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Matrox Parhelia

Written By:
Date Posted:
October 2 , 2002

Matrox Parhelia Logo

    Over the 25 years that Matrox has been around, they have built for themselves a reputation for making quality products, whether in the graphics field, their video group or their networking group.  Many people recognize this desire that Matrox has to put quality ahead of other things in all that they build.

    This is not to say that Matrox has not had its share of "failures".  Their PowerVR powered M3D did not work as well as Matrox hoped.   The lack of an OpenGL ICD for the G200 on release is still a sore point for many.   More recently the dropping of support in Win2k and XP for hardware MJPEG capture boards (RRG, G200TV, G400TV) and the eventual departure of any video capture boards from the Matrox Graphics group angered many a user of these products.

    Some of the early video cards, such as the Matrox Impression, the original Matrox Mystic or even the G400 were some of the best of their generations.   Some people still use the Mystique even today.  When the G400 came out it was one of, if not the, fastest video cards at the time and offered many new features to people, such as EMBM and DualHead.

    The first Matrox video I encountered was a M3D, which I got as my first 3D accelerator instead of a Voodoo 1.  It worked well, and I especially liked one game that came with the card.  A few years after I had sold that card I was faced with a decision as to what video card to buy, a TNT2 16MB or a G400 16MB SH.  I got the TNT2 and it didn't work, so I returned it and bought the G400 and it worked well in my K6-2/VIA system.  I was so pleased with the card, and very curious about DualHead that I sold the single head card and bought a 32MB DualHead card.  Both cards, which were bought about 2 years ago are still in running systems to this day, despite being overclocked to their maximum.

    The release of the G400 was about 3 years ago and since that time Matrox has only released what could best be described as 'refreshes' of that card, in the G450 and the G550.  But recently Matrox released the design of what seems to be the first of a series of new Matrox cards, the Parhelia 512.  The card we will look at today is that first card, so let us look and see if the three years of waiting since the previous high end performance card, the G400, was worth it.  Before we start however I would like to mention that this is going to be a very long review, but it will try to cover all the major points of the card in at least some detail.

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