Product Watch: 3dfx Gives Mac Users A Little Voodoo!

Voodoo5 5500 graphics cardDie hard Mac gamers are probably familiar with the Voodoo graphics cards from 3dfx. Many have been successfully using PC Voodoo 3 cards in their Macs with drivers from the 3dfx site. In August Mac gamers will have a choice of two new Voodoo cards that have been designed from the ground up to work with the Mac. The Voodoo4 4500 and Voodoo5 5500 cards feature 3dfx's cross platform VSA-100 2D/3D graphics processor and deliver 32 bit color at resolutions up to 2048x1536! The Voodoo4 4500 sports 32MB RAM and one VSA-100 chip, the Voodoo5 500 has a whopping 64MB RAM and two VSA-100 chips for true pixel pushing power. Both cards support the following API's: QuickDraw, QuickTime, QuickDraw 3D, Glide, Apple OpenGL. 3dfx also plans to support OS X when it is released. The cards will be offered in PCI form initially but 3dfx claims to be evaluating the Mac AGP market. The cards are due in stores early August but 3dfx has also announced a "pre-order" program which is essentially a list of participating vendors who will receive shipments of the cards first. Below we provide you with specs for both cards.

Feature Voodoo4 4500 Voodoo5 5500 Explanation/Comments
Price "Under $200" $330

Slightly more expensive then their PC counterparts but the Mac version includes a DVI interface to support Apple's flat panel displays.

Check for lowest prices on Voodoo cards

VSA-100 Graphics chip 1 2 The processor that powers the graphics card. The VSE-100 was designed to work in both Macs and PC's. The VSE-100 has a clock speed of 166MHz and can be overclocked although this will void your warranty.
Graphics memory 32MB 64MB 32MB is probably the minimum that serious gamers would be happy with. More is better!
Fill rate
( in megapixels per second)
333mpps 667mpps Fill rate is the number of pixels that can be rendered per second. Fill rates impact the number of frames that can be displayed per second.
Full-Scene HW Anti-Aliasing Yes Yes Performed in hardware, Full Scene Anti-Aliasing, or FSAA, smoothes the jagged edges that appear on diagonal lines. The Voodoo4 card does its Anti-Aliasing based on 2 sub-samples per pixel, the Voodoo5 uses 4 sub-samples per pixel. FSAA is software independent.
T-Buffer effects No Yes A series of effects available to software developers to add realism to their games. Effects include: motion blur, depth of field blur, soft shadows and soft reflections. Click here for more information on these effects. We saw a demo of these effects at Macworld SF Expo, most of them were quite impressive.


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