3dfx Voodoo3 3500 TVby Anand Lal Shimpi on August 3, 1999 2:29 AM EST
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The Voodoo3 3500 TV is based on the same Voodoo3 core as the 3000 model that has already made its way into the hands of many gamers. In spite of what 3dfx may claim, the 3500's chip itself is nothing more than a 3000 running at 183MHz, a 10% improvement in clock speed over the 166MHz clock of the 3000. As with all Voodoo3 products, the core and memory clock speeds are identical, meaning that the 3500 also features 183MHz SDRAM. As we investigated with our recent TNT2 roundup, the general requirements for memory is as follows:
Meaning that the 3500, unlike the 3000, must come equipped with 5.5ns SDRAM. Most Voodoo3 3000 boards featured Siemens manufactured 6ns SDRAM chips which generally speaking, had difficulties making it much higher than 180MHz although there have been some extreme cases. The 3500 3dfx sent to AnandTech for evaluation featured a very familiar Hyundai 5.5ns SDRAM outfitting which happens to be the same memory used on a large number of TNT2 Ultra cards. What this also means is that the overclocking potential, at least on the memory side, should be considerable for the 3500 with the highest achievable memory clock centering around the 215 - 230MHz range. Unfortunately the Voodoo3 technology requires that the memory and core operate at the same frequency, and frankly speaking, there is no way the 183MHz 3500 core will be hitting anywhere near 230MHz. As with all previous Voodoo3 boards, the 3500 TV features 16MB of SDRAM, no flexibility there.
The board is available in an AGP 2X compliant part, however as with all previous 3dfx products, the Voodoo3 does not support AGP texturing (the transferring of textures to/from system memory via the AGP bus). This means that the only benefit this spec gives the Voodoo3 is the 66MHz operating frequency of the AGP slot versus the 33MHz of PCI slots.
As with the 3000 model, the 3500 TV features a 350MHz RAMDAC capable of driving resolutions up to 2046 x 1536 at 32-bit color depths (2D) at 75Hz. Unfortunately the image quality of the Voodoo3 3000 and 3500 at that high of a resolution is far from high quality, as the Voodoo3 experiences a severe drop off in 2D image quality after 1600 x 1200.
For 3D rendering support, the Voodoo3 3500 boasts the same capabilities as both previous Voodoo3 boards, including no support for 32-bit color rendering. The 16-bit vs 32-bit rendering debate has seemingly died down and there is no doubt about it that 3dfx's next generation product (after the Voodoo3, in the fall) will in fact support 32-bit color rendering. Until that point, 3dfx users will have to live without 32-bit color rendering support which only recently started becoming very noticeable in games, especially with the release of idSoftware's Q3 Test candidate.
If you're interested in comparing the highest image quality possible on a Voodoo3 using 16-bit color rendering versus that of a TNT2 using 32-bit color rendering, take a look at the below comparison using the most recent version of Q3 Test (1.07).
- 183MHz 128-bit 2D/3D core
- 183 Megapixels per second
- 366 Megatexels per second peak fill rate
- 8 Million polygons per second peak processing power
- Resolution support up to 2046 x 1536
- PCI/AGP Support - No AGP Texturing Support
- 16-bit 3D Rendering Support - No 32-bit 3D Rendering Support
- 350MHz Integrated RAMDAC
- 16MB SDRAM
- NTSC Composite/S-Video Out
- NTSC Composite/S-Video In
- TV/FM Tuner Input
- Direct3D/OpenGL/Glide API Support
- Per pixel perspective correct texture mapping
- 16/24-bit Z buffer
- Support for 8-bit palletized textures
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