Review - 3D Emotion from California Graphics & Peripherials
Just recently we've received a 3Dfx board from California Graphics to review. This time we are going to review the 3D-Emotion (from now on 3DE). 3DE is an excellent AT25 2D / Voodoo Rush based card. This peice of hardware will make your 2D & 3D games & applications rock at high framerates.
The card consists of: - AT25 2D Graphics processor - Voodoo Rush (3Dfx Chipset) - 6Mb single-cycle Edo-Ram - 190Mhz RamDac (refreshrates upto 200mhz!) - Composite & S-VHS output - Stereographics/ simueyes tech support for 3D glasses. Some noticeable efforts are that the card can support - MPEG-1 & MPEG-2 DVD playback (MMX Enhanced) - upto 1600x1024 in 16bit colors - upto 1280x1024 in 32bit colors. Also the card has a lifetime guaranteed warranty.
After unpacking the card (rapped in a nice looking box i might say) i took a little moment to examine the card. Well, who cares ... it looks good & well taken care of. I received an OEM version wich includes 2 cd's. MDK mission laguna beach was included & a driver cd. The driver cd is a well taken care of cd.
Besides drivers for many os'es it contains several demo's from 3Dfx games & a huge diversity of 3Dfx patches. Also included on the cd was CGP Reality Pro. This is a control program to customize certain properties for your monitor & video resolutions. Nice software but hey why didn't you guys did those 3D effects in 3Dfx code ?? Not really a 'need to have' program because all the properties you need can be found in the windows properties dialog boxes.
Installation can't be any simpler. Insert the card in an empty PCI-Slot, screw it shut, startup windows & voilla ... The Plug and Pray sequence starts. Windows reports that a new videocard has been found. Browse to your Win95-drivers on the cd-rom & everything installs as it should. No problems here. After restarting all the fun begins. Nice resolutions, very fast 2D & good 3D support has been enabled. Last thing to do is installing the Glide 2.43 drivers & DirectX & you are good to go. Notice - the retail version includes 4 games, MDK Mission Laguna Beach, Carmageddon, Terracide & Tomb raider. All Voodoo Rush compatible games played without any problem. All applications ran perfectly. I could not find a problem whatsoever. I hooked up the Composite output to my VHS-recoder & played the games while watching them on my t.v. Very nice option! I missed this on all other cards that i have tested in the past. I personaly think that all video/gamecards should have an output of some kind for your t.v. It makes gaming so much more funny. If i needed to know something then the short, brief but sufficient manual got me out of the clear very quickly.
Time for some benchmarks. I've tested the card with wizmark (3D) & Wintune '97 (2D) and came up with some stunning results. Although testing is quite a relative subject these days (my hardware config changes alomost weekly) i came up with these results. The benchmarks are based upon a TX based motherboard with A pentium 200MMX - 64 Mb SDRam - 9 Gig of U-DMA HD's: Wizmark : score of 22951 Wintune: 49 MP/S. A fine score as i may say. Compared to the Adrenaline Rush from JazzMM even a little better on some instances. But exept for some minor differences (like ram vs ns & boardlayout) these cards are almost all the same when it comes to speed/fps. The only thing that could make a big difference are the drivers.
Since the drivers are from 3Dfx themselfses you can expect maximum gain from the card.
If you need support in some way then you can contact the California Graphics website. It is a well taken care of website with the latest news , information, product & driver support. you can find California Graphics here
Final Conclusion
With a really fair retail price of aproximatly 170$ this card absolutely gives you the most bang for the bucks. The package is taken good care of, included are some very nice games + good hardware at a very resonable price. If that doesn't confince you then the Composite & S-VHS output & a LIFETIME warranty should most certainly be the last barrier to run to the store & get a 3D-Emotion.

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