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3d Gaming At It’s Best. Diamond Monster II

By: Attila D. Newman

The Voodoo2 card is one of the most anticipated 3d accelerator cards to date. With the successful release of the original 3dfx cards, the Voodoo2 was built to surpass all competitors with top performance and visual quality. The Diamond Monster3D II is the 2nd 3dfx card released by Diamond. This time around, the Monster received some extra attention. Included in the game bundle were copies of several demos. Diamond hooked up a special deal with Lucasarts. There's three special edition demos of their STAR WARS line of games, Jedi Knight, Tie Fighter vs. X-Wing, and Shadows of the Empire. Other demos include Tomb Raider 2 and Flight Unlimited II. The only FULL game included was Heavy Gear. It's a mac-based game that may not appeal to everybody. Thrown in items include AVI movies of Daikatana and FF7.

Installation for the most part was easy. Basically, find a free PCI slot and insert. The card is fairly long. My heatsink from my socket 7 board and capacitors was too close to the card. I had to place the card to the far end of the board. The card uses a pass-through cable that diverts the video when in 3dfx mode. The cable is fairly thick. I saw no visual distortions at any resolution.

If you currently own a 3Dfx Voodoo card, there’s a better than average chance that a Diamond Monster 3D card resides in your system. The Diamond Monster 3D was by far the best-selling Voodoo card on the market, and for good reason. It had the Diamond name and distribution, excellent hardware quality and stability and was second only to the more expensive Canopus Pure 3D in terms of raw overclockability. As with the original Voodoo, Diamond has again been beat to the Voodoo2 market, this time by the upstart Creative Labs. But given their track record and my review experience with the card, I wouldn’t bet against the Diamond Monster 3D II repeating as the top-selling Voodoo2 card.

The Diamond Monster 3D II review card is the X100 model which features the 3Dfx Voodoo2 chip and comes standard with 8 MB of 25 ns EDO DRAM. 3Dfx’ Voodoo2 accelerator chip supports advanced 3D features like Hardware Triangle Set-up, Anti-Aliasing, Bi-linear Filtering, Alpha-Blending, Gourad Shading, Texture Mapping, among many others. The Monster 3D II X100 features the same 4-MB framebuffer memory of the 12 MB Voodoo2’s, and has 2 MB of texture memory for each of the twin Texelfx2 texture mapping chips. The 12-MB versions have 4 MB of texture memory for each Texelfx chip. The X100 will support resolutions of 800x600 with Z-buffer and 1024x768 without Z-buffer (although most games require Z-buffer). By adding an additional Diamond MEGAMonster card (cheaper Monster 3D II without games) you can operate them in SLI (Scan Line Interleaving) mode, achieving 1024x768 with Z-buffer.

What games support the Voodoo2 chipset you ask? A better question would be "Nowadays, who doesn’t?" The support for this card is incredible and gaining everyday. From racing, to fishing, to interior design, It’s a strong bet that 3dfx support has been in there for some time.

If you are wondering what types of gains to expect when you add a brand new Diamond MonsterII card, it’s sorta like taking your 200mhz PC and tuning it up to 350mhz, no joke. Looking for the best bang for your buck? No doubt about it, the Diamond Monster 3d II is the only way to go.

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Last modified: November 08, 2002