As it stands, everyone is itching to get their hands on an actual Parhelia card to test out all this interesting technology. Evaluating how much the Gigacolor and Fragment anti-aliasing techniques add to the gaming experience will have to wait until then, as will judgments about the Parhelia’s claimed image quality superiority.
Based on just the specifications of the Parhelia though, it seems likely that in raw 3D performance it should top the nVidia Geforce4 Ti. The question then is if Matrox will be content to rest as they did with their Millennium line. When the Parhelia comes out, it will be a unique card, offering not just improved performance, but features not found on competing manufacturer’s cards.
This is very similar to the position Matrox was in with the Millennium G400 three years ago. There is little doubt that the next wave of cards from Nvidia and ATI will up the performance ante further, and then Matrox will need to decide (if they haven’t already) whether they can afford to compete with the big boys in the fastest moving section of the computer market. They do not necessarily need to. By releasing the Parhelia, Matrox gained a tremendous amount of attention from computer enthusiasts, which is something they have not enjoyed for a while, and they have already stated that they are going to use the Parhelia GPU as the base for a variety of different products over the course of the year.
These will doubtless include lower end cards to replace the aging Millennium line, and ensure their continued popularity in the business computing market. To put it simply, if the Parhelia takes off as a gaming card, Matrox will have everything it needs to ensure the success of its other business areas once the Millennium line is discontinued.
As has been stated, the first Parhelia is going to be a gamer’s card. The only real market for a card this feature-laden and expensive (estimated $400 American) is hobbyists. We should see Parhelia boxes in stores sometime in June of this year, and personally I can't wait!