Avenger becomes Voodoo3
Avenger, which later became known as Voodoo3, was 3dfx's follow-up to Banshee. Originally this product was to be named Banshee2, for that is really what it was. However, 3dfx management knew that the Voodoo name provided much greater brand recognition and so they opted for that name. Voodoo3’s feature set was identical to that of Banshee. It was simply a higher-clocked version of the previous chip with a second texture unit installed. Performance was definitely competitive, with NVIDIA's TNT2 and TNT2 Ultra often falling behind in performance, but the lack of new features made NVIDIA's solution more appealing once again. This hurt 3dfx's sales and caused them to further lose market share and developers confidence.
Just prior to the launch of Avenger, the merger with STB Systems was announced. STB had been an add-in board manufacturer and they had pretty much dominated the OEM market with products in nearly all the major OEM systems. For 3dfx, the hope was to get their products into OEM systems. For STB the hope was to finally have a say in each chip’s feature set.
Many would say a mistake made by 3dfx in all this was cutting off supply to other board manufactures. With several companies having strong brand recognition in the United States and Europe, this reduced potential sales. Additionally, Asian board makers, typically having niche with Asian system builders, were cut off. This hurt 3dfx’s sales throughout the remainder of their existence.
With the oncoming merger almost complete, many at STB were under the impression that 3dfx's next part, Rampage, was all but taped out. This would have been true had 3dfx not decided to make some last minute changes to the design. These were not minor changes either, but major feature introductions. The most important new addition was SLI support. Had SLI not been an included feature, what would be called VSA-100 in its original form, would have been nothing more than a TNT2 Ultra. 3dfx knew this would not be an appealing solution, so Rampage was redesigned to allow for multi-chip boards, theoretically doubling performance (or more, depending on many chips were used). Additionally, 3dfx engineers added FXT-1 texture compression.
Adding technology meant additional delays. Delays not only came from adding features, but also from the new issues that spawned as a result of these additions. Problems crept up along the development path and even more delays were found. Officials within 3dfx did not help this problem either. There were serious delays from simple miscommunications within the company.
One example of this was somebody apparently forgetting to go to Asia to pickup the first batch of completed VSA-100 chips. Another example was a mistake in QA. Quake3 was repeatedly locking their system on Voodoo5 and they could not determine the cause. After a two-week delay the cause was found to be a bad Ghost image that was repeatedly used. These and other reasons set VSA-100 back by weeks.