Matrox Parhelia 128MB AGP

The Matrox Parhelia 128MB AGP - Page 5

The Matrox Parhelia 128MB AGP
Hands on testing of Matrox's High End Gaming Card

By -Dave Altavilla
June 25, 2002

Keeping along with the DirectX 8 vein, we have Novalogic's impressive looking Military Copter Sim, Comanche 4.  The visuals this game engine paints are truly stunning and the shoot 'em up action is tons of fun, with an arsenal of weapons that the Comanche attack helicopter carries to its targets.

Comanche 4, Matrox Shark Mark, NVIDIA Chameleon Mark and Winbench
Covering all aspects of performance for the Parhelia

For sure this benchmark is much more CPU dependant than it is GPU intensive.  Regardless, the Comanche 4 Benchmark Demo utilizes actual game engine playback footage of heavy combat with lots of explosions and action over water etc.  Once again, we wanted to see the Parhelia really fly but it did not.  The numbers don't lie and a 40 - 45% delta is not a pretty picture.  However, when the Radeon 8500 was first launched, it too suffered under the strain of this test.  We are hopeful that future driver revision for the Parhelia, will allow the game engine to make more efficient use of its architecture.

Matrox Shark Mark:

Shark Mark in Action
Click for viewing

Matrox's very own Shark Mark, is a DirectX based benchmark that stresses a GPU's Vertex Shaders.  Specifically, there are 9 Sharks drawn and animated in this scene and it utilizes 90 Vertex Shader instructions.  This test should obviously favor the Parhelia, since it was coded by Matrox.  However, we'll run an NVIDIA based Direct X test next, to show you things from another angle.

What did you expect?  Of course this test showcases the Parhelia's Vertex Shader Array and is most likely heavily optimized for the Parhelia 512 architecture, keeping the rendering pipelines full.  So, we decided to turn the table on the Parhelia a bit and fire up something coded by NVIDIA.  The results may surprise you.

NVIDIA's Chameleon Mark:

The Parhelia shows serious muscle here in the completely hostile environment of the NVIDIA Chameleon.  This could indeed be a sign of things to come with respect to next generation game engines that utilize pixel and vertex shaders in greater detail.  The Radeon 8500 is simply left in the dust here by both the Parhelia and the GeForce 4 Ti 4600.  With only a single Vertex Shader at its disposal, the Radeon just can't keep up.

2D Desktop Re-Draw and Render Performance - Winbench:

The folks at Matrox boast that they have the fastest 2D desktop accelerator in the business.  Perhaps this is less than important for most folks in the Parhelia's target market, since it is clearly a gaming card.  However, we decided to prove out the theory none the less.

Indeed, when it comes to 2D Desktop Graphics, the Parhelia seems to have a clear advantage over the competition.  However, we were left wondering just how much utility this new found speed would provide for the average end user.


Well, so far for the Matrox Parhelia, it has been a bit of a rough road during our benchmark sessions.  However, as you recall, 16X FAA, from at least a visual perspective, was a real plus for Matrox's new GPU.  Let's see if the numbers pan out that way as well.

Anti-Aliasing Tests Paint A Very Different Picture

Tags:  Matrox, mat, Parhelia, AG, AR

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