WireWorld » 'Different Rush Cards'


There were a number of different Voodoo rush cards on the market. At the Fall Comdex show in November 1996, Hercules, 3Dfx, and Alliance Semiconductor showed off a card with a AT3D 2D/3D combo chipset based card with the 3Dfx Voodoo Rush 3D accelerator on a daughterboard, connected with a proprietary interface.

Alliance Semiconductor''s data sheets on the AT3D indicate that the chip was also intended as a non-3Dfx video chipset that could be upgraded to a 3Dfx card, but evidently nobody decided to take that option.

However, if they were to make it a single board, the card would have been much too long to fit inside of most AT-form factor motherboards. So they made a sandwich card, putting the 3D hardware on a daughterboard and the 2D hardware on the main board. As things were, the Stingray was still too long for some Baby-AT form factor cases. The card was released in mid-April 1997. It had 6 megs of memory and no extra ports. This is the Hercules Stingray 128/3D Dual planar design, also called the "Sandwich". It''s also called the S3316 by Hercules.

At the June 1997 E3 show in Atlanta, Hercules and 3Dfx, in a private press event, announced a second design for Rush-based boards. It was the result of additional enginnering and added a number of features, such as TV-out, flash RAM for the BIOS, and the option of having more memory. It was also cheaper to produce. Cases were starting to become ATX cases, so they decided that a sligtly longer card would work. Two new Stingray designs were announced, the Stingray 128/3D S3316TV and the S3318TV.

In September of 1997, Jazz Multimedia and Intergraph released cards based on the new 3dfx reference design. Intergraph''s design also featured a port for 3D shutter glasses. Hercules also released a new card, the S3318TV. It is not based on the 3dfx reference design, but instead is a proprietary design which had 8 megabytes of RAM, a TV-out port, and had a 10% faster clock-speed than the origonal design, putting it back on par with the speed of a Voodoo Graphics card.

The 6 meg stingray was also changed to a single-board design similar to the S3318TV. It''s the same length as the origonal Stingray 128/3D, except that there is no daughterboard. The S3316TV was dropped, but the new 6 meg Stingray was also called the S3316. These boards use an AT25 instead of an AT3D. The performance is exactly the same, but the AT25 doesn''t do 3D acceleration. This is okay, because the 3D acceleration capabilities of the AT3D weren''t being used anyway.

Other manufacturers for the Rush boards were California Graphics, who had a 6 meg board that has a 3D glasses port and a TV-out port, Joytech, who had a 64 bit card with a different 2D chipset (the Micronix MX 86251) and 6 megs of video memory. Hightech Suppliers had the Flash AT3D Rush, which has 6 megs of ram and a TV-out port. Biostar USA had the Venus 3D, which came in 4 meg or 6 meg versions. Skywell Tech had the Magic 3D Rush, which is also based on the Micronix chipset.

A summary of the different boards:

Board Manufacturer 2D Chipset Memory TV DAC Speed
Stingray 128/3D Hercules AT3D 6 meg No 180 mHz
AT25 6 meg No 180 mHz
AT25 8 meg Yes 180 mHz
Adreneline Rush 3D Jazz Multimedia AT25 6 meg Yes ??
Intense 3D Voodoo Intergraph AT25 6 meg Yes 220 mHz
3D Emotion California Graphics AT25 6 megs Yes 175 mHz
Apollo 3Dfx Joytech Micronix MX 86251 6 megs No 160 mHz
Magic 3D Rush Lite Skywell Micronix MX 86251 6 megs No 160 mHz
Flash AT3D Rush Hightech Suppliera AT25 6 megs Yes 175 mHz
Venus 3D Rush Biostar-USA AT25 4/6 megs No 175 mHz

Hercules spent the longest time to get drivers out, but they spent more time tuning the drivers. Jazz and California Graphics releasd new drivers much faster than Hercules, but they spend less time tweaking the drivers.

I''d be extremely careful about a 4 meg Stingray. With the current drivers, they can''t run GLQuake. And the performance is going to be pretty bad. You can''t run 3D in a window too well, either. If you don''t want to buy a 6 meg or better Stingray, just get a V2100 board.

3Dgen''s review of the Skywell Magic 3D Rush Lite pans the Micronix chipset. Apparently, it''s worse than the AT3D/AT25 chipset for 2D performance.

I''m not sure about the 220 MHz RAMDACs on the Intergraph cards. They don''t quote the card to be capable of higher resolutions than the other Rush cards, which means that there''s no advantage to having them. The AT3D spec sheet from Alliance Semiconductor lists that the chip has a 175 MHz RAMDAC built in. The AT3D can''t push data fast enough to keep a faster RAMDAC occupied anyway. Anything but a high-end monitor isn''t going to be able to keep up even with a 175 MHz RAMDAC.