|Sub-Pixel Correction||Sub-pixel correction simply means drawing things correctly. In other words, if a pixel is at position 0.1356, it is drawn at exactly 0.1356 rather than at 0. The pixel is interpolated from the actual coordinate, rather than just integer values.
During sub-pixel correction, hardware always pre-steps the interpolant values in the Y direction to the nearest pixel centers and then steps one pixel at a time in the Y direction. For each X span it also pre-steps in the X direction to the nearest pixel center and then steps in the X direction one pixel each time. This results in rock solid rendering and eliminates almost all jittering of pixels on triangle edges.
Hardware can be non-sub-pixel correct or sub-pixel correct in X or both X & Y. All hardware should be sub-pixel correct; however, some software rasterizers are not sub-pixel correct because of the resulting performance loss.
|Stencil Buffer||The stencil buffer is used to eliminate certain pixels from being drawn. The stencil buffer acts the same way as a cardboard stencil used with a can of spray paint. You can 'draw' values into the stencil buffer using the normal rendering primitives. Then a stencil test can be defined and stenciling enabled.
A possible use of the stencil buffer is in a flight simulator. Imagine that the view outside the plane is supposed to fit into an irregularly shaped windshield. The rendering of the view outside the plane should not interfere with the rendering of the instruments inside the cockpit. If the windshield area is drawn in the stencil buffer, then a stencil test can be set up to make sure the windshield view is only drawn where the windshield stencil has been drawn. Applications also use stencil buffers for special effects such as dissolves, decaling, and outlining.
|Fill Rate||So, what the heck is fill-rate? No, it’s not how fast you can cram your mouth with tasty snacks or fill a glass with savory brew, while playing your favorite games. Fill rate is the measurement of the number of pixels that can be drawn on a screen per second --pixels being small elements or dots that together create an image. At a resolution of 1024 x 768, millions of pixels can be generated in each frame --many of them overdrawn in the creation of the image. Thousands of pixels are actually displayed on the screen (768,432 to be exact). At a frame-rate of 60 frames per second, the game is moving at an incredibly fast pace; thus creating images and special effects that improve overall gameplay. This is where graphics boards come into the picture. In order to experience games at their peak levels, your card must have the ability to handle all of this information. This is what makes having a superior card a MUST.
Still confused? Consider this analogy. The motion of a windmill is very smooth, while the movement of a clock is sort of bumpy (tick, tick, tick). A high fill rate will give you the smooth, crisp windmill effect, whereas a low fill rate will give you the bumpy clock effect. The images and scenes would move slower and reaction time would suffer, creating a “jagged” appearance.
|Alpha Blending||Most of you probably know that many 3D cards include the feature alpha blending. Perhaps you have found yourself wondering, “What the heck is that and why is it important?” I know –-it sounds almost like a hip name for a 90s fraternity or sorority. You can be rest-assured that it’s not.
Before we get started on the subject at hand, it’s important that you understand the difference between transparency and translucency. If an object is transparent, you can see through it –-it is completely clear. A translucent object allows you to see partially through it, although some areas of the object may be easier to see through than other parts.
Imagine yourself at home playing your favorite 3D game. Just as you are about to crush your enemies, a crash occurs and everything explodes. Right when the explosion occurs, you can’t see through it very well, but as it expands –-with smoke, flames and debris everywhere –-you’re able to see through different parts of the image more clearly than through others. Alpha blending is used to create the different levels of translucency, or in some cases fully transparent objects.
Alpha blending is the 4th component that makes up a fully featured texture – RGBA. A 32bit texture has 8 bits (or 256 levels) of red, green, blue and alpha. The RGB portion is similar to a color wheel (like in Photoshop) where any color can be created from a combination of red, green and blue. The alpha component describes the level of translucency of that texel (portion of a texture). A low level of alpha would indicate an almost transparent object such as smoke, while a high level would indicate an almost opaque object like stained glass. Effects such as lens flares, dust clouds, windows, water and other cool objects you can partially see through, are all created using alpha blending.
Texture use of alpha blending is the most common form, but a developer can also use alpha blending per triangle vertex. This mode can be used to fade objects into the distance or create whole 3D model effects like invulnerability or ghosting. The entire triangle or 3D object becomes translucent rather than just the texture that is applied to it.
In addition, alpha blending is used to create complicated shapes from just a few triangles. For example, imagine a leaf on a tree. You could create that leaf from hundreds of triangles or you could create a detailed picture of a leaf and paste it on a rectangle. The areas of the rectangle that do not have the leaf picture would be alpha blended to create transparency. You can see this effect in games with trees created from a criss-cross X pattern or in “billboard” trees along side a road in a racing game.
Alpha blending in textures is most commonly 1bit or 8bit. Referring to the hexadecimal number of levels, bit depth is broken down as follows:
1bit is 2 levels (on/off); 2bit is 4; 3bit is 8; 4bit is 16; 5bit is 32; 6bit is 64; 7bit is 128; and 8bit is 256 levels.
|Gouraud Shading||Gouraud --- A New French Cheese?
Maybe not, but thanks to a French mathematician named Henri Gouraud (pronounced on-Ree grrr-Row), 3D gaming has reached all new levels of realism. Graphics have evolved from the primitive and jagged look of flat shading, to the smooth and natural look of Gouraud shading. The difference is night and day. So what is this 3D revolution we call Gouraud shading? Well, let me start from the beginning.
In 3D Graphics, images are made of polygons. These polygons must be shaded, otherwise you would only see chicken wire structures rather than realistic structures. In flat shading each polygon is filled with one particular color. Gouraud shading, on the other hand, involves filling the polygon with a gradient. This process is done by interpolating the vertex colors that are located at each corner of a triangle. By this, I mean determining from two or more values what the in-between values should be. In other words, the interior of each triangle is a smooth gradient between the colors of the three vertices. The idea of this method is to compute color for every pixel on a triangle instead of filling it with a single color. By utilizing this technique, 3D objects appear increasingly realistic due to the smooth and curved appearance of the surfaces, even though they consist of many separate polygons.
Due to the amount and complexity of the calculations involved in Gouraud shading, more work is put on the computer’s processor. High-end video cards and graphic accelerators (such as those offered by 3dfx), do an effortless and excellent job of delivering the natural appearance and shocking realism of Gouraud shading.
Today, Gouraud shading stands as one of the most popular shading algorithms in use. This technique can be attributed to almost all thrilling 3D games on the market today. As computing power increases, it may give way to more advanced techniques such as Phong shading, but for now Gouraud is everywhere.
|Phong Shading||In my previous report on Gouraud shading, I briefly mentioned a more advanced technique called Phong shading. Many of you who read that report were intrigued and wanted to know more. "What is Phong shading and what's the difference between Phong and Gouraud?" you asked. I received numerous e-mails urging me to further report on this topic, so that’s exactly what I did. Enjoy!
Since its presentation in 1973 by Mr. Wu Tong Phong, Phong shading has been the standard technique for rapidly rendering specular highlights. Because it supports interior highlights, Phong shading retains a high degree of visual quality even with low polygon count models. However, despite twenty-seven years of improvements, real-time Phong shading is so costly that it's still only available on high-end hardware.
The Phong model describes the interaction of light with a surface, in terms of the properties of the surface and the nature of the incident light. In Phong shading, instead of interpolating the actual color along the polygon, it interpolates the polygon normal vector along the surface. Then it calculates the brightness based on this normal vector and calculates a new shading color for each pixel. Of course, Phong shading is much slower than Gouraud shading, as we have to compute one normal at each pixel, but the surface highlights which result lead to superior levels of realism. This technique involves a very slow process which cannot yet be considered a real-time option for home computers. True implementation of Phong shading is rather unlikely to appear in the near future due to its complexity. Many programs which claim to be able to perform real-time Phong shading are most probably using an approximate Phong shading which utilizes a texture mapping-based technique. This method comes quite close to Phong shading and is much faster.
Though Phong shading is sure to become more and more popular as computer power increases and advances in graphics technology prevail, Gouraud shading remains the most popular shading algorithm in use today . The advantage of Gouraud shading is that it is computationally the less expensive of the two models. It only requires the evaluation of the intensity equation at the polygon vertices, and then bilinear interpolation of these values for each pixel. Gouraud Shading is effective for shading surfaces which reflect light diffusely. Specular reflections can be modeled using Gouraud Shading, but the shape of the specular highlight produced is dependent on the relative positions of the underlying polygons. On the other hand, Phong Shading produces highlights which are much less dependent on the underlying polygons. However, more calculation are required, involving the interpolation of the surface normal and the evaluation of the intensity function for each pixel.
|Voodoo 4/5 FAQ||Answer|
|What is the difference between the V4 and V5?||The Voodoo4 and Voodoo5 are 3dfx board product families. The Voodoo4 family includes a single 3dfx VSA-100 graphics processor. The Voodoo5 products contain two (2) or four (4) VSA-100 graphics processors on a single board.|
|How will the Voodoo4 perform compared with the Voodoo3?||The single-chip Voodoo4 boards will, clock for clock, significantly out-perform Voodoo3. Here's why. Voodoo4's VSA-100 engine renders two pixels per clock for single-texture content, whereas Voodoo3 only renders one pixel per clock. Also, we've made the basic 3D rasterizer more up to 20% more efficient. The VSA-100's texture compression will help performance tremendously in games that use compressed textures. These improvements, when combined with some other fundamental enhancements like all of the important DirectX6 and DirectX7 texture combines, new alpha blends, and guardband clipping to offload the CPU, lead to what could be a 100% performance improvement in a lot of situations.|
|What are the minimum system requirements needed to support Voodoo4 and Voodoo5 products?||Any of the Voodoo4 and Voodoo5 products require only Pentium MMX-200MHz or higher CPU and a CD-ROM drive.|
|Is the memory on the Voodoo5 boards unified or segmented? For example, on the Voodoo5 5500 AGP with two VSA-100 chips with 32MB of memory per chip, is the video memory 64MB or is it really just 32MB?||The video memory is unified, only texture data has to be repeated for each VSA-100 chip.|
|Will you make a PCI version of any of the cards?||Definitely. The Voodoo4 4500 and Voodoo5 5000 have PCI versions, and we may create more. There are still a lot of serious gamers who use PCI. In addition with all of the new OEM systems being shipped with integrated North Bridge chipsets, like the Intel i810, which does not have an AGP slot, we see the need for PCI graphics boards remaining strong in the retail market.|
|How many SKUs will be released of each family?||We will be releasing two SKUs for Voodoo4 (4500 AGP/PCI) and three for Voodoo5 (5000 PCI, 5500 AGP, 6000 AGP) in the U.S. Retail market.|
|What are the Voodoo4 and Voodoo5 price ranges?||The Voodoo4 4500 AGP/PCI will cost approximately $179.99. The Voodoo5 5000 PCI will cost approximately $229.99. The Voodoo5 5500 AGP will cost approximately $299.99. The Voodoo5 6000 will cost approximately $599.99.|
|Why did you decide not to have TV-out support in any of the V4 and V5 products?||We looked carefully at end-user data and very, very few end-users want to play PC games on a TV. The higher resolution capability of monitors outweighs the larger TV size for our end users.|
|Will there be any revisions made to the Glide with Voodoo4 and Voodoo5?||No revisions were necessary. V4 and V5 products are compatible with all existing Glide titles and will support Glide 2.x and 3.x.|
|Can I put two 2-way boards in a system? How about two 4-way boards?||No, not for the consumer market applications. VSA-100’s SLI enables multiple chips on a single board to operate in parallel but does not easily provide for multiple boards. Quantum3D’s AAlchemy visual simulation products utilize a standard PCI bridge and board design to enable multiple VSA-100 boards to operate together. Also, our systems contain a special power supply to power AAlchemy. Overall, it’s a great solution but a bit too expensive for the mainstream consumer market.|
|I understand that V4 and V5 have DVD Hardware Assist. I currently have a DVD Hardware Decoder card. When I purchase a V4 or V5, will I be able to remove the original DVD Decoder card and play DVD movies directly through the V4 or V5 card?||Yes, on two conditions: you must also have a software DVD player such as Intervideo’s WinDVD™ and a CPU of 266MHz or higher to get acceptable DVD quality.|
|Is VSA-100 the same as Napalm?||Yes.|
|What is the VSA-100 chip?||The VSA-100 chip is the latest silicon chip that is part of both the Voodoo4 and Voodoo5 product families. Formally known as the Napalm, this chip has a scalable architecture and additional features such as the T-Buffer™ Digital Cinematic Effects, FXT1™ Texture Compression and Real-Time Full-Scene HW Anti-Aliasing.|
|What is the difference between Voodoo3 and VSA-100?||The VSA-100 is everything that Voodoo3 is plus: AGP 4x, 64MB frame buffer, 32-bit RGBA rendering, 32-bit textures, 24-bit Z & W buffers, 8-bit stencil, 2Kx2K textures, FXT1™ Texture Compression, SLI support for Real-Time Full-Scene Anti-Aliasing (FSAA) and the T-Buffer™ Digital Cinematic Effects… all in hardware.|
|Is this the new architecture you have been promising, or another derivative of the Voodoo graphics architecture?||The VSA-100 is based on the Voodoo graphics architecture and incorporates a multitude of new features, enhancements, optimizations and technology. These include Full-Scene Anti-Aliasing (FSAA), T-Buffer™, FXT1™, 32-bit color, 64MB memory, 2K X 2K textures, etc. See our Voodoo4 and Voodoo5 product sections for comprehensive lists of features and benefits.|
|Will you have software T&L support?||Voodoo4 and Voodoo5 have software T&L support.|
|Will the VSA-100 support 3Dnow, Linux and BeOS?||Yes, Yes and Yes.|
|What is the fill rate on the single chip solution? SLI? 4-Way?||The single chip VSA-100 is 333-367 Megapixels/sec – the 2-way SLI is 667-733 Megapixels/sec - the 4-way SLI is 1.33-1.47 Gigapixels/sec.|
|Do you expect any supply limitations with Voodoo4 or Voodoo5 like you had with Voodoo3, and especially the 3500TV?||No.|
|Will you do a version of the VSA-100 that has a tuner like the Voodoo3-3500TV?||We do not plan on announcing a VSA-100 product with a tuner. We expect the 3500 TV to continue to be an outstanding multimedia solution.|
|Will you have HDTV support?||HDTV is an important coming technology for the PC. We don’t have any details on product support to date.|
|Will you be speed grading the VSA-100 chips like you did with Voodoo3?||We expect good yields at high speeds for the VSA-100, therefore we don’t have plans to speed-bin the parts.|
|What will the clock speeds of the configurations be?||The final clock speeds will depend on memory prices and what we see with the actual silicon. The possible range is 166MHz to 183MHz.|
|Are the memory and processor clocks synchronous?||Yes, there’s a single clock memory and core clock.|
|Why did you decide to go with the type of SDRAM instead of a higher performing memory type on the board?||SDR SDRAM is cost-effective, highly available and presents no technology risks. SLI (Scan-Line Interleave) and SDR SDRAM together give us higher memory bandwidth than any competing product, making SDR SDRAM an easy choice.|
|Will any of the boards ship with a fan?||Voodoo5 products will ship with fans. We’re actually right on the borderline of needing and not needing a fan, but we want to play it safe.|
|Can you overclock Voodoo4 or Voodoo5?||Any component that has a clock, can be overclocked. However, with Voodoo4 and Voodoo5, the performance is so superior that there is no need to overclock. We guarantee stability at the shipped clock rate.|
|Do you have full AGP 4x support in the VSA-100? If not, why not?||We support AGP 4x, but we do not support execute mode.|
|Does the VSA-100 support AGP execute mode and side banding?||The VSA-100 does support side-bands, but does not support execute mode. Execute mode has been proven to give minimal performance benefits and we decided it wasn’t worth the time, cost or risk.|
|Can the single VSA-100 (Voodoo4) board do the T-Buffer Digital Cinematic Effects?||No.|
|Do the Voodoo5 products (5000, 5500, 6000) perform the T-Buffer effects and FSAA at the same time?||Yes. The Voodoo5 products are capable of doing any combination of FSAA and the T-Buffer effects.|
|Is there a performance penalty?||Because multiple rendering passes are required to do T-Buffer effects and full-scene AA simultaneously, there is a performance hit that increases as more simultaneous effects are enabled.|
|Can the Voodoo5 6000 (4-way SLI) board do the T-Buffer effects and FSAA at the same time?||Yes. It’s the same situation as the 2-way board.|
|FSAA doesn’t matter at high resolutions – does it?||You can see from our demos, which are all run at 1024x768 resolution, that FSAA makes a huge difference. The difference is noticeable even at 1600x1200, but you know that very few gamers have systems that support that resolution at this time.|
|Does your FSAA and T-Buffer technology cause performance hits?||The real question concerning gamers is whether they can run their favorite titles at real-time frame rates, like 60fps, with features turned on. So, applications will run at real-time frame rates at 32bpp with FSAA turned on, and they will run even faster with FSAA turned off.|
|Does the Motion Blur T-Buffer effect in Quake 3 increase your target area?||No.|
|Will the VSA-100 have Mac support?||With the VSA-100, we took into account many of the features for the Macintosh market. To date we have not announced a Mac-based product, however we have announced a PCI version of Voodoo4 and Voodoo5, which will work with 3dfx’s Mac drivers.|
|Will 3dfx ever sell and support a Mac product?||The company has Mac drivers and PCI Voodoo products. We have not disclosed our Mac strategy.|
|How about SLI support for the Mac?||SLI is applicable to any platform including PCs, Mac and Linux.|
|Voodoo 3 FAQ||Answer|
|Is it OK to overclock my Voodoo3?||Like many industry leaders including Intel, 3dfx Interactive does not support or condone the act of overclocking, a term used to describe the practice of running computer components above the specification set by the manufacturer. 3dfx does extensive speed-bin testing on our chips to determine at which clock speed each part will operate consistently and reliably. Overclocking your Voodoo3 chip can cause damage to the graphics accelerator board and/or the system the board is installed in. It can also greatly decrease the life expectancy of the overclocked chip.|
|If I have SLI should I get a Voodoo3?||Your choice, but the Voodoo3 is the next generation product in the Voodoo family of products and clearly is the next level of performance in the 3D arena. Voodoo3 offers several significant advantages over Voodoo2 SLI that many users will find important enough to choose to upgrade. The first of which is that Voodoo3 can render from 6 - 8 million triangles per second versus Voodoo2SLI at 3 million, this enables the next generation of highly complex games to scream at ultra high resolutions. Second, the Voodoo3 3000 flat-out beats SLI in real-world game performance and in industy-standard benchmarks; even the Voodoo3 2000 holds its own against SLI. Next, Voodoo3 can display 3D in greater than 1024x768 mode and higher resolutions make for better-looking content. If you haven’t played QuakeII at 1600x1200 you’re missing something (sniping has never been so good). Also, Voodoo3 can also display 3D in a window. Voodoo3 has integrated the world’s fastest 128-bit 2D engine and a high-performance video engine, too that enables you to display resolutions up to 2048x1536 (dependant on monitor support). With a fully-integrated solution you can free up those two PCI slots and take advantage of the much faster AGP bus. Finally, we’ve improved our color filtering in 16-bit modes since Voodoo2 quite a bit: a discriminating eye will be able to see the difference (see #11 below).|
|Can I use a Voodoo3 with a Voodoo2?||Yes, but why?. The Voodoo3 is a standalone product with 2D and 3D combined. No other graphics card will be required.|
|Is Voodoo3 3D-only?||Voodoo3 is a 2D and 3D card. No other graphics card will be required.|
|Will there be a PCI version of Voodoo3?||Yes. The Voodoo3 2000 will be available with a PCI bus or an AGP bus.|
|Will you continue to sell Voodoo-based boards to other board makers?||3dfx will continue to sell and support Voodoo2 and Voodoo Banshee chips to our current add-in card and OEM customers.|
|Who will be selling Voodoo3?||Voodoo3 will be sold by 3dfx. Authorized distributors and retailers will carry the products (examples include CompUSA, Best Buy, Electronic Boutique, MicroCenter and Fry's).|
|When will 3dfx products hit the retail shelves? How many SKUs do you expect?||We are planning to launch the first 3dfx branded products powered by our recently announced Voodoo3 family of chips optimized for both the retail and PC-OEM markets. Four SKUs will be shipped: the Voodoo3 2000 AGP, Voodoo3 2000 PCI, Voodoo3 3000 AGP, and the Voodoo3 3500 AGP. Expect the products to be available in the late March time frame.|
|Are you going to sell a 3D-only version of Voodoo3?||No. All Voodoo3 cards will be 2D and 3D combined, but the performance of the 3D is not lost in anyway with the combined card. Check out the web site for the increased 2D and 3D performance!|
|What TV resolutions will you handle?||NTSC and PAL.|
|Why doesn't Voodoo3 support more than 16MB?||A 16MB frame buffer supports 1280x1024, 16bpp, triple buffered, 16bit depth buffer, with 6MB of texture memory to spare. Voodoo3 will also do full 3D rendering at 1600x1200! There is no need for 32MB if 16MB produces same results! No popular games require 32 MB. Why pay an extra $$ for an extra 16MB memory for no perceivable benefit?|
|Why doesn't Voodoo3 support 32b rendering, or large textures, or 32b textures?||There are two reasons: frame rate and image quality. Frame rate is the single most important feature that a gaming platform can provide, and not just average frame rate but sustained frame rate. How many times have you been wiped out in a death match when your frame rate suddenly drops as a number of characters and weapons enter the scene? 32bpp rendering with full 32bpp frame buffer accesses requires twice the memory bandwidth of 16bpp frame buffer accesses regardless of the graphics engine: higher banchwidth requirement means lower frame rate. As for image quality, we’ve gone to great lengths to make games look great in 16bpp mode. We actually do the rendering calculations internally at 32 bits to have full precision with the 16-bit operands. Then, instead of simply truncating the results to 16 bits for saving in the frame buffer we use a proprietary filtering algorithm that retains nearly the full precision of the color value. The result is something that rivals ANY full 32-bit rendering, only it goes a lot faster. We think that’s what gamers really want.|
|What OS's will be supported?||Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT 4.0.|
|Can I get the 143MHz board with TV?||The Voodoo3 3000 and Voodoo3 3500 are the only boards that will support TV out through and S-Video connector. We’ll also make an RCA “dongle” available.|
|What is the highest color depth available for the 3D output? Is it still 16-bit color or has it been updated to 32-bit color?||The Voodoo3 uses internal rendering calculations @ 32bpp with a proprietary compression algorithm to store results at 16bpp. This gives us the best of both worlds: high color depth and low memory bandwidth!|
|It also stated it has DVD Hardware Assist. I currently have a DVD Hardware Decoder card. When I purchase a Voodoo3 will I be able to remove the original DVD Decoder card and play DVD movies directly thru the Voodoo 3 Card?||You can still use your original DVD decoder card. The Voodoo3 card will just make the DVD decoding operate faster. By integrating offers planar-to-packed conversion in hardware the Voodoo3 offers full 30 fps (frames per second) MPEG-2 Playback with no dropped frames, and Soft DVD support for all major CODECs.|
|Are all versions of the Voodoo3 going to be compatible with super 7 motherboards, I would make sure to have full compatibility because of the upcoming K6-3?||Yes. All Pentium based motherboards and AMD motherboards will be supported.|
|Will you offer trade ins for those who want to upgrade from a Voodoo2 to a Voodoo3?||We don’t have plans for a trade-in program.|
|Will there be a Voodoo3 4000? When will it be out? Will there be a PCI version of all Voodoo3 boards?||As for PCI versions of the 3000 and 3500, we don’t think that there will be much market demand. However, if that’s what end-users tell us that’s what they really want we can change the product mix. Voodoo3 4000? Sorry, can’t comment on un-announced cool stuff.|
|Will the Voodoo3 support Linux as anticipated your flash presentation on the website didn’t mention it, only the windows platforms.||We’re looking really closely at Linux as a gaming OS: it’s become popular in many areas. However, we can’t make any official comments one way or the other about potential future products like Linux drivers.|
|Are the Voodoo3 2000, -3000 and –3500 based on the same chip? What are the differences?||The –3000 operates at 166 MHz and produces 333 million telexes (megatexels) per second, while the –3500 operates at 183MHz and produces 366 megatexels per second.|
|Will 3dfx have a Mac-version of Voodoo3?||Just as there are Voodoo2 boards for the Mac, the Voodoo3 can also be a Mac graphics solution. We have received very positive response from Mac-Voodoo2 users and will continue to provide solutions for that platform. Currently, we are discussing this option with some of our board partners.|
|At Comdex, you introduced Voodoo3 as a 125MHz chip and a 183MHz chip. Why the change?||When we put Voodoo3 into production, three things happened which we think are very exciting for consumers and hard-core gamers.
First, we discovered that we could beat our projected internal clock rate of our entry-level chip, so we decided to power the Voodoo3 2000 with a faster 143MHz chip. This still is offered under the price point we had pegged for the 125MHz chip, so it’s a real bonus for consumers.
Second, we were able to yield excellent performance from a 166MHz version of the chip, so it made sense to make that the heart of the Voodoo3 3000, the high-end mainstream product. The Voodoo3 3000 offers industry-leading performance for the vast majority of game enthusiasts, and promises to be an enormously popular product for us. We think consumers will agree that it’s a tremendous value and very powerful graphics accelerator.
Third, we discovered that the 183MHz chip again yields performance that exceeds even our expectations. Based on the relative performance of this chip versus the other Voodoo3 chips (not to mention the technology available from our competitors), it was clear that this processor was an ideal engine to drive the Voodoo3 3500 product. The –3500 is an ideal product for hard-core gamers who demand the ultimate in performance and interactivity.
|When will 3dfx offer AGP 4X?||We’ve announced that a 4X member of the Voodoo3 family will be available to our OEM partners in time to intercept the debut of AGP 4X in the market.|
|When will the AGP 4X board be available?||The AGP 4X member of the Voodoo3 family is timed to ship with the high-volume ramp of the first 4X AGP chipsets.|
|Does Voodoo3 support anisotropic filtering?||When we launched at Comdex ‘98, this was primarily a software feature which we decided not to productize after having reviewed the resulting image quality that it provided.|
|Does Voodoo3 support full scene anti-aliasing?||This is another primarily software feature that is under review.|
|With the introduction of Voodoo3, will there be any revisions made to Glide?||We use Glide to tie together all of our hardware offerings with a common API. Glide 3.0 has recently been released and Voodoo3 is fully Glide 3.0 compatible. Voodoo3 is also fully backward compatible with the older Glide 2.X API.|
|Will Glide be updated prior to the release of Voodoo3?||There will be unique Glide drivers for Voodoo3; however, the core Glide functionality and programming interface will be unchanged for Voodoo3.|
|Does Voodoo3 have any special support for AMD’s K6-2 and 3DNow! instructions?||We have worked diligently with AMD to insure that our drivers for Voodoo3 as well as drivers for Voodoo Banshee and Voodoo2 will get the maximum possible benefit from the 3DNow! instruction set. You can even see several AMD K6-3D systems in our booth today!|
|Are you providing optimizations for Pentium III? How about optimizations for Pentium II?||Collaborating with Intel, we optimized current and future Voodoo products for the Pentium III processor, enabling consumers to enjoy greater levels of realism in their games and entertainment content. All of the application programming interfaces (APIs) supported by Voodoo3 – including Microsoft’s Direct X6, Glide from 3dfx and OpenGL from Silicon Graphics – have been optimized for the Pentium III processor. As a result, content developers can incorporate more intricate models and scenes, and apply significantly greater realism to the movements of characters and objects.
As for Pentium II, with Voodoo Banshee we introduced a patent to directly handle out-of-order commands from the Pentium II so that there are no CPU stalls. This hardware optimization results in as much as a 15 percent performance improvement.