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This chip is presented by Matrox Parhelia 128MB DDR, 220/550 MHz (Retail), AGP card.
Overclocking is currently impossible.
While there were rumours about future R300 and RV250, not mentioning NV30, Canadian Matrox released its long-awaited powerful accelerator with very high-performance 2D graphics (triple monitor support) and a modern 3D engine. Pity, but the 0.15-micron process technology hasn't enabled the developers to raise GPU clock rate to the level of current accelerators (275-300 MHz), that negatively affected card's performance. (See the review of this card). Nevertheless, it's a revolution comparing to the previous Matrox products. However, a very expensive one...
The company releases 128MB boards according to this roadmap:
So, we divided the Parhelia section in two parts: Retail and OEM. Here we review the Retail version with higher clock rates.
Back to Parhelia-512. Comparing to the current latest products from ATI (RADEON 9700) and NVIDIA (GeForce4 Ti) Parhelia 512 looks rather humble. Of course, 16 texture modules seem to push the card to the next level, but according to our examination, on this stage 4 pipelines X 4 texture modules formula is useless, as very few applications support this multitexturing mode. This configuration gives a chance for fast bilinear and anisotropic filtering, but a theoretical one. Look: each texture module can select 4 samples for bilinear filtering. It's the standard. 4 texture modules - 16, 4 pipelines - 64. This is the point of Matrox marketing, claiming 64 textures per clock. Yes, at that we get either 4 bilinear, or 2 trilinear or anisotropic (8-level), or 1 anisotropic (16-level) filtered textures per clock. Seems that in case of older (99.9%) "dual-texture" applications, anisotropic filtering must not cause performance losses. However, further you will see it's not as it seems.
Actualy, now Parhelia has only one DirectX 9.0 feature - Displacement Mapping, enabling the considerably higher bump realism and detail. Unlike usual bumps, textured to triangles at rendering, that do not affect dot visibility (a bump map simulates only dot lighting, not it's actual position), Displacement Mapping enables to create geometrically correct bumps, which intersection will not be an ideal right line.
Antialiasing is one of the most important 3D features.
I recommend you to read our Matrox Parhelia analysis again about the new Matrox AA technique. It's actualy up to 16 counts/dot supersampling. But it's performed ONLY (!) for polygon BORDER=1 dots (3-5% of a typical scene).
|AA 4x||FAA 16x|
Note there are no differences between FAA 16X and AA4x. As this mode is very interesting due to relatively slight performance losses, we can only compliment Matrox developers for it.
On the 10th of September 2002 the latest drivers version from Matrox is 18.104.22.168.
As you can see, older 2.28 drivers are often faster than new releases. 2.31 and 22.214.171.124 do not provide a radical change.
As to the quality, you can compare screenshots below with reference ones (NVIDIA GeForce3). Pity, there are problems with some games, for example, Red Faction reboots PC at once. 126.96.36.199 version has some bugfixes, making Venom playable.
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