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Product: Marvel G400 TV
Company: Matrox
Website: http://www.matrox.com/mga
Estimated Street Price: $299.00
Review By: Julien JAY

Environment-Mapped Bump Mapping - Introduction

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Installation & Setup
3: Features
4: More Features
5: Advanced Features
6: Compatibility
7: Conclusion

The Matrox G400 series is the first ever graphics card to introduce hardware support for Microsoft's DirectX - Environment-Mapped Bump Mapping. Environment Mapped Bump Mapping is a DirectX 7 quality feature, which will be used to substantially increase the visual realism of 3D scenes. In fact, 3D graphics hardware that supports this feature will be able to render 3D scenes with more realism than was ever before possible on the PC. Environment Mapped Bump Mapping is essentially a technique that allows a much higher level of detail to be added to a 3D world than could be possible with texture- mapped polygons alone. Fine details such as the pock- marked surface of bricks in a dungeon and scratches on robots and tanks can be added with ease. Special effects such as realistic water surfaces, heat shimmering off hot asphalt on a summer day and air turbulence in flight simulators can also be uniquely accomplished by using Environment Mapped Bump Mapping. This new feature will prove to be as revolutionary as alpha blending in terms of the creative effects that game developers will accomplish when given free rein. A lot of games now support this brand new technology.

Environment-Mapped Bump Mapping

There is no doubt that Environment-Mapped Bump Mapping is great to look at. But yet again there is a performance hit whenever you use it - but if you are into image quality instead of frame rates like I am, you'll love it.

Percentage Loss

800x600

1024x768

1280x1024

Expendable 16-Bit

29%

33%

36%

Earth Demo 16-Bit

44%

48%

50%

Earth Demo 32-Bit

34%

34%

35%

DVD Playback

DVD is becoming a very important medium in the world of computers. The amount of space on one DVD is so large that it just can't be ignored. Most graphic cards offer some sort of DVD-Video playback, such as the ATI Rage 128, which does a lot of the decoding in hardware. The Marvel G400 is no exception, but it doesn't use hardware decoding just software in the form of the Matrox DVD Player. This player is actually just the cinemaster software engine with a new skin.

DVD

The cinemaster engine is excellent for DVD playback and combining it with the G400 you are in for a visual treat as it manages to offer some of the best software DVD playback I have ever seen. However the Matrox DVD player doesnít offer as much features as the top-notch PowerDVD  software, from CyberLink. During our tests the DVD player worked great on an old Pentium II 400 and we didnít notice any slackening or artefacts during playing. When testing it with a PIII 800EB we didnít notice any difference. So the conclusion is that you can use the Matrox DVD player on slow computers.

 <-- More Features Compatibility -->

 

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