Pace – 3D Edge review

AGP Voodoo Banshee 2D/3D card
Photo of Pace – 3D Edge
£99

3Dfx built up quite a reputation with the Voodoo and Voodoo2 3D graphics chipsets, and this card from Pace features the latest in that range; a single-chip Voodoo Banshee processor. This 128-bit chip gets so hot that it has to be fitted with a heat-sink. Unlike previous Voodoo processors, this one can handle both 2D and 3D acceleration, so the AGP 3D Edge card is an all-in-one solution, suitable for use in any PC with an AGP slot.

The Pace card has 16MB of memory soldered onboard, which is plenty for any 2D resolution you’d care to mention – 1600 x 1200 with 32-bit colour? No problem. But where all that memory really comes into play is when storing 3D textures for use in games. Although the AGP bus allows graphics cards to store such textures in the PC’s system memory if necessary, it’s better to avoid that where possible if you’re after the best performance. And performance is certainly what matters here; the 3D Edge is blindingly quick when playing games and using Windows applications. Bear in mind, however, that 3D graphics technology is regularly superceded; a faster one will probably be along in a moment. For now, though, this will handle any game you’d care to throw at it and come back for more.

In addition to the usual D-sub 15-pin monitor connector at the rear of the card, it also has an S-video Out port and a Video Out socket as well. Drivers are supplied for Windows 98, Windows NT and late versions of Windows 95, and the card also comes with a SCART cable, allowing it to be connected to some newer television sets, should you wish to play games in the comfort of your living room. On the subject of games, the 3D Edge comes with Wargasm, a rather nice action/strategy game that looks good too, although it doesn’t place much of a strain on the Banshee processor. There’s also a voucher in the box for a choice of three other new-ish games for £14.

Company: Pace

Contact: 0990 561001


Verdict
There are plenty of recently-bought computers out there with average to dreadful 3D graphics performance. The Voodoo Banshee has some respectable credentials in this area, and Pace's user-friendly retail packaging makes the upgrade a relatively painless one, although you should bear in mind that no upgrades are exceptionally easy under Windows. There are cheaper Banshee cards out there, but the 3D Edge comes with a SCART cable and decent and underrated game, so all in all it's a fairly good bundle.