Hit and run?
Just when you thought things were getting furious between NVIDIA and ATI, 3DLabs busts back into the scene with its “Visual” processing unit. We knew that 3DLabs had been acquired by Creative Labs, so being suspicious about a new product in the works from them was natural. Meanwhile, NVIDIA and ATI continue to produce more video cards to up the ante.
But honestly, did you expect this? Quieter than a pin drop, the people that brew technology inside the graphics division at Matrox headquarters have been at work. Given that Matrox is all the way in eastern Canada and we can’t get to visit them as often as we’d like, we still tried to keep tabs on the quiet company.
Over the past few months, we’ve been randomly calling up our favorite PR reps simply to pose random questions of curiosity. Unfortunately, most of our interrogation attempts left us without answers. This is the way it’s been for much of the past 2 years. If you can remember back that far, you’ll recall that Matrox was a dominant player in the mainstream graphics market with its G400 series. When introduced, the series took the gaming industry by storm with never before seen features such as EMBM (environment mapped bump mapping) and a 360MHz “UltraSharp” RAMDAC.
After the successful lifespan of the G400, Matrox sharply announced that it would be stepping back from the gaming market to concentrate its resources on business oriented products. This announcement came as a severe shock to many Matrox loyalists and challengers alike. Indeed its announcement came true, and the world’s oldest graphics company was swift to exit the gaming scene. Rampant rumors of its G800 chip quickly diminished to quiet whispers as gamers everywhere turned to GeForces and Radeons.
Two years in the making
Probably just as significant as reaching its 25-year milestone in business is the launch of Parhelia – Matrox’s cutting edge brainchild and secret weapon designed with the latest arsenal of technology available today (and then some). All this time when Matrox was telling everyone that it would concentrate all its resources on developing business solutions was somewhat misleading. We’ve seen a few products emerge from Matrox within the past 2 years that haven’t really pushed the gaming envelop in any groundbreaking direction. Matrox instead, had been constantly improving the products that it already had, using a minimal amount of force, while concentrating all brainpower in a “come-back” chip.
Are we about to witness another G400 MAX surprise attack or is Parhelia simply another multi-function business solution? Read on.