What was the deal?
Jump back to November. The original Voodoo3 announcement called for two distinct products, the Voodoo3 2000, and the Voodoo3 3000. The numbers are a bit ambiguous, but of course, bigger is better. The 2000 was a slightly slower, less expensive part at 143MHz, primarily destined for OEM markets. The 3000 was to be the crowning achievement, with a synchronous graphics core and memory bus at 183MHz. This of course, was to be the high end retail version, for gamers who wanted the most gaming power for their money.
Of course, as time passes, nothing ever goes exactly as planned. Where would the fun be in that, anyway? 3dfx has always been timely with their announcements and projected performance claims, but they were especially aggressive with Voodoo3. 3dfx stated that they worked very closely with memory manufacturers, and made their projections based on what memory was to be delivered by release.
However, obtaining good yields at low operational cost is never an exact science (you'd be amazed at how much superstition actually goes into chip manufacturing). Probably due to external circumstances, 3dfx refined their release plans, this time taking a three-tiered approach. We'd still have the V3 2000 at 143MHz, but plans for the 3000 were slightly modified. Instead of 183MHz, it would clock in at a slightly slower 166MHz. Still speedy, but more in the realm of reality.
183MHz wasn't scrapped though. 3dfx made a promise back in November, and they wanted to keep it. Thus was born the Voodoo3 3500. Since the speed boost from 166MHz to 183MHz alone would be difficult to justify with a normal pricing grade, 3dfx decided to include a little extra - digital LCD flat panel support via their custom LCDfx processor.
And more changes! Shortly after 3dfx's announced acquisition of STB, the specs for the Voodoo3 3500 changed once again. Instead of offering LCD, the new product would be known as the Voodoo3 3500 TV, and would incorporate STB's excellent DesktopTV technology instead. DesktopTV? We're talking about an integrated TV Tuner, support for a full array of video input and output, all coupled together with software features such as video capture, MPEG2 encoding and decoding, and more. From the looks of it, it seems the landscape for high end 3D has changed once again.