Retro-test : Voodoo 5 6000
By Steven M. - 23/05/2005




3dfx. For many of us who began to play in the mid-nineties, this name evokes many souvenirs because it represented a fundamental change in the video game industry. There was a time not too far ago where 3D on PC was synonym of big and ugly pixels which are some of the caracteristics of a software rendering of the scenes. Founded in 1994 by ex SGI engineers, 3dfx was a small Californian company which employed around 200 people and who sold it's first 3D acceleratior chip in 1996: the Voodoo Graphics (later called Voodoo 1).

This event was the beginning of a new era for the graphic industry because it was the first time we could see games with an arcade games quality on PC. To benefit from this card, the games had to be compatible with OpenGL or 3dfx's proprietary API: Glide. Many patches came out for many games and we can say that the games industry really made a big effort to support this card.

After this success, the next generation of graphic chips which equiped the cards based on the Voodoo 2, Voodoo 3 et Voodoo 4-5 (which we will present later) came out. At the time you could even couple two Voodoo 2 cards using the SLI (Scan Line Interleave) technology and double your performance and use a higher resolution! This was possible because one card was calculating the odd lines while the other was calculating the pair lines. At the beginning of 2000, the graphic market had completely changed with the appearance of the two actual giants which are ATI and nVidia. Starting with the Voodoo 3, 3dfx accumulated delays in the performance and technological domain compared to it's direct competitors and this was the beginning of the end...on 14th December 2000 3dfx was bought by nVidia.

Because they couldn't follow ATI or nVidia in the performance domain with a single chip solution, 3dfx used it's SLI technology with the latest graphic processor, the VSA-100. Instead to use one VSA-100, why couldn't we use 2 of them? The Voodoo 5 5500 was born. And it wasn't finished...shortly before 3dfx's death they made a prototype card which is a legend today: the Voodoo 5 6000. It had 4 VSA-100 graphic processors and 128MB video memory while all other cards had 32MB at the same time! We will talk about this monster in this article...

Some of you will ask themself  why we test a 4 years old card which is completely exceeded in the performance leel? You are right, it's completely useless...but so fun to have a legend in our hands. And we had a hard time to find one, so you shall like it ;)


Next ( 3DFX : Historique complet (1994-1998) )