Matrox Parhelia 512 High Fidelity Graphics Preview

The Matrox Parhelia 512 High Fidelity Graphics - Page 4

The Matrox Parhelia 512
Matrox Re-Enters The 3D Graphics Ring - Big, Bad and Pretty

By -Dave Altavilla
May 14, 2002


64 Super Sample Texture Filtering
Great Anisotropic Filtering with minimal performance loss

The Matrox Parhelia 512 supposedly, can process up to 64 texture samples per clock, which is double the number that a GeForce4 Ti can process, for example.  Matrox is claiming that their 16X Anisotropic Filtering setting with dual textures, will run as fast as the competition in standard trilinear filtering mode.

Here is an example of what 64 Super Sample Filtering can do, with Quake 3 Arena textures.

64 Super Sample Texture Filtering
Click image for view

One can only imagine how true 64 tap Aniso will run on the Parhelia 512, with 2X the number of texture samples per clock that can be processed.  We are itching to benchmark this thing.


Triple Head, Surround Gaming and Dual Head HF
Your next setup?

Matrox has made quite a niche' for themselves in the multi-monitor output space.  They are well known industry leaders in this technology and have always had the most comprehensive and versatile solutions in the market, ever since their G450 product.  The Parhelia 512 continues the Matrox legacy in this technolgy, boasting never before seen multi-monitor capabilities that are years ahead of their competition.  We'll try to cover the salient points here in some detail.

Dual Head HF:
Here the Matrox Parhelia 512 employs it's two 400MHz ultra sharp 10 bit RAMDACs,  Dual TMDS Transmitters and a 10 bit TV Encoder.  This allows the card to display any number of multiple monitor options including, Dual DVI Flat Panels at 1900X1200 or Dual Analog Outputs at 2048X1526, all with overlays, gamma correction and hardware cursors.

We're expecting great things in terms of desktop image quality, from the Parhelia 512.  In addition, Matrox is going beyond the current mindset and breaking "out of the box" so to speak.


Triple Head Desktop Mode:

The Parhelia 512 can also utilize an on board third RAMDAC, for the ability to drive a Windows desktop across a third display, for a max resolution of 3048X1024 at 32 bit color. 

Once again, Matrox doesn't forget to bring something to the table for the loyal "Professional' end user crowd.  Desktop Publishers, Financial Analysts and CAD Engineers, should be really impressed by all this extra screen real-estate. Personally, we all left Matrox HQ "jonesing" big time, for a triple head 18" Flat Panel setup.  Oh what fun.  Speaking of fun...


Surround Gaming!!!

What's not to love about this feature?  Well, perhaps with the exception of the huge amount of desktop space it soaks up, you can't help but get a little giddy about the thought of having three displays on your desktop for that all important death match with your over zealous buddy.  You certainly aren't going to take one of these rigs to the local LAN Meet, unless you have some serious cargo space in that Honda Civic, that we're not aware of.  However once again, Matrox brings an industry first to the 3D Graphics and Gaming market, with the Parhelia 512.

Click the images below to see what is better experienced first hand and in person.


Surround Gaming with Flight Simulator 2002 and Quake 3 Arena
Click each image for the demo

This is not just stretching the main image across three screen areas.  Matrox likes to refer to Surround Gaming as the "IMAX experience of 3D Gaming".  What this technology actually does is to render 3 independent screen areas across each display, enabling 3 times the field of view for a given scene.  Think peripheral vision here folks.  Is it coming to you now?  In the immortal words of Austin Powers, "yeah baby"!  You've just set yourself up with three times the viewing area, to lay waste to your frag hungry friends.  An unfair advantage?  Maybe, but then again, the one with the most toys in the end, wins anyway, right?  :)

Here are a few more images to illustrate the effect.

Click images for full view


Matrox gave us the chance to play a little Quake 3 and Jedi Knight II Outcast, on a Triple Head Surround Gaming setup.  When we first saw the displays in action, we were simply awe struck.  The effect was amazing and gave a whole new perspective (literally) to the gaming experience.  The good news is that, for most titles, this feature will be another "out of the box" experience, since developers will not have to do much if anything to support it .  Most all Quake 3 engine based games have support for "FOV" (Field Of View) adjustments via the consol, for example.  This gets Matrox off to a good start, with titles like Quake 3, Soldier Fortune, Jedi Knight II and Return To Castle Wolfenstein,  already geared up and ready to rumble. 

Soldier of Fortune
Click images for full view


Underwater Reef Demo In Action
Click images for full view

Seb reels in the big one!

Jedi Knight II

Why there's ol' Seb MacDougall now, reeling in that big bad trigger fish!  You should have seen the boy's moves at the nightclub later that evening too!  Seb can troll for "keepers" in more ways than one!


10 bit DVD/DVDMax, Quick Matrox HQ Tour and Final Words

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