The King Shaman & MGV2020 2D Video Module
When did Anthony come up with the idea?
At the following address you will find one of the first posts where you thought about how and if it was possible to create a video card SLI Voodoo 1:
Features of the King Shaman & MGV2020:
- The King Shaman consists of two Voodoo (1) Graphics (FBI) chipsets and 4 Texture Mapping (TMU) units on a single PCB.
- The total memory is 24MB.
- 2MB for each FBI dedicated to the framebuffer.
- 4MB for each TMU dedicated to textures.
- 4MB for the MGV2020 2D video module.
The King Shaman, combined with the MGV2020 2D video module, is an independent video card and can also be combined with another video card.
Imagine having a system with a powerful Agp video card and King Shaman card with 2D video module installed at the same time.
Sometimes, you want to play dos games (Vigre uses the S3 Trio 2D core which is famous for perfect dos mode compatibility) or you are something of a "pervert" (note from @Anthony 😉) and you like to see the acceleration 3D with S3 Virge. Thanks to the pass-through vga port, just connect your Agp video card to the King Shaman, replace the main video card, in the motherboard bios, selecting the boot from PCI and you're done.
The King Shaman has the ability to "hear" the vga signal and guide it to the display. This vga switching is based on modern MAX4885AE vga switch chips and provides near perfect quality if you use good vga cable.
Build quality and assembly:
King Shaman & MGV2020
MGV2020 (Logo S3 edit by Photoschop 😉)
At first glance, at least from the photos, the King Shaman gives the impression of being very fragile.
Instead, having it physically in your hands gives you a completely different impression. The card, combined with the video module and the passive heatsinks that I have personally added, weighs 390 grams.
The precision of the assembly of the components on the PCB is impeccable, I would say almost "maniacal" (note of ciacara 😉) also because, in the event of problems with soldering and/or components, there is no debugging tool to identify any malfunction . It all depends on the quality of the components and the precision of the assembly. Now I understand why Anthony defines the assembly phase as "boring" and unnerving.
It should be emphasized that the disassembly/assembly of the MGV2020 video module, even if assembled very well, must be carried out with care. Too quick and inattentive extraction and/or assembly of the video module would risk bending the contacts of the 14-pin connector (ciacara note 😉).
Siligraphy and PCB color:
Perhaps because I am in love with the Black color, I could not imagine this card, according to my personal tastes, of another color. The White Siligraphies drive me crazy, they stand out on the color of the PCB in an impeccable way. The Shaman graphics printed on the King Shaman are original designs by the Developer who was inspired by John Travolta's facial physiognomy (Anthony's note 😉). While the "ZXCXIV" logo is the acronym written in the "Roman Alphabet" of the nickname used by Anthony in his beloved homeland, Russia, which is zx-c64. Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum, two other myths that are unforgettable for me (ciacara note 😊).
However, for lovers of classic PCB color, a green version of the King Shaman and MGV2020 2D video module has also been released.
King Shaman & MGV2020 Green PCB version
Installation and User Manual:
King Shaman and MGV2020 2D Video Module Installation and User Manuals
Both hardware components, the King Shaman and the MGV2020 video module, have a user manual written by the developer, with the basic and essential functions for correct operation, installation of the software hardware and a section, in case of problems, of analysis and software debugging.
In particular, the King shaman manual has undergone a revision of the text by John Shaul, another Enthusiast of the 3dfx world that I warmly greet, which has made the instructions written by the author even more understandable.
I want to clarify that these creations are aimed at an audience of enthusiasts and experts of this world who, with their experience, can better manage this new video card with the heart managed by chips created by 3dfx.
At the following addresses it is possible to download both manuals in Pdf format:
The files have been added to this review anyway.
Configuring OLD Version Tests:
For the OLD session, given the amount of work done by @Marlon in the Review of the Stoned Shaman 20MB, I'll run the same tests with an Intel motherboard with 440BX chipset. I will be using all the Game Tests and Demos for a full comparison.
Asus P2B Rev.1.04 I440BX Bios 1014-003 (Fake Asus MB)
Intel Pentium II 264 - 66
Intel Pentium III 363 - 66
Intel Pentium II 448 - 112
Intel Pentium III 600 - 100
Intel Pentium III 750 – 100
Intel Pentium III 1000 - 133
King Shaman 20MB & MGV2020 4MB
Reference graphics cards by Marlon
Diamond Monster 3D
2themax Voodoo II
Stoned Shaman Voodoo Graphics SLI
3dfx Voodoo 3 2000 PCI
STB Velocity 128
ATi Rage128 Xpert 2000
Matrox Millennium G200
Matrox Millennium G450 DH
Ensoniq Audio PCI 5000 Creative ES1371
Maxtor D740X-6L 40GB
Windows 98 Second Edition
Expandable Demo - Direct 3D
Quake II - OpenGL
Quake III Demo - OpenGL
Unreal Tournament - Glide (Voodoo), OpenGL (Riva), Direct 3D (Rage128/ Matrox)
Trespasser - Direct 3D
The 640x480 graphic resolution was chosen to compare the results obtained also with the Diamond Monster 3D.
Anthony's Video Card is accompanied by a CD with updated Q3D 100DB Drivers, a version for Voodoo 1 Monster 3d and the latest release of IceMan! for Voodoo 1.
While, for the details of the Nvidia Riva 128ZX, Nvidia Riva TNT2 M64, ATi Rage 128 (Pro) and Matrox G450 Dual Head Drivers, I refer you to the Review written by Marlon for the Stoned Shaman.
3DMark99Max was run with the SLI-D3D option enabled, with a resolution of 640x480 pixels. The Original Diagrams were drawn by Marlon and adapted, with the author's consent, by me to add the King Shaman results.
While working with a 1.0Ghz cpu, the King Shaman is equivalent to the result of the Stoned Shaman. For now, there is a tie between the two Shaman Family graphics cards.
I really enjoyed this game, very fast-paced, with really bright colors and great effects. The tests were performed with all the cpu listed, the SLI-D3D option activated, with a resolution of 640x480 and 800x600 pixels.
The differences between the King Shaman and the Stoned Shaman are almost non-existent, except for the section with 264Mhz and 448Mhz cpu, certainly due to the higher Fsb, for the 448Mhz cpu, and for the higher speed of the 264Mhz cpu.
Quake II (OpenGL Quake)
Quake II will give the possibility to manage well the graphics necessary for all video cards and CPUs of the test. It will launch with 3dfx OpenGL Quake and will be tested with a resolution of 640x480 and 800x600.
King Shaman surprises and flies high compared to its younger sister and the Rage 128 Pro, in both resolutions. It manages to keep the comparison even with the g450 up to the pII 450Mhz cpu, then the matrox takes off with the higher cpu.
Quake III Arena (3dfx OpenGL ICD)
Here many more factors begin to play, compared to previous tests. Quake III will put both major computing components to the test. The tests will be performed with all available cpu at a resolution of 640x480 and 800x600, with 3dfx OpenGL ICD 505 and the options you see in the second image.
King Shaman continues to surprise me in both resolutions. With the 1.0ghz cpu, at 640x480, it manages to reach the single voodoo2, distancing the Stoned Shaman and the Rage 128 Pro. While at 800x600, the voodoo2 and the Rage 128 Pro, are now tired and have a flat graphic, while the King Shaman continues to aim high and produce fps. I would like to see what would happen with a more powerful cpu.
Unreal Tournament (Glide 3dfx)
Unreal Tournament, another Arena of Enemies ready to put the King Shaman in difficulty. The tests will be performed with all available CPUs, using the default graphics dlls for each graphics chip, at a resolution of 640x480 and 800x600, with 3dfx Glide for King Shaman and the options you see in the image.
Important note from Marlon, from the Stoned Shaman Review:
“Under D3D and OpenGL, not all graphics details are displayed ex works, so ATi, NVidia and Matrox accelerators had to do less work to achieve a correspondingly higher FPS.
However, the results obtained should argue even more in favor of Glide and its 3DFX accelerator.
So I would like to thank "SuperMario" once again very warmly, who gave me the suggestion. "
King Shaman is irrepressible. At 640x480 it seems as if possessed by the Glide Spirit pushing the FPS, with an unprecedented video quality and scalability, distancing everyone from the first test. It could even reach voodoo 3 2000 (could it? ...;)). But how could a Pentium 200MMX push such power if, neither my Pentium III 1000Mhz @ 133 nor Marlon's Pentium III 1100Mhz @ 100 did it with the Stoned Shaman? It's like having the Bugatti Veyron Supersport and trying to take it beyond 400km per hour in your home parking lot. It's impossible.
At a resolution of 800x600 it respects the line of its younger sister, while maintaining good scalability and image construction, despite the initial sprint obtained with a Pentium II 400Mhz @ 66 (264Mhz) cpu. Is it possible that this card performs more with a @ 66 mhz bus? To investigate and remove all doubts, I will have to purchase the appropriate hardware and do further tests.
Trespasser, a 98/99 hardware Tank. Few configurations were able to support it and make it playable/watchable, in fact, the adventure began before the game, it consisted of finding the right hardware, then moving on to the second level: installing Trespasser and playing with it ...
Following the rules of the tests performed by Marlon, the first ones concern the Pentium II 448Mhz @ 112, while the second test will be performed with the Pentium III 1000Mhz @ 133.
Having explored all the maps, looking for the point where Marlon had measured the performance of his video cards (friend, you drove me crazy 😅), I was able to appreciate the graphic rendering even in an Open Space environment. Only later did I realize that the performance was measured with the Trespasser demo ...
However, I was pleased to find that King Shaman, with a Pentium II 448Mhz @ 112 cpu, was second only to its big sister Voodoo 3. This video card seems to like the resolution of 640x480 pixels very much, given the great performances shown. Even at 800x600 pixels it remains second only to the Voodoo 3, while for the Matrox g450 it is time to retire.
With the Pentium III 1000Mhz @ 133 cpu, the King of the Shaman Voodoo1 family, still recovers 15% of Framerate compared to the Pentium II cpu, all this always at the resolution of 640x480. While the 800x600 resolution is equivalent to the performance of its younger sister Stoned Shaman. This confirms that the 640x480 pixel resolution continues to be increasingly popular with King Shaman. After this first part of testing, I can confirm that the 1996 Voodoo1 chip remains the undisputed king in the SLI field, even if it was never used at the time. This is because it made no sense to launch a video card on the market that could not be exploited to the maximum. Not even a cpu like that of marlon at 1100Mhz was able to do justice to the Stoned Shaman, just as the Pentium III 1000 did not give the right power to support the performance of this beast, the undisputed king of the Shaman Voodoo1 family.
Well, to complete the Review, a short Developer interview will follow. It was May 8, 2020 and Anthony was busy building the 2D video module for Quantum3D 200sb and x24, the MGV2020-v2 4MB.
We will also discuss Reverse Enginering Hardware with Anthony. To understand better, point out an article that I wrote some time ago and published on HWsetup/3dfxzone.
Anthony (zx-c64) with his King Shaman 20 MByte
Hi Anthony and Welcome, tell us a little about yourself.
How did your passion for the world of hardware begin?
- In yearly 90 '. When playing around with ZX hardware, you know, there’s a lot of great DIY expansion abilities, later continues on PC, of course.
When did you think about using the Reverse Engineering for the first time?
- I had good experience with Voodoo 1-2-3 cards at their glory days. Later, was interested in 3DFX hw again and found that sufficient amount of technical documentation is available. I thought, why not to try figure out how all these components connected?
Why did your attention focus on Voodoo1 3Dfx models?
- Mainly two reasons. Perfect Glide apps compatibility and very elusive models with configuration other than 1 FBI 1 TMU, 4MB total memory. Who will be interested, let's say, in V2, right? Although, I have almost completed V2 design, will do this board just for my kicks, once upon a time.
Have your creations always been successful with the Reverse Engineering technique?
- Yes, but not always with first attempt. Sometimes 3 attempts needed. As an instance, see the way to Shamans Family: https://www.facebook.com/Shamans-family-105924844383352/
Since you are an expert in this sector, tell us about the Reverse Engineering techniques that you have applied to carry out your past and present projects.
- I'm not expert and hope, very much, not will. Just because it's very boring. All begins with sanding PCB layer by layer and scanning results. All scanned images i combining in graphics editor. After that, recreating schematics and creating symbols for CAD begins.
The application of the Reverse Engineering on hardware is now clarified.
For IC chips, for information purposes only, can you explain what they are, if Reverse Engineering can be applied and with what techniques?
- Sure, IC chips reversing is possible. If we are talking about complex products, serious equipment and skills required, thus, it’s very expensive. I suppose, all begins with scanning too. Here is a good example of Reverse Engineering the MOS 6502 CPU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NZlrrAOxRU
What is more involving for you, the Reverse Engineering of a Hardware component or an IC Chip?
- Neither of them. As both these occupations are big time wasters. I’d hire someone to do such job.
Do you want to add something that you have made just for you thanks to the technique of the Reverse Engineering?
- I reversed very limited amount of PCBs. Certain models of V1, V2, V3, V4, V5 5500 and S.B. AWE64 CT4520. Couple of PCBs were scanned just for double checking as I had datasheets for all components.
You still have so many projects in the drawer to carry out, can you give us some news on your future creations?
- If you want to make god laughing, just tell him about your plans. This means, if you expose your plans, it's more than likely they will fail. I prefer keep my mouth shut regarding hw in developing, but I may say that I have interest in combined boards, when certain graphics chips reside on one PCB in unusual combinations.
Do you want to add something?
- Guess, something new will appear in this year. It mainly depends on logistics functioning these days. However, new cards designing leaves me almost no time for other occupations. Just for understanding, King Shaman was designed thru all summer of 2019, 8-10 hours per day, often including holidays. So, intentions and abilities, hope I will have both of them in future.
Thank you Anthony.
A warm Thanksgiving goes to Anthony K. (zx-c64) for sharing a bit of personal Knowledge, for supporting us in the realization of this Review.
Gone But Never Forgotten!