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G550 info

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First post, by 386SX

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Hi,
I'm using a G450 for my Pentium 3 500 build fot its VGA impressive output signal quality and I was thinking if you've tried the G550 if the quality is the same (considering is on a separate vga module) and if I could use it into a AGP 1.0 motherboard.

Thank.
Bye

Reply 2 of 28, by dionb

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Basically the G450 was a cheaper (to produce) G400 and the G550 a cheaper G450. Gaming performance actually got worse (Matrox basically gave up after the commercial failure of the G400(MAX)) with the revisions, but image quality remained excellent - that was their unique selling point.

Matrox' own site still lists the G550 and states: "AGP card compatible with all AGP slots (AGP 1x, 2x, 4x, and 8x)" - so yes, you're covered there.

Reply 3 of 28, by swaaye

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G550 is supposedly the only thing to come out of their canceled G800 project so you can feel warm fuzzes about that while using it. 😀 Maybe play with a headcasting demo too....

Reply 4 of 28, by 386SX

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swaaye wrote on 2020-04-07, 01:23:

G550 is supposedly the only thing to come out of their canceled G800 project so you can feel warm fuzzes about that while using it. 😀 Maybe play with a headcasting demo too....

Back in those times I liked reading the G400 reviews, the G450 is imho an improvement at least in the VGA quality (maybe higher ramdac I don't remember) but the G550 remains a card I didn't try. Even if I couldn't afford those cards back in their days (I remember reading a lot about the G200 when I still had a 386SX-20 😁) I always had the feeling Matrox cards had "something" interesting up to the Parhelia that I remember waiting and reading so much about it but the expectations exceeded the reality... Still I would use a Parhelia nowdays if I had it. 😀

Reply 6 of 28, by derSammler

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dionb wrote on 2020-04-06, 23:33:

Basically the G450 was a cheaper (to produce) G400 and the G550 a cheaper G450. Gaming performance actually got worse

That's not correct from what I've read. The G550 is pin-compatible with the G450 but gained two texturing units per rendering pipeline, a vertex shader, EMBM, and some other features, which makes it certainly more powerful than a G450. Other limitations are the same as with the G450 (only up to 32 MB video memory, which maxes out at 2.7 GByte/s). It's not a card for gaming still, but not worse than a G450. Also, G550 does DX8 and OpenGL 1.5, while the G450 is DX6 and has no full OpenGL support at all.

http://retro-net.de/blog.html

Reply 8 of 28, by kjliew

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dionb wrote on 2020-04-06, 23:33:

Matrox basically gave up after the commercial failure of the G400(MAX) with the revisions...

I don't think G400 was a commercial failure. Both G200 and G400 could be considered quite successful, the commercial failure was Parhelia. Matrox has always been the company with a niche focus. Consumer 3D gaming was their attempt to break through, starting with the Mystique. It just that being a traditional graphics company, their product cadence was used to roughly 18 months or 2 years. Down-binning a successful flagship or recouping from unsuccessful R&D investment was a norm within the industry to keep the business afloat. In fact, Matrox popularized 32-bit colors/textures for games at a time when 3Dfx domination was profound, a pretty smart move to avoid 3Dfx competition and G400 benchmarks for games supporting 32-bit colors/textures actually outperformed TNT2. It sort of giving out a hint for ATI and NVIDIA on where to hit hard back at 3Dfx. While Mystique could be a flop but it wasn't that bad to be considered a commercial failure during the time when almost everyone failed in perfect hardware solution for PC 3D gaming and good 2D was still a huge selling point. However, it was interesting to note the 180 degree change of tune in Matrox from sacrificing visual quality for FPS to upholding the best visual quality in G200/G400 era.

Reply 9 of 28, by appiah4

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BigDaddyM wrote on 2020-04-07, 08:57:

G550 is DX6 card too, vertex shader will not be used in games. I think G450 has OpenGL support

They are both DX7 (I see mentions of DX6 online but I think they are DX7 - if not someone correct me please) cards and both have OpenGL ICDs.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 10 of 28, by derSammler

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BigDaddyM wrote on 2020-04-07, 08:57:

G550 is DX6 card too, vertex shader will not be used in games. I think G450 has OpenGL support

No, the G550 is a DX8 card. (while in German, see here for specs: https://www.hartware.de/2002/01/15/matrox-millennium-g550/)

Vertex shader is there. As I wrote, the G550 is not for gaming.

G450 has no OpenGL support. A very limited OpenGL library was made way after it's release that only supported a limited number of applications and also wrapped OpenGL to Direct3D. G550 does full OpenGL.

http://retro-net.de/blog.html

Reply 11 of 28, by kjliew

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G550 was an interim product until they could get Parhelia out the door, similar to G100 also an interim product until they could get G200 out the door. G100 added the much desired bilinear filtering for Direct3D games. Unfortunately, the propriety MSI 3D API was canned, otherwise it could be the best Matrox card for earlier 3D games supporting MSI.

Reply 12 of 28, by BigDaddyM

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Even matrox doesn't mention dx8 support , so i think maybe card can do it in software. Yes, G550 has vertex shader unit but it's not available for games and it has no pixel shader. So for games its Dx6.1 card, vertex shader only for special software. About OpenGL, I think it's not 1.5 but as you say it has full support like as G450 and this one is 1.1

quote from anandtech:
The G550 is not a DX8 part although it does have some DX8 functions. The only reason it could be somewhat considered to be one is that it has a Vertex Shader unit but no pixel shader unit. The G550 does have a custom made T&L engine; it is a programmable RISC engine that is really only useful for one T&L function which is Matrix Pallette Skinning

Reply 13 of 28, by 386SX

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BigDaddyM wrote on 2020-04-07, 09:40:

Even matrox doesn't mention dx8 support , so i think maybe card can do it in software. Yes, G550 has vertex shader unit but it's not available for games and it has no pixel shader. So for games its Dx6.1 card, vertex shader only for special software. About OpenGL, I think it's not 1.5 but as you say it has full support like as G450 and this one is 1.1

quote from anandtech:
The G550 is not a DX8 part although it does have some DX8 functions. The only reason it could be somewhat considered to be one is that it has a Vertex Shader unit but no pixel shader unit. The G550 does have a custom made T&L engine; it is a programmable RISC engine that is really only useful for one T&L function which is Matrix Pallette Skinning

Interesting, I wasn't expecting this strange mix of compatibility. I remembered it a step up compared to the G450. But the G450 has an OpenGL drivers cause I've seen it into the driver panel with the ICD version. I tried it in Half Life and works quite well, don't seems like a D3D wrapper but I could be wrong.

Reply 14 of 28, by appiah4

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derSammler wrote on 2020-04-07, 09:05:

No, the G550 is a DX8 card. (while in German, see here for specs: https://www.hartware.de/2002/01/15/matrox-millennium-g550/)

Vertex shader is there. As I wrote, the G550 is not for gaming.

G450 has no OpenGL support. A very limited OpenGL library was made way after it's release that only supported a limited number of applications and also wrapped OpenGL to Direct3D. G550 does full OpenGL.

G450 is not a DirectX 8 card it has no pixel shaders.

Also, G450 has full OpenGL support.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 15 of 28, by vlask

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Just to clarify some wild expectations......
G450 is DX6 and OpenGL 1.1 - http://vgamuseum.info/images/doc/matrox/g450.txt
G550 is DX6 and OpenGL 1.1 too, but dont have that fancy report onsite. Opengl extensions are the same
Parhelia is DX8.1 and OpenGL 1.3 - http://vgamuseum.info/images/doc/matrox/parhelia.txt
Parhelia-LX is DX8.1 and OpenGL 1.3 - http://vgamuseum.info/images/doc/matrox/p650.txt

G550 got second texture unit, dieshrink and some vertex engine usable only in virtual videoconferencing.......
Also is limited to 64bit memory bus, as they sold them only to office use, no need 128bit for gaming as seen on G400.
Driver is almost the same as G400.
Aida report from PCI-E version....

 [ AGP 1x: Matrox Millennium G550 LP PCI-E ]

Graphics Processor Properties:
Video Adapter Matrox Millennium G550 LP PCI-E
BIOS Version 1.5.15
GPU Code Name MGA-G550
PCI Device 102B-2527 / 102B-2300 (Rev 01)
Process Technology 0.18 um
Bus Type AGP 1x @ 1x
GPU Clock 104 MHz
Warp Clock 104 MHz
RAMDAC Clock 360 MHz
Pixel Pipelines 2
TMU Per Pipeline 2
Vertex Shaders Not Supported
Pixel Shaders Not Supported
DirectX Hardware Support DirectX v6.0

Memory Bus Properties:
Bus Type DDR
Bus Width 64-bit
Real Clock 155 MHz (DDR)
Effective Clock 311 MHz
Bandwidth 2488 MB/s

Theoretical Peak Performance:
Pixel Fillrate 208 MPixel/s
Texel Fillrate 416 MTexel/s

Not only mine graphics cards collection at http://www.vgamuseum.info

Reply 17 of 28, by 386SX

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At the end I tried the G550 and vga quality is just as good as the G450. Can't say if better or not cause it might depend on the vga cable too, also with the Hollywood+ card using a passtrough cable that is thin I could not expect more but still very very good! In 3DMark2000 I think I've seen more or less 100 points more of the G450 (2400 points more or less) but it could be just variable results depending on other factors. I'm waiting for a IDE hard disk cause my installation with the SATA controller got broken after some time as usual.
But still a great card and every games I've tried run quite well smooth and with strong analog signal.

Reply 18 of 28, by Ozzuneoj

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There is so much mixed information in this thread.

Can anyone just test the DirectX capabilities and performance of these cards?

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Reply 19 of 28, by Garrett W

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Feature wise it's actually pretty clear. Matrox G400/G400 MAX/G450/G550 cards are DX6.1 capable. They all lack HW T&L AFAIK (the G550 apparently has one but I've never seen it exploited, akin to Savage2000) which means they are do not have feature parity with DX7, let alone DX8. The G550's extra features/capabilities were only ever exploited through very specific software such as the Headcasting demo that swaaye mentioned which I believe was intended for video conferencing. In fact, I can't think of any other application that used them. It's fair to say it is an odd chip.

The Parhelia is as much a DX9 chip as the G550 is a DX8 chip. It ain't, despite rumours and claims prior to release. As far as OpenGL goes, the G450 should have a full OpenGL ICD as the G400 cards got one in the latest drivers, so I don't see how Matrox would drop it on this card in particular.
Performance has been shown countless times by this point and you can find graphs and numbers in contemporary reviews and more modern ones such as Havli's excellent rundown for which the site seems down at the moment, unfortunately, so here's an archived link: https://web.archive.org/web/20200104235925/ht … 2011-edition-/1