Faster, Better, Affordable
PC Magazine Home 

Graphics Accelerators:
New Technology,
New Speed 

Editors' Choice 
Summary of Features 
Benchmark Tests 
New Speed, 
New Uses for 3-D 
Extend the Life 
of Your 2-D Card 
AccelGraphics Inc. 
ATI Technologies Inc. 
Canopus Corp. 
Diamond Multimedia 
ELSA Synergy Inc. 
Jazz Multimedia Inc. 
Leadtek Research 
Matrox Graphics Inc. 
Metabyte Inc. 
Number Nine 
STB Systems Inc. 
VideoLogic Inc. 

New Technology, New Speed 

Matrox's MGA Settings tab lets you adjust your virtual desktop options with a single click. 

Matrox Graphics Inc., Dorval, Quebec, Canada; 800-361-1408, 514-969-6300;

Matrox MGA-2164W chip, 8MB WRAM (16MB maximum), 1,920-by-1,200 resolution at 60-Hz refresh. Street price: PCI and AGP, $300.

Millennium II

The Matrox Millennium II is a top-notch 2-D graphics accelerator aimed at power users and graphics and CAD professionals who need a mature, trouble-free accelerator for use under Windows NT and Windows 95. Matrox is behind the industry curve on integrated 2-D/3-D acceleration, however, and corporate users can now find just-as-good 2-D and much better 3-D acceleration from competitors such as AccelGraphics, Diamond, and Number Nine.

Installation is simple and straightforward under both Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0, and the Millennium II sports a full complement of display-control utilities. The MGA PowerDesk control panel now includes Desktop Navigator, a small desktop preview window that gives you quick access to off-screen areas of your virtual desktop. MGA Diagnostic helps you troubleshoot display problems, and the MGA Settings folder tab contains descriptive icons that let you adjust your virtual desktop settings with a single click.

The Millennium II can maintain extremely high refresh rates at high resolutions and color depths, making it a good choice for large-screen applications.

Performance on our 2-D benchmark tests was consistently in the top tier, including on our High-End Winstone and WinMark test suites in Windows NT. The Millennium II placed dead last on our 3-D benchmark tests, and 3-D rendering quality was poor, as the chip set lacks support for many Direct 3D modes. Matrox offers a 3-D-only add-in, the M3D ($99), to boost 3-D functionality for those who need it. In our testing, the M3D improved 3-D rendering speed dramatically, and image quality also improved.

If you play 3-D games, or if you think 3-D business apps are in your future, the Millennium II is not a good choice without the extra upgrades. But if your main priority is 2-D performance, the Millennium II will suit your needs admirably. 

Jon Hill

From the December 2, 1997 issue of PC Magazine

Copyright (c) 1997 Ziff-Davis Inc.