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Matrox Launches The G550

G550 Spec Sheet, Continued

On 3D, the chief cause of concern may be that the G550 is not a DirectX 8.0 3D accelerator, which it ought to be if it were a truly competitive 3D graphics product. It has a pretty comprehensive tick box list of features, as you can see below, but don't be confused by the references to DirectX 8.0 or Extended Vertex Shader, the vertex shading is limited to the acceleration of animated faces and lip synching. It's almost as if Matrox' designers had added some elements of DirectX 8.0 vertex shading into the pipeline just so that they could add these specific features, but without really wanting to take the 3D engine to the next generation. Well, this cop out is called HeadCasting.

On the bright side, Matrox expects that the addition of a second pixel pipeline should give it a 20% boost in 3D performance over the G450. This seems to be the strongest case for the 3D enhancements in the G550. As we will learn later, the new HeadCasting engine, is very specific to certain applications, and does not have any impact on general Direct3D and OpenGL performance.

  • HeadCasting Engine for Visual Online Communication
  • Dual pixel pipelines with dual texturing units per pixel pipeline
  • Floating point 3D setup engine with dynamically re-allocatable resources
  • DirectX Environment-Mapped Bump Mapping (EMBM)
  • Vibrant Color Quality2 (VCQ2) rendering
  • Alpha blending
  • Z-buffer support: 16/24+8/32
  • Full sub-pixel precision
  • Specular highlighting (any color)
  • Vertex and table fogging
  • True color RGB, flat and Gouraud shading
  • Environment Mapping
  • Guard band clipping
  • Single, double or triple buffering
  • 3D image effects combined with no exclusion conditions
  • Sort independent anti-aliasing
  • Hardware dithering including dithering of LUT textures