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schmosef
15th April 2004, 00:11
Hi, I'm thinking about picking up an ATI 9200 based PCI card and I was wondering if anyone here has any experience with said kit and would like to comment.

I need it for high rez 2D windows work. I'm using an ATI 7000 based PCI card now and it's noticabley fuzzier than a Matrox card at resolutions >= 1600x1200.

I have zero need for gaming, just clear text at high rez.

Can someone here speak to the 2D image quality of the 9200 versus the 7000?

If money wasn't an object, I'd buy a Parhelia PCI. But it's too expensive and I wouldn't be using it for its intended purpose. I only need single head for this application. I considered the G450 PCI card but it doesn't support the refresh rates I'm looking for.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Marshmallowman
15th April 2004, 01:19
Be a bit cautious when used in multiple display/video card setups, apparently 9000's and 9200's don't play well with some other cards(ATI included)

The problems might not exist anymore, but I have seen offical ATI statements saying some things just will not work.

dbdg
15th April 2004, 02:03
My mate has a 9600XT and 9200 in his rig.

He has never had any real issues and is pretty happy with the 2D performance/quality of the 9200. He is only comparing to the 9600XT mind you.

Installing drivers once for two cards is a bonus as far as he is concerned. :)

Ribbit
15th April 2004, 03:57
Hmmm...from what I've heard, the initial Radeons (the 7500?) had pretty good 2D image quality, steadily deteriorated until the 8500 (which was apparently horrible), then took a big jump for the better with the 9500 and up. (I'm no help at all, am I? :D )

The G450's primary RAMDAC is 360MHz, and can do 1600x1200@100Hz. What sort of resolutions/refresh rates are you looking for?

piaxVirus
15th April 2004, 07:22
I have a 9200SE AGP at work that doesn't play well with my Matrox Mil1. Whenever I try entering the Display Properties/Settings/Advanced of the 9200SE card, the computer will hang. I have to remove the Mil1 card before I can get in there.

UtwigMU
15th April 2004, 09:36
Since you're a dealer, you have better chance to try it our.

Otherwise, I'd check out lowend Quadros PCI from PNY as well.

schmosef
15th April 2004, 13:07
@Marshmallowman, Thanks for the warning. I have the ATI card paired with a Parhelia 128 AGP card.

@dbdg, Do you know what resolution your friend runs his 9200 card at? My 7000 card is very pretty at 1024x768, but is noticabley fuzzier than my Parhelia at resolutions >= 1600x1200.

@Ribbit, I just replaced a Sony F500 with a Cornerstone p1750 so I could run Visual Studio higher than 1600x1200. The Cornerstone can run up to 2048x1536@85Hz. The picture is awesome on my Parhelia. The best my ATI card can manage without the blurryness being too annoying is 1792x1344@85Hz. Sadly my Parhelia cannot run 2048x1536x32bpp@85Hz when dual display is enabled and my second screen is 1600x1200x32bpp@85Hz. Hope that's not too confusing.

@piaxVirus, That's not reassuring. I might just have to buy a PCI Parhelia after all.

@UtwigMU, Interesting suggestion. My distributor who carries PNY doesn't sku any of their PCI models. I can probably get one through special order. Several of my distributors carry the HP PCI Quadro models. My experience with Nvidia is that image quality is poor. I don't have any experience with Quadro though. Do you have experience with this? Right now I'm leaning toward spending the money on a PCI Parhelia for guaranteed IQ instead of paying half as much on a gamble.

UtwigMU
15th April 2004, 14:31
If you have the $bling$ for PCI Parhelia, then don't have second thoughts. Besides, you have one, so you know what you're getting. Also the PCI uses same BIOS as AGP8x, so it's most likely the new fixed core and should be even better.

WRT to Quadros - never seen one, but I heard that they have good image quality (not as regular consumer geforce cards).



I also read a post on Ars, where one guy tried to get dual DVI with pairing 9600AGP and 9200 PCI and had problems booting with both cards. Otherwise 9200SE is a low budget card, so I wouldn't expect stunning image quality from it. Especially not at 20x15.


Otherwise, there are some 3DLabs low end workstation PCI cards as well.

And Voodoos supposedly had great image quality, so if Voodoo 5 would drive the resolutions you need...

My vote is stick with Matrox. Considering I notice the difference between Parhelia and G400 16SH on this Compaq 17" and G400 is already a great 2D card, I think that you will not get better or similar quality at resolutions you expect to use. Also if it's a box you make money on, then you should certainly not skimp on it.

bsdgeek
15th April 2004, 14:41
The VooDoo 5 wasn't really that great, IMO. I have one sitting on the shelf somewhere, I think quality must have dropped off from the VooDoo 3. I never had one of those, but they were said to be the great ones.

UtwigMU
15th April 2004, 14:46
Also the Parhelia PCI is 64-bit 66MHz PCI (AGP 2X transfer speed) card, but works in regular PCI slots. Consider getting a motherboard with 64-bit 66MHz or PCI-X slots for your next upgrade, if you don't already have one.

Marshmallowman
15th April 2004, 19:02
I thought pci parhelia is a 66mhz 32bit , not 64bit.

schmosef
16th April 2004, 00:25
It's not that I don't have the scratch for a PCI Parhelia, it's that I'm trying to be fiscally responsible. If I can find a cheaper solution, I'll try it.

Today my business partner was putting an order in with one of our distributors and needed to top it up to meet the minimum order quantity required for free shipping and handling.

I asked him to tag on a $66 Visiontek 64MB 9200SE based PCI card, the cheapest of the 9200 based cards I could find. I'm not sure what the PCI Parhelia costs (Supercom, my Matrox distributor, doesn't have it sku'd) but my guess based on the difference between my wholesale prices for other Matrox kit and what's listed at shopmatrox.com is that it'll be about $900. The thought of spending $900 on a PCI video card makes me feel like a jackass. I'm very much on the fence about this, just based on principal.

I think that the $66 risk is worth the gamble. All the Quadro products were several hundred dollars and I think that would be too much to spend without any guarantees. I'll post my findings here.

About the PCI Pahelia... does anyone know if it is even available? Given that my distributor doesn't have it sku'd and that shopmatrox.com has it available for pre-order only, maybe Matrox hasn't released the card yet. I'm going to email my sales rep to check if the PCI Parhelia is at least available for special order.

dbdg
16th April 2004, 02:06
He is only running the 9200 at 1280*1024 atm but compared to the 9600XT which he has at 1600*1200 he reckons quality is fine.

I'll see if I can get him to ramp it up to 16*12 to see what it looks like.

schmosef
16th April 2004, 21:47
Well it's done and I have to say that I can honestly rate the picture quality a resounding... not bad!

I'm running at 1920x1440x32bpp @85Hz. It's not as sharp as the Parhelia, and it's significantly slower (in fact it feels slower than my 7000 card), but for $66, it does its job and I can live with it for the time being.

Having said that, now that I know the combo works and that the image quality is pretty good, I'll probably buy a better version of this card. I can get a PowerColor 9200 based PCI card with 256MB Ram (way more than I need) a 25% faster core and a faster memory bus (200Mhz versus 166Mhz) for $130.

I can always keep this card around for testing.

I feel bad that I'm not supporting Matrox, but I kind of feel like they've stopped supporting us. There's no way I'm going to spend $900 when a $66 card will do just fine. They are just not going after the mainstream market anymore.

Wombat
16th April 2004, 23:11
PowerColor usually has crappy output filters, don't they?

schmosef
17th April 2004, 17:04
uh-oh, well we'll soon see...