The Active Network

Product: Matrox Millennium G400 32MB Dual Head
Company: Matrox
Estimated Street Price: 150/$149.95
Review By: Byron Hinson


Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Installation & Driver Quality
3: 2D & VCQ
5: DualHead
6: DVD Playback
7: Benchmarks & Games Tested
8: Overall
9: Screenshots

Thankfully I can say that the 2D is of the highest quality. This is thanks to a combination of numerous on card features such as the excellent chipset, a fast RAMDAC, and the 256-bit dual bus architecture. Everything on my monitor was coming out clear and vibrant which is a lot more than I can say for a number of other Graphics cards. 2D quality is very important to me as I do a lot of desktop work with websites and images.


Matrox's color rendering technique, called VCQ2, is one of the main reasons why Matrox has such high image quality. It is a technique created and used by Matrox to have high-quality images. VCQ2 calculates all of the rendering with 32-bit precision internally. What this does is give much better image quality over 16-bit rendering, due largely to the much larger color palette. 32-bit color allows for better color blending, resulting in smoother color gradients and transition (Not without a slight performance hit mind you) Because all of the rendering is performed internally at 32-bit, all lighting and blending processes are also done with 32-bit precision, resulting in no color banding or annoying artifacts. So, if you are running your display in 32-bit, you get a great picture quality.

Incoming 16-BitIncoming 32-Bit

32-Bit Z-Buffering

Although a 3D scene is basically a 2D mockup of 3D, the 2D image that is eventually generated needs to know which object in the 3D scene is in front of another object. This information is stored by means of a Z (depth) buffer.

People have noticed that games such as Half Life, Quake 2/3 show improvement when using a 32-bit Z-buffer as distant objects don't suddenly 'pop' into view (an artifact of a low resolution Z-buffer). Flight Simulations for example rely on depth of scene and really benefit from a 32-bit Z-buffer. Games such as those are where you would gain most benefit. But as usual, there is a slight performance loss with this feature but if you want the best quality image then I recommend that you try it out as the loss in performance is particularly small.

*32-bit z-buffer will only enhance a game that is programmed to take advantage of this effect. There are only a handful of titles out that currently take advantage of a 32-bit z-buffer.

3D Performance

Check out the Benchmarks & Games Tested section for more information about the performance benefits I got thanks to the G400. Also check out the screenshots area for some great images.


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