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    Matrox Parhelia Review
    By Vince Freeman :  June 25, 2002


    Since the Matrox Parhelia is a brand new card with no benchmark history, we're pitting it against the full gamut of high-end and mid-range 3D cards. Our reference 3D card selection includes the GeForce4 Ti 4600, 4400 and GeForce4 Ti 4200 128-MB and 64-MB models, the GeForce3 Ti 500 and 200, and a Radeon 85000 128-MB (275/275). This provides a well-rounded set of 3D card competition and allows a very good frame of reference when making performance comparisons.

    For a reference platform we have once again selected what may be one of the most powerful gaming systems available: a Pentium 4-2.53 GHz processor combined with a SiS 645DX motherboard and 512-MB of high-end Crucial PC2700. To say this is fast would be a huge understatement, as in terms of pure 3D gaming performance, only a PC1066-equipped i850E might put it in second place. Given the popularity of the SiS 645DX for Pentium 4 overclocking, our 2.53 GHz processor base also provides a close approximation to what many are achieving with their overclock speeds.

    The Parhelia driver revision is, the latest version provided to us by Matrox and communicated as equivalent to the retail drivers. The NVIDIA driver revision is the latest Detonator 29.42 version, while the ATI Radeon 8500 makes use of the brand new Catalyst 2.1 (v. 7.72) drivers. Our standard game benchmarking selection includes Quake 3: Arena, 3DMark 2001SE, Jedi Knight II, Comanche 4 and Serious Sam; The Second Encounter, and we have included a few of these as Anti Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering performance benchmarks.

    Before we move on to the actual benchmarks, it may be best to prepare you for what awaits. Although some sites and publications have positioned the Matrox Parhelia as some sort of a GeForce4-killer, the actual card is more of a high-end solution for exceptional visual and anti aliasing quality. The Parhelia is certainly a fast 3D card, but its relative position next to the GeForce4, GeForce3 and Radeon 8500 competition is highly dependant on the actual game and its detail level. For that reason, we are separating the benchmarking section into our standard gaming scores, along with an area covering off anti aliasing and anisotropic filtering performance.

    Test System

    General Settings:
    Desktop Resolution: 1024x768
    Color Depth: 16-bit
    V-Sync: Disabled

    SiS 645DX - MSI 645E Max 2 Motherboard
    Processors: Pentium 4-2.53B
    Memory: 512 MB Crucial PC2700 DIMM
    Motherboard: MSI 645E Max 2
    Motherboard chip set: SiS 645DX
    Matrox reference drivers:>br> NVIDIA reference drivers: 29.42
    ATI reference drivers: Catalyst 7.72
    Hard-Drive: Western Digital 40GB 7200RPM ATA100
    IDE Interface: Ultra ATA100
    Sound: Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live
    CD/DVD: Panasonic DVD-ROM
    Power Supply: Sparkle 400 Watt
    Operating System: Windows XP Pro

    Video Cards:
    Matrox Parhelia 128-MB VisionTek Xtasy GeForce4 Ti 4200 (128-MB)
    GeForce4 Ti 4200 (64-MB) NVIDIA Reference
    VisionTek Xtasy GeForce4 Ti 4400
    MSI G4Ti4600-VTD GeForce4 Ti 4600
    ATI Radeon 8500 128-MB
    VisionTek Xtasy 6564 GeForce3 Ti 500
    Hercules 3D Prophet III Ti 200 GeForce3 Ti 200

    Quake III Arena Test Specifics
    Version: 1.30 (retail)
    V-Sync: Disabled
    Sound Disabled
    High Quality Defaults

    Return to Castle Wolfenstein Specifics:
    Version 1.0
    High Quality Defaults
    Checkpoint MP demo

    Serious Sam: The Second Encounter Specifics:
    Version 1.05
    Elephant Atrium demo

    Jedi Knight II Specifics:
    Version 1.02 Jk2ffa demo

    3DMark 2001SE Pro Specifics
    : Version 1.0

    Page 1 Introduction
    Page 2 The Matrox Parhelia 128-MB Card
    Page 3 Parhelia-512 GPU Features
  • Page 4 Performance and Test System
    Page 5 Quake 3 and Serious Sam 2 Performance
    Page 6 Jedi Knight II, Comanche & 3DMark 2001 Performance
    Page 7 Anti Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering Performance
    Page 8 Anti Aliasing Techniques
    Page 9 Image Quality and Screenshots
    Page 10 Value and Conclusion

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