We are now officially in count down mode with the imminent release and launch of the 3dfx
Voodoo 5, in a matter of weeks. Over the
past three weeks, the HotHardware forum has been
buzzing with talk about this next generation of
product from the company that many call
" The God Fathers of 3D". 3dfx has
always maintained an accessible presence in the
End User / Online community and it was no surprise
when Alf Covey of 3dfx stopped by the HotHardware
Conference Room with intentions to answers
questions directly for all to see. He was
doing such a good job that we made him a moderator
and let him have at it! The following is a
transcript of the discussion that have taken place
in our forum. There are many questions
answered here and we are sure you'll learn
something new in the following passages. So
without further hesitation, we'll let Alf and
company tell it like it is!
messages are edited in the interest brevity....
I've got a question for Brian Burke. Namely, why
is 3dfx doing such a god-awful job of
evangelizing motion blur?
Every demo I've
seen of motion blur, and every report I've read
describes it as an effect where the result of the
previous 3 frames is blended with the current
frame to produce a sort of mouse-trails effect. AN
EFFECT LIKE THIS IS TOTALLY POINTLESS. What motion
blur *ought* to be doing (and what I suspect it
actually does do, if implemented properly) is
displaying a blend of images taken between
frames. In other words it is a form of anti-aliasing
by super-sampling, but in the time domain
rather than the spatial domain. Or to put it a
third way: it lets you display a frame rate faster
than the refresh rate of your monitor.
Here's your answer
from Brian Burke! :-)
"Well that is
a lot to address, but I will do my best to hit
We have been
evangelizing motion blur with developers and end
users for several months. Like a lot of hardware
features, it will simply take time before games
support it. We have completed the OPENGL extension
for the T-Buffer, which then allows developers to
implement motion blur in their titles. We also are
confident that the T-Buffer capabilities will be
included in a future version of Direct3D. As a
side note, we were very pleased to see Microsoft
discuss FSAA and motion blur as features of the X
box, as this reaffirms our belief that these are
critical features for real-time 3D in the future.
The appearance of
motion blur as mouse trails is due to the fact
that we exaggerated the effects in our Quake 3
demo to show how the technology works. It was
clearly pointed out that it was a technology demo,
not an artistic rendering. Lots of things can be
done to make the effect more realistic, like
adjusting the intensity of the blur or the
distance for each rendering of the object. Quake 3
is probably not the best place for motion blur
anyway. A Racing sim would be a more appropriate
use. The reason the demo was for Quake 3 is
because the folks at id gave us the source code
and said, in a effect ?You say motion blur is
useful, then show us. ?
As for the
difference between a camera lens and a computer
display, we go into that in detail in the T-buffer
white paper that can be found here http://www.3dfx.com/3dfxTechnology/motionblur.html.
We also covered it in detail in our press
As for your
description of how we implement motion blur using
the T-Buffer it is simply incorrect - we are
definitely not simply taking the average of the
last 3 frames. Within a given frame, we render
each moving object (where a ?moving object? is
an object which is moving relative to the camera
position and its own movement) up to 4 times and
temporally stagger the images slightly to generate
motion blur. There are other methods to accomplish
a similar effect, but the above is the method we
Voodoo3 has one pixel pipeline with two texture
units. When a single textured pixel is rendered,
one texture unit shuts down. When a dual textured
pixel is rendered both texture units are on.
Correct me if I'm
wrong about this 3dfx. It is popularly believed
that the VSA-100 has two pixel pipes with one
texture unit each, but I don't think that this is
the case. The VSA-100 has one pixel pipeline with
two texture units, but can shove two single
textured pixels down the pipe at once, or one
mulittextured pixel. That's why the fill rate for
the V5-5500 is approx. 733Mtexels/s and
My question... Will
the V5 be able to do trilinear filtering for
The VSA-100 takes 2 textures in order to do
the V4s and V5s be optimized for athlons too?
From what I've seen, V3s work better with athlons
than P3s and plus athlons generally come with more
mhz for the price
maintain a close relationship with both companies
and make all optimizations we can for both
COUPLE OF QUESTIONS TO THOSE IN THE KNOW
1. IM SAVING HARD
FOR THE V5 6000,MMMSPEEDY
I HAVE A:
256MB 100MHZ SDRAM
BEDED INTO A BOARD THAT HAS 2X AGP
AM I GOING TO BE WASTING ME HARD EARNED CASH ON
THE V5 6000 (IT AINT WORTH GETTING IT IF I AINT
2. DUMB QUESTION TIME IF I HAVE AGP 2 AND
THE CARD IS AGP 4 DOES THAT MEAN IM ONLY GOING TO
GET HALF THE RESULTS
(note to Ballsy - stop shouting dude :) )
The Voodoo5 should be one of the fastest
boards you could get for that system.
AGP2X is not going to half your results.
In fact, it probably won?t even affect
heard that the new Voodoo cards will have a
separate, external power supply to avoid potential
problems with motherboard makers not following the
AGP voltage specs. This is an extremely good idea
in my opinion, but I have one serious concern
about this. I have a UPS system (Tripplite rules
baby!) with 6 connectors, 3 are on battery backup,
and 3 are on standard power and surge protected. I
have my tower, monitor and modem taking up the 3
plugs on the battery, if I choose to put the V5 on
a plug that is NOT on the battery and the power
goes out, will it kill the card and possibly my
computer if the card suddenly receives no power
while the rest of the computer does? It's not a
big deal to move my modem over to a non-battery
plug, but I think it's an issue I needed to bring
up anyways. Has 3dfx considered the possibility of
making the card switch over to the motherboard for
power in the event something happens to the
external power supply (such as the cable getting
knocked out of the plug, the cable getting
severed, or the situation I just mentioned).
Thanks for the support up front! The 5500 will have an internal power connector just like a
hard drive. The
6000 will have the external adapter and as far as
I know, that should protect it from surges and the
anything should happen the most probably outcome
is simply that the video will go down.
BMG had a good idea for a solution to this
went to the pre-release site today and it asks for
a 6-8 week lead time!?!
(from the on-line 3dfx store)
Would it be better to go to the Austin CompUSA or
Best Buy rather than the pre-sales route if I want
to get the V5500 the soonest?
5 products will be made available to all consumers
who place a pre-order with one of 3dfx' authorized
pre-order program participants on the same day
regardless of where they chose to preorder from.
We are scheduled to ship to retailers in the same
time frame. So it is probably going to be just a
matter of what is more conveininet to you since it
will largely be at the same time.
I have saved up my money since you announced this
card. How much longer after the Voodoo5 5500 ships
will we see the 6000?
deleted my old post so I could make an update.
It's going to be around a month after the 5500 is
released but again I don't have anything more
concrete than that.
(no not the Brittish Hooker with agonizingly long
motion blur be used to "fool" the eye
into seeing fluid motion even when fps have
momentarily dipped below normally acceptable
levels? If it's possible, would this be practical
from a software developer's perspective? I mean,
is this much use of the motion blur effect so
tedious to program that we won't see motion blur
used for more than token effects around fast
moving objects etc.? I realize you gave an answer
to a question similar to this, but the answer
centered around how motion blur works... I just
want to know if it can be used to create the
impression of fluid motion for an entire scene
even when frame rates drop below normally
2. It is my understanding that the V4 will be out
first. Is it possible that the V4 will ship at 166
MHz, but, as chip yields improve, the later
released V5 series could come at 183 MHz?
3. Why the heck does 3dfx send their cards out at
1.3 gamma? I think this has given them a lot of
negative attention, causing people to think that
they are getting faded colors due to the 16 bit
rendering, when, in fact, color depth doesn't
affect color saturation, only gradation. Gamma,
however, *will* affect color saturation.
4. I really dug the way 3dfx attached their heat-sinks
on the V3. The pushpins were awesome, because they
let those of us not concerned with warranty have a
simple way to attach more cooling. Also, the
thermal pad, while not the greatest performer, was
a superior solution to those companies that just
slapped a gob of glue on (which would be just
about every one BUT 3dfx). Please tell me you guys
are not going to do change that??
Also, I just want
to say that I'm pretty stoked about the new color
filter, especially the backwards compatibility
part. I never even considered the idea of the V4/5
making my current V3 look better!
takes a big breath and says:
will all depend on the complexity of the given
scene and the techniques used by the game
developer. It's motion blur that enables movie
film to deliver smooth action to the screen at
just 24fps, a frame rate that is generally
considered unacceptable for 3D gaming. Motion blur
certainly requires additional system resources.
The vertices in each object being blurred have to
be calculated multiple times and motion blur
requires additional fill rate, too. The challenge
that your suggestion presents, however, is that
you're already in a situation where the frame rate
is unacceptable and you're asking for additional
system resources as part of the solution. A
developer would probably be better served by
reducing scene complexity to increase frame rate
than by implementing motion blur on all objects to
create smooth motion.
2. The Voodoo5 5500 is going to come out first. I
really can't make any predictions as far as the
3. We sent it out
at 1.3 because when our default setting was 1.0,
we were overwhelmed with complaints and demands to
make it higher. Since it's been 1.3, people seem
to be generally happy and that's the name of the
game, after all. ;-)
4. Sorry, it's
getting changed. It's a good design when you just
have a heatsink to contend with but the Voodoo5
will have an active cooling solution.
6. (okay... you
didn't have six but this is from your other post)
There will be an improved filtering setting (like
the 22 bit setting for the V3) for the Voodoo5.
Hope this got them
for ya! :-)
a question regarding MINIGL support on the
Voodoo5. Currently with Voodoo3, you need to use
the 3DFX Minigl (v1.48 or v1.49) or the WickedGL
Minigl to get DECENT/GREAT performance in games
like Quake/Quake2, Half-Life, etc. Otherwise the
only other choice is the Opengl ICD which is VERY
slow compared to the MINIGL's.
Will Voodoo5 have
it's own MINIGL .DLL driver for the above
mentioned games, or will the 3DFX V3 Minigl/Wicked3D
MINIGL, work with the Voodoo5?
you can see from current trends, MiniGL is
becoming a thing of the past. However, the Voodoo5
should have the same type of setup the Voodoo3 had
in that respect. As for if the WickedGL driver
will work or not, we'll have to wait on that one.
the announced release of a PCI Voodoo 5 5500 for
Mac's will have a fill rate of 667 megatexels/megapixels.
Does this confirm the clock speed of 166Mhz?
it all about Alfy?
is what we're looking at right now. If anything
changes, we will make an announcement.
is the physical length of the V5 5500 card?
sizes it up:
V5-5500 AGP is 4.25" x 9.5" and it will
fit in a regular AT or ATX case (assuming AT and
ATX specs were followed).
the current support of SMP in NT4 and Win2k (or,
rather,lack there of) in the state it is. I was
curious as to whether the drivers for Win2k/NT
will be support SMP from boards such as Abit's
Will SMP be included in the drivers?
looking into SMP on the Voodoo5 currently. The
drivers will be backwards compatible with the
Voodoo3 as well.
That's it for now! There
is a lot more of this type of Q&A in the
HotHardware Conference Room! Join today!