Matrox Millennium G450 32MB Dual Head - HotHardware

Matrox Millennium G450 32MB Dual Head

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The Matrox Millennium G450 - 32MB Dual Head
New Levels Of
Integration for the Multimedia Fanatic and Corporate User

By Dave "Davo" Altavilla
9/5/00

As technology moves on, new markets are exploding for Personal Computing.  The Business and Corporate Sector was the dawn of the information and computing age and it is still a very large portion of the over all market. Now, many of today's latest technologies in the PC space, are targeted towards the Personal User.  As of recently however, there has been a resurgence in products targeted towards the Business User and the Graphics Card Market is contributing its fair share.

This is a look at a new product that falls into this category almost exclusively.  The all new Matrox Millennium G450 is a 2D/3D Graphics Card dressed in  a Business Suit with the proverbial "Power Tie" strapped on, in the event you were not aware that it was going to run the meeting.  This may be a metaphor but it could not be more true in reality.  In the pages ahead, we'll show you what this card is made of, what its strengths are and what weaknesses lie within as well.

Specifications and Features Of The Millenium G450
Just a little pleasure mixed in with the business.

 

Architecture Features

  • 0.18-micron technology

  • 256-bit DualBus architecture

  • 64-bit Double Data Rate (DDR)/Single Data Rate (SDR) external bus to frame buffer memory

  • Full AGP 4X device with multi-threaded bus mastering

    • Support for AGP 1X,2X and 4X

  • Integrated second RAMDAC

  • Integrated Transmission-Minimized Differential Signaling (TMDS)transmitter

  • Integrated TV encoder

  • 3D Rendering Array Process Architecture

  • 8 to 32 MB frame buffer configurations supported

  • Matrox ?s DualHead Display technology allows a single AGP card to independently support any two of the following displays:

    • monitor

    • TV

    • analog flat panel

    • digital flat panel

  • Vibrant Color Quality 2 (VCQ 2 )rendering

  • 32-bit internal precision specially enhanced for multi-texturing using 32-bit source textures

  • 32-bit Z-buffer including 8-bit stencil buffer

  • Symmetric Rendering Architecture

  • High speed,integrated primary RAMDAC (up to 360 MHz) with "UltraSharp" RAMDAC technology

  • Flicker-free display up to 2048 x 1536 @32-bpp on the primary display

  • Industry-leading 3D feature set and performance

  • Hardware accelerated Microsoft DirectX® Environment-Mapped Bump Mapping

  • Bilinear,trilinear and anisotropic filtering

  • DirectX,PC 98/99,Broadcast PC,Microsoft DirectShow® and OpenGL® compatible

 

Video and Multimedia Features

  • Independent front and back-end scalars

  • Full hardware sub-picture support and blending for high quality DVD playback

  • Aspect ratio conversion supported for proper display of 4:3 and 16:9 content

  • Full-screen output to TV independent of primary VGA display

  • AGP 4X bus mastering of video data

  • Support for unlimited number of simultaneous video windows and sprites

  • HD0 format support for HDTV

  • 720 p or 1280 x 720 resolution as video input and output

  • Second CRTC supports RGB and YUV packed and planar data in interlaced and non-interlaced rasters for PC graphics and video display to a TV or monitor

  • TV output up to 1024 x 768 in 32-bit color

  • Video editing architecture enables real-time A/B roll capability

  • Enhanced alpha-blended overlay modes support DVD/video sub-picture information as well as WebTV ® user interfaces

  • Full DirectShow and Broadcast PC compliant


This mile long list of specifications gives you an indication of the multi-faceted capabilities of the G450.  With respect to current products on the market from ATI and nVidia, the G450 is a little bit of a cross between  an "All-In-Wonder" kind of product (less the TV Tuner section) and a GeForce2 MX.  Let's have a closer look at the hardware side of things.

 

click for full view

 

 

 

We'll break the parts list down for you on the Matrox Millennium G450.  Let's see, that's one Graphics Processor, 4 SDRAM chips, Voltage Regulators, Capacitors, Oscillators, Resistors and Connectors.  There, you just built yourself a G450.  What you'll notice from our quick B.O.M. (Bill of Materials) run down, is that we made NO mention of RAMDACs, TV Encoders or TMDS (Transmission Minimized Differential Signaling) Transmitters for Driving Flat Panels.

 

For a board to support, Digital or Analog Flat Panel Output, TV Output and Simultaneous Independent Displays, you need all of these components.  So why are they not here?

 

Answer:  Because all of these components are on the G450 chip itself.

 

 

You get the picture... With the exception of a TV Tuner Section, the G450 has just about everything you could possibly want from an output standpoint.  All of this can be accomplished without the need for external components like the secondary RAMDAC and Matrox's "TVO" TV Encoder.  In fact, as you can see, with the advent of a die shrink, they brought these components on board at the chip level. 

 

On a side note, before you ask, that orange wire is attached to ground one of the other components.  Why it is needed, we have no idea.  (How's that for an answer?)  The rest is pretty much self explanatory.  The G450 only supports up to 32MB of Local Frame Buffer Memory via a 64 bit DDR or SDR interface.  This is totally different than the old G400's 128 bit SDR only interface.  What will this do to performance?  Well, theoretically not much.  On paper it is pretty much a wash.  However, we'll look at performance in more detail later.

 

Next, we'll give you a taste of what all these bells and whistles can do for you.

 

Software, Setup and Dual Head

 

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