Matrox Parhelia-512 - The Challenger

10 Bit GigaColor Technology

With regard to 24-bit True Color display, the latest graphics cards limit themselves to 16,777,216 simultaneously displayed colors (256³). For each value of red, green and blue in the VGA signal, there are 8 bits per value available. A green tone can therefore be displayed in 256 different intensities. By comparison, Parhelia is capable of displaying each channel in 10-bit, which means that 1,073,741,824 colors can be displayed simultaneously - this is 64 times more than the standard cards. Matrox calls this mode "GigaColor".

Those who think that their own graphics card can do the same, merely because the Desktop menu shows that you can set the color depth to 32-bit as well as 24-bit, are gravely mistaken. The additional 8 bits are not used for color display, but can contain alpha information instead.

This feature is particularly useful for graphic designers. Thanks to a special Matrox plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, images with more than 8-bit per channel color information (for instance, from high-quality scanners or digital cameras) can be read with 10-bit per channel. Some games can also be displayed with better color depth already, and without loss in performance. In the future, the GigaGolor option should also be included directly in games. For this purpose, Parhelia allows 10-bit source textures to be processed.

DVD playback profits from GigaColor as well. Video filtering and scaling take place in the higher color depth, and even TV-out should benefit from this too.

Unfortunately, these claims cannot be verified, due to the lack of samples. The usefulness of this for normal users is questionable. In any case, the fact is that high-end workstations have already been working in higher color depth for a long time. Some professionals and enthusiasts are therefore certain to be pleased by GigaColor.