Preview of Matrox Parhelia: DirectX 9 not quite fulfilled

Preview of Matrox Parhelia: DirectX 9 not quite fulfilled


Anisotropic filtering

The use of 4 TMUs per pipeline increases the potential performance of current games on the one hand, but also the percentage of idle opportunities on the other, if older games, for example, only allow the use of 2 TMUs or simply even Do not use more than two texture layers.

Due to the flexibility of the Parhelia's pipelines, each of them can be used as a describe able to filter up to 16 samples per pass. These 16 samples can now be distributed relatively freely to the tasks at hand, so that, depending on the requirements, you get either 4 bilinearly filtered, 2 trilinearly or 8-fold anisotropically filtered or one 16x anisotropically filtered pixel per pass (pass). This means that 8xAF could be achieved with old 3D games with virtually no loss of performance (which would certainly be bearable given this level of performance).

Anti Aliasing

Actually, the screenshots shown here already say Everything about the new anti-aliasing technology from Matrox, but we don't want to resist a few words.

Fragment FSAA, as Matrox christened their development, initially looks like another incarnation of thealready known from GeForce3 and higher multisampling. In fact, beyond the increase in quality, some improvements are achieved here, even beyond the increase in quality, through the use of 16 subpixels per actual pixel (using a 4x4 ordered grid anti aliasing OGAA).

Fragment FSAA 1

This 16x scanning pattern is apparently only on at the edges of the polygons, which according to Matrox only make up a few percent of the overall picture. In this way, extreme anti-aliasing can be achieved, which in return costs relatively little performance.

Fragment FSAA 2

With this shot it should be noted that the captions and the images were mixed up a little. NoFSAA and 4xFSAA must of course be exchanged.

Fragment FSAA 3

Now things get interesting. In contrast to normal multisampling, Matrox obviously succeeds in ensuring less blurring even within individual textures. How exactly this happens, since fragment FSAA is supposed to work only on the polygon edges, is unknown to us. One could speculate that either Dungeon Siege uses polygon-based fonts, which is of course humbug, or that anisotropic filtering is used at the same time. The first reviews will bring more details to light. Update: To formulate it again more clearly: Multisampling does not change anything in the textures per se, so the above mentioned 'blurring' is to be understood as 'not treating', in contrast to supersampling, where alsoa clear increase in quality can be seen within the textures. The remark about the anisotropic filtering in the Dungeon Siege Shot is incorrect, as this of course does not apply to textures positioned perpendicular to the viewing plane, such as the font shown, but rather has an effect in the depth of the image. The effect of the cleaner writing is based on the quincunx-AA used for comparison, which in addition to multisampling also contains an additional blurring effect, but which has nothing to do with multisampling per se. thx @aths for the hint and the correction!

The effect of the anti-aliasing from Matrox is very nice to see in the lower shots, especially in the aircraft's chassis, the wings can also benefit greatly from it. At the same time, you can see here that the font at the top right with the anti-aliasing activated clearly loses its sharpness, which is more likely to be attributed to multi-sampling as a special Matrox implementation.


Also the 3DMark-Shot shows strange things in addition to the very nice anti-aliasing. Textures remain untreated, so that here again the disadvantage of classic multisampling comes to the fore and, secondly, the display of the statistics is identical for both shots, 3fps and 17.11 seconds elapsed. The suspicion arises that these images were not shot regularly from the running 3DMark ...

On the next page: Multi-Display