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Matrox G400 MAX
by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson

Drivers and Updates

Since Matrox makes their own unique chips, they also write their own drivers. It's nice not to have to distinguish between reference drivers and proprietary drivers, and driver updates are more frequent from Matrox than any other maker with the exception of 3dfx.

The drivers for Nvidia TNT2 and 3dfx are much more mature than the drivers for the G400 series, since these chips have shipped much more recently. As a result, there are still some inconsistencies in the benchmarks.

The good news is that the drivers seem perfectly stable, and we can expect more speed to be wrung from the G400 MAX with the next driver release. Since TNT and 3dfx drivers are already mature, this means that the G400 series will increase their relative performance lead even more. Furthermore, the Matrox utility suite remains strong.

Advanced Tab

A recent press release provided this information relative to AMD 3dNOW support.

Montreal, Canada, August 9, 1999 - Matrox Graphics Inc. today announced support for the next-generation AMD Athlon processor. The Matrox Millennium G400 Series benefits from the Athlon's incredible processing power, allowing graphics performance to scale exceptionally well with the increased capabilities of the overall platform.

The AMD Athlon processor's industry-leading performance and the Millennium G400 Series' advanced 2D, 3D, video acceleration and 3DNow! optimization bring the highest levels of speed and performance to the commercial desktop power user." (Ed. Note: 3dfx just made a similar announcement regarding support for the Athlon.)

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WW2 Fighters
WW2 Fighters

Falcon 4 and WW2 Fighters

The latest drivers were used for all video boards, the Nvidia Detonator 2.08 drivers and for Matrox. Falcon 4 1.07 was tested and WW2 Fighters version 1.08. Test system is an Abit BX6 with 128 MB, PII 500 with UDMA ATA66 running WIN98 Second Edition and Logitech Wingman Force USB.

When we looked at the G400 basic version in June, drivers were even less mature and there were stability issues. At that time while European Air War seemed stable, there was a driver problem evident in almost slide show action in that simulation.

Now, however, EAW and every other simulation tested performed like they were designed from the ground up for the G400. Performance was stellar in all cases, spectacular in some.

WW2 Fighters Frame Rates

All tests were done in the "FLY NOW" module. I was a bit surprised that the G400 MAX frame rate dropped off the curve relative to TNT2 Ultra as resolution increased. Beginning from a score that was 20% faster at 800x600, the frame rates almost equalized at 1024x768. The scores then tied in my first test at 1280x1024 and came in slightly lower on the second round. I suspect that this may be one sign of driver immaturity and I will retest as soon as the new drivers are released.

Go to Falcon 4 Benchmarks


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Last Updated August 14th, 1999

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