California Graphics: 3D EMOTION REVIEW

About The Card:
The California Graphics 3D Emotion is yet another card using 3DFX's Voodoo Rush chipset, which uses both Alliance Promotion's 128-bit AT25 chipset for 2D and 3DFX's Voodoo Rush for 3D. The hardware appears to be identical to Intergraph's Intense3D Voodoo and Deltron's Flash AT3D Rush, which is not a bad thing. The 3D Emotion is available with six megabytes of EDO DRAM, video-out, and support for stereoscopic glasses. Just like every other Voodoo Rush on the planet, two megabytes of RAM are dedicated to 3D, and the other 4 megabytes are shared between the 3DFX Rush and the AT25 2D chip. It is a full length PCI card, and appears to be quite well made.
The View
The 3D Emotion has an effective limit of 1280x1024 resolution with 16-bit color at a refresh rate of 75Hz. You can run at a maximum of 1600x1200 with 16-bit color, but then are restricted to a flickery 60Hz. Since the 3D Emotion has four megabytes of frame buffer, it can run games with a Z-buffer (like GLQuake) at 800x600 resolution.
The 3D Emotion was a breeze to install. I followed my usual procedure of telling Windows95 to use plain VGA drivers, shut down my computer, popped open the case, removed my trusty Matrox Millenium and Monster3D, inserted the 3D Emotion in a free PCI slot, and rebooted. Windows95 prompted me for drivers, I inserted the disk, and all was well. The 3D Emotion added three tabs to my display properties. One for information about the card, one to adjust the monitor's centering, and one to control the TV-out. The 3D Emotion is unusual in that they do not modify 3DFX's drivers at all! I spoke to the head of the company about this issue, and his response was that "3DFX's drivers are so good that there's nothing to be improved!". The benchmarks seem to hold up with his opinion.
Ice Cube
Speaking of drivers, this board comes with a seriously cool utilty called CGP Reality Pro. Their philosophy is, "If you buy a state-of-the-art 3D Accelerator, why not have a state-of-the-art 3D interface?" I can't agree more! The software's interface is implemented via a rotating cube, with the surface of the cube divided into squares of icons. It seems somewhat non-intuitive to me, actually, but the "cool factor" is certainly there. Definately worth a look.
Big Screen Gaming
The TV-Out is quite good, and very clear with S-Video output, although not nearly as good as the Canopus Total3D card.
I tested this card in 1024x768 resolution at a refresh rate of 75Hz in 16-bit color on Windows95b (OSR2), and the 2D performance was identical to that of the other Voodoo Rush's that I have come across. Again, the 2D isn't nearly as impressive as a Matrox Millenium, but at 1024x768, you will never notice the difference. The 3D Emotion passed all of the 3D Winbench97 tests, just like the other 3DFX Voodoo Rush cards. The scores, again, were also nearly identical. Scores on 3DBench97 with my AMD K6 running at 250Mhz averaged 131.1 WinMarks. In GLQuake, I received 33.8 frames per second on the 'timedemo demo2' with sound turned off at 640x480 resolution. Since all of these cards benchmark essentially the same, the only real reason to choose one over the other is added features, bundled games, and price.
What to do, What to do...
The 3D Emotion comes with S-Video output, composite video output, and a port for stereo glasses. It is priced at $199 for the card with no games, and $235 with the bundle. The price without the bundle is competitive, but the Flash AT3D Rush's list price of $179 has it beat. Speaking of the bundle, the 3D Emotion's is the best yet. The deluxe version comes with full versions of MDK, Tomb Raider, Carmageddon, and Terracide. Excepting Terracide, all of these games are top-notch in every way. California Graphics should be commended for their choice of games to bundle. The 3D Emotion is available from mail order from the manufacturor only. If you're interested in any of the games included with the deluxe version, this card simply cannot be beat. If not, you'd be better off going with the Flash AT3D Rush.
A Competitive Rush Player.

Deluxe version includes MDK, Tomb Raider, Carmageddon, and Terracide, and a CD of game demos. The normal version just includes the demo.

The deluxe version is an excellent value, and the normal version is still very competitive.

Tech Specs:
Alliance ProMotion AT3D 2D, 3DFX Voodoo Rush 3D, 6MB EDO DRAM, PCI

Well made, competitive performance, great bundle.

Normal version is slightly overpriced.

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