Wirehead's Rush News
There are a number of different Voodoo rush cards on the market right now, plus a few that have already been rendered obselete.

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

A summary of the different boards:
BoardManufacturer2D ChipsetMemoryTVDAC Speed
Stingray 128/3DHerculesAT3D6 megNo180 mHz
AT256 megNo180 mHz
AT258 megYes180 mHz
Adreneline Rush 3DJazz MultimediaAT256 megYes??
Intense 3D VoodooIntergraphAT256 megYes220 mHz
3D EmotionCalifornia GraphicsAT256 megsYes175 mHz
Apollo 3DfxJoytechMicronix MX 862516 megsNo160 mHz
Magic 3D Rush LiteSkywellMicronix MX 862516 megsNo160 mHz
Flash AT3D RushHightech SupplieraAT256 megsYes175 mHz
Venus 3D RushBiostar-USAAT254/6 megsNo175 mHz

If you are planning on buying a Stingray 128/3D, I suggest either the Hercules 6 meg Stingray 128/3D for the absolute best performance, or either the California Graphics 3D Emotion or the Adreneline Rush 3D card by Jazz.

Hercules spends the longest time to get drivers out, but they spend more time tuning the drivers. Jazz and California Graphics release 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.

Version: v1.0
Last Updated on: 5.09.98
Written by: Ken "Wirehead" Wronkiewicz
Sponsored by: Wirehead Web Designs
Copyright (C) 1998, Ken Wronkiewicz