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3Dfx rolls out Voodoo boards

The computer graphics company debuts the first PC add-in board products to carry the acclaimed Voodoo brand name.

If you ever wondered who do the Voodoo graphics boards, 3Dfx Interactive has the answer for you.

The computer graphics company today debuted Voodoo3 2000, Voodoo3 3000, and Voodoo3 3500, the first PC add-in board products to carry the acclaimed Voodoo brand name, through in-store and online pre-sale programs.

Based on 3Dfx Interactive's anticipated Voodoo3 family of advanced graphics chips, the new boards are expected to deliver fast 3D and 2D performance, and provide support for ultra high-resolution computer displays.

It's a calculated risk for the company.

This "vertical" strategy presents a double-edged sword, said Peter Glaskowsky, a senior analyst at MicroDesign Resources. On one hand, companies can make more money by selling both the boards and chips. Chipmakers often find their profits eroded if they have to depend upon board manufacturers for distribution. Graphics leader ATI makes both its own boards and chips, for instance.

On the other hand, selling both products means an instant destruction of all of the old channels for sales. "No one else will want to buy chips from them," he said. "Potentially, this is a problem."

One indicator of success will be if 3Dfx is able to attract engineers from some of their board "partners" to write drivers for 3Dfx boards.

Answering demand for the new boards, some consumer electronics stores and computer retailers are launching special pre-sale programs that will allow shoppers to reserve their own 3Dfx Voodoo3 boards weeks before they are available on store shelves.