3dfx VoodooTV 200 PCI

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3dfx VoodooTV 200 PCI - Page 2

The 3dfx Voodootv 200 PCI
Not just 3D Anymore...

By Marco "BigWop" Chiappetta
10/24/00

 

Looking at the specs on page 1, it's easy to think that installing one of these cards in your system means a slew of cables cluttering the back of your PC.

But notice that there is only 1 RF (F-Type) connector on the back of the card.  Both TV and FM signals are received through this single connection.  If you're in an area where your cable provider also supplies FM radio signals through a single wire, this is great and offers excellent sound quality.  If your cable provider does not supply FM radio signals you will have to use a splitter / combiner in conjunction with an FM antenna to take full advantage of the card. 

Satellite TV customers should also be aware that you will need to split a signal off of your satellite receiver to connect to the Voodootv.  All channel changing will have to be done from your receiver. At the surface this may sound like a hassle but if you're really into your toys, couple a remote control room extender with your satellite receiver and Voodootv and you've got a sweet little setup.

Quality and Installation Of The 3dfx Voodootv 200 PCI
Let's get down to business...

As always, we like to give any new product a close look to assess it's physical quality.  The Voodootv 200 is very clean and relatively simple compared to many of the other products we've reviewed here on H.H.  There is absolutely nothing to speak of on the back of the card, it's on the front where all of the good (and one not-so good) things are going on.

The card at the top of this picture is a Hauppauge WinTV-FM PCI.   The card at the bottom is the Voodootv 200.  3dfx is the first to offer an add-in card using Microtune's "tuner-on-a-chip" (Microtuner) technology and the first area where this apparent is the physical size of the tuner.  Notice the large metal shielding on the WinTV board as opposed to the much smaller Voodootv.  Besides the fact that this new technology is smaller, it also offers many benefits over the last generation of tuner products. Because is it a single programmable chip, it can be set up to provide better reception than the older generation tuners. For example channel isolation is probably the most important issue because there is usually programming on every channel available on any given cable system. The dual conversion Microtuner used on the Voodootv 200 PCI is more discriminating than traditional tuners and can "filter" out stray frequencies which in turn provides superior performance in tuning each channel.  The Microtuner can also find channels much faster than traditional tuners.

There are a minimal amount of internal connections to make with the Voodootv.  All you have to do is connect a cable from the audio-out to any stereo input on your sound card.  Don't have any connections left on your sound card?  No problem...the audio connectors on the Voodootv act as a pass through.  You can connect your CD-ROM's audio cable to the CD-in jack and use the supplied cable to go from the audio-out to the CD input on your sound card and the Voodootv and your CD-ROM will share the input.

The only gripe we have with this card is a fairly minor one.  If you look at the bottom of the picture above you'll see a small metal item standing off the board.  This is a crystal (used to generate clock frequencies) and if it sticks straight out, it just barely clears the adjacent PCI slot.  We had to bend it slightly to make sure it didn't short any connections on the back of another card in our test system.  It would have been better if 3dfx mounted this crystal flat on the PCB.  This is not a huge problem but the potential to short another card or to break the crystal bending it is there.

Installation of the card and drivers was an absolute breeze.  Insert the card into an available PCI slot, boot into Windows bypassing the "Found New Hardware" messages and run "Setup" from the supplied driver CD and you are off and running.  We installed the Voodootv in a system with 4 other PCI slots used (modem, NIC, sound and SCSI) and there were no problems to report at all.

Control Panels and Screenshots

 
Tags:  TV, PC, 3D, pci, 3dfx, voodoo, fx

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