- Introduction

- Specifications (1)

- Specifications (2)

- The Yield

- The controlers

- Conclusion

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Miguel Tarazona "Skaug"

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Hardware for the summer - autumn 1999

Part 2:
3Dfx Voodoo 3 vs. nVidia Riva TNT2



Logotype of 3Dfx

Only a few years ago company called 3Dfx, for stranger of that time, threw a product that would suppose the whole revolution. It was a question of the graphic processor Voodoo, which coincided with another throwing that would suppose the whole revolution in the world of the games: the Quake.

From this moment everything changed. All the games begun being realized in 3D, and the best way of obtaining realism was using an accelerating card. The manufacturers of accelerating graphs began realizing their own creations to compete with 3Dfx: Matrox threw his Mystique, S3 his Virge (for the low scale), 3D Labs his famous person Permedia, Rendition the Verité... and another small company, nVidia, threw his first Riva, 128. The problem was that every development needed its own computer language (that is known as API) to programme the device. Nevertheless at present only three remain: the OpenGL (of Silicon Graphics), the Direct 3D (of Microsoft) and the Glide (of 3Dfx, specific for his cards and it seems to be that destined for the extinction).

The manufacturers of graphic processors have to put at the disposal of the control users so that these could use the programs (be already games or design programs 3D) that work with one or another API (the programmers of the Software decide what API they will use, for example, Carmagedon uses Glide, Quake 3 OpenGL and Motoracer Direct 3D). In the same way, the controlers also have to be optimized to be able to make use of the characteristics of the graphic processors.

Logotype of the Voodoo2

Let's return to the history of our two chips protagonists. 3Dfx it took the successful model of the Voodoo and improved it. The name of the criaturita been Voodoo 2, with the peculiarity of which we can take two Voodoo 2, place them together in our PC, join them with a cable and duplicate his potency (theoretically, in practice it does not come to so much). Nevertheless, the Voodoo 2 (also the original Voodoo) had the problem of that only allows to accelerate the games 3D, being necessary the second card that controls the functions 2D (to be able to work with Windows, for example).

For it, 3Dfx it "connected" characteristics 2D to his Voodoo 2 so that this second card was not necessary for the system; the resultant card is called Voodoo Banshee, a card that has been quite successful although in yield 3D cigar turns out to be something low than the Voodoo 2. The Voodoo 3 is outlined like the natural succession of the Banshee; it is a question of a finished solution (2D and 3D) and with a spectacular yield in both fields. The Voodoo 3 works with Glide of native form and supports Direct 3D and OpenGL with the suitable controlers.

NVidia logotype

The evolution up to the TNT2 is similar. With the Riva 128, nVidia it obtained a spectacular speed for the epoch as for Direct 3D it refers, principally because internally the card works with this API, nevertheless the absence of support OpenGL in the beginning and that the Quake will only accelerate using Glide joined a frankly bad quality of image they deprived him of big part of the success. In effect, the big mistake of the Riva 128 was a very poor image quality. NVidia extracted a progress of his chip, the Riva 128 ZX, 128 more rapid, but that kept on having the same mistake as the previous one, bad quality of image.

Conscious at the end of his mistake, the nVidia engineers started working in what it would be the Riva TNT (they say that it is the acronym of TwiN Texel, or, that it has two units of mapping of textures - further on we will tell what means that-). The speed of the TNT almost was reaching that of the Voodoo 2 and, to the being a solution 2D and 3D finished was turning out to be more economic. Also the image quality was completely different from that of his father, the TNT possesses a quality of exceptional image that overcomes almost all his rivals (the winner is, nevertheless, Matrox G200), although it was not reaching all the expectations that it raised. The evolution of the TNT (major speed, more memory and less warming) has been the TNT2, the best graphic processor for the time being. The most rapid in Direct 3D, the most rapid in OpenGL, of the best as for yield 2D... a jewel.


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