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Date:      Thu, 03 Feb 2000 21:12:29 +1000
From:      Stephen McKay <>
To:        Chris Dillon <>
Cc:, Haikal Saadh <>,
Subject:   Re: Choice of display cards under freebsd. 
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <> from Chris Dillon at "Wed, 02 Feb 2000 17:56:46 -0600"
References:  <000201bf6d9f$efeede60$71c101ca@summoner> <>

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On Wednesday, 2nd February 2000, Chris Dillon wrote:

>On Wed, 2 Feb 2000, Haikal Saadh wrote:
>> Hi, I'm planning to upgrade my box within a few months, and I was
>> just wondering: As far as running games (such as halflife) under
>> freebsd are concerned, does it make sense to by a D3D-based card,
>> such as nVidia's card, as D3D only works under windows, right?

Direct3D is available only for Windoze, and not even all versions of
Windoze.  OpenGL is available on a number of platforms.  nVidia's cards
do not support only D3D.  Their OpenGL support (for Windoze) works fine
for games.  Eventually, OpenGL support in XFree86 (and hence Linux and
FreeBSD) will be good, and I expect that support for nVidia, 3dfx and
Matrox cards will be good.  But not yet...

>> Or to rephrase the question, which one would provide the better 3D
>> experience? The geForce or the Voodoo3? I know that the latest
>> version of X supports both cards.

>I would avoid any of the 3DFX VooDoo cards.  I've got an "old" VooDoo2
>myself, and it works pretty well (in Windows), but it has some serious
>limitations.  The VooDoo3 boards have some limitations as well, such
>as only a 16-bit Z-buffer and color depth in 3D mode as opposed to
>32-bit which is available on just about any other modern card.

For most purposes 32 bit colour is too slow, and almost impossible to
pick visually.  If you restrict yourself to 16 bit colour, then the
Voodoo 3 is the current speed leader in recent games (Quake 3, Unreal
Tournament) under most circumstances.  For UT in particular, 3dfx cards
work exceptionally well, due to Glide support, and are visually superior
to other cards.  For Q3A, you have to take a visual detail hit because
of the limited maximum texture size.

>If I were to buy a card right now, it would be either a NVidia GeForce
>256 based card (probably the ASUS model), or a Matrox G400 MAX.  The
>GeForce based cards will offer you pure, unparalleled 3D speed.  The
>Matrox G400 MAX would offer you what Matrox has always offered --
>excellent visual quality, great features, and solid drivers, but it
>isn't nearly as fast as the GeForce in the 3D arena (not that you
>couldn't play a mean game of Quake with it.. you can).  Your biggest
>concern is which of these will be supported the best under XFree86,
>and as far as I can tell they've all got quite a bit of support under

I recommend a cheap Voodoo2, to be honest.  You don't need proper support
in XFree86 to drive a Voodoo2, unlike any other card.  When full OpenGL
support arrives for XFree86, I'd recommend the Matrox G400 for the visual
quality.  Until then, the Voodoo2 is a reasonable workaround.

I'd also disagree about "solid drivers" from Matrox.  I've installed
many of their unreliable OpenGL driver revisions.  Then I bought a TNT2.


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