Voodoo-3 3500TV Video Card
Price: $

This review is by Chris Keenan on a very unique video card that has multifunctions that come with it.  Chris may be providing some pics on this card. Chris has almost got me interested in getting the card. Here is Chris's review.


Why did I buy this video card? There are a lot of reasons. I upgraded my system recently, basically bought a new motherboard, processor, and memory, and with the new board, came an AGP slot, which I didn't want to waste, plus I could use the free PCI slot, actually getting this freed up two PCI slots as it took place of my VooDoo2 card also. Secondly I was looking for some sort of TV in capability, which this card offered. So basically, I was accomplishing several things at once. But why did I choose this card over the ATI all in wonder that I was looking at, for the pure fact that it was AGP, plus a 2D/3D card in one. Features of this card are that it is 2D, which all of the new 3dfx cards are, it is 3D accelerated also, plus it has TV in, FM in, and TV out. Great features for the price that you pay.

System that is using the Card

(without video card) I had a AMD K6-2 450 with 64 megs of RAM. I have an ASUS P5A-B motherboard. Prior to the new video card, I had a Matrox Mystique 200 and a VooDoo2 video card. I have a 15" monitor for immediate testing.

Hardware installation

This part was a little tricky. If you don't have a good sense of your motherboards bios, installing this card could be a little tricky. When I first installed the card, the monitor would flash, but nothing would appear. I had to put the old card back in, to get any output. After reading the trouble shooting guide, I discovered that the new card required an interrupt, where as the old one, being PCI, already had that assigned. I made the proper adjustments to the bios, restarted, removed the old video card, and it worked fine. Now the VGA hookup is not on the back of the card, it is actually on a "POD". The 30pin connector plugs into the back of the card, and it has the VGA connection, plus the composite connections for RCA and SVideo in and out. Once I fixed the one problem, the installation was simple.

Installation of Drivers

This part was pretty simple. On initial startup, Windows 98 detected the new card, and installed a basic PCI SVGA driver for it. I put in the CD that comes with the card, and it ran itself. There are basically 3 parts that need installing. The Video Drivers, Video Control Panel, and then the TV tuner software. At various points, it will instruct you to restart. Don't do like I did and try to avoid that to speed up the process as the TV tuner needs the new drivers to load before installation. (Hey, when you're impatient to try a new toy, you try to skip some things.) Once installed, the card is ready for testing.

Adjusting the settings The 3dfx Control panel lets you control everything about the card, and I do mean everything. One of the things I found to be of help is the ability to adjust settings for your desktop, Direct3D, and Glide components independently without effecting the other. There are also controls for the TV In and TV Out. Each would be adjusted to meet what you would want.

Using Card with Games

Games is the main purpose for this card. 183 Megahertz clock cycle, a heatsink for it bigger than my CPU has, this card has to fly, right.... and it does. I tested it with GPL, the mother of all system drainers known to man in the racing community. The game ran smoothly at 35 fps in 800x600 in full traffic, and topped out at 40fps without traffic. (I'm not sure what the maximum fps for this is) Before the new card, I could run GPL with the VooDoo2 card at 30fps in 640x480 more (I think that is the right numbers), and it would drop to 25fps with the full field around me. N99 flew like an eagle, not sure of the exact frame rate, but I had everything maxed out and it didn't skip once. SCGT took some tweaking, but it finally ran smoothly. NROS works just fine with TEN (Just wished TEN would work just fine with NROS <LOL>). I have played Quake and some other not racing games on it, and the combination VooDoo3, AMD's 3DNow!, and the special drivers, make those games rock smoothly. (If you have any Quake engine based games and want an awesome experience, this card is a must get.)

Overall Rating of Card

Overall, this is a great video card. The Video is fantastic. You can watch your TV while you surf the net, or surf the net on your TV if that is what you choose. The included software lets you capture video and stills, plus edit them. You can also get FM radio channels with it. The only draw back for this card is that it does not have a printed manual, and the quick install doesn't really tell you everything you need to know. So, if you're not experienced in upgrading your computer, this may not be the ideal card for you. I build custom systems for people, and this took me a while to get installed and working well on my system. (Plus I don't always read everything like I should either, <LOL>) So, I'm gonna give this card two ratings. The first is for performance, and on that it gets a 4.7 out of 5. The lack of true 32 bit rendering is the only real drawback. The other minor drawback is that it does generate some heat, so if you have an overclocked system, this may not be ideal. Now, the other rating I will give it, and that is ease of installation, and in my case, it gets a 2 out of 5. The lack of a printed manual, important information being put into the trouble shooting section of the quick reference leaflet, and the "POD", while it is simple to connect, it's size is somewhat of a draw back.. But is the installation worth the end results, yes they are.