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Matrox G550 Chipset

Matrox G550 Chipset - PCSTATS
Price Check: $/£/€
Abstract: Matrox, who have long been known for releasing solidly reliable graphics cards have just released the Matrox G550.
Filed under: Editorial Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Matrox Jun 19 2001   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Editorial > Matrox G550

Matrox G550 Chipset

nVidia's GeForce 3 can be said to have brought two things to the table - amazing performance and a steep price. While the ends may justify spending over $400USD for a GeForce 3 it still remains an incredibly expensive graphics solution. With the introduction of Matrox's G550 graphics chip the opposite seems to be true. Matrox, who have long been known for releasing solidly reliable graphics cards expect the G550 to retail for a mear $125USD.

Matrox are continuing their support of the Dual Head technology (multiple displays for one computer) and adding a few new interesting features as well. The G550 chip is based on a 0.18 micron process and features a long list of attributes, not the least of which is a 256-bit Dual Bus, DDR SDRAM support, 4x AGP, Dual integrated CRTC's / RAMDAC's / TMDS, TV encoder, and support for 32-bit displays of up to 2048x2048 resolution.

Headcasting

The real kicker as far as Matrox is concerned is the integration of their new Headcasting engine. Before we go into too much detail, lets explain what exactly this is. In Matrox's own words, "the Head Casting engine was designed specifically to accelerate the 3D rendering of high-resolution human facial animations over the internet." The G550 Headcasting Engine is a hardware implementation of a Vertex Shader for accelerated matrix palette skinning (MPS). It does this by improving on the 96 constant registers specified for by Direct X 8.0 to a total of 256. The 256 constant registers embedded in the G550 chip act in the same way as a cache, enabling the VOC (visual online communication) animation data to be rendered more dynamically in real-time than would otherwise be possible.

Strategic Alliance - Moving Towards E-Com.

The inclusion of this application specific hardware engine marks a strategic alliance between Matrox and software IP providers Digimask and Lipsinc in an attempt to leverage part of the $12 billion expected to be spent on Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM) by 2003.

CRM software is one of the many tools used by large online retailers to help keep shoppers happy, and more importantly, shopping on their web sites. Abandoned shopping carts are seen as a significant problem in the online retail world where many stores are mercilessly struggling to remain profitable for investors. Where CRM software comes into play is when a customer has a question and wants a real-time answer.

Some current examples of real-time CRM would be Instant Messaging or VoIP (Voice over IP) sales reps. In some cases a small photo of the sales rep is displayed. In other cases the Instant Messaging responses may be completely computer generated. In any case these solutions are typically text-based, and in some cases audio enabled.

By incorporating the Headcasting engine in the G550 chip, Matrox hope to tap into the next generation of internet shopping that more closely replicates walking into a store and speaking with a sales rep. In this vision, a customer question would prompt a small window with a 3D-animated face that talks back to you in real-time, Max Headroom style, with lip movements synchronized to what the sales rep is saying. Call it kinder, friendlier, Walmart-esq internet commerce.

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Contents of Article: Matrox G550
 Pg 1.  — Matrox G550 Chipset
 Pg 2.  User Support

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