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Voodoo Shack: When Voodoo is what you do™

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VSA100 vs V3 Part II

All performance graphs courtesy of Bonehed

After the release of the first article VSA100 vs V3 some months ago, there was considerable controversy surrounding the idea that the V3 could be anywhere close to as fast as a VSA100 based video card.  Sweeping throughout the community like an angry storm, the arguments raged on both sides and haven't yet subsided.  This got me thinking - maybe I should invest some more time and effort into this investigation, and finally put this subject to rest.  So I went to Ebay (again) and won a V4 4500, which will take center stage in these tests.   Heck, I needed one to complete my collection anyways.  Does the V3 have what it takes to keep up with it's more sophisticated older brother, the V4 4500?  Is the V5 5500 in single-chip mode actually equal to a V4 4500?  How do the cards stack up against each other in real world gaming?

This article will attempt to delve into the heart of the matter, and find out exactly the capabilities of  the V5 5500, V4 4500 AGP, and the V3 3000 in both older and newer games by using a series of benchmarks, objective analysis, and overall performance observations.

The Contenders (to scale in relation with each other):

V5 5500 AGP (front) V4 4500 AGP (front) V3 3000 AGP (front)
V5 5500 AGP (back) V4 4500 AGP (back) V3 3000 AGP (back)

You'll note that every single one of the cards has a custom fan attached to the back of the PCB using double-sided tape.  This is Bonehed's patented technique to cool the card for overclocking, which we have thoroughly explored in a later section.  Only one of the cards, the V5 5500, has had the heatsinks removed and re-attached using a high quality thermal paste.  All the others use the OEM thermal epoxy and sinks as they came from the factory.  An additional fan was attached to the V3 OEM heatsink to aid in cooling.

Specifications:

Video Card V5 5500 AGP V4 4500 AGP V3 3000 AGP
Architecture VSA VSA Avenger
Clock Speed 166x2 166 166
Memory 64 (32x2) SDRAM 32 SDRAM 16 SDRAM
Controller 128bit 128bit 128bit
Bandwidth 5.3GB/s 2.7GB/s 2.7GB/s
Megatexel Fill Rate 667 333 333
Megapixel Fill Rate 667 333 166
BIOS 1.15 AGP 1.15 AGP 2.15.07-SD AGP
Rendering 32 and 16bit color 32 and 16bit color 16bit color
FSAA RGSS 4x RGSS 2x n/a
Texture Size 2048x2048 2048x2048 256x256
Compression FXT1 & DirectX FXT1 & DirectX n/a
RAMDAC 350 350 350
Packaging Retail Retail OEM (Dell)

As can be easily seen, the V5 is far more powerful than the other two cards.  Cut the V5 in half, and you have exactly the same specs as a V4 4500.  But we'll get to that in a bit.  Note that the V4 4500 and V3 3000 have very similar specifications on paper, although the feature set of the VSA100 is far superior with the large texture support, compression, and FSAA being the biggest assets in my opinion. 

[NEXT]

[Intro | Test System/Scaling | Benchmarks | Overclocking | Conclusion]

Copyrightę 2002 Nightstormer Productions