Well, it's time to test our today's hero. By tradition, I describe the configuration of the test bench, the list of tests and games used, as well as testing modes. I must say right away that the Voodoo 5 6000 from zx-c64 is a very interesting and complex product, the study of which has not yet been completed, so others will follow this material.
Now I will focus on demonstrating the absolute performance of the Voodoo 5 6000 and show how much faster this card is than the Voodoo 5 5500 PCI, which until recently was the ultimate dream for many retro gamers. I will not ignore the Voodoo 4 4500, this card, in some situations, can also be a good choice, but how much it is able to meet the basic needs of retro lovers, being installed on a fast platform is a question. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that testing of Voodoo 4 with 2x anti-aliasing was not carried out, since at the time of testing the "full" Vooodoo 4 PCI was not available to me, I had to run tests on the Voodoo 5 6000 in Single-Chip Only mode, which excludes the possibility of activating 2xAA for the "emulated" Voodoo 4 4500 PCI.
AGP - (when using Windows Me Windows XP+ with ATI )
PCI - (when using Windows Me with 3dfx)
ACPI HPET Table
Advanced IDE Configuration
OnBoard IDE Controlled
OnBoard SATA Controller
HD Fast Detection
Advanced PCI/PnP Settings
PCI IDE BusMaster
Advanced Floppy Configuration
Advanced Super IO Chipset
Synthetic benchmarks and games
Default settings, repeats – 5 times.
3DMark 99 MAX
3DMark 2000 v1.1
3DMark 2001SE v.330
Default settings, for Amigamerlin R2.9, in D3D, 32 BPP rendering is forced ON
All tested games are launched with the maximum graphics quality available for setting via the game menu.
Direct3D, 800x600 / 1024x768, 32 BPP, No AA + AA
3dfx Glide, 800x600 / 1024x768 / 1600x1200, 16 BPP, No AA + AA
Direct3D, 800x600 / 1024x768 / 1600x1200, 32 BPP, No AA + AA
Quake II ver. 320 + MiniGL 1.49
3dfx OpenGL, 800x600 / 1024x768 / 1600x1200, 16 BPP, No AA + AA
Quake III Arena v 1.11
OpenGL, 800x600 / 1024x768 / 1600x1200, 32 BPP, No AA + AA
Unreal Tournament version 432
3dfx Glide, 800x600 / 1024x768 / 1600x1200, 16 BPP, No AA + AA.
CTF-FACE, 16 bots.
Note that Voodoo 5 6000 testing was carried out with two versions of the most popular and fastest drivers available at the moment. This is relevant, since they differ not only in performance results, but also in problems related to the launch and operation of certain games. In all benchmarks, tenths and hundredths of fps were rounded for readability.
As for the list of games, there are actually much more games worthy of testing than presented in the table. Of course, like you, I am interested not only in these projects, circulating from material to material, BUT! The main BUT is that these games contain performance measurement tools, with proper use of which, you can conduct alternative testing and understand what else to strive for and whether it is worth it. If readers request, in the next article I can add a number of projects, playing in which I can express my subjective impression of smoothness.
If we conditionally imagine that the WizMark and Final Reality test packages reflect the performance of video cards in games released before 1998, it turns out that there is practically no difference between the Voodoo4 4500 PCI and Voodoo 5 5500/6000 in the resolutions that were usual at that time. And this is partly true. Games of that time will fly at 640x480 and 800x600 on all accelerators from our list. And especially there is no difference whether there will be 150 or 300 fps on the counter. Unless only Voodoo 5 can pamper players with better quality full-screen anti-aliasing. An example is Need For Speed II SE with 3dfx Glide support. This game works well in Software mode on Pentium II processors, but the appearance of Glide makes this game much more colorful. The only problem is that it is impossible to select a resolution in the game. You always have to be content with the basic one - 640x480. On Voodoo 3, for example, nothing can be done with the "ladder", but on Voodoo 4 and more powerful cards - please. At the same time, given the low resolution and relatively simple graphics, Voodoo 4 performs great with its 2xAA! But the king, of course, is the Voodoo 5 6000, which produces the "softest" picture among video cards with native Glide support.
Benchmarks of the 3DMark series up to and including 2001 are very sensitive to the addition of VSA-100 GPU. So, when switching from Voodoo 4 4500 to Voodoo 5 5500 PCI, there is an almost twofold increase in performance! But the replacement of the 5500 model with the 6000 operating at equal frequencies does not give such superiority any more. Here, as I see it, there are additional factors in the form of a slight drop in the efficiency of the SLI technology, as well as a catastrophic lack of PCI bus bandwidth, which, by the way, for our test platform is 95 MB per second according to the version of the test built into the Final Reality package.
And here is the first game. Unfortunately, the heaviest resolution supported by my monitor - 1600x1200 - is not available. Nevertheless, even without this, the game can put the Voodoo 5 6000 on the blades! If in the NoAA mode all the test participants showed decent results, then the transition to 2x AA is not so easy for Voodoo 5. Yes, from my point of view, more than 30 fps for games of that time is normal, but we know where that level of uncompromising gaming is, right? As a result, I can admit Incoming is playable on Voodoo 5 5500 PCI only with 2x anti-aliasing, and on Voodoo 5 6000 with 4x anti-aliasing. Unfortunately, 8xAA can be used only conditionally, and even then, only in 800x600. In this game for Voodoo 5 6000 I would choose 1024x768 with 4xAA.
One of the favorite games of today's test, it seems to me that from a visual point of view, Descent 3 is not ashamed to show fans of space shooters even now. Descent 3 looks great, pleases the eye with rather sharp textures and high-quality special effects in the form of smoke / steam and well-aligned colored lighting. At a resolution of 1024 by 768 without using full-screen anti-aliasing, you can play comfortably on any card presented in this review, the fps and smoothness are pleasing even if you have Voodoo 4 as a Glide accelerator. But at 1600x1200, only Voodoo 5 survived without AA. 5500 PCI and Voodoo 5 6000 PCI. Moreover, the latter flexes its muscles without a hint of tension, demonstrating a readiness to increase the load. Indeed, when you select the Raizel 64 driver, after activating 2xAA Voodoo 5 6000 makes it possible to play comfortably even at 1600x1200! But with an increase in AA quality, you will have to go down and be content with only a resolution of 1024x768, which is also not bad, of course, but my choice is 1600x1200 + 2xAA.
With 8xAA, everything is fine, but only at 800x600. Why play at such a low resolution with a high degree of anti-aliasing is an interesting question, but if some people like this picture, why not?
I would like to draw your attention to the abnormal behavior of Voodoo 5 6000 with AmigaMerlin drivers in 2xAA mode. Of course, the testing took place several times and the results were repeated. In general, it is the 2xAA mode with these drivers that causes strange behavior in games, in some of which (not included in the tests) a black screen is observed at startup. If you have experience or know how to get around this problem - let me know in the forum.
Another representative of the Direct3D community, launched with 32 BPP color depth. The game is funny, colorful, rich in special effects. And although the main difference between the VSA-100 and its predecessors was 32-bit color support, Voodoo 4 copes with Expandable only conditionally and only at 800x600. What a twist. Switching to Voodoo 5 5500 PCI will allow you to play with relative comfort already at 1024x768. But on the Voodoo 5 6000 PCI you .... With a stretch you drive to 1600x1200 and even then without anti-aliasing. Enabling full-screen anti-aliasing in this game causes the Voodoo 5 6000 to modestly say: "Master, can I raise no more than 1024x768 pixels and stroke them only twice?" Of course, you can increase fps by reducing detail or reducing color accuracy, but why? In 2021, I want to play the way it was impossible before. So, if you like 3dfx like me, Expandable is best played on a Voodoo 5 6000, using anti-aliasing very carefully.
I also note that this game has a strange problem with the AmigaMerlin drivers. At 1024x768 with 8xAA, the game refused to pass the test - it hung. At the same time, the Raizel package allowed you to spin Expandable in almost any mode, as much as you like. However, sometimes, even after a cold start of the system, Raizel64 would freeze at 1600x1200 2xAA.
And here is the cult classic. Quake II "flies" on 3dfx cards, showing ideal performance at 1024x768 without AA on each of the graphics cards presented. Switching to 1600x1200 annoys only the Voodoo 4, but the Voodoo 5 gives heat regardless of the model.
Next, we raise the rates. When activated 2x AA Voodoo 5 does not experience any difficulties, all models of this family cope with a resolution of 1024x768, and 1600x1200 is played perfectly only on the 6000-th. Note that the Amigamerlin driver shows oddities in this case as well, showing terribly low results.
Quadruple anti-aliasing rehabilitates the Amigamerlin driver, which, although slower than Raizel64, can not be called anomalous. In terms of performance, it is very interesting that the Voodoo 5 6000 with 4xAA demonstrates results that are almost exactly the same as those of the Voodoo 5 5500 PCI obtained when tested with 2x AA. Conditionally suitable for playing on a "six-thousander" can be considered 1600x1200, but to be absolutely perfect - 1024x768.
There isn't much to say about 8x AA. Works great at 800x600, relatively well - 1024x768. Next is a slideshow. There is a feeling that the highest resolution is affected by the lack of local video memory. And although the purpose of this material is not to compare the picture quality on the Voodoo 5 6000 and other cards, including those from the competitor's camp, I would like to give an example of what a game looks like at 1600x1200 with 8x RGSAA full-screen anti-aliasing.
Screenshots from the Quake II game were taken using the built-in engine, then from the TGA format they are re-saved to PNG for uploading to the site. These images cannot be considered as reference images in terms of color rendition assessment. I recommend viewing these screenshots at 100% scale, this will allow you to evaluate the quality of the proprietary full-screen anti-aliasing mechanism from 3dfx, which you can read about in one of my past materials (in Russian).
Here it is, the hardest game in our list today. For a long time it was the benchmark for all of video cards reviews, knelt down and "punished" accelerators from ATI and NVIDIA at high resolutions. Let's see in which mode our heroes break.
Voodoo 4 gives up already at 1024 by 768 without anti-aliasing. Obviously, to play on this accelerator at 1024x768, you will need to reduce the detail and accuracy of the color palette. Voodoo 5, depending on the model, copes with resolutions of 1024x768 and 1600x1200, however, there is an unambiguous feeling that when you activate anti-aliasing, above 1024x768, we will not take off.
Indeed, I believe that if you will use Voodoo 5 6000, then with maximum detail and 4xAA you can play well, but only at 1024x768. The use of the 1600x1200 resolution with AA activated is basically only possible in 2x mode. When switching to 4xAA, the game will either give an error or show disastrously low performance. This is due to the lack of local video memory available for the VSA-100. In the case of Voodoo 5 6000, the situation will be different if 256 MB are soldered on the card, but this is a topic for another material ... ..
When graphics cards based on Voodoo 2 chipset saw the light, it seemed that nothing could bring a bundle of two such cards to its knees. Indeed, Voodoo 2 SLIs are very good in many games, but their time has passed quickly enough. They were replaced by Avenger chips, which showed a significant increase in performance if a fast central processor was installed in the system. And many of us have played with Voodoo 3 in Unreal Tournament and enjoyed excellent performance and picture quality. It would seem, what could be better? It might be better, for example, Voodoo 5.
Without anti-aliasing, the Voodoo 5 5500 does an excellent job up to and including 1024x768. You can play safely without worrying about the number of bots and any simplifications in terms of graphics quality. But the resolution of 1600x1200 was only capable of the Voodoo 5 6000. I think that with a decrease in the number of bots, the 5500 model will also be able to cope with this resolution, but an ideal game without AA is only on v56k.
Enabling smoothing in UT kills performance instantly. Voodoo 5 5500 PCI will allow you to play comfortably only in 800x600, Voodoo 5 6000 in 1024x768, but the maximum of the available resolutions is obeyed only by Voodoo 5 6000, and then conditionally. To play comfortably at 1600x1200 with 2xAA, you need to reduce the number of bots or reduce the detail.
The activation of the more difficult AA modes makes the situation even more frustrating. On Voodoo 5 6000 with interference you can play at 1024x768 4xAA and again, you need to lower the graphics quality. Eightfold anti-aliasing leaves no chance for the hero of this review, playing at 1024x768 is no longer possible, at best 800x600 can do it.
Before summing up the general results of the tests, I would like to say about the quality of drivers for 3dfx accelerators. Unfortunately, due to the rarity of the Voodoo 5 6000, and as a result of the unavailability of these cards in free sale, the fine tuning of the driver settings for these accelerators was carried out by enthusiasts very superficially. The situation is further complicated by the fact that those who like to make corrections to drivers are afraid of persecution from copyright holders, and therefore, not all problems can be eliminated at all without making changes to the source code of the drivers. In addition to the already described anomalies in the Voodoo 5 6000, I have compiled a summary table with information about the shortcomings that arose during the work with the map. There are solutions for some problems, but others require additional analysis.
Драйвер Razer64 1.01.16
Rare freezes at 1600x1200x32 BPP x 2xAA
Texture corruption at 1600x1200 @ 8xAA, Glide
Texture corruption at, Resolution limit is just - 1024x768
Change the Refresh Optimization settings and Force refresh to 60 Hz
White horizontal strokes on CTF-Face's tower and cosmic space at 1600x1200 @ 8xAA, Glide. Including Single-Chip mode
Драйвер AmigaMerlin R 2.9
32 BPP color depth is not available
You must force 32 BPP rendering, to get working 32 BPP option
No D3D device is detected
You must force 32 BPP rendering
To operate normally at 1600x1200 on some system you should enable Analog SLI
Hangs at 1024x768x32 BPP x 2xAA
Белые горизонтальные полоски в меню игры на красном якоре повстанцев, при нажатии на паузу в миссии
Change the Refresh Optimization settings
White horizontal strokes on CTF-Face's tower and cosmic space at 1600x1200 @ 8xAA, Glide. Including Single-Chip mode
In this material, I would like to invite all interested specialists who could help in upgrading drivers for the Voodoo 5 6000, send me a message. Confidentiality is guaranteed. Terms are being discussed.