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Thread: The 3dfx Thread - "That is power most-awesome."

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    Default The 3dfx Thread - "That is power most-awesome."

    Ah 3dfx, how I miss you. I would love to have a pair of PCI-E VooDoo running SLI, but it was not meant to be.


    Anyone who was into the PC gaming scene back in 96-99 should remember 3dfx and their revolutionary accelerator cards. I was introduced to these wonderful add-ons with an HP PC that included a VooDoo 1 board, playing a special Glide-enhanced version of Mechwarrior 2. It wasn't long before we got a VooDoo 2 to replace it (breaking Mechwarrior 2). When I finally got my own PC, a VooDoo 3 2000 AGP soon followed.


    That AGP card is still a powerhouse, and I've gotten more use out of it than any piece of technology I own, save for my NES. There's still an enthusiast community built around those cards, and it's astounding what they can do (Half-Life 2!). It's a shame they aren't still in the business, but failure to make Glide widely accepted and the maturation of the other APIs pushed 3dfx out of the market. Of course, their lavish corporate lifestyle didn't help, which probably distracted them from the work they should have been doing to stay on top. Maybe if the Dreamcast had panned out in their favor...

    It's been eight years since 3dfx filed for bankruptcy. Most of their assets were bought by nVidia, and were rumored to be used in the GeForce 5XXX line. It's probably safe to say that no more games are going to be developed with support for Glide, but I can't find a definitive list. What are some of the games that run either specifically in Glide, or at least were designed to support 3dfx cards?

    Got any memories of 3dfx? Still running Quake III on your VooDoo 2 SLI? Post your stories below!


    List of Glide Games (Windows)

    Another List (DOS-focused; I'd like to find a definitive DOS list)

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    Last edited by NayusDante; 12-22-2009 at 07:36 PM.

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    Great Puma (Level 12) Steve W's Avatar
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    Memories of 3Dfx cards...

    I had just bought a Mac clone, a UMAX C500, and was looking for a good video card to fill one of the two PCI slots in it. 3Dfx Voodoo 1 cards were available for PCs, and a little company finally decided to make one that was Mac compatible. There was a stupid pass-through cable, going from your Mac's video output into the card and then you plugged your monitor into the card. Goofy set-up, but without that cable you could plug in a second monitor I discovered.

    Anyway, around late 1999 I decided I would go get myself one of those $200 ATI Rage 128 cards that had hit the shelves. Bought it, installed it, and started noticing problems. Jumbled artifacts on my desktop, and when I played my save point in Tomb Raider 3, I'd turn away from a cave wall, look out at the rest of the cavern, and the machine would freeze up solid. It turns out that my UMAX C500's motherboard had PCI 1.0 slots, and the Rage 128 card would only work properly in PCI 1.1 slots, which damn near every other computer had other than mine. Any graphics too complex would lock the computer up. So I did a little online investigating, and found that 3Dfx had come up with a Mac compatible firmware flash for the PC cards, along with updated drivers for OS 8/9. So I returned the ATI Rage 128 card, bought the Voodoo 3 3Dfx card for only $99, and used the store credit a few months later to buy my Sega Dreamcast.

    The jump from a Voodoo 1 to a Voodoo 3 gave me a few problems. Most of my graphics accelerated games like Carmageddon and Future Cop: L.A.P.D. wouldn't work with it and go to software rendering, which in the case of Carmageddon, was pretty ugly with lots of graphical issues. But there were some good games that took advantage of the Glide library. The casing of the C500 is really small, and the heat that thing put out was pretty strong, almost like a space heater. The heat inside the case eventually killed my CD recorder, although it was a piece of junk to begin with, so that might not have factored in. Eventually I upgraded to an eMac 800, an all-in-one computer, and the 3Dfx card was left behind and forgotten about. By that time they were already out of business, so it was best that I moved on. I'm just happy that they even bothered supporting the Macintosh to begin with.
    Last edited by Steve W; 12-22-2009 at 09:58 PM.

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    Very cool story, thanks for sharing!
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    I remember talking my parents into getting a VooDoo 4 (or 5) for our 333Mhz IBM Aptiva (my dad liked the brand/line). I was able to run "American McGee's Alice" on that PC with the VooDoo with not much issue, other than levels taking *forever* to load.

    Today I have a VooDoo 3 in my Win98 gaming machine. The card might be slightly older, but my Win98 machine is faster (500mhz) and has maxed out ram.

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    Cherry (Level 1) phreakindee's Avatar
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    When I was about 14, the next Need For Speed came out, NFS3. I was so excited, got it a few days after release. Little did I realize it essentially required an accelerator.

    After a bit of research, I found that the Voodoo2 was the best out there, so I saved up for months and bought the $140 12mb Blackmagic card. It required a 2D card to be hooked up to, which should be no problem right?

    Well the card I had already was an integrated POS. I never got it to work. So, I had an awesome $140 paperweight. Eventually we got another machine, I installed it and loved it to DEATH. My friends had cards by S3 with more memory, but they were always jealous and came over to play my games on Glide. Hehe.

    Soon after, the Voodoo3 came out and I got the PCI 2000 16mb. It was an all in one so it was great, got me through the Unreal Tournament years.

    Then nVidia bought them out and 3DFX was no more, so I got a GeForce card and haven't moved from nVidia since!

    I re-bought Voodoo2 and Voodoo3 cards and built Windows 95 and Win98 systems around them. I will post photos later, they've got logos and custom decals just for the celebration of 3DFX.

    The Voodoos are simply amazing pieces of hardware when you have a game that supports them. There are sites like Falconfly that have all the info you could need on Glide games and patches. I'm trying to collect these games myself and have a couple dozen so far.

    Still trying to get a good Voodoo1 card to play the first Glide games properly (yes I know many of them had patches, but the real deal is almost always better). DOS 3DFX games especially intrigue me, like Carmageddon and Shadow Warrior. I have the machine ready, just need to find a card. Can't wait to get to those! 3DFX forever.
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    My parents bought a new computer in early 1999 for the family. The CPU was an AMD K6-2 300 MHz, with 32 MB of RAM and integrated motherboard video. A year later, I replaced the integrated video with a Voodoo3 2000 PCI when it was discounted. I paid around $80 for it, retail. I also upgraded the RAM to 256 MB, replaced the CD-ROM drive with a CD-RW drive, and added an ethernet card, all of which were a huge pain in the neck because the tower was so tiny. (I'll never own another slim/micro tower again.)

    The computer with the Voodoo3 card ran StarCraft, Frogger 3D, Unreal, Unreal Tournament, and Quake III beautifully, but it choked to death on Heavy Metal: FAKK2, which is odd, since that game ran on the Quake III engine. It ran Deus Ex and Drakan: Order of the Flame pretty poorly, too.
    Last edited by Rob2600; 12-23-2009 at 05:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob2600 View Post
    ...The CPU was an AMD K6-2 300 MHz, with 32 MB of RAM and integrated motherboard video. A year later, I replaced the integrated video with a Voodoo3 2000 PCI when it was discounted. I paid around $80 for it, retail. I also upgraded the RAM to 256 MB, replaced the CD-ROM drive with a CD-RW drive, and added an ethernet card... but it choked to death on Heavy Metal: FAKK2, which is odd, since that game ran on the Quake III engine.
    Strange indeed, since I had and have almost the exact same setup with a Voodoo3 2000 PCI card and FAKK2 runs great on it fully accelerated. Sad, it's such a great game.
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    Quote Originally Posted by phreakindee View Post
    Strange indeed, since I had and have almost the exact same setup with a Voodoo3 2000 PCI card and FAKK2 runs great on it fully accelerated. Sad, it's such a great game.
    That's weird. I remember I tried every combination of settings and installed the patch and I still only got maybe five frames per second. It was really frustrating.

    What didn't make sense is I got single digit framerates at the highest detail settings/resolution *and* the lowest detail settings/resolution. Nothing seemed to help. Oh well, that was almost 10 years ago and I've since moved on.

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    I think I still have a Voodoo3 AGP card in a box somewhere, if anyone wants it. Ha ha. OpenGL eventually surpassed it, but 3dfx was really the best graphically when it went extinct.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob2600 View Post
    The computer with the Voodoo3 card ran StarCraft, Frogger 3D, Unreal, Unreal Tournament, and Quake III beautifully, but it choked to death on Heavy Metal: FAKK2, which is odd, since that game ran on the Quake III engine. It ran Deus Ex and Drakan: Order of the Flame pretty poorly, too.
    I coulda swore that my Voodoo 3 2000 PCI ran Aliens vs. Predator and similar games smoothly back in the day - but now it dies on them. Not sure what's going on. If what you say about Quake III is correct it should run Soldier of Fortune pretty well (although I'm trying to play a newer edition, Platinum, that has anisotropic filtering and some other goodies), because it's a Quake II engine game.

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    My Voodoo 3 2000 AGP was and is still in my Pentium II 266 with 96Mb PC100 SDRAM. I remember Unreal Tournament was the first game that didn't run perfectly smooth, and Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force was pretty choppy. Of course NOW I can probably get better performance with a faster hard drive, modern 3rd party drivers, and a higher clock speed. I might make UT framerate my next weekend project...

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    Sometimes it can be something small in the OS that throws things off. I occasionally like to go into Mac OS 9 mode and play Future Cop: LAPD, but something that was installed on a system update not too long ago has totally screwed up the sound now. All the sounds play at half speed. It doesn't seem to affect the graphics to any degree, but it's annoying as hell. And makes the voice of Sky Captain sound even more evil.

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    Sound problems are generally pretty intractable and driver-specific. I don't think there's really any excuse for a graphics card plugged directly into a relatively fast bus like PCI to be grinding along.

    I suppose it's possible that the newer third-party drivers I got for Win98 are at fault, but this isn't like nVidia breaking compatibility with the game for newer releases. These enthusiast drivers were meant (as I understood it) to add features to the drivers that 3dfx had planned but didn't get to market, or to improve games from about its time. I suppose that'd be worth checking out though.
    Last edited by Ed Oscuro; 12-28-2009 at 10:49 PM.

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    I love 3dfx but the company ending pissed me off. I was a huge supporter. I had no idea they were going out of business. They had a clearance sale of the voodoo 2 cards the ones you link together with nice rebates, Rebates they never intended on honoring. I thought that was foul. The next thing you know old jeds a millionaire.

    I still have them cards around here somewhere. Gereat times.
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    From what I recall the Voodoo3s were usually crappier than my SLI Voodoo2 12MB cards... and I remember them having a ton of compatibility issues.

    I held out with a Matrox G400 and SLI Voodoo2s for a lot time after the Voodoo3s were out... I think an ATI Radeon was what replaced them in the end.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gepeto View Post
    I love 3dfx but the company ending pissed me off. I was a huge supporter. I had no idea they were going out of business. They had a clearance sale of the voodoo 2 cards the ones you link together with nice rebates, Rebates they never intended on honoring. I thought that was foul. The next thing you know old jeds a millionaire.
    I don't believe anyone intends to honor rebates, which is why I try to buy products that don't dangle "rebates" as an purchase incentive.

    At least bankruptcy is a better excuse than some generic and vague excuse that usually gets used on customers.

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    The only rebates I haven't recieved was from IO magic and 3dfx and I average 8 per year.. I will never order from IO magic again but the 3dfx sent me a card blaming me as the reason I didn't get the rebate. Saying something was missing on both. Back then money was tight. It was a good run while it lasted.

    that was a memorable era
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    There's a 3dfx Voodoo 5 6000 AGP prototype up for sale on ebay right now. high bid is $676.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/3Dfx-Voodoo-5-60...item45f0b307b4

    More interesting is the sellers 3dfx collection, linked from the auction page

    http://www.3dfx.ch/gallery/main.php?...g2_itemId=3851

    I miss 3dfx. I'm thinking of putting together a Win 98 machine with one (if I can find a Voodoo 5 cheap) as well as my Aureal Vortex soundcard, another blast from the past.

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    Cherry (Level 1) phreakindee's Avatar
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    Holy crap, that collection is amazing!!

    And the proto board is of course awesome as well, thanks for sharing the links!
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    is there any truth to the idea that a voodoo 1 works better with ceratin games that were hardcoded for it as opposed to useing a later voodoo card?

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