Matrox Mystique G200

by Anand Lal Shimpi on August 16, 1998 5:59 PM EST
The king of 2D enters the world of 3D gaming, a sort of "boy meets world" in terms of graphics accelerators and definitely a memorable moment in the history of one particular Canadian based video card manufacturer.  Mystique G200

For the past few years, like another well known giant in the 2D video world, Matrox has been fairly productive on the 2D end of things while virtually ignoring the rapidly developing 3D gaming arena.  

Matrox had an instant success with the release of their 2D wonder child, the Millennium.  Matrox's flagship 2D card evolved into a much more professional and elegant 2D solution, even dipping its dry fingers into the 3D pool with relatively limited 3D support provided for by its successor the Millennium II.  

At the same time Matrox was conquering the 2D market uncontested companies such as 3Dfx and nVidia were experimenting in unexplored waters with their Voodoo and Riva 128 based 3D solutions.  In order to say that they have made an attempt at the 3D market, Matrox decided to appeal to the gaming community by releasing a home entertainment version of their Millennium with increased 3D support.   The product?  The Matrox Mystique. 

The Mystique's limited success and the poor image quality Matrox's newest 3D concoction, the PowerVR based m3D, brought to the table kept Matrox from growing into the potential threat they could be to the competition in the 3D market. 

The Dream 

A video card that could boast both excellent 2D performance and outstanding 3D support with crisp image quality in any situation the card was put in, that was the dream of many manufacturers for quite some time.    Unfortunately it has taken much more than an indefinite period of time for a great percentage of those manufacturers to accomplish what they set out to do.  It was about time for Matrox to give the 2D/3D combo world another try, this time with a little more effort.

The Reality

The Matrox G200 series of graphics accelerators, the reality behind the dream Matrox put all of their efforts during these past few months to make possible.  Building on the same nomenclature as their original line of graphics accelerators, Matrox's latest production has been divided into two main categories: the Matrox Millennium G200 and the Matrox Mystique G200.

As the name implies, the Millennium G200 is geared towards high end users and professionals - basically anyone who isn't bothered by the lack of a TV-Output feature.  Using a 250MHz RAMDAC and high speed SGRAM the Millennium G200 picks up where the Millennium II left off adding actual 3D support to an already beautiful 2D feature set. 

No longer being associated with "crap" among hard core gamers, the Mystique G200 is essentially the same card as the Millennium G200 with a few modifications.  Primarily, the Mystique features a 230MHz RAMDAC and uses lower cost SDRAM instead of the SGRAM found on its Millennium counterpart.  The performance difference between the two cards will probably be negligible at most with the largest gaps forming in 2D performance.  What the Mystique G200 offers that its professional looking brother can't provide is 1024 x 768 TV-Output that gamers will utterly fall in love with. 

That being said, let's see how well Matrox measures up to the high expectations of the maturing market around them as AnandTech takes a closer look at the newly released Matrox Mystique G200 AGP Graphics Accelerator.

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