[rescue] quad head pci video cards

nate at portents.com nate at portents.com
Tue Jan 6 09:13:24 CST 2009

> Your speaking to their portfolio of products, I wrote about 3 specific
> card families (GX 400/450 and 550).
> In my mind, when I say "Server Grade", I typically mean cards with
> (typically) only a few megabytes of RAM and no built-in hardware
> acceleration for really anything. The ATI 9250 cards I mentioned
> before are not server grade (in my mind), they are low-end modern
> cards that support older/slower bus technologies.

Um, "server grade" video cards *are* nothing more than old hardware.

The Matrox G400 was briefly a very popular card for gaming, because of
it's good price/performance, support for hardware bump-mapping (when no
one else did), dual-head (before ATI and NVIDIA did), and good drivers -
years ago.  On top of that, the G400 also had a chip dedicated to display
scaling so you could get the best possible image even on output sources
like NTSC.  This was back before AGP was prevalent and people still bought
high-end video cards for PCI.  Matrox made a big push with their
"Parhelia" card, which was a new high-end card that came out after the
G550 (which wasn't much of an advance over the G400), and tried to promote
it's triple-head capability for gaming, but the card did not perform well
at it's price point and was sufficiently different from a shader
perspective from either ATI and NVIDIA to make support from game makers
not worth the effort, and as a result Matrox has been relegated to the
"business graphics" sector ever since, unless you count their
"TripleHead2Go" boxes which plug into a video card and masquerade two or
three like-sized monitors as one big monitor to a video card (which they
call "Surround Gaming" and has some fringe interest especially from the
sim crowd).

Most every "server grade" video card these days is little more than some
old part re-purposed in a cheaper package/process because the technical
requirements for "server video" peaked about 6 years ago.

- Nate

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