3Dfx Voodoo Series

3Dfx Voodoo Series

After a fortuitous drop in EDO DRAM prices due to the volatile DRAM market, Voodoo Graphics cards became feasible for the consumer PC market. The Voodoo 1, as the Voodoo Graphics would be later known, was notable for its lack of an onboard VGA controller. As such, a Voodoo-equipped PC still required a separate VGA graphics card, meaning it was very expensive to have both 3D and 2D acceleration. The Voodoo 1 occupied a separate PCI slot and only engaged when the host PC ran a 3D game that had been programmed to use the card. A pass-through VGA cable daisy-chained the VGA card to the Voodoo 1, which was itself connected to the monitor. Although this was a cumbersome arrangement that somewhat hurt the analog signal quality of the separate 2D card, PC gamers were willing to put up with it to gain what was, at the time, the best in 3D graphics.

The Voodoo 1's main competitors were cards from PowerVR and Rendition. PowerVR produced a similar 3D-only add-on card with capable 3D support, although it was not comparable to Voodoo Graphics in either image quality or performance. 3dfx saw intense competition in the market from cards that offered the combination of 2D and 3D acceleration. While these cards, such as Matrox Mystique, S3 ViRGE, and ATI 3D Rage, offered unquestionably inferior 3D acceleration, their low cost and simplicity often appealed to OEM system builders over the addition of another expensive and limited-use card (especially with the then-unproven 3D game market). Rendition's Vérité V1000 was an integrated (3D+VGA) single-chip solution as well that was perhaps Voodoo's closest competitor, but it too did not have comparable 3D performance (equal quality, however) and its 2D was considered merely adequate relative to other 2D cards of the time (slower than ViRGE, Rage, and Mystique).

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