to their parallel nature and high memory bandwidth.

    Just crazy ramblings of an old man...

    /sarcasm people, look at the dates

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