Matrox Parhelia 512 High Fidelity Graphics Preview

The Matrox Parhelia 512 High Fidelity Graphics - Page 5

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

By -Dave Altavilla
May 14, 2002


10 Bit DVD Decode and Encode With DVDMax
High end DVD output on the PC

Finally, the Parhelia 512 offers traditionally fantastic Matrox DVD output to your PC Monitor but they have the advantage of those 10 bit DACs and a full 10 bit graphics pipeline at the ready.  As a result, the Parhelia 512 can take DVD Decode, Playback and 10 bit high fidelity TV Encode to the next level. 

Matrox is claiming to be able to deliver "Home Theater" quality DVD playback to the PC, with their 10 bit Gigacolor precision driving image quality, that will rival any high end stand alone DVD player in the market.  We weren't given a demonstration of this technology, so we'll have to see it for ourselves, when testing samples arrive in our labs.




In retrospect, it is hard not to look at the Matrox Parhelia 512 with a fair amount of excitement and enthusiasm.  Ultimately, it will bring to the 3D Graphics arena, another viable and impressive alternative to NVIDIA and ATi technology.  Certainly, there are lower end mainstream chipsets from SiS and others out there but there are virtually only two options in the high end space.  That clearly is not enough choice for the consumer, in our humble opinion.  Too often, we scan the retail shelves, only to be met with several different variations on the same theme, from either NVIDIA or ATi.  Granted these current solutions are impressive and more than capable technologies in their own rights.  However, we don't think we are alone when we feel a little bit limited in our choices, from a technology standpoint.

So, we've given you a brief taste of what the people at Matrox believe the Parhelia 512 Graphics Processor will be able to deliver.  From an architectural standpoint, the chip's massive memory bandwidth, Quad Vertex Shaders, 4 Texture units and 36 stage Pixel Shader Array, certainly appear to have exponential superiority, at least on paper.  However, fill rate, bandwidth and bandwidth efficiency are the rules of the road in this race and without having functional product in our testing labs, one really can't say for sure, what levels of performance the Parhelia 512 will bring, in comparison to its rivals.

What we can tell you with some degree of certainty, is that Matrox clearly has their sites set on "High Fidelity" in terms of over all image quality.  The Anti-Aliasing we saw during our demo at Matrox HQ, was very impressive and the color saturation and texture quality, that went along with those smooth images, was easily the best we've seen to date.  Where the Parhelia 512 should really shine, is in situations where the end user has all the "eye candy" turned up to maximum detail, with 16X FAA, 64 tap anisotropic filtering and Gigacolor enabled.  With the Parhelia 512's big fat 512 bit data pipes, it should theoretically out perform just about anything in this situation.  Again, one can only be sure however, with a test board in hand, so we'll remain cautiously optimistic here.  Finally, the Multi-Monitor output and "Surround Gaming" demonstrations we were shown, were easily the most impressive display of this technology we have ever seen.  To see and play a Surround Gaming setup in person, is really a jaw dropping experience, one that will leave you wanting one for yourself.

The Parhelia 512 is slated for  release later this summer.  We've heard a few dates in June but things are still being nailed down here.  Regardless, it seems as if the entire 3D Graphics world will be watching this product launch, hoping for another serious player in the High End Gaming and Professional 3D Graphics Arena, to emerge with the next GeForce4 or Radeon 8500 "killer".  It looks likes Matrox certainly could make that a reality.  Only time will tell but we'll be here to show you what the Parhelia 512 is really capable of, when we get boards on the test bench in the HotHardware Lab.

Parting Screenshots from Matrox Headquaters!

Canadian Colors Flying High

Wall of Product - Matrox Engineering

The "Fish Bowl"
Matrox Competitive Analysis Lab

Lorenzo "LO" DelPeche
Lo-Man checks out the competitive hardware.
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