Voodoo 5 In House PREview

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The 3dfx Voodoo 5 5500 AGP
An "In House" PREview and Test Of Alpha 2 Product

By Dave "Davo" Altavilla
4/24/00

Hot Hardware's Test Systems For The Voodoo5-5500
Multi-Platform

Full Tower ATX Case w/ 300W PS, Pentium III 866EB or K7 Athlon 750,  Soyo SY-6ICA i820 Motherboard also Soyo SY-6BA+IV BX and Abit KA7 KX133 Athlon Motherboards 128MB of  800MHz (400MHz. DDR) Techworks  RDRAM or 128MB of Corsair PC133 Memory provided by PCNut, WD Expert AC418000 7200 RPM ATA66 Hard Drive, 3dfx Voodoo5-5500 AGP w/ 64MB of SDRAM , Kenwood 72X CDROM,
3dfx Voodoo5 Drivers Version 4.12.01.0532 4/16/00,
Win 98SE, DirectX 7.0a


 
Benchmarks with the Voodoo5-5500
Fast?  Uhh, yeah....
 

We really wanted to put the V5 through its paces and we set it up nine ways from Sunday.  Here are tests with various settings in Unreal Tournament.

3dfx's native Glide is driving the above test.  Not too shabby but  unfortunately, UT only had a 16 bit color setting for Glide since historically Voodoo didn't support 32 bit.  So we moved on to Direct 3D.

These scores were down right impressive.  Here 800X600X32 hits 30 FPS and 2X FSAA smokes at 61 FPS. Also, you almost get 2X FSAA for free, versus no FSAA at the same resolution.

 

Now let's look at how things scale across other platforms.  Our budget system was an Athlon 750 since the CPUs are so darn cheap these days.  Here are more Quake 3 scores.

A notch behind the i820/P3-866 but still solid 32 bit color performance.

Now we see the same CPU used on an Intel BX chipset board and the numbers turn up even more.  We have noticed that Intel's AGP implementation for the i820 chipset is slightly behind the BX and still somewhat immature.  However, also remember that the AGP bus is being overclocked to 88MHz. with an FSB of 133MHz.  Yes, the V5-5550 handled this bus overclock without incident and turned in better scores as a result. 1024X768 with 2X FSAA looked sweet at 36.7 FPS in 32 bit color.

What should you take away from this preview?  Well, for sure you can see that the Voodoo5 has a lot of promise.  Not yet ready for release, this card has shown us great image quality with FSAA and 32 bit color.  Frame rates were decent with all features turned up to max in Quake and UT with 4X FSAA and 2X FSAA.  There is a lot of driver optimization to come before the release of the product to the retail channel.  Remember when the GeForce first came out?  Remember the frame rate increases that were offered with each new driver release and even recently with the 5.13 drivers?  We think surely you can expect the same migration to higher performance with the Voodoo5, even before they hit the shelves, not to mention as the weeks roll on after release.

There will be no rating here for this product since it is in pre-release status and it would be unfair to pass full judgment at this point in time.  What we can tell you is that it has changed the way we look at 3D Image Quality in computer graphics.  In addition, 3dfx has raised the performance bar once again.  The weeks and months to come will certainly be very interesting considering all of the new products coming to market in the 3D Graphics arena.  We think the Voodoo5 will provide a gaming and 3D graphics solution that will make a lot of folks much happier in their over all experience.

Update!  5/12/00

We now have Final Release Drivers, New Benchmarks and a Full Rating

Go there now!

-Davo

So, what do you think? 
Get into the HotHardware Conference Room and tell us!

  To HotHardware!

 
Tags:  Pre, House, voodoo, preview, review, view, IE

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