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tohoward
20th May 1999, 06:04
For those interested there's a new G400 Max review at <a href="http://www.sharkyextreme.com/hardware/reviews/video/matrox_g400max/">Sharky Extreme</a>. Looks like a decent entry for Matrox.

Highlights include excellent DirectX performance and pathetic OpenGL performance. Bump mapping looks nice, etc. Doesn't seem like it'll be worth $250, esp. since they still haven't got the ICD working yet. It says it will "ship with the card". Who's heard THAT lie before, eh?

Todd

Jammrock
21st May 1999, 02:05
I have to disagree, tohoward. The G400 MAX is still in Beta and the Ultra TNT2 and V3's used are in final release form, so the G400 still has quite a bit of room to grow. The ICD is working fine, it just has not been tweaked as much as the other OpenGl ICD's. And remeber, the Voodoo3 doesn't have a full ICD either (there have a beta, but so does Matrox). Plus, most games do not operate from OpenGL. All Quake based games do, but that is not the market majority, DirectX is. Now since the G400 destroys the compitition in the DirectX arena, the G400 MAX is going to be a solid contender in the fps arena and dominate the image quality arena.

As for the price, the G400 MAX will be at the same price level (~$250US) as the Ultra TNT2 cards and the Voodoo 3 3500's, which are the G400 MAX's direct competitors.

Jammrock

PS - Ant got a 'newer' version of the OpenGL ICD ("I saw an 11fps increase at 1600x1200 from the initial driver build" - hinting that he has a newer version of the ICD than the one that shipped with the card) showing that the ICD is getting better all the time. Check out his review at http://www.murc.ws/reviews/G400MAX/G400MAXReview01.html

tohoward
21st May 1999, 03:38
You can disagree, of course.

If you're willing to wait on what Matrox may deliver, more power to you. Until they prove otherwise, I'd advise you assume they'll give you the same support they've given G200 owners: jack and shit. The useful life (as a 3D card) of the G200 is pretty much over, and still no ICD.

As to your assertion that the G400 MAX is going to be a solid (fps) contender, we'll see. I doubt it will be any time in the near future. Certainly it will be an excellent card for 2D work and for DirectX games (well, games that have a decent rendering engine AND use DirectX).

Most (read: Quake based) fps use OpenGL, or have best support for OpenGL. If that's the target market for the G400 max, then it's got a long way to go, given the support practices or Matrox and their current ICD, which lacks any kind of decent SS7 optimizations.

If I'm a buyer, I'm going to want to know what works NOW, not what some company with a history of not delivering on it's promises, says will work "real soon now". Basically this means that any sane person should exclude the G400 if they're primarily interested in OpenGL. Other than that, it looks to be a good card.

In summation: If you've got $250 to drop and don't care about OpenGL, get this card.
Otherwise, you're probably better off with something else.

Todd

Jammrock
21st May 1999, 17:19
tohoward,

Your history lessons do not go back far. The only Matrox product that has not been 'on target' has been the G200. All of Matrox's previous cards have performed exactly on par with Matrox's given specs and support has been good, until the G200 hit. And now that many people think that Matrox has released 1 'bad product' everyone thinks that Matrox sucks. What it comes down to is that a lot of people are just whiners.

3dfx, argueably the largest 3D chip maker, has NEVER had a FULL OPENGL ICD, EVER. They too use an MCD like the G200 does and have a Beta ICD out for developers only. But do you hear 3dfx buffs bitch and moan, nope, because they can play Quake.

nVidia has released a string of bad cards, the TNT has been their first huge success. They have had more incompatibility problems than all Matrox cards combined (only 1 TNT card is compatible with Super 7), but do you hear nVidia freaks bitch, nope, because they can play Quake.

I hate to tell you this, but Quake (1, 2, 3,...) is not the only fps game engine out there. I love playing Quake 2, don't get me wrong, but what about Unreal? Unreal does Glide, D3D, OpenGL and PowerVR, all very well. The Unreal engine has been licensed out to more developers than the Quake 2 engine has and is a much better engine than Quake 2's. The Decent 3 engine is D3D exclusive and it looks absolutely gorgeous.

"Basically this means that any sane person should exclude the G400 if they're primarily interested in OpenGL." Not necessarily true. If you look at the benchmark scores for the BETA version of the G400 MAX running Quake 2, the G400 produces fairly high frame rates compared to the other gen 3 3D cards. If you take special notice to the 1600x1200 scores, the G400 wins. What does this mean? It means the the G400 still has quite a bit of power that has not been tapped into yet. Since the G400 is not due out for another month, that gives Matrox quite a bit of crunch time to tweak the performance.

Basically, I am just pissed that people are calling Matrox a crappy company because the G200 didn't live up to EVERBODIES expectations. The G400 MAX is already making its mark on the fps world (for those who have one), and when the drivers are complete (they still have a month to finish tweaking them for performance), the G400 will more than likely perform within 5% of the Ultra TNT2 and V3 3500 in OpenGL games, plus you will also get Matrox's legendary image quality to boot.

Jammrock