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 3dfx Channel   Voodoo1   FAQ 
 

Official frequently asked questions (FAQ) on video cards 3dfx Voodoo1 (Voodoo Graphics and Voodoo Rush) posted by 3dfx to clarify several common doubts expressed by users.


Q 1: What is the 3Dfx Voodoo chipset.

The 3Dfx Voodoo chipset is currently (March '97) the fastest 3D acceleration chipset for the PC. It features 3D-capabilities that until now only coin-ups and very expensive boards were able to achieve. (Nice detail: A lot of arcade coin-up's use the same 3Dfx chipset !)

Q 2: What boards are there that support the Voodoo chipset?

Currently, there are 3 boards available. The first is the Diamond Monster 3D from diamond multimedia. (www.diamondmm.com) The second is the Orchid Righteous 3D from Orchid. (www.orchid.com) The last one is the Flash 3D from Deltron Technologies.

Q 3: Which one is better ? The Monster 3D,Righteous 3D or Flash 3D?

It is said that the Righteous 3D uses better quality mechanical relais. Some say it are those relais are likely to get damaged with frequent use. Reality is that none of the two board is better. Go for the board that is cheapest. If you care about the software that is bundled with the cards, it is said that Diamond did a better job then Orchid. As for drivers, diamond has a very bad name, but it seems orchid is even worse. (One time orhcid drivers underclocked the 3Dfx card in order to 'fix' bad memory.) The Flash 3D will be the cheapest of all the cards, but offers little or no software with it.

Q 4: Are there any potential conflicts between my 3Dfx card and another card ?

Except for the well documented Vision 868/968 problem, which can always be fixed by a special patch, no, there will be no hardware conflicts. The M3D does not use any IRQ's, DMA's, I/O ranges or COM ports. It simply wants a some memory addresses to call its own.

Q 5: What software comes with the boards ?

Monster 3D comes with the following software: (that utilizes the Voodoo chipset)

•Monster truck madness (D3D) preview version. •Hellbender (D3D) preview version. •VR Soccer •Descent 2, 8-level demo. •Tomb raider 1-level demo. •EF2000 Graphics plus, instant action demo. (No campaigns) •Hyperblade •Mechwarrior 2 •Whiplash full version.

The Orchid 3D comes with the following software: (that utilizes the Voodoo chipset)

•Descent II 8-level demo •MTM and Hellbender demo •VR Soccer - Semifinals •Whiplash full version •Scorched Planet demo version •Mechwarrior II full version

Q 6: Where can i buy these boards on the net ?

Please look at the where to buy page.

Q 7: For which operating systems are there drivers for Voodoo ?

Currently there are D3D drivers for Windows 95. There are GLIDE drivers for Windows 95, Windows NT (3.51 or 4) and DOS. Mini OpenGL drivers are under construction for Windows 95 and Windows NT.

Q 8: I keep hearing about this Voodoo Rush thing. What is that ?

The Voodoo Rush is another chipset then the Voodoo chipset. Unlike the Voodoo chipset, the Voodoo Rush chipset is capable of rendering 3D in a window. The first Voodoo Rush chipset based boards are expected beginning Q2 of '97. Please check the 3dfx web site (www.3dfx.com) , the Hercules web site (www.hercules.com) or Alliance Semiconductors for more information about the Voodoo Rush and Hercules Stingray. (The first card with the Rush)

Q 9: Is the Voodoo Rush chipset better then the Voodoo chipset ?

No. The Voodoo Rush chipset has about the same performance as the Voodoo Chipset. (+/- 5%) However, there are some advantages and disadvantages to Voodoo Rush based cards. (For now, the only card is the yet to be released Hercules Stingray 128/3D)

Voodoo Rush card based advantages.

•By installing a Voodoo Rush based card, you gain one pci slot over a 2D-card and Voodoo card setup. •Voodoo rush cards don't suffer from video degradation. •Voodoo rush cards can do 3D in a window, wich is attractive for VRML, rendering and gaming purposes. •It will feature BOBW (Best of Both Worlds) for an attractive price.

Voodoo Rush card based disadvantages.

•Voodoo Rush based cards will cost more then Voodoo based cards. •With Voodoo Rush based cards you're 'stuck' with the 2D implementation, which is not good enough for some people. (Hercules put 1-Cycle EDO-RAM in the Stingray 128/3D, which is good, but not as good as the high end ATI or Matrox Millenium cards.) •At this moment, Hercules does not support the 1152*864 resolution, which is a big disadavantage for 17" monitor owners. (Personally, I LOVE that resolution. I will not buy a card that does not support this resolution.)

Q 10: Is the Voodoo chipset compatible with my IBM,Cyrix or AMDprocessor ?

Yes it is ! Early versions of Glide were compiled for Pentium(tm) processors only, but that was fixed a long time ago ! Please note that it is not reccomended to use such processors, because all of them have poor FPU performance, and the FPU is frequently used by 3D applications.

Games

Q 1: Which games support Voodoo chipset ?

A lot ! First of all, most new and some old Direct3D games will support Direct3D. These games will take advantage of the Direct3D drivers for Voodoo boards. (For example: Monster Truck Maddness and Unreal) After that a whole bunch of games are ported, or especially written for the Voodoo chipset. Here are a few examples:

Descent 2 EF2000 VR Soccer Mechwarrior 2 (GL)Quake Winter Race 3D Independence Day POD

This is only a very small fraction of all the games which support the Voodoo chipset. For a complete list, check out our games page.

Hardware and Drivers

Q 1: I have an S3 based videocard, can I use the Voodoo boards ?

Yes. However, -some- S3 chipsets (S3 Vision 868/968) have a bug which causes crashes when accessing the Voodoo board. 3Dfx have put a fix out, if you experience problems with your S3 card, get the fix. (s3fix.exe from www.3dfxzone.it)

Q 2: What's wrong with my S3 968/868 based video card?

The S3 968/868 chip contains a bug. The 968/868 chip states that it requires 32mb of frame buffer memory when it actually decodes 64mb of frame buffer memory. Sometimes the M3D card gets mapped by Windows 95 into the 968/868 upper 32mb of decode address.

The fix for this problem is to remap the M3D card. To do this follow these directions:

1.Right click on My Computer and choose Properties. 2.Select the Device Manager tab. 3.Double click on Display Adapters device and then double click on S3 Vision968 PCI (or other video driver). 4.Select the Resources tab, scroll down in the Resource Settings and write down the last Memory Range setting. 5.Open the Multimedia device and double click on the Monster 3D PCI Video Multimedia Device. 6.Click on the Resources tab and write down the Memory Range in Resource Settings windows.

After you have written down the different memory addresses for your video card and M3D, change the Memory Range so that your video card and the M3D are 64mb. Example: If your video card is mapped at EE000000, then change your M3D to E0000000. If your video card is mapped at FA000000, then change your M3D to FC000000. Yep, this means you need to know a little Hexadecimal.

Q 3: How can I fix my S3 968/868 based card if I don't know hex?

Good news. There is an easier way to fix your conflict. After you have installed your M3D software, by adding the following line to your AUTOEXEC.BAT file should work on most computers:

C:\WINDOWS\FXREMAP.EXE

Q 4: I experience a fuzzy screen when i run in high resolutions.

A known side-effect of the Voodoo boards is the video-degradation caused by the pass-trough cable or Voodoo board itself. This is only experienced with -HIGH- resolutions. (Let's say 1024*786*70Hz and up.) There are several possible causes, and several possible solutions for this problem:

The first nine solutions apply to the Orchid R3D and Diamond M3D video cards. The tenth is for the Orchid R3D only. The following solutions are listed in no particular order:

1.Lower your resolution and refresh rate. (If you are already at 60Hz, you can't go much lower... )

2.Try straightening out the passthrough cable as much as physically possible. You may be able to straighten it out more by moving the R3D to another PCI slot in the PC.(see #3 below)

3.Try swapping the R3D into another PCI slot on the PC. Try all possible combinations. (note: Windows 95 users may go through the "new device found" routine when swapping PCI cards...)

4.Use the "homosapien" video switching method #1: Leave the monitor cable unscrewed from the connector on the R3D or your 2D video card. Leave the passthrough cable that plugs into your 2D video card unscrewed at the 2D video card end. When you want to use the R3D, plug your monitor cable into the R3D and plug the passthrough cable into your 2D video card. When you want to use your 2D video card, unplug the passthrough cable from your 2D video card and plug your monitor straight into your 2D video card, thus -totally- bypassing the R3D.

5.Use the "homosapien" video switching method #2: If you have DSUB inputs -and- BNC inputs on your monitor, buy a BNC cable (if you don't already have one, they are availible at the following places: Your monitor manufacturer; they -may- send you one for free it they are nice. If not, buy one from a good computer retailer, Fry's Electronics~$50.00, or Best Buy (very high quality, Belkin brand~$50.00) Plug the BNC cable from your 2D video card(DSUB end) to the BNC inputs on your monitor. Plug the DSUB cable from the R3D video out to the DSUB input on your monitor (the supplied passthrough cable is not used in this method). Use the monitor's video switching controls to switch between DSUB and BNC video inputs when appropriate (extremely annoying if your monitor doesn't support automatic video switching/sensing between DSUB and BNC).

6.Go to Radio Shack and purchase two snap-on ferrite choke cores,(Cat. #273-105 @~$5.49 each) and clamp them onto both ends of the pass-through cable, as close as possible to the ends.

7.Try different combinations of PCI slots along with the ferrite choke cores on the pass-through cable.

8.If you have two monitors and have the room/space to set them both up on the same desk, use one monitor (your #1 rated monitor) and plug it directly into your 2D card. Use your other monitor (your #2 rated monitor) and plug it directly into the R3D's video output (the supplied passthrough cable is not used in this method). Add the following line in your autoexec.bat file or write a small batch file to run your game and include the following line: SET SST_DUALHEAD=1. This keeps both monitors active at the same time.

9.Send the R3D back to Orchid and complain of this problem and swear never to use it/buy it again until it is corrected (not likely to work, and not likely that you'll even do it...).

10.There are 6 surface mounted RF-chokes (coils) marked L3-L5 and L7-L9 on the Orchid R3D board (5 rev). Older Righteous boards may have different part numbers: on rev A board they are L8-L10 and L11-L13. Parts are located close to the 2 vga-connectors, 3 on both sides of the relays. You need to solder short wires (or just solder pads) which bypass the chokes, i.e. short circuit them. Or you can remove the RF-chokes completely and replace with wires, this may give even better results but then restoring the board to its original state is harder. Remember to use good mains isolated soldering iron with temperature control so you won't burn you R3D board. Warranty will not cover this...

I can't give any guarantees this will work on every system but it worked on my system with Matrox Millennium and Nokia 445X monitor and also a friend of mine with Stealth64 and Nokia 447X monitor made the modification and saw big improvements in picture quality. (And now at least 2 inet guys have made this and it worked also on their systems.) Original poster: timoj@co.jyu.fi (Timo Jarvenpaa)

Q 5: My computer locks up when i run a program that utilizes the Voodoo board !

You may have the S3 problem. If you have a s3 based VGA-card, please get the S3-fix from the 3DFX website. (s3fix.exe from www.3dfxzone.it)

Q 6: Windows NT Locks up when i try to run a Glide program !

Check if the 'genport' and 'mapmen' devices are started. Go to Control Panel/Devices and check if both are started. If they are, go to the event viewer and make sure the devices did not fail. If one of the devices did not start or fail, fix that. If both are started, and did not fail, and you have the S3 problem, look for a fix on the 3Dfx website called 'NTREMAP', or get the latest Glide release. (This bug was fixed for Glide 2.1.1 Release B at 01-Mar-97)

Q 7: When i try to run a 3dfx technology demo, they go bezerk !

Symptoms: When running demo's like 'Valley of Ra' and 'Wizards Tower' it seems like de demo's recieve tons of input, causing them to run around the scene like madmen.

Solution 1: If you have a joystick, please calibrate your joystick in the control panel. That should fix it.

Solution 2: If you do not have a joystick, please -disable- the gameport from the device manager. That should fix it.


All the informations contained on this page are the property of 3dfx Inc. and have been reproduced with the permission of 3dfx Inc.

Copyright 2000, 3dfx Interactive, Inc.
All rights reserved.


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