Matrox G400 Specifications

Today’s video cards owe much to the G400.

The Matrox Millenimum G400, primitive by current standards, broke new ground with its 1999 release. Montreal-based Matrox Graphics, then an important player in the consumer video card market, introduced two key features with the G400. The $250 card pioneered dual-monitor support. In addition, a video enhancement called “bump-mapping” marked a key step forward in graphics technology. The website Tom’s Hardware praised the G400 for its “revolutionary features.”

Memory and Interface

G400 cards were equipped with either 16 or 32 megabytes of video memory, or RAM, a large amount at the time. As of 2010, by comparison, high-end video cards have 2 gigabytes of RAM. The G400 was designed to make the most of the increased bandwidth of the emerging Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) motherboard interface, since succeeded by PCI-Express interfaces.

Bump-Mapping

Unlike earlier cards, the G400 achieved bump-mapping, a means of adding richer surface textures, through its hardware components rather than through software. Reviewers found the difference striking. Water, for example, “looks as close to photo-realistic as yet seen in a PC game,” said the PC enthusiast website Sharky Extreme.

Dual Monitors

Dual-monitor support, common on PCs as of 2010, arrived on the G400 as a feature called “DualHead Display.” The G400 included two Cathode Ray Tube Controllers and a pair of VGA (Visual Graphics Array) ports to feed two displays. The second display could even have its own screen resolution.

Resolution

The G400 supported up to 2,048-by-1,536 resolution. The card also supported full-scene anti-aliasing, a technique for reducing jagged edges in images, and DVD playback. The card used Matrox’s 256-bit “DualBus” architecture for improved efficiency.

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