The Future of 3D Has Arrived

by Anne Doyle

Just when you've had enough of wearing those 3D glasses or 3D headgear, along comes a product that will not only make you jump out of your seat, but will run in your PC and you don't have to wear anything on your head. Realistic 3D is now available, courtesy of Orchid Technology's revolutionary product, the Righteous 3D graphics accelerator card.

Designed for Windows 95, it is truly "Plug 'N Play" capable. I had the card in my computer in minutes, the software loaded soon after, and I was ready to be amazed. I ended up being more than amazed. The games designed to work with the Righteous 3D were so realistic, it was hard to believe I wasn't right there on my computer screen.

Orchid Technology was acquired by Micronics Computers in August of 1994 and boy, have they come a long way, baby. Getting into the consumer market was one of the smartest things Micronics could have done. And the Righteous 3D is proof of it.

After playing MechWarrior 2 (which includes the NetMech eight player pack), VR Soccer '96: Semifinals and the trial version of Scorched Planet, I needed a nap. I was worn out from weaving back and forth in my chair as "I" tracked down the enemy, kicked my way through a soccer match and generally kicked some butt. This kind of 3D is not for the faint of heart--some of the scenes are gorily too realistic. But it makes for an experience I don't think you'll ever forget.

So, what's the big deal? Here's what: With a regular graphics card, you were lucky to get 8 frames per second (FPS), making the game you were playing look okay, but choppy and not as smooth as you would want. Along comes Righteous 3D and suddenly you're looking at 30 FPS and such fluidlike motion, you wonder how you every played a game without it before. The drawback: The number of software titles designed to work with most 3D cards, including Righteous 3D, is limited to about 40 or so. But as the software companies catch up to this phenomenon, don't be surprised if you go to the computer store and find that most of the games you want are 3D card compatible only.

Is it worth the $299 retail price (original)? Yes! You not only get the games I mentioned above, you also get: Descent II: Destination Quartzon 3D; Whiplash 3D; trial versions of Hellbender and Monster Truck Madness and Righteous 3D Demos. Those games bought separately would easily cost you almost as much as the entire package, so it's almost like getting the Righteous 3D card for free! Convinced? Good! Now rush out to buy one before they're all gone.

PRODUCT: Righteous 3D graphics accelerator card by Orchid Technology, Fremont, California
PRICE: Retail $299, check your computer store or retail outlet for actual pricing, which may be lower.
SPECS: 3Dfx Interactive Voodoo Graphics Processor; PCI 2.1 compliant bus interface; 4MB EDO DRAM memory; dual 64-bit memory; 3D API compatibility with Microsoft Windows 95 Direct3D, Criterion Renderware and Gemini Technology OpenGVS; full motion frame rates, 45 million pixels per second fill rates and 2 million triangles rendered per second; advanced 3D features such as alpha blending and perspective correct texture mapping; and advanced special effects such as texture morphing, texture animation and per-pixel fog, smoke and haze effects.

Visit Orchid Technologies at their web site,, or contact them at 1-800-806-9142.

Anne Doyle is a regular contributor to Compute Me. Visit her web site at Shiba Hill.

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