Working on Two Fronts: ATi's Radeon VE Handles Two Monitors

Summary And Conclusion

For dual monitor operations, the Radeon VE offers outstanding value. Its price tag of $85 makes it much cheaper than the competition. Even though NVIDIA and Matrox have had this feature for quite a while, the latecomer ATi has managed to balance hardware and software very well. The strategic partnership with Appian Graphics gives ATi an excellent marketing opportunity for the "Hydravision" dual monitor feature. The test has demonstrated that the software's usability is a cut above that offered by competitors NVIDIA and Matrox. Operation has been structured to be used intuitively, for example, so that even beginners can learn all of the functions quickly.

As for 3D performance, the jury is still out on who's ahead of the rest. In some benchmarks it's the GeForce2 MX Twinview and in others it's the Radeon VE. At any rate, it's evident that ATi plied its scalpel successfully when trimming the Radeon VE engine. In addition, ATi supplies the Radeon 3D engine with a few dual monitor operation functions that its big brother does not have.

Matrox, a pioneer in dual monitor graphics cards, has to get ready to rumble. Despite the fact that the Canadian manufacturer was the first to enter the market with this type of solution, its sales pitches are fizzling out one by one - neither the price nor the performance of the Millennium G450 Dualhead is competitive. The usability of the dual monitor functions is the only satisfactory feature.

ATi can use its extensive OEM network to quickly establish its new graphics card. The Radeon VE is attractive even for the home user who occasionally plays games. At the moment, there's very little reason to recommend the Millennium G450 Dualhead whatsoever. Reacting to the new market situation is easier for the manufacturer of Twinview cards - reduce the price.

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