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The iMac Game Wizard Resource

Frequently Asked Questions

Who makes the iMac Game Wizard?

The iMac Game Wizard was designed and sold by Micro Conversions Incorporated (MCI). The company went out of business in May 1999.

The card was manufactured by G-Links under contract to MCI. After MCI went bust G-Links was left with components in stock which had been bought for the cards. They used these to make more cards which they sold themselves.

Is the iMac Game Wizard still supported?

No. After MCI disappeared, 3Dfx Interactive (the chipset manufacturer) released unsupported Mac drivers for Voodoo2-based cards. Unfortunately they were written for the PCI slot versions of the card and don't work properly with the special iMac mezzanine slot card. In December 2000 3Dfx effectively dissolved their business so there will be no updated drivers from them. In addition the card's drivers won't work at all under Mac OS X, although they still work fine with Mac OS 8 or 9.

What does the Game Wizard do?

Modern computers offload a lot of the graphics processing, especially in games with 3D graphics, to the video chip. This is commonly called hardware rendering, as opposed to software rendering where all the graphics calculations and drawing is done in software running on the computer's main processor.

What's wrong with the built-in video accelerator?

The ATI Rage IIc video chip the original iMac uses was already too slow for many of the 3D-accelerated games that were appearing back in late 1998 when the iMac was introduced. Simpler games like Tomb Raider run fine on a Rage IIc, but games like Unreal and Future Cop run far too slowly and have to be played in software mode. Thanks to the iMac's fast processor they are playable with software rendering, but have to be played at a lower resolution, with fewer colours and fewer special effects. To make matters worse the original iMac only included 2 megabytes of video memory. Most 3D games require at least 4MB, so even the games that can run on a Rage IIc often won't unless the video memory is upgraded. Fortunately the memory can easily be upgraded to 4 or 6MB.

The revision B iMac used the much faster Rage Pro chip and included 6MB of video memory. This chip is good enough for more recent 3D games, but is still not as fast as the Voodoo 2.

How good is the Game Wizard?

Very good. It's about three times faster than the Rage Pro, and about 10 times faster than the poor Rage IIc! It has 8MB of video memory on the card. The iMac didn't get an equivalent 3D accelerator until late 1999 when the slot-loading CD iMacs were released. They use an ATI Rage 128 with 8MB of video memory.

How does it work in a computer without slots?

The Bondi Blue iMac (both A and B revisions) has an internal expansion connector called the mezzanine slot. In Apple's own words:

"there is an additional slot that was used by Apple during iMac development (often referred to as the mezzanine slot). This slot is for Apple use only. Apple has not published the specifications for this slot and is not recommending that any company develop products that rely on it."

Naturally enough several companies did develop products that used it, the most famous of which is the iMac Game Wizard.

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