Has my Voodoo 3 graphics card died?

Posted on 2004-09-21
Last Modified: 2013-11-08

I'm trying to determine if my Voodoo 3 graphics card has died or not.  Since last week, I'm now stuck with either 16 or 256 colours and a 640x480 resolution.  I can't select anything other than this in Display Properties.  I've tried reinstalling the drivers and removing the item under Display Adapters in the Device Manager, but none of this has helped.

Is it possible that the Voodoo 3 graphics card has died?  A friend has suggested to me on the phone that it sounds that one of the RAM chips may have blown on it, which is what could be causing the display limitations.  Assuming the card had died, would it possible for the card to work partly (i.e. offer limited colours and only one resolution) or if it had died would the display be guaranteed to fail altogether?  Is this a hardware or software problem?

Please see this question for more information about my problem and what I've attempted to do to solve it:

Thanks in Advance,

Question by:Richard2000

Assisted Solution

Gaud-wo earned 25 total points
ID: 12111461
An 8MB Voodoo 3 card? Hm, brings back some memories for me - first SLI setup, I think it was around 1998 or so...
Well, I think I owned a Voodoo2 card back then. Then this must be a card that's about 4-5 years old, well, I don't think there are many new drivers made for that card - at least not the past years...

You can check what type your card is by opening up your pc. If it's placed in a single AGP slot (mostly brown in colour), the only option to test the card is install it in another (a friends?) system.
If it's in a PCI slot (mostly white, there should be more with the same colour), you can try pulling the card out and sliding it in another PCI slot (do turn PC off when you do this!!).
Then hook up your monitor again, reboot, install driver if necessary, and check if it works.

If the 2 above steps don't work, I suggest you just buy a new card. Check if your system has the AGP slot I mentioned above, and post exact coputer type here - I will provide you with compatible VGA adaptor list (your system may bee way too old for recent vid cards).

Or you may consider 'upgrading' - although I think there isn't much to upgrade, if you want a new PC you may just salvage a small disk, a cd-rom drive, older screen, and some peripherals from that system... Will save you about $120, a new pc may cost you $300 (if they don't rip you off) for case with components.
LVL 11

Accepted Solution

DoTheDEW335 earned 25 total points
ID: 12112270
<<I've tried reinstalling the drivers and removing the item under Display Adapters in the Device Manager, but none of this has helped.>>

what drivers did you use, have you tried more than one driver? Usually with my experience the cards wont go over 16 colour mode if it was bad. (Although i'm sure it could happen as it did to you)

Here's the latest version that I used to use.
Voodoo3 2/3000 1.07.00 Win9x/ME
(you might need to register to dl it)


Expert Comment

ID: 12113098
I strongly suggest first finding out if this is a hardware problem first - if it is, you can install drivers and mess with Windows all you want, you'll never get one step further.
This is of course IMHO!
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 12113888
Thats what he's trying to do ;) I figure if he tried the latest driver it could help though.

I recommend you get that driver put it somewhere that you know then reboot, goto safe mode take out the driver, reboot and when it goes to install point it out to the new driver. (Delete the old INF if possible before rebooting from safe mode so it doesn't load the same one)
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Expert Comment

ID: 12120831
For 640x480  the Video Ram requires is very less. But when you increase the resolution it takes up more memory and hence if there is a Problem with the V-RAM , you may find difficulties at higher resolution.

Neverthless you can try reinstalling the OS and check. If that still does not help , I am afraid we have a faulty video card.

Good Luck.


Expert Comment

ID: 12122280
That is not entirely true. 3dfx did promise to keep the drivers updated althouh they broke this promise in 2002 :)

Just jump here and download. These are the neest 3dfx drivers available dated Oct 26, 2002 .

Good luck

Author Comment

ID: 12132246

Many thanks for your help.  Here are the two drivers that I've been trying.  The Packard Bell driver was taken from the Platinum section of the web site (Platinum is the type of my Packard Bell computer).



Previously, I've used both without much success.  However, last night I decided to give it one last go and I succeeded!  This is what I basically did as far as I can recall (and rebooted after each step):

1) Uninstalled 1.07.
2) Removed Display Adapter.
3) Installed 1.04.
4) Used New Hardware Wizard.

Unfortunately, this didn't help so I continued with this:

5) Uninstalled 1.04.
6) Removed Display Adapter.
7) Installed 1.07.
8) Used New Hardware Wizard.

I can now change the different number of colours and screen resolutions as before!!  I'm really not sure why this works now because it didn't before.  Maybe it had something to do with running the New Hardware Wizard?  I also notice that the driver date at Device Manager->Display Adapters->3dfx Voodoo 3->Driver now shows as 11-10-2000, rather than 2-2-2000 as it did before.

So it appears to have been a software rather than a hardware problem (of course, there is always the possibility still that hardware problems could have caused it, but it now looks less likely).

Anyway, now it's working I'll leave it alone, I'm just happy that it's working again!

Best Regards,

LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 12132742
Great to hear. Good job giving it 1 last shot. Thanks for the accept.

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