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Reviews

Voodoo5 5500 Video Card




Voodoo5 5500 AGP $299.99


3Dfx, Inc.


http://www.3dfx.com

In a Nutshell



Rating:5 Penguins



Pros:




  • High-performance 3D video

  • Uses latest XFree86 support




Cons:




  • Software must be downloaded from the Internet
  • No software to utilize DVD hardware assist









Reviews Voodoo
That Voodoo That You Do So Well: This bad boy renders 3D images better than any other board we’ve seen.

System Requirements


Hardware




  • AGP (at least a P90)



Software




  • XFree86 4.xx
  • Red Hat 6.1



Supported Platforms




  • Linux
  • Windows 9x
  • Windows ME
  • Windows NT
  • Windows 2000



Reviews Empire Award Logo

If you’re a gamer, here’s a 3D-video board you will absolutely love. You will be blown away by its speed and versatility. In fact, if you take gaming seriously, it might just be time to let people know that this is what you want for the holidays.

The Voodoo5 5500 AGP from 3dfx is the next stage in the evolution of ultra-high resolution gaming. By using its dual on-board VSA-100 (Voodoo Scaleable Architecture) video chips and 64 MB of RAM, this board turns out amazing 3D graphics. It renders 3D images with impressive flair and speed. A maximum resolution of 2048×1536 x 24bpp (bits per pixel) provides for more depth than any game we’ve seen uses — that is, if you can find a monitor that handles a resolution that high.

Performing full scene anti-aliasing in real-time, the Voodoo5 5500 eliminates the jagged look of diagonal lines. This results in substantially better-looking images (normally a performance intensive operation). The VSA-100′s T-buffer allows application programmers to use special effects such as depth of field blur, soft shadows, and soft reflections. This adds to the realism of 3D images, with no actual CPU overhead.

Using With Linux

Out of the box, the Voodoo5 5500 supports only Windows 95/98. All other drivers must be downloaded from the Internet via http://linux.3dfx.com. Linux drivers are actually “non-supported drivers,” so Linux installs can be difficult; novice Linux users will need help. New and improved drivers will likely be available by the time this sees print. Demo 3D programs are also available from the above Web site.

The drivers run with the latest version of XFree86 — not standard fare for many established Linux users. Count on another installation step if XFree86 v4 is not your X Window server of choice.

The drivers do support OpenGL though. This is used by most Linux games, so upon installation, the Voodoo5 should work with many current 3D games. Older games, foreign to OpenGL, may require upgrades.

As with many Linux device drivers, support is through e-mail and newsgroups; news://3dfx.glide.linux is a good place to look for help with installation and game support.

Other Considerations

The Voodoo5 includes DVD acceleration hardware (alas, not currently supported under Linux). It’s also a full-length board, which can cause problems in PCs not designed to handle that size. Syncing the VSA-100 chips can also be problematic. The Voodoo5 5500′s are synced using the 3dfx’s SLI (Scan Line Interleave) mode. This provides the same resolution that you would get from a single chip, but at twice the performance.

The Voodoo5 5500 AGP is a great board. The drivers available, while more difficult to obtain and install than their Windows counterparts, allow this video adapter to make Linux one hot gaming platform. Feature-for-feature, it is probably the best board available for hard-core gaming.

While it’s likely that you may be initially shocked at the Voodoo5 5500′s $299.99 price tag, its outstanding capabilities more than justify the large investment. This is truly a dream board.

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