The Voodoo5 5500

Although the Voodoo5 5500 was originally scheduled to launch in fall 1999, chip shortages and compatibility problems pushed 3dfx's multiprocessor weapon back to the summer of 2000. Powered by two VSA-100 chips, the expectations surrounding the Voodoo5 5500 were quite large. Although it is true that if the Voodoo5 5500 arrived when 3dfx planed it to, the Voodoo5 5500 would have been quite a show stopper. The problem came with the Voodoo5 5500's delay, a delay which placed the card head to head with cards such as the the GeForce2 GTS and the lower priced GeForce2 MX. High performers such as the GeForce2 GTS and the GeForce DDR had no problem overpowering the Voodoo5 5500. For more information regarding the Voodoo5 5500, please see our Voodoo5 5500 review.

Lucky for 3dfx, the preliminary numbers proved to be a bit deceiving. Early and immature drivers plagued the early Voodoo5 5500 tests. We originally noted the problem when in 640x480x32, where the Voodoo5 5500's performance was severely crippled. Although some of the Voodoo5 5500's lackluster performance at low resolutions are due to the Voodoo5 5500's lack of a T&L engine, we suspected that some of the performance problems could be attributed to immature drivers.

With the release of newer Voodoo5 5500 drivers, many users noted increased performance. Let's see how the performance of the Voodoo5 5500 increased with more mature drivers.

Voodoo5 5500 - Quake III Arena Performance

Via the maturation of the Voodoo5 5500's drivers, we are able to see a slight performance increase over the original drivers at 640x480x32. Although updated drivers do not make up for the lack of T&L support in the VSA-100 chip, they do provide a 5% speed improvement. This allows the Voodoo5 5500 to encroach even more into the GeForce2 GTS's area, falling behind the GTS by about 25%.

The updated Voodoo5 5500 drivers provide an even larger performance increase at 1024x768x32. Increasing the framerate by 5.7 FPS, the 1.04.01 drivers increased performance at this resolution by about 9%. This raises the framerate to a total of 72.6 FPS, making 1024x768x32 a very playable resolution. Although the Voodoo5 5500 falls behind the GTS by 27%, the speed increase associated with the more recent drivers places the Voodoo5 5500 in a more favorable position.

Finally, at 1600x1200x32, we see a jump similar to those experienced in other resolutions. At this resolution, the performance of the Voodoo5 5500 jumps about 10% to reach 24.6 FPS. Although this is 38% slower than the GeForce2 GTS, both cards will be noticeable slow at this resolution. The only way to clear the 1600x1200x32 barrier successfully is to invest in a GeForce2 Ultra, GeForce2 Pro, or a Voodoo6 6000, if you can find one.

The Test Explained Voodoo5 5500 - MDK2 Performance
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