Visuals, Display Output and 2D/3D Color Depth
Old line Matrox
quality with leading edge technology
Below is the
block diagram section of the Parhelia 512's Display
Controller and Output Circuitry. It comes complete
with dual simultaneous and independent outputs for driving
dual DVI and VGA outputs. In addition, Matrox has
incorporated 10 bit DAC technology, for more color depth
DAC response is critical to color image quality at the
output stage. DACs (or Digital to Analog Converters)
are the responsible for converting the digital image data
that is drawn by the GPU into analog output signals that
can be displayed on your monitor. As one can imagine
the higher resolution a Color DAC is, the better the final
output signal will be.
In the above
graph, the engineers at Matrox have taken a high speed
digital oscilloscope and measured the frequency response
of their product versus their competition in a green
digital to analog conversion. The ideal output value
is a flat 700Mv, which represents the full intensity of
the color signal. As you can see clearly here, the
Parhelia 512 DAC is significantly more uniform across the
Matrox has some of the best filtering technology in the
business bar none. Most any Tech Journalist will
tell you that historically, Matrox's 2D desktop quality,
is the one to beat. Matrox is claiming to continue
their tradition of quality with some of the best custom
tuned output circuitry available.
We won't get
into the gory details of signal jitter here. It
should suffice to say that nice neat square waves equal a
crisp, vibrant image quality. Big spikes and dips in
a signal wave plot, are representative of degradation and
loss. Wonder who that "competitor" is with the nasty
messy signal? We'll be nice and keep it a secret.
on the Parhelia 512
Click for full view
Matrox's new 10 bit DACs, they are able to deliver
something that is truly unique to the industry at this
time. "Gigacolor", as Matrox likes to call it, is
otherwise known as full display of over 1 Billion colors.
Before you peg the "Marketing-Hype-O-Meter" too far,
believe or not, the human eye can definitely tell the
difference between 16 Million and 1 Billion colors,
especially where dark colors are being displayed. During
our visit to Matrox HQ for our briefing, we were shown a
few basic 3D shapes that were displayed in standard 32 bit
color mode and then in Gigacolor, on the desktop.
The effect was fairly prominent, with the Gigacolor
display showing far less overall banding in color
you can run all 3D gaming titles in full Gigacolor.
Since this 10 bit color precision is driven throughout the
graphics pipeline and then ultimately by the 10 bit DACs,
any application or game will benefit with better color
resolution, especially with a dark scene or image. Also,
since the entire rendering pipeline has 10 bit precision,
there should be little if any performance degradation
while running in Gigacolor mode.
Lastly, as we
noted earlier, the Parhelia 512 also has another big
feature on the display output side of things, for
multi-monitor support. However, the good news is now
you can do some really fun things with it, from a gaming
perspective. We'll get back to that again later.
closer look at the 3D Pipeline!