3dfx Voodoo3 3000
The next generation arrives in the form of two new AGP boards from 3dfx: the $130 Voodoo3 2000 and $180 Voodoo3 3000. These boards are the fastest 3D performers we've seen so far. Both models are based on the same Voodoo3 chip, but the hot-ticket Voodoo3 3000 is 3dfx's top offering for gamers. It comes with a hefty bundle of extras, and it has a 166-MHz bus. However, it showed only a slight edge over its lower-price 143-MHz sibling in the games we use for testing.
These new 3dfx boards are very fast: Their high Quake II frame rates are more than a third faster than those of the other boards on our AGP chart. On the other hand, the first releases of 3dfx drivers have some kinks that need to be ironed out. Both models exhibited uneven display quality when rendering some scenes and objects. For example, they displayed transparency effects beautifully in Quake II, but lighting effects were on the dark side, and colors looked faded. As a result both models earn only a "good" overall 3D rating.
Aside from the Voodoo3 3000's higher clock rate, you get extras with this high-end board that you'll miss on the Voodoo3 2000. The 3D games bundled with this board include GT Interactive's Need for Speed 3 and Unreal Tournament; and the Voodoo3 3000 has a video-out port for displaying games on a TV. Both the 3000 and 2000 models support up to 16-bit color. (Soon-to-be released competitors based on the Savage4 or TNT2 chip sets will support 32-bit color.) 3dfx provides an unbeatable lifetime warranty, and unlike most vendors gives you toll-free tech support for 12 hours on weekdays. You also get fax-back weekend support.