Review Index:

3dfx Voodoo 5 5500 Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: CoolerMaster

Good and Bad

This content was originally featured on and has been converted to PC Perspective's website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.

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The physical characteristics of the card are somewhat troublesome. First, you’ll notice the large length of the PCB. This can make it very difficult for purchasers to find placement in their home system for card of this size. I myself have a Inwin server case, and still had to rearrange the IDE cables to allow the Voodoo 5 to sit correctly. And, though I am not a computer engineer, by looking at the components of the Voodoo 5, I can’t help but notice all of the extra, empty space left on the board. Had the engineers had more time or been more careful, it could have been possible to take another inch or two off the length of the card.

Next, we have the two processors of the VSA-100 chipset(s). I am also disappointed by the size and power of the heatsink/fans on the Voodoo 5 5500. The Aavid brand fans seem ill-suited for an overclocked video card and leave the opponents on the GeForce 2 cards an easy point for overclockability. On this same note, is the RAM on the 3dfx card. The Hyundai RAM is high quality, running at a speed of 350 MHz. Again, there are no heatsinks on the chips. Though they are not necessarily needed, the advantage for overclockers is significant and sways potential customers who look at these features carefully.

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Also, unlike the 64mb Hercules GeForce 2 card that we reviewed earlier, the Voodoo 5 5500 does not have an TV/S-Video output options. Again, this kind of option is not necessarily a needed feature but adds to the retail salability. I found the 800x600 output mode on the HDTV’s while playing Unreal Tournament to be quite fun and would highly recommend it!

3dfx does have a strong retail package to give its purchasers. Inside the box you will find the needed drivers, a few game demos, and a apology as to the delay of the VSA-100 chipset. The coolest part is the 3M style mouse pad with the Voodoo 5 face on it. This is not a full size mouse pad, but is decent enough sized to play FPS games on. In this case, 3dfx took the extra step to try and please the customer.

There has also been a lot of talk about the whole FSAA debate (Full-Scene Anti-Aliasing). The technical end of it is that the processor render each frame or scene multiple times, and blur the frames together before they are output to the monitor. The results is less pixelation on screen. In my opinion however, this feature becomes trivial. For the frame hit that you get when this is activated, the visual difference is minimal, especially considering that while playing any game you should be more worried about the opponents than the 'jaggies' that haunt other players. I doubt that any avid Quake III or Unreal Tournament fan would want to sacrifice +30% of their frame rate for a slightly improved image.

Enough with all this trivial information, let’s move on to the true test of a video card, the benchmarking. Here’s the test setup, the exact same as the Hercules 64mb card:

Test System Setup


AMD Athlon 750


1 x 128MB PC133 Mushkin

Hard Drive

20.5 GB 7200 RPM Western Digital


Asus K7V

Video Drivers

Retail Drivers

Operating System

Windows 98 SE



April 13, 2012 | 11:03 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Piss poor review. V5 5500 wins hands down in Glide Games which were a majority at the time. Never thought of testing Unreal Tournament did you? Ever hear of Wicked GL? Easy 5-20% performance boost in opengl games. V5 5500 wins hands down in 4x FSAA mode...similar performance with 2x FSAA. Your Cpu was too blasted slow to unleash the V5 5500...and for the record the V5 6000 had enough muscle to compete with the Gefore 3 series. Oh yeah.. and the 32mb geforce 2 most certainly was NOT faster than the V5 5500.

Geforce 2 GTS cons:

2-3 games supported T@L.. which was basically a marketing hype at the time.
No Glide support and wrappers sucked.


Didn't have the molex connector which for the record was on the V5 5500 because of AGP slot issues with some motherboards..aka the AGP slot didn't provide enough power to meet the 3.3V spec.

The fact of the matter is this is a biased review and was quite possibly influenced by some $$ from Nvidia.

Nvidia lied about their tnt being faster than the Voodoo 2 sli when in most cases it was beat by a single v2 8m card. Then they screamed about the 32-bit rendering on the TNT2 which it could only run at a very low res.. forget 800x600, 1024x768...not to mention measly 3 games that actually supported 32-bit rendering. So most people were running 1024x768 in 16-color mode. Meanwhile the Voodoo 3 could run 22-bit color at the same res. Then f'n nvidia jumped the gun and released the Geforce 1 to further steal market share from 3dfx. Then there was the Geforce 2 shenanigans.

October 8, 2012 | 12:44 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Oh wow.. echoing your rage 12 years later is the most saddest thing ever. Go out of your mom's house and get some sun.

October 8, 2012 | 12:44 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Oh wow.. echoing your rage 12 years later is the most saddest thing ever. Go out of your mom's house and get some sun.

June 3, 2013 | 11:27 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Typical comment from a troll who knows nothing. Can't even make a intelligent comeback.

October 29, 2017 | 10:34 AM - Posted by Buffilian (not verified)

Trolling is trolling, some people really can't handle the thruth. Regardless of the time it happenned. :)

For the "anonymus" with the long answer, your text is 24k solid gold ! Superbly said.

Sadly, I don't have the patience anymore to start and tweak my V5 5500, so I'll be thinking about selling it for about it's original listing price.
Indeed, nVidia was an ass at the time (not that nowadays something has changed :) ) but games supporting glide after 2000 were a burdain in high detail for this card.
On a P3 600 rig I can't even breach 20fps in 1024x768 res with ProRally Championship 2001.

Nice looking card, useless fans (a larger passive heatsink would've been better), power hungry and weak a f in 3D.
Gonna revert to a V3 3000 eventually for glide games.

Nice article.
And yes, I too believe nVidia has butterred some pockets in order to obtain this kind of reviews.

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