Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 0
The following is LONG but it is from John Carmack's latest ".plan". John Carmack of id is the owner and lead programmer, responsible for the Quake game engine and is one of the most influencial voices that gamers pay attention to.

The full text of this can be found at:

Here is the relevant exerpt:

3DFX Voodoo 1
The benchmark against which everything else is measured.

Good throughput, good fillrate, good quality, good features.

It has a couple faults, but damn few: max texture size limited to 256*256 and 8 to 1 aspect ratio. Slow texture swapping. No 24 bit rendering.

Because of the slow texture swapping, anyone buying a voodoo should get a six mb board (e.g. Canopus Pure3D). The extra ram prevents some sizable
jerks when textures need to be swapped.

Highly tuned minidriver. They have a full ICD in alpha, but they are being slow about moving it into production. Because of the add-in board nature
of the 3dfx, the ICD won't be useful for things like running level editors, but it would at least guarantee that any new features added to quake engine games won't require revving the minidriver to add new functionality.

3DFX Voodoo 2
Not shipping yet, but we were given permission to talk about the benchmarks on their preproduction boards.

Excellent throughput, excellent fillrate, good quality, excellent features.

The numbers were far and away the best ever recorded, and they are going to get significantly better. On quake 2, voodoo 2 is setup limited, not fill rate limited. Voodoo 2 can do triangle strip and fan setup in hardware, but their opengl can't take advantage of it until the next revision of glide. When that happens, the number of vertexes being sent to the card
will drop by HALF. At 640*480, they will probably become fill rate bound again (unless you interleave two boards), but at 512*384, they will probably exceed 100 fps on a timedemo. In practice, that means that you
will play the game at 60 fps with hardly ever a dropped frame.

The texture swapping rate is greatly improved, addressing the only significant problem with voodoo.

I expect that for games that heavily use multitexture (all quake engine games), voodoo 2 will remain the highest performer for all of '98. All you other chip companies, feel free to prove me wrong. :)

Lack of 24 bit rendering is the only visual negative.

As with any voodoo solution, you also give up the ability to run 3D applications on your desktop. For pure gamers, that isn't an issue, but for hobbyists that may be interested in using 3D tools it may have some weight.

Intel i740
Good throughput, good fillrate, good quality, good features.

A very competent chip. I wish intel great success with the 740. I think that it firmly establishes the baseline that other companies (especially the ones that didn't even make this list) will be forced to come up to.

Voodoo rendering quality, better than voodoo1 performance, good 3D on a desktop integration, and all textures come from AGP memory so there is no texture swapping at all.

Lack of 24 bit rendering is the only negative of any kind I can think of.

Their current MCD OpenGL on NT runs quake 2 pretty well. I have seen their ICD driver on '95 running quake 2, and it seems to be progressing well. The chip has the potential to outperform voodoo 1 across the board, but 3DFX has more highly tuned drivers right now, giving it a performance edge. I expect intel will get the performance up before releasing the ICD.

It is worth mentioning that of all the drivers we have tested, intel's MCD was the only driver that did absolutely everything flawlessly. I hope that their ICD has a similar level of quality (it's a MUCH bigger job).

An 8mb i740 will be a very good setup for 3D development work.

[end of exerpt]

So, Intel's i740 IS a serious competitor to 3DFX, but if Voodoo 1 is able to outperform it now due to better drivers, I would imagine that Voodoo 2 should be far superior with its hardware improvements and continued great drivers.

Bill Tiede
Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.