The new Voodoo Products
I want to hear about the products!
With VSA technology, 3dfx is introducing two new product lines, Voodoo4 and Voodoo5. The Voodoo4 will be available as AGP or PCI single-chip budget-end boards, while the Voodoo5 series will comprise the company's multi-chip solutions. How does this work? Well, looking at the technological improvements VSA holds over Voodoo3, it makes sense for the product to be christened Voodoo4.
The Voodoo4 4000 will run at either 166MHz or 183Mhz, and will double the pixel fill rate of a Voodoo3 at the same speed. Pipelining improvements will gain another 15-20% pure fill-rate improvement as well, and support for FXT-1 and 32-bit rendering might even be enough for those looking to upgrade.
However, for power users, having the same texture fill-rate probably wouldn't be enough justification to update from that brand new Voodoo3 3500, and TNT2 (not to mention GeForce) owners will scoff at newly-added support for such "standards" as 32-bit rendering. Similarly, the single-chip solution won't be able to take advantage of 3dfx's much-ballyhooed T-Buffer effects engine. This is where the Voodoo5 comes in. Delivering on what 3dfx claims as "Insane fill-rates," the multi-chip V5 5000, 5500, and 6000 products are the ones which are going to make you sit up and notice.
Show me to Voodoo5
The Voodoo5 5000 will be available in both PCI and AGP versions, and 3dfx was quick to mention that they are the only current vendor actively supporting the PCI graphics market. Sporting 2 VSA-100 processors and a total of 32MB (16MB per processor), the 5000 pushes out 4 pixels per clock, and supports a fill-rate of 667-733Mpixels/sec. At this point, the speed of the core and memory for the finalized product will be determined solely by memory pricing in the near-term future. At 166MHz, we'll be looking at 667MHz, and if we're lucky and 183MHz memory drops in price, we'll be seeing 183MHz Voodoo5s at 733Mpixels/sec. The V5 5000 will retail for $229.
A missive on T-Buffer
The multi-chip nature of Voodoo5 allows it to be the first board to support T-Buffer effects. Interesting to note is that 3dfx deems full-scene anti-aliasing so important that it has removed it from the T-buffer list, and onto its own, being touted as one of VSA-100's highlight features. By having each processor in a multi-chip solution render separate subsamples of a scene, effects such as sort-independent anti-aliasing, motion blur, depth of field, and soft-shadows and reflections can be realized. Due to the nature of their implementation, these effects are incredibly fill-rate intensive, and it's no surprise that 3dfx's highly fill-rate focused cards are the first to introduce them to the consumer market.
Next in line is the Voodoo5 5500, with identical specs to the 5000, except that it will ship with 64MB of RAM (32 per VSA-100). Also, the 5500 will only be available for the AGP bus. This is the product that 3dfx will target to the hardcore gamer, the ones who demand the most from their systems and seek a balance between high frame rate and gorgeous graphics. The higher amount of RAM allows high-resolution 3d scenes (up to 1280x1024 and beyond) to be stored directly in local memory, reducing or eliminating the need to fetch information from the host system.