Legendary 3dfx Voodoo 5 6000 Gets Modern Revamp In Amazing Reverse Engineering Effort

v5 6000 remix front
For gamers of a certain age, the 3dfx Voodoo 5 6000 was perhaps the ultimate in graphics card excess. Developed at a time when 3dfx was facing increasing competition from the likes of NVIDIA and ATI, the Voodoo 5 6000 would have been a last-ditch effort to compete at the high-end of the gaming market. 

While 3dfx was able to push the Voodoo 5 5000 and Voodoo 5 5500 out the door, the Voodoo 6 6000 was never officially released (although an initial run of roughly 1,000 cards was produced). Over the years, some of these cards have wound up for sale, although they are quite expensive to procure given the limited numbers in the wild and the sheer over-the-top nature of the card.

v5 6000 remix angle

An enthusiast who simply goes by "Anthony" has created the next best thing to purchasing an actual Voodoo 5 6000: he built one himself using readily available VSA-100 graphics processors. VSA-100 chips can still be purchased in bulk, and a single VSA-100 will set you back just under $20. You need four VSA-100 chips to recreate the Voodoo 5 6000, and that's exactly what Anthony did with his impressive remake. He reverse engineered an actual Voodoo 5 6000 to produce his design, and the final result is what you see in the embedded images.

He created his own custom PCB with more modern components to house the VSA-100 chips along with the sixteen 8MB 166MHz SDRAM modules.  This meant that the Voodoo 5 6000 had an incredible -- at the time -- 128MB of graphics memory (32MB for each VSA-100 chip). There's also an internal 4-pin Molex connector to deliver power to the board, which means there's no need for the external power brick of the original. According to Anthony, his recreation performs exactly like an authentic Voodoo 5 6000, warts and all.

Anthony did modify the original design, however. You'll notice this card uses a PCI interface, unlike the original V5 6000, which used AGP. This particular custom card has the ability to pass-though VGA signals like a Voodoo 1 or Voodoo 2, so this revamped V5 6000 can be used in conjunction with another graphics card, to handle 2D or DirectX games.

v5 6000 remix back

"Performance is exactly the same as on V56K," said Anthony. "Same BIOSes, same drivers, same bugs. [It's] Very important [to note], no V56k was hurt or even killed during [reverse engineering]."

3dfx voodoo 5 6000 original
The original 3dfx Voodoo 5 6000 with its external power brick.

According to a Mod Labs Chief Administrator, some of the issues inherent to the Voodoo 5 6000 (and are replicated with Anthony recreation) are:

  • Color distortion and artifacts in games on some platforms and driver versions
  • The presence of translucent stripes on the screen in high-speed modes of operation
  • Miscellaneous compatibility and speed issues

Although we can't find any recently completed auctions for the Voodoo 5 6000, a related Voodoo 5 5500 (which features two VSA-100 chips) sold brand new sealed in the box for $1,300 on eBay. We'd imagine that a Voodoo 5 6000 would fetch a far greater sum. Although Anthony's version of the Voodoo 5 6000 likely isn't as valuable as an original board, we have to commend his incredible achievement.