The Value of Voodoo Video

2001 – For a while in the late 1990s, Voodoo was the hottest name in video cards. It popularized OpenGL and GLIDE as programming interfaces for 3D graphics used in games.

Back and Forth

Mac users always paid a premium for Voodoo cards compared to the same card for PCs. As a Mac user, you could buy a Voodoo card, but most Mac users bought ATI cards, since ATI was Apple’s main supplier.

Voodoo3 PCI video cardIn 2000, things started to change. Voodoo decided to provide drivers to the Mac market. You can take the PC version of the Voodoo card and flash the ROM to make it work on a Mac. All of a sudden, the price of high quality gaming dropped precipitously. Voodoo developed drivers for the Voodoo3 card, because they were preparing to release the Voodoo4 and Voodoo5 directly to the Mac market.

History intervened. Voodoo essentially went out of business. The result is that the drivers are no longer being updated, and new cards are not being developed. Voodoo is a footnote in PC gaming history.

For low-end Mac users, the Voodoo3 card is a brilliant piece of hardware. On eBay they typically go for $30. That’s roughly one-third what you might pay for an equivalent amount of graphics power from ATI. It is faster than an ATI Rage 128. Although I can’t do a head-to-head comparison, in my experience the Voodoo card offers great 3D for games like Myth II, Quake 2, or Diablo II. It has 16 MB of VRAM, so it can run just about any standard monitor at millions of colors.

The card is not for the future-oriented person. Whatever bugs are in the drivers will not be fixed. This is a discontinued product of a defunct company. It is not compatible, as far as I know, with Mac OS X. There may be glitches with certain games that won’t have workarounds. Still, it is a bargain at $30. Combined with some inexpensive games that are a few years old, a PCI Power Mac can be turned into a good gaming machine.

On my Power Mac 8600, my Voodoo3 card serves three purposes. First, it has a VGA style adapter like my main monitor has. That saves my Mac video adapter for another computer. Second, it has a great 3D accelerator, so I can play an occasional game. Finally, the card enables me to use a dual monitor setup in conjunction with the 8600’s built-in video. Having two monitors increases my productivity, since I can have more windows open at any one time.

If you are hoping to add a second monitor to a Power Mac that won’t be running Mac OS X, take a look at a Voodoo card. You can find more reviews, tests, and compatibility for the Voodoo3 at There is a database of games/computers that will give you a reference for typical frame rates for a Voodoo card with a Power Mac.

You can download the last drivers for Voodoo cards at

Keywords: #voodoo3 #macpcivideo

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