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Matrox Millennium P650 & P750 Video Card Review

Matrox Millennium P650 & P750 Video Card Review

Supplied by matrox


Millennium P650 MSRP $169 USD/$257 CAD
Millennium P750 MSRP $235 USD/$358 CAD

 

 

A return to roots

I’m often asked for application specific recommendations for PC hardware due
to my full time occupation in the broadcasting industry. Many times I receive
emails from inquisitive entrepreneurs who aspire to build non-linear video edit
suites. I have found that video editors are far more of the tinkering type than
graphic artists. Graphic artists, on the other hand, do the best that they can
with the tools at hand but constantly prod for “newer, better, faster.”
There is a commonality in the profession and that is no graphic or video professional
works on single monitors. Dual monitors are the mainstay of the graphic and
video world. Dual monitors are for web designers who code laboriously into the
night in single monitor hell and dual monitors are for anyone who wants a little
more “digital elbow room”.

There is a very simple way to illustrate why multi-monitor setups are so appealing.

crowdedsingle

Clutter!

How many times have you had to squeeze, hunt on the toolbar and reorganize
the desktop? CRT monitors are priced far below what they were a year ago and
now Digital Flat Panels (DFP) are coming down. The lure of the double desktop
is strong.

Aren’t all video cards dual monitor capable?

It is true that today most video cards are dual head capable but there was
a time not too long ago Matrox impressed the PC world with the Millennium G400
series. It was one of the only video cards that supported two monitors independently
and, for a time, it dominated the gaming benchmark world. Video card manufacturers
like ATI and NVIDIA forged ahead turning out ever higher benchmarks leaving
Matrox behind in the FPS race. During this time competitor’s cards still did
not support dual monitors. Matrox chose their own route and broke new ground
being one of the first to support dual DVI monitors with the G550 series. The
next evolution was the Parhelia.

Indeed we waited for the Parhelia and rumors flew in the enthusiast world.
The Matrox Parhelia 512 generated an incredible amount of conjecture during
its eagerly anticipated arrival and guess what?

It didn’t do what was expected of it.

It was expected to rule the gaming benchmark world; to be the “GEFORCE
killer.” Gamers have a very vocal web presence. Gamers drive the manufacturers
to produce ever faster products to satisfy their frame hungry desires. Game
developers take advantage of the increase in horsepower which slows down the
video cards which prompts the gamers to cry for more frames which manufacturers
toil to deliver. It is a vicious cycle when the latest video card is barely
on the store shelf before its successor is announced. The Parhelia didn’t fulfill
their needs.

Then why isn’t Matrox keeping up?

Matrox doesn’t have to. Matrox has no desire to run the race for ultimate frames
per second. Matrox does multi-monitor and they do it well. The competition would
have to spend tremendous energy, time and effort just to catch up. It is no
secret that Matrox is far ahead for multi-monitor support and desktop image
quality. Even the most hardcore of gamers will relinquish this fact. The Parhelia
wasn’t a failure for what it was intended to do. The key word is intent. Matrox
introduced the Parhelia to provide dual and even triple head display with the
highest quality image display possible and more than enough horsepower to meet
the needs of the graphic world.

If you look closely at the competition there is support for a single DVI port
but the secondary port is analog. Those of you who are fortunate enough to own
two digital flat panel monitors are out of luck with the competition at this
price range.

Dual monitor capable video cards have a primary and a secondary display. The
secondary display gets the “leftovers”. In other words just enough
to display a desktop image. One monitor or the other has to be designated as
a primary but not both. Software programs may require for part of the workspace
to be in the primary display and will not work in the secondary display. This
is where Matrox has leapt ahead. The Matrox Millennium P650 and P750 have no
secondary display. The Millennium P650 and P750, like the Parhelia, have dual
400 MHz RAMDAC’s for dual 2048 x 1536 resolution support and fully symmetric
DualHead. There is also dual hardware overlay support for video in a window
in either display. You’ll often find that video only plays on the primary display
for competitors cards.

If you happen to be fortunate enough to own two digital flat panel monitors
then look closely at the competition. There is support for DVI (digital video
interface) but the secondary port is analog. You might as well have bought a
CRT monitor or an analog flat panel because one digital flat panel cannot fulfil
its potential. The Millennium P650 and P750 solve this by providing Dual DVI
with independent resolution support up to 1600 x 1200. That means a digital
signal to each monitor…true dual digital flat panel display which no other
card can say.

Who is a Matrox customer?

If you have ever wanted to work in a multi-monitor environment and enjoy the
“bucket-loads” of elbow room with an incredible amount of control
over the desktop then you are a Matrox customer. Matrox users speak about the
flexibility and quality of their desktop. They may be casual gamers but they
rely upon the multi-monitor support that Matrox delivers for business applications,
web design, graphic applications, video editing, imaging in healthcare, financial
data display and a host of other applications.

Why buy a Matrox video card?

The hard cold fact is that Matrox does not produce a high end gaming card.
That isn’t to say that games can’t be enjoyed…Matrox video cards just won’t
be found in the constantly changing pole position between ATI and NVIDIA gaming
benchmarks. Matrox delivers desktop quality over multiple monitors. Matrox took
a page from the lesson book of Parhelia and took notice of a very interesting
statistic; the G550 is still a popular card. Believe it or not dual monitor
enthusiasts look to the G550 for dual CRT and DFP support that is affordable.
Graphic artists use it. Video editors use it. Financial analysts use it. Dual
monitor enthusiasts loved it.

Somewhere in the Matrox offices over someone’s head a light bulb appeared.

The PC users who bought the G450 and G550 in droves didn’t buy the Parhelia.
Somewhere between everything that the Parhelia offers and what the G450 and
G550 delivered lay Matrox’s new video card.

The Millennium P750

wsbox

The origin of the new Millennium series name is easy to see. The “P”
comes from Parhelia and 650 and 750 is logically next in the 450 and 550 series.
The P650 and P750 represent the middle ground. Matrox supplied Short-Media with
the Millennium
P750
which will be the focus.

heatsink

P750 Specifications

  • 256-bit GPU with 128-bit DDR memory bus
  • 64 MB DDR memory
  • AGP 8x, 4x, 2x, 1x
  • Powerful 2D, 3D and DVD-Video acceleration
  • Multi-display support: DualHead-HF
  • – 1600 x 1200 dual digital and 1920 x 1440 dual analog resolution
  • – Dual-DVI outputs with independent resolution support
  • – Fully symmetric dual-display outputs with identical quality
  • – Dual independent hardware overlays for video
  • – Dual-display color calibration
  • Multi-display support: TripleHead
  • – Unique Matrox TripleHead support
  • – Unique Matrox Dual-display plus TV output support
  • – Surround Gaming*
  • UltraSharp Display Output technology:
  • – Highest quality output with 10-bit gamma correctable DACs
  • Certified for AEC and entry-level MCAD
  • Glyph Antialiasing for ultra-crisp text rendering
  • Unified Drivers for Millennium P-Series & Parhelia Series
  • OpenGL® 1.3® and Microsoft® DirectX 8.1 compliant

angle

Resolution/Refresh rates

Maximum 2D/3D
(single display mode)
Resolution 2048 x 1536*
Colors Over one billion

 

Maximum 2D/3D
(single display mode)
Resolution 1600 x 1200
Colors 16.8 million

 

Refresh rates
(single display mode)
Resolution*
Vertical (Hz)
2048×1536
85
1920 x 1440
85
1600 x 1200
100
1280 x 1024
120
1152 x 864
140
1024 x 768
160
800 x 600
200
640 x 480
200

*Maximum resolution for main display.

The Millennium P750 comes packaged with a DVI to two CRT connector. The card
has two DVI ports that support twin digital flat panel monitors without additional
cables or adapters.

dualdvicable

When twin CRT monitors are used then one monitor uses the adapter (shown below)
on port 1 and the second and third monitor use the the DVI to CRT adapter. Three
monitor support means all three monitors are CRT or analog flat panel.

dvicrtadapter

TV-Out is accomplished by plugging the included cable (SVIDEO and RCA) into
where the third CRT/analog flat panel port.

tvoutcable

Specific monitor configurations on single, dual, triple and TV-out mode can
be found on the Matrox
website
.

Back to school

Single monitor displays can get cluttered. It’s not very much unlike a desk
at work buried under stacks of paper.

crowdedsingle

The solution is to burn all the papers or get the best of both worlds; get
a bigger desk and get organized. Dual monitor can make web surfing a joy. A
user can search in one monitor and leave a reference site open in the other
monitor.

websurf

Office productivity benefits as well. The working document can be open in one
monitor while research is carried on in the other. The desktop remains organized
and documents readily accessible.

Web designers will wonder how they ever worked on a single monitor after “going
dual”. Imagine a program like Dreamweaver open in one monitor and the other
monitor can display thumbnails of the images being inserted into the site.

dreamweavertwomonitor

Leave the main site live in one monitor and Dreamweaver open in the other.

dreamwebtwomonitor

The Millennium P750 can even support triple head display for the space hungry.
Triple head display may not be for all but someone who is, for example, a financial
analyst or stockbroker will love three screens of data in one PC.

triplemonitor

Photoshop users know all too well the confines of single monitor displays.
Anyone who is in graphic design needs room especially in a program like Adobe
After Effects. Single monitor with Adobe After Effects is hell.

singleaefx

There is a constant reshuffling of windows that wastes time, hurts productivity
and creates frustration. Adobe After Effects isn’t a graphic card hungry program.
When it renders it relies mainly on the CPU. The composition window which displays
the composition timeline does have to be in the primary display to receive the
GPU horsepower. The comp window can be in either display since the Millennium
P650 and P750 have dual 400 MHz RAMDAC’s for dual 2048 x 1536 resolution
support and fully symmetric DualHead. When you look to pogroms like Premiere
or Avid Express DV, for example, this performance isn’t possible with competitor’s
cards because those programs use hardware overlay which restricts some functional
use to the primary monitor.

twomonitoraefx

Any smart graphic designer would work in dual displays for After Effects and
why not have the option and benefit of dual digital displays.

There is one more plus to the Matrox P750 and that is dual display PLUS TV-OUT.
The graphic artist or non-linear editor can retain the dual desktop PLUS output
the video to a NTSC monitor for preview. There is no additional hardware to
buy.

twoplustv

The Millennium P650 and P750 series fulfill a niche of those who wanted more
from the G450 and G550 but didn’t need all that the Parhelia offered. Not everyone
is a hardcore gamer or and those who are may have a dedicated PC for gaming.
Dual monitors are a joy to work with. There is no better way to say it and nobody
who delivers it better than Matrox.

It was previously mentioned that Matrox excels in image quality. Many have
commented that Matrox displays are sharper and easier on the eyes. Matrox added
10-bit Gigacolor technology with the launch of the Parhelia. Both the P650 and
P750 include the Gigacolor technology and if you don’t know what it is you can
read the entire explanation in Short-Media’s Parhelia Preview (April 4, 2001)
but the basics have been copied and pasted here.

A billion colors

There is a need and benefit to increasing the number of colors available. The
world as perceived by the human eye is not limited to a choice of only 16.8
million different colors to describe it. If the eye can only perceive roughly
10 million colors imagine it as a rainbow divided up into 10 million segments.
Double the amount of segments and the same rainbow would still be visible but
the differences between each color would now be more subtle. Divide that rainbow
up into 1 billion segments and the choice of a particular color is extremely
precise.

If the human eye can perceive approximately 10 million colors it would make
sense that choosing from a color palette with twice the amount of colors or
5 times or 10 times would give a much broader range of subtleties to enrich
an image. Remember that no new strange unheard of colors are being added but
only the distinction between each is being increased.

If given 2 shades of pure red to choose from…

redtwocolor

it would be hard to pick one to match a third.

redthreecolor

Given 50 shades of red then the choice would become easier but
notice the banding.

red50color

Given 256 shades the match becomes even closer.

redallcolor

Given 1024 shades then choosing the match could almost be perfect.

Now imagine adding any amount of the other two primary colors of blue and green
to further increase the precision in matching. By computer video card standards
the resulting color palette would have over 1 billion colors to choose from.
This is 10-bit technology.

10-Bit DAC in the real world.

If watching a VHS tape is acceptable then watching an SVHS tape provides an
improvement in picture quality. Therefore watching a DVD is a massive improvement
over the VHS and SVHS tape. The DVD picture in a home theatre is impressive,
clear and precise. Go grab the manual and look at the DVD player specifications.
Chances are that it uses a 10-bit DAC in the processing of the DVD digital information
to output a high quality image to the analog TV.

Now imagine that same image precision available in the home PC. The difference
could be dramatic.

This provides several benefits to several people.

  • To the professional it means a greater range of control over the image of
    pre-press and regular graphic work in both 2D and 3D environments.
  • To the gamer it means a larger color palette with a huge range of shades
    resulting in the potential of more photo realistic games. The environment
    and characters can be that much more real.
  • To the everyday PC user it means a more accurate importation, manipulation
    and eventual display of an image. The new Windows Longhorn will incorporate
    10-bit technology for display.
  • The Matrox 10-bit display or 10-bit GigaColor results in an impressive picture
    at higher resolutions and higher refresh rates.

To some graphic professionals working a range above the standard
24 bit video cards…

waxpaper_on

is like removing the wax paper from in front of your eyes.

waxpaper_gone

Comparing Matrox cards




















































































































































































































































































































Features G450 G550 P650 P750 Parhelia
General          
Memory 32 MB 32 MB 64 MB 64 MB 128MB / 256MB
Memory bus 64-bit DDR 64-bit DDR 128-bit DDR 128-bit DDR 256-bit DDR
AGP 4X 4X 8X 8X 4X
Cooling Passive Passive Passive Active Active
OpenGL 1.1 1.1 1.3 1.3 1.3
Direct X Technology 6 6 8.1 8.1 8.1
RAMDACs (MHz) 360/230 360/230     400/400       400/400/165      400/400/165   
Multi-display Configurations          
Dual-RGB Standard Standard Standard Standard Standard
Dual-DVI X Option Standard Standard Standard
TripleHead X X X Standard Standard
Single-Display + TV Option* Option* Option* Standard Standard
Dual-Display + TV X X X Standard Standard
Maximum Resolutions          
Dual-DVI X Dual 1280 x 1024 option** Dual 1600 x 1200 Dual 1600 x 1200 Dual 1600 x 1200
Dual-RGB Dual 1600 x 1200 Non-Symmetric Dual 1600 x 1200 Non-Symmetric Dual 1920 x 1440 Symmetric Dual 1920 x1440 Symmetric Dual 2048 x 1536 Symmetric
TripleHead X X X Triple 1280 x 1024 Triple 1280 x 1024
2D and Video          
Dual Hardware Overlays X X Yes Yes Yes
10-bit DACS X X Yes Yes Yes
10-bit GigaColor X X Yes Yes Yes
Multi-Display Color Calibration X X Yes Yes Yes
Glyph Antialiasing X X Yes Yes Yes
Overlay Gamma Correction X X Yes Yes Yes
Overlay Proc-amp controls Single Display Single Display Dual Display Dual Display Dual Display
TV Proc-amp controls Yes* Yes* Yes* Yes Yes
WYSIWYG Plug-ins X X X X Yes
3D          
Pixel Pipe/ Texture Pipe 2 x 1 2 x 2 2 x 4 2 x 4 4 x 4
Vertex Shader Units X X 2 2 4
Pixel Shader Support X X Yes Yes Yes
FAA-16x X X Yes Yes Yes
Surround Gaming X X X Yes*** Yes
Performance****          
2D 100% 122% 184% 195% 219%
3D 100% 157% 500% 586% 1102%

  1. * TV-out cable upgrade sold separately on P650 and non-retail
    G450 and G550
  2. ** Option with Millennium Dual-DVI
  3. *** Performance may vary across games
  4. **** Normalized data based on 2D WinBench Business and
    3D Mark 2001 Benchmarks at 1280×1024 32bbp

Are high performance gaming cards better?

High performance gaming cards are indeed better…at games. Matrox is forthright
in stating that their products are not designed to compete with the high frame
rates of the competition. Matrox designs product for multi-monitor support.

Broadcast or even corporate video doesn’t need the absolute latest in processors.
The fastest dual or an overclocked single processor won’t save your bacon from
video stutter during playback. Not at broadcast resolutions. A necessity is
a hardware device to power the playback of video. Normally video is driven by
software during playback. The load on the processor and system is too great
and if any level of quality is required then even the beefiest of systems cannot
handle it. The video will simi ply start to stutter.

30 seconds of QuickTime video uncompressed will result in an approximate file
size of 650 Mb. To cut down on file size and aid in playback manageability a
compression codec is used. The system can then play back the video with less
stutter the more the file is compressed. Along with that compression comes loss
of picture quality like an MP3 loses dynamic range quality compared to the original
CD source.

In simple terms a hardware based codec will take the load and allow for continuous
play back of video. All broadcast non-linear systems have a third party card
to input and output video and provide the needed horsepower to play back video.
Some software non-linear programs capitalize on this to allow for smooth playback
of multiple video clips including real-time transitions such as dissolves and
cuts. Without this hardware transitions will have to be rendered. Real-time
playback is utterly impossible at higher resolutions.

To be blunt; anyone who is considering working with video on a professional
or semi-professional basis would be totally frustrated without the benefit of
a third party hardware codec card. It isn’t the video card itself that does
the work. Video cards can handle 2D imagery quite well. This includes the actual
display of the video image on the monitor. They provide minimal help to the
actual playback of the video.

Where Matrox excels is by providing the ability to put a video window in any
monitor window. Competitor’s cards may be restricted to only the primary monitor.
Matrox also and equally excels in the ability to retain dual monitor support
plus a third output to a TV off the same video card. Working with two monitors
in an NLE (non-linear edit) program is a must in my opinion.

twoplustv

Professional third party hardware codec cards at the broadcast level are notoriously
unaffordable for the home user. The cottage industry user or avid enthusiast
may not want to shell out “the big bucks”. There are a few prosumer
manufacturers to choose from and Matrox is no exception.

Matrox has two solutions for the prosumer marketplace. Those are the RTX100
and RTX10
series.

rtx100boxparts

trx10boxparts

These are companion cards to the Matrox video display products
and provide, amongst many other features, the hardware codec assistance to drive
video during playback. A user could feasibly run triple monitors PLUS have fully
functional I/O ability. The RTX series also provide some real time effects such
as transititions (dissolves, cuts, wipes) which may seem simple enough on paper
but if anyone has used NLE software, especially the less expensive “bundled”
versions, then you’ll know the agony of rendering out a timeline just to cut
between scenes. These cards are at a more affordable price point than their
broadcast uncles and are must for any home or corporate video NLE system.

twocards

The RTX10 and RTX100 series are integral with a multi-monitor display and is
part of a versatile and expansive NLE edit package based around Adobe Premiere.
The two packages combine a host of features and software along with the hardware
horsepower to meet the demands of the NLE editor.

Not everything goes as planned

The Matrox Millennium P750 was intended to be tested on the ASUS A7N8X v.2.0
motherboard. There was a problem. After repeated attempts a new NFORCE2 motherboard
was employed but the problem persisted. It is a known issue with Matrox cards
and NFORCE2 chipsets. The Millennium P750 fell into the same hole. We asked
Matrox and this is what they had to say.

“We are aware of the issue that currently exists with Matrox graphics
cards and nForce motherboards and at present we haven’t had the opportunity
to address it with the manufacturer.”

The issue is with Direct3D applications and the fact the card will lock the
desktop or not load the application at all. The Matrox statement is nebulous
at best but it comes down to driver problems. On one side or the other somebody
hasn’t got things quite right; be it Matrox or NVIDIA. With the amount of problems
that NVIDIA chipset drivers are having in our forums I would not be too quick
to point the finger at Matrox.

Benchmarks

The Matrox Millennium P750 and G550.

  • AMD 2600+ 333 FSB
    Processor
  • Millennium P750 (release drivers)
  • Millennium G550 (5.88.061 drivers)
  • GA-7VAXP ULTRA REV 1.2 motherboard
  • 2 x 256 MB Corsair PC3200 DDR RAM (Dimm 2&3)
  • Sony 52x CD
  • 60 GB Maxtor ATA133 Hard Drive
  • 1 x Samsung 950p 19″ Monitors 1024×768@32bits@75Hz.
  • USB Keyboard and Logitech USB wireless Optical Mouse
  • Globalwin CAK4-76T HSF
  • AMK SX1000 modded
    PC case (window, fans, cables, loom)
  • Enermax 465 Watt FC PSU
  • Windows XP Professional Service Pack 1 updated

The Xabre 400 test system.

  • AMD 2600+ 333 FSB
    Processor
  • ASUS A7N8X motherboard
  • ATI 9700 PRO Video Card
  • DFI Xabre 400
  • 2 x 256 MB Corsair PC3200 DDR RAM
  • Sony 52x CD
  • 60 GB Maxtor ATA133 Hard Drive
  • 1 x Samsung 950p 19″ Monitors 1024×768@32bits@75Hz
  • USB Keyboard and Logitech USB wireless Optical Mouse
  • Globalwin CAK4-76T HSF
  • AMK SX1000 modded
    PC case (window, fans, cables, loom)
  • Enermax 465 Watt FC PSU
  • Windows XP Professional Service Pack 1 updated

Programs used

All tests were run at default video card settings with VSYNC disabled. Bios
was optimized for system but not tweaked for any performance settings requiring
specialized knowledge of overclocking. In other words the BIOS settings were
standard as far as anyone can set the time and date, ensure the ram is 2 or
4 way interleave and at CAS 2.5 and AGP is chosen as the first boot video card.
The BIOS settings were kept as close to conservative or default value. The ASUS
A7N8X memory settings were set to OPTIMAL and AGGRESSIVE as disclosed. Memory
was kept at DDR333 settings for proper timing with the 2600+ 333FSB processor.
Individual performance will vary with any particular or specific timings or
tweaks enabled by you. These may result in lesser or greater scores. Void where
prohibited by law. Don’t run with scissors. Chew each bite 32 times and always
floss between meals.

The Millenium P750 was intended to be benchmarked on the ASUS A7N8X NFORCE2
motherboard but due to a few “issues” it was not possible. These issues
have been previously addressed in this article. We did include what benchmarks
were possible in non Direct3D applications.

3D Mark 2001 SE

3dmark640

3dmark800

3dmark1024

3dmark1280

3dmark1600

Codecreatures

codecreatures

The G550 could not run Code Creatures due to hardware GPU limitations.

Commanche 4

commanche4

The G550 could not run Commanche 4 due to hardware GPU limitations.

GL Excess

glexcess

Note that the Xabre400 could not complete the 1600×1200 tests.

Quake III high quality

quake

The Xabre fails again at 1600×1200. Even the G550 manages to
squeak out a score.

Serious Sam

serioussam

Xabre falls again at 1600×1200.

Sisoft Sandra CPU Arithmetic

Since Sandra is a CPU benchmarking program the scores are predictably
close across the platforms. NFORCE2 manages to up the bar.

sandramath

Sisoft Sandra CPU Multimedia

sandramulti

Sisoft Sandra Memory Benchmark

sandramemory

Specviewperf 7.0

Specview Perf shows significant improvement between the G550
and the P750. The Matrox cards are not 3D titans in comparison to gaming cards.

specview

Adobe After Effects 5.5

Adobe After Effects is a tool to produce motion
graphics and visual effects for film, video, multimedia and the web. It is primarily
a 2D application using imported graphics or digital footage or self generated
effects. A project was created that was a combination of many video footage
files, resizing and rasterizing effects, text animations and multiple layer
effects. This “average” combination was felt to best demonstrate advantages
and/or disadvantages that a real world user may experience rather than isolating
and benchmarking a particular effect.

There is no official benchmark for After Effects
but tasks can be timed to show specific results. Rendering, or the task of building
and compiling frames, is mainly CPU intensive and After Effects generally bypasses
the video card and relies solely on the processor for speed. The time taken
to render 900 frames basically shows how fast the processor is working on the
given task.

aefx

Softimage XSI can simply bring
any computer to its knees. It’s an incredibly powerful 3D animation program
that has the ability to become so complex that single processor systems have
been known to “think” for days when rendering an animation. Softimage works
on somewhat similar principle to After Effects. A faster and more powerful video
card will translate to a smoother interface where complex scenes can be manipulated
in real time. Note that Softimage does not have an interface to real-time preview
a finished frame as unlike After Effects. Users can manipulate objects in a
choice of views from wire frame mode to simulated real-time shading mode. In
order to look at a finished frame a user must render the frame to disk which
bypasses the GPU. A faster processor will result in the faster render. The amount
of RAM is not as great an issue as the user is working frame by frame and the
graphics card is doing the bulk of the work while working within the GUI.

This is a most basic overview and there are specialty
hardware components that can enhance the speed and interactivity of complex
3D scenes and programs. The designers working on the test system use Softimage
on a less complex level to provide enhancements and elements to commercials,
promos and station ID elements. Though their work is quite complex to some it
a far cry from that of special effects in major film productions.

Softimage performs its best on a dual processor
system and by far the recommendation for heavy 3D rendering is a dual processor
system.

softimage

Summary

wsbox

The Millennium
P750
will please some and disappoint others. It is easy to figure out who
will be and who won’t be. Gamers will want to avoid the Matrox line and it isn’t
a negative to say so. Matrox does not deliver the high frame rates to match
the competition. Gamers can also be web designers. Gamers can be graphic designers.
They are all enthusiasts who most likely have more than one PC and who like
the right tool for the job. The Millennium P650/P750 fills the niche between
Parhelia and the G450/550 series. Those that are familiar with the G450/G550
will most likely be at the front of the line for Matrox’s latest. It has what
they have been waiting for at a price point that is substantially easier to
swallow than Parhelia.

As a 3D workstation product the Millennium P650/P750 will miss the mark for
impatient, power hungry designers who require fast redraw rates for programs
like Softimage, Autocad and 3D Studio Max. The P750 does not have the GPU power
to manipulate complex scenes quickly in real time. Matrox has positioned Parhelia
for this job but don’t confuse applications like Adobe After Effects with 3D
programs. The Millennium P750 on the ASUS A7N8X did score the quickest time
beating the ATI 9700 PRO.

You must keep in mind what the Matrox Millennium P650/P750 series is designed
for; multi-monitor support and 2D image perfection. The P750 brings added value
of maintaining dual head plus TV. Photoshop and After Effects, which are very
powerful programs, rely mainly on CPU power for rendering effects. The Millennium
P650/P750 series allow users to shift hardware overlay to either window or split
it between.

It really is quite simple. Matrox has an extremely good desktop image. They
are a good choice for a 2D multi-monitor PCs, 2D graphic workstations and affordable
NLE systems. 2D power-app users will prefer this card over higher priced gaming
products. Home users will love the ability to stretch out over 2 monitors….perhaps
even three.

The casual gamer will be able to enjoy the latest games but with a few concessions.
I recommend Matrox products for multi-monitor environments but would obviously
hesitate for gaming enthusiasts and 3D designers who require massive GPU processing
power. 2D graphic enthusiasts will love the flexibility and no-hassle desktop
that Matrox provides.

I can’t help but respect Matrox for their multi-monitor expertise. I work on
multi-monitor computers day in and day out. G450/G550 lovers who are looking
for an upgrade will be very pleased with the Millennium P650 or P750 and especially
pleased with the price point in comparison to the Parhelia. Matrox have targeted
productivity enthusiasts and once you go dual (or even triple) you won’t go
back.

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