Voodoo5 5500 PCI installs and runs exactly like
its AGP counterpart. Driver installation can
be a little flaky at times but once installed
things are very stable. The card uses one
IRQ just like the AGP version and the external
power connector sets up the same as well.
The drivers also are identical.
Color and Anti-Alliasing Tabs (click for full
the thing we like most about 3dfx product is its
high level of "tweakability". In
the top left shot, the color tab allows you to
adjust gamma, contrast and brightness for your
desktop, Direct 3D apps, OpenGL apps and the Video
Overlay, all independently. There is nothing
worse than having to turn gamma up in a game and
then when you get back to your desktop, things are
all washed out. The Voodoo5 5500 PCI lets
you dial in the image quality to your liking in
as we all know, the strong suit of the Voodoo5
series of product is its full scene Anti-Aliasing.
Image quality is greatly improved and the "jaggies"
are almost completely removed with 3dfx's
"fully jittered" sub-sample approach to
AA. We covered this feature extensively in
our Voodoo5 5500 Preview
but here are a couple of screenshots as a
Full Scene AA @ 800X600X32
(click for full
view, images are large)
shots are JPEGs with no compression and the
highest quality setting. We used them for
ease of viewing across multiple platforms but the
images are large. Look at the lattice above
in the top left shot. Typically, all of the
lines you see that draw the outline of those
images will look very jagged. However, in
all of these shots the images are super clean
looking with 4X FSAA.
addition, FSAA really doesn't shine all that much
in Quake 3 Arena. If you are standing around
looking at the scenery, you are pretty much
"rail-shot" dust. One of the most
obvious displays of the benefits of FSAA, is with
Flight Simulators. Since the beginning of
time it seems, we have been subjected to
"texture swimming" and line crawling as
planes were drawn against landscapes and other
environments. 3dfx has produced a real-time
video clip that shows the advantages of FSAA as it
relates to Flight Sims and other games, where you
can actually see the huge benefit good FSAA
of 3dfx Interactive - Real-Time FSAA Demo (click
for 7MB MPEG Movie)
line crawling across the wing on the left hand
image, is literally too much to bear when you are
exposed to the super clean image on the right hand
side. Once you are spoiled by the likes of
the great image quality on the right, average non
AA image quality looks uninspiring.
we want to touch on another neat little tweak that
3dfx has brought to their driver base, called LOD
Bias or Level Of Detail. This feature is
control via the "advanced settings" tab
in the driver control panel and it really makes a
5 Level Of Detail BIAS setting (click for full
name of this feature, almost tells you exactly
what it does. The LOD BIAS setting adjusts
the level of detail in the textures being used in
a given game. A high negative LOD and images
look sharper and more detailed. A higher
positive LOD and images will be appear more blurry
and less detailed. Here are a couple of
screen shots with an LOD setting of -1.
5500 PCI Screen Shots with LOD of -1 (click for
at the left hand shot. We never knew that
fat bastard had a dragon tattooed on his
chest! Now that's a level of detail.
These shots were taken without FSAA enabled.
It is my personal favorite way to play Quake 3,
since you can't take the time to appreciate FSAA.
However, with an LOD BIAS setting of -1 and max
texture setting, things look really vivid and