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3dfx Interview onn Voodoo33500
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Date: Dec 15, 2001
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: HH Editor
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3dfx Interview onn Voodoo33500 - Page 1

 

OK folks! Listen up! We've got some great new breaking news for you here! Today we had a little chat with Brian Burke PR-SupaFly-Man of 3dfx! Check it...

 


Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with the us. We'll let you get back to more critical tasks ASAP. We Voodoo 3 Freaks wouldn't want to take you off the product launch of the V3-3500 board for too long. Uh... Brian... can you stop the Wide Screen-Quake 3-Frag Fest for a minute???? Put down the Twinkies too! (man... it must be tough...) Just kidding Bri! :-)

(I'd better back off here...)

-Dave
-- Anyway, a few weeks back we got a glimpse of an early version of the Voodoo3-3500 board at the E3 show. Needless to say, we were very impressed! Has anything changed since we saw it last? Here is a pic for a refresher...

-Brian
Nothing has changed other than the driver. We are getting close with a new rev of the Voodoo3 driver with some image quality improvements we will talk about next week and an increase in performance. The physical hardware will remain the same as it was announced at E3. We are still on schedule for a release in late July. And to answer your next question, yes, you will get a board before that.
(did I mention I love this guy?)

-Dave
-- So, as we can see in the above shot, you folks have incorporated what some would call a "break-out box" into the design. Can you explain a little about the features and various video in and output sources of this assembly and how they work?

-Brian

It is a pretty simple concept really. To get the maximum functionality from a board with all these features, the end user will need to plug and unplug different components into it, camcorders, VCRs, etc. For example, You file little Johnny's baseball game on the Camcorder. Take home the camcorder and record Little Johnny's first homer in MPEG2 format. Then email it to Grandma. If you make it easy for them to plug and unplug those components into, they are more likely to do it, and are happier with their purchase. So instead of making them crawl around on the floor with a flashlight to get to the back of the computer where the connections traditionally are, you put the connection on a little pod that can sit wherever they want to put it. With a six-foot cable, they can set on top of the desk or hide it in an easy to get to spot. Here is a diagram.

-Dave

--As usual Brian, you folks are right on the money! Make it easy and they will buy! So, the Voodoo3-3500 marks the convergence of two great product categories into one for 3dfx/STB. The functionality we have in the Desktop TV Card coupled with the speed and power of the Voodoo3 makes for a killer combination. We also know of the Voodoo3-3500's increased clock speeds. What are the similarities and differences, other than the obvious product integration, between the V3-3500 and the individual products?

-Brian

The big difference other than the added functionality, like you pointed out, is the clock speed bump from 166 on the 3000 to 183 on the 3500. Clock speed translates in to throughput, so the 3500 is the fastest Vooodo3 part available.

-Dave

-- Sounds sweet... will the Voodoo3-3500 have a faster "speed bin" of the Voodoo3 chip? How about RAM? The V3-3500 will still be using standard SDRAM, right? Will that be from a faster selection as well?

-Brian

When we speed bin the part we put them in one of three groups: fast, faster, fastest or 2000, 3000, 3500. The Ram on the 3500 has a faster rating than the 2000 and 3000. They use 143Mhz or166MHz SDRAM, respectively. The 3500 uses 183MHz SDRAM.

-Dave

-- How does the card perform with respect to various multimedia processing like MPEG capture and DVD playback?

-Brian

The testing is going great. We have a real slick software program that we have written for the 3500 that is a no brainer to use. Even a PR flack like me can use it. We have written all the code for the still capture, channel surfing, channel naming and the skin technology. We are also partnering with some well respected software developers to give us the expertise in DVD encoding and decoding and video editing we need to be successful. Companies like Intervideo have great products, so we use them to make the 3500 better. We are also looking to partner with a video editing software company.

-Dave

-- These features, we have already been told, are supported in software. How does the card perform over low end systems? Can you comment on what type of power (CPU Speed, RAM) a user would need to run DVD playback with acceptable frame rates?

-Brian

For DVD we use the Intervideo WinDVD player. On a Pentium II 300Mhz you get a full 30 frames per second with the best quality we've seen from a software player.

-Dave

-- Are there any new features added to the Voodoo3 core of the board? What about drivers, are there a separate set for this card?

-Brian

The Voodoo3 parts all use the same driver. Basically you get the new Voodoo3 driver and the 3dfx VisualReality multimedia software application.

-Dave

-- Speaking of software, can you comment on any "bundles" with this board?

-Brian

We already talked about the Intervideo WinDVD application and our third party partner's application for editing. We will also ship it with VDOPhone 3.5 by VDOnet along with Microsoft NetMeeting and Internet Explorer

-Dave

--Anything you want to add?

-Brian

I think one of the coolest features of the product is the skin technology, which allows users to select the style of onscreen remote control they want to use for their TV or FM controls. It works similar to the way skins for Quake do. We put it in because when we made our first stand-alone TV Tuner card, we got complaints about the remote control style. We knew that regardless of which style we put in the software, someone would like a different one better. So we have given you a selection. The card will ship with a lot different skins on the CD. One that looks like a real TV remote, a button bar, one that wraps around the TV window. You can download even more from our website. You can also download a program that will allow you to design your own remote control and assign the corresponding buttons.

-Dave

-- Finally, I'll ask the too often asked question that you marketing types hate to answer.... :-) When will it ship?

-Brian

Easy, end of July .

BB
PR Manager
3dfx, Inc.

 



Thanks for your time Brian! You were a great sport as usual! Now tell those guys in final test and QA to hurry up! :-)

-Dave


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