P650, Parhelia or... Wildcat for 2D, web and a little 3D

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P650, Parhelia or... Wildcat for 2D, web and a little 3D

Postposted on Mon Sep 22, 2003 7:17 pm

Heya all.

Looking to replace my primary gfx card at the home office in the computer that doubles as the wife's hotmail checker and might play any games that come along.

I'm looking for a good budget card that can handle biiiiig photoshop files and print work (EPS files and Indesign, etc) together with my staple Macromedia Director and Dreamweaver programs.

I currently have one 19" monitor but will get another in the coming months. I'm replacing a 9700pro that my brother leant me (and then I broke, doh... got to buy him a 9800pro replacement, but nm).

I also spend a couple days a month in 3DStudio MAX, modeling with low-medium poly counts. And would like to be able to do some video editing too, although again prolly only a couple of days a month.

I want to ignore gaming in this decision. I need a good stable 2D card that will do me for at least a year and support 2 monitors under XP Pro.

The obvious choice seems to be the Matrox P650, although I _could_ be tempted by the Parhelia with its higher memory and better 3D (3DSMax drivers, yum). The wildcard choice is, and please excuse the pun, the 3DLabs Wildcat VP560 which competes directly with the P650 on price and is an intriguing concept, but I think it is aimed more at CAD work than I need.

I have a 2500 barton and a gig of ram to go with this card, I have suffered long enough with the old Duron!

Any help, comments or sugggestions would be great. Apologies if this has been addressed before, I had a quick scan of the posts, it doesn't seem so. In conclusion, I need a good budget 2D card that can handle 4000x3000 photoshop images, big postscript files, some video and 3D work, and gives excellent image quality and stability.

I'm not expecting miracles at the price range, but what can you suggest? Can the P650 do all that? Should I go for the Parhelia? Will the famous banding issue annoy me? Am I wrongly ignoring a completely different card?

Thanks in advance for any help.
Whirl-Secret
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Postposted on Mon Sep 22, 2003 7:33 pm

P650:
Impeccable 2D Quality
Great DualHead abilities and drivers
10bit gigacolour, could perhaps assist you with your photoshop
No banding
Improved FAA over Parhelia

Edit: It should work OK with 3dsmax, not sure if they have specialized 3dsmax drivers though.
bsdgeek
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Postposted on Mon Sep 22, 2003 11:08 pm

I agree with bsdgeek. The p650 would be a good card for your needs.

The Parhelias will offer you more video RAM (128-256 over 64) and double the gpu/memory bandwidth than the P650, but I'm not sure how efficiently the Parhelia drivers will use that extra headroom in Photoshop. It'd be nice to see a side-by side comparison of the Parhelia and the 650 in PS. Alas.
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emkubed
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Postposted on Tue Sep 23, 2003 5:41 am

emkubed wrote:I agree with bsdgeek. The p650 would be a good card for your needs.


OK guys thanks very much. The P650 it is! Thanks a lot for the pointers. I must say I'm rather suprised that people recommend the lower card but grateful in that I can now spend the money on, say, another 512mb of system ram, which I'm sure Photoshop would just love anyway.

I was asking another designer guy on my gaming squad (luckily it's a DX6 2D game hehe) last night what he thought of getting a high IQ card instead of, say, a radeon 9600, and he raised an interesting point: he'd rather have the same quality of picture as the people he is designing for, and so will stick with a gaming card. I certainly have been in the situation when I bring in a design for a client at their office, load up the cd on their computer, gather them all round, go: 'tadaaa!' and it doesn't display properly!

However, I'd just rather have a good card for photoshop. Right now with no gfx card, I'm posting from a 233mhz dell laptop, and it's impossible trying to do anything in photoshop on this; I can use this for testing (and I do) with it's ie5 and low res, but would rather not enforce the experience on myself full-time!

So thanks again for the help, goodness, I am rambling today...

Matrox has a new customer!
Whirl-Secret
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Postposted on Tue Sep 23, 2003 7:44 am

Whirl-Secret wrote:Matrox has a new customer!


Great! Please post your impressions of the card. I'm sure we'd all like to hear the followup.
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emkubed
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Postposted on Tue Sep 23, 2003 12:42 pm

emkubed wrote:Great! Please post your impressions of the card. I'm sure we'd all like to hear the followup.


Yah I surely will do. I'm interested in seeing what this image quality hype turns out as... very looking forward to it.

Just out of interest, the last time I bought a non-gaming card was the Number Nine Imagine 128. I actually bought it to play games on, and was just disappointed when it scored a shocking 7% higher than my friend's S3 Trio in the MDK performance test. I didn't really notice any difference going from that to a Permedia 2 card in IQ but I wasn't really looking and anyway I had a 15" monitor at the time.

I think Matrox's very high refresh rates per resolution do not generate the interest they should do from people, I eagerly anticipate that as well.
Whirl-Secret
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