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Matrox Parnella?

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First post, by Logistics

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I found a card in the bin, yesterday which I can hardly identify. The only number that yields anything online ( QID-P128LPAF ) brings up the Matrix Parnella, a 128MB PCI card with a funky connector for 4 DVI support. Is this worth grabbing? I don't have a use for four displays, and I don't know if it has a 3D processor. Its low-profile so good for servers, too but... too niche?

Reply 1 of 32, by SquallStrife

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Try "Parhelia" 😉

It was one of the first cards to support multi-head gaming. I remember that it was on the cover of AtomicMPC one month, playing Neverwinter Nights on 4 monitors setup 2x2.

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Reply 2 of 32, by swaaye

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It's a Direct3D 8.1 chip that performs about like a GeForce 4 Ti. The drivers are not very good though and so I would steer clear for anything other than simple desktop usage.

Reply 3 of 32, by Logistics

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Ah, so it IS the venerable Parhelia. (Albeit, the LX) Ill go back and snag it, then. Should be good in my Tualatin server.

Where do I get that funky connector it has, though?

Reply 4 of 32, by Logistics

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Oh, man I just checked, and apparently people WERE using Parhelias to do triple-monitors in Unreal Tournament 2004. I just gotta figure out where to get the correct cable with the quad-dvi so I can attempt this.

Reply 5 of 32, by sliderider

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Logistics wrote:

Oh, man I just checked, and apparently people WERE using Parhelias to do triple-monitors in Unreal Tournament 2004. I just gotta figure out where to get the correct cable with the quad-dvi so I can attempt this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td0TB421M9Q

Reply 6 of 32, by sliderider

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Logistics wrote:

Ah, so it IS the venerable Parhelia. (Albeit, the LX) Ill go back and snag it, then. Should be good in my Tualatin server.

Where do I get that funky connector it has, though?

Parhelia LX is a cost reduced version that is cut down from the original. It has fewer pipelines and a narrower memory bus. I wouldn't bother if you are using it for gaming as it will be slower than a full Parhelia.

This is what you want for triple screen gaming

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Matrox-Parhelia-128MB … =item3a8a196d07

Matrox did make a 256mb version, but those are stupidly expensive.

Reply 7 of 32, by Logistics

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Yeah, I decided to pass on it. I remembered, later that the reason I was always excited to find a Parhelia was because its available in PCI-X. Someday...

Reply 8 of 32, by sliderider

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Logistics wrote:

Yeah, I decided to pass on it. I remembered, later that the reason I was always excited to find a Parhelia was because its available in PCI-X. Someday...

The PCI-X Parhelia isn't cheap, either. Expect $400-$600 for one of those. I have a dual socket 604 motherboard here waiting for a PCI-X video card but can't justify spending that much for it.

Reply 9 of 32, by Old Thrashbarg

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I've been wondering how the PCI-X MED-series cards differ from a regular Parhelia. Those cards occasionally show up on eBay in the $100-150 range. They certainly look like Parhelias, but I haven't been able to find much in the way of hard specs to be able to tell for sure exactly what they are.

Reply 10 of 32, by Unknown_K

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You can find the PCI 128MB Parhelias kind of cheap lately on ebay. I snagged one for a Dual Opteron server since they have drivers for Win 7. They work in PCI-X slots, finding a native PCI-X one is too expensive. The 1X PCIE G550 ones are a steal as well.

Matrox cards in general are being dumped lately, nobody remembers them anymore. Snagged a G400 max for $4 shipped a few days ago, also a nice RT 2000 capture setup with all cables for next to nothing.

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Reply 11 of 32, by Unknown_K

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Old Thrashbarg wrote:

I've been wondering how the PCI-X MED-series cards differ from a regular Parhelia. Those cards occasionally show up on eBay in the $100-150 range. They certainly look like Parhelias, but I haven't been able to find much in the way of hard specs to be able to tell for sure exactly what they are.

10 bit output with support for 5MP grayscale displays (basically looking at digital X-rays). The normal cards do 10 bit as well, maybe just a driver or BIOS issue.

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Reply 12 of 32, by Logistics

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Yeah, I'm just waiting for my local surplus place to throw one in the bin or under the counter. They hardly test their cards so they sell them for about $10 if it's a newer looking card, but it's at your own risk since they don't test most of them. I'm sure they won't bother to setup a system with a PCI-X slot just to test one if it comes along so it will likely be a $10 steal for me when it happens. I'm sure there is an AGP Parhelia under the counter somewhere, but I don't have any AGP systems, and I'm only interested in newer systems for regular use at home, and retro systems that wouldn't use AGP, anyway. 😜

Reply 13 of 32, by Unknown_K

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I waited long enough to try them out, not too common. I snagged a few PCIE, one AGP, one PCI. Collecting cards of all types is one of my hobbies, and newer stuff goes direct from use to recycling so it will be harder to find then the older stuff people kept around in the attic because it cost them an arm and a leg.

PCI-X and EISA video cards of any type are hard to find, and I don't have a source around here anything to scavenge.

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Reply 15 of 32, by idspispopd

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Unknown_K wrote:

Matrox cards in general are being dumped lately, nobody remembers them anymore. Snagged a G400 max for $4 shipped a few days ago, also a nice RT 2000 capture setup with all cables for next to nothing.

Well, image quality is not an issue anymore if you use a digital connection.
Then there is no support for Windows 7 Aero, even with the first generation Parhelias. Since the clock is ticking on Windows XP...
And for 3D there are better options in each period, Matrox always had problems or was late with OpenGL, and the Parhelia couldn't put it's muscles to use. Its most interesting feature is probably the edge anti-aliasing, and newer chips from nVidia or AMD will still be faster with FSAA.

Reply 16 of 32, by swaaye

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Yeah quite simply, other than for Surround Gaming, there are much better cards to pick from. Matrox has a lot of urban legend surrounding them. They made capable GUI accelerators but the rest is unexceptional. Well, unless you need one of their niche products for a special use case.

Parhelia was such a disappointment. It was late, buggy and very inefficient at 3D. And they still wanted $300 for it when Radeon 9700 came out. The first Parhelia even has hardware flaws with FAA (visual artifacts) and dual display.

Reply 17 of 32, by sliderider

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swaaye wrote:

Yeah quite simply, other than for Surround Gaming, there are much better cards to pick from. Matrox has a lot of urban legend surrounding them. They made capable GUI accelerators but the rest is unexceptional. Well, unless you need one of their niche products for a special use case.

Parhelia was such a disappointment. It was late, buggy and very inefficient at 3D. And they still wanted $300 for it when Radeon 9700 came out. The first Parhelia even has hardware flaws with FAA (visual artifacts) and dual display.

Their CRT image quality was unmatched by anyone except maybe Number Nine for a long time and G400 wasn't a bad card, it just had the misfortune of being released so close to the GeForce 256. And of course, they also had driver issues for a long time the same as ATi would have. They had similar issues with Parhelia being released so close to Radeon 9700 and the drivers still sucked. Having made a big investment in Parhelia only to have it bomb was too much,I think, and knocked them out of the mainstream video card arena for good. A lot of their problems were related to their release dates conflicting with those of their competitors. They didn't have enough lead time over nVidia or ATi to establish a foothold in the market with either G400 or Parhelia before something better became available.

Reply 18 of 32, by swaaye

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sliderider wrote:

Their CRT image quality was unmatched by anyone except maybe Number Nine for a long time and G400 wasn't a bad card, it just had the misfortune of being released so close to the GeForce 256. And of course, they also had driver issues for a long time the same as ATi would have. They had similar issues with Parhelia being released so close to Radeon 9700 and the drivers still sucked. Having made a big investment in Parhelia only to have it bomb was too much,I think, and knocked them out of the mainstream video card arena for good. A lot of their problems were related to their release dates conflicting with those of their competitors. They didn't have enough lead time over nVidia or ATi to establish a foothold in the market with either G400 or Parhelia before something better became available.

I've seen crisp output from 3dfx, ATI, Diamond, STB, and #9. Granted some cards were terrible and you had to research what you were buying. Even some NVIDIA cards are very good.

Matrox drivers were a problem for sure. There were even annoyances with Millennium and Mystique because of how the driver was doing some PCI hacks to get more Winbench score.

After G400, there seemed to be management issues at Matrox. They lost engineers to the competition. I think they couldn't get the products done fast enough. G800 was probably canned because it wouldn't have been competitive and the G550 was the only tech that came from that R&D. Parhelia must have been around a year late seeing how it launched with DirectX 9 nearing release.

Reply 19 of 32, by rodimus80

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sliderider wrote:
Parhelia LX is a cost reduced version that is cut down from the original. It has fewer pipelines and a narrower memory bus. I wo […]
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Logistics wrote:

Ah, so it IS the venerable Parhelia. (Albeit, the LX) Ill go back and snag it, then. Should be good in my Tualatin server.

Where do I get that funky connector it has, though?

Parhelia LX is a cost reduced version that is cut down from the original. It has fewer pipelines and a narrower memory bus. I wouldn't bother if you are using it for gaming as it will be slower than a full Parhelia.

This is what you want for triple screen gaming

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Matrox-Parhelia-128MB … =item3a8a196d07

Matrox did make a 256mb version, but those are stupidly expensive.

🤣 I just realized I bought that auction.