Video Cards

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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There are a lot of CPUs that don't have integrated graphics for one reason or other. I have a few R7 3700s sitting around, for example, and some of the newer i3s and i5s don't have iGPUs either (and what's up with that, Intel? Used to be i3 = iGPU. Not any more). Any of those guys would make someone happy to have, but I'm not pairing them with dozen year old graphics chips and I'm not willing to pay $200+ for a low-end RX6500.

I worked on a PC not long ago that had a contemporary Matrox-branded graphics card in it. Turns out they sell for around $100 on Ebay.
 

LunarMist

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Or $600 new for a 2015 card. LOL
I used the Matrox cards for years on the CRT displays. Most people were using Matrox with the Artisans even after the early screwed-up LCDs arrived.
 

Mercutio

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Matrox had those super-fast RAMDACs, which made them amazing for driving high resolution CRTs at extremely high refresh rates, like 1600x1200@90Hz (note to sed: that was beastly in 1999). They also had their house in absolute order with regard to driver quality.

I did a little bit of research, and the GPU that sits on those G420 cards is an AMD part, but all the software is provided by Matrox rather than using any of AMD's drivers. I'm not quite curious enough to go buy one but I'm definitely intrigued.
 

Chewy509

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IMO the i3 thing is more a production binning issue than a marketing one. Why throw away silicon if only the GPU component is faulty and can work fine as an i3?

Back in the day I went from a Trident based card to a Matrox Mystique 220 and picture quality and the ability to drive more than 1024x768 @60Hz was awesome. The image produced by the Matrox was far crisper/defined than the Trident card. (I later added in 2x Creative 12MB Voodoo II's in SLI, and that was an awesome Quake 1/2 machine).
I will agree about the Matrox drivers from that era being really good, (NT4 support was flawless, and they had open documentation that even XFree86 had working drivers as well).
 

Chewy509

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But alas, Matrox couldn't compete with 3dfx, ATi and nVidia in 3D accelartion for OpenGL/DirectX and later morphed into a vendor that supported heaps of displays off a single card, or ultra-high-res for medical imaging. (both niche but profitable areas).
 

Handruin

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Having owned and used a Matrox Millennium from that era I also have fond memories for having stable drivers and fantastic 2D performance compared to anything else that was out at the time. Having eventually moved to a Nvidia Riva TNT2 that was a significant change in 3D gaming that I remember fondly. I still keep that GPU around for nostalgic reasons.
 

sedrosken

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Matrox had those super-fast RAMDACs, which made them amazing for driving high resolution CRTs at extremely high refresh rates, like 1600x1200@90Hz (note to sed: that was beastly in 1999). They also had their house in absolute order with regard to driver quality.

I did a little bit of research, and the GPU that sits on those G420 cards is an AMD part, but all the software is provided by Matrox rather than using any of AMD's drivers. I'm not quite curious enough to go buy one but I'm definitely intrigued.

I'm well aware of Matrox, heck, for a while I ran a G450 DualHead in my K6. My PPro, after I got the Voodoo2 to replace the Banshee with, used a Millennium II PCI for its 2D card. Both had absolutely superb image quality compared to what they replaced, and the Banshee and Voodoo3 aren't notably bad on that front to begin with -- I'd say they easily hang with the likes of the GeForce and Radeon in that regard. Matrox just cleans house, and embarrassed everyone in 2D acceleration speed to boot. My Millennium II got 94 MB/s in the DOS Screamer 2 benchmark. It would take a 5-year-newer AGP card to beat it. The Millennium II is the first card where I ever noticed that the background of Windows 98 setup is dithered blue/black rather than just dark blue.

The only reason I went back to the Voodoo3 on the K6 is because Matrox always lagged behind in terms of 3D speed -- The G450 was never meant to be the highest-end part anyway, but even the G400 Max only "competed" against the TNT2 and Rage 128 range. A good Voodoo3 spanked all but the TNT2 and Rage 128 Ultra, and even then it was more of an even fight than you'd expect. The TNT2 could render a 32-bit image and was sometimes a hair faster in Direct3D, but the Voodoo3 supported Glide for even better performance and had that 22-bit box filter on the output so the final image was mostly comparable anyway.

I'm also well aware that desktop resolutions higher than 800x600 were rare heading into 2000. 1024x768 was available if you spent a bit more on your monitor, but 1600x1200 was CAD-tier, especially at higher refresh rates. 1024x768 didn't really become "standard" until the cheapo tubes heading into 2003/4 could do that at 85Hz.
 

LunarMist

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Maybe I'm confused, but wouldn't you have been a very small child back then?
The Matrox were mainly used for work and content creators; Vodoo and such was for the gamers. I had a 1280x display since the 21" Artisans were too bulky and expensive for me at the time. After that the Apple Cinema LCD displays took over and the Matrix cards started to fade as video went fully digital. I started buying Eizos back then and used whatever video card worked well enough in 2D. It didn't matter much until more recent programs used the graphic accelerators just to do basic image processing.
 
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