It’s always interesting to see how rumors get started and spread like wildfire; it’s even more interesting to see it happen when you know for certain what’s being spread isn’t true.  Such was the case with the rumors that surrounded Matrox’s “next-generation” graphics part.  It wasn’t long after the release of the Matrox G400 that rumors of a G600 and a G800 began surfacing; although most had no factual basis at all.  As the story goes with most rumors, the misinformation compounded until even Matrox was worried that when the truth was revealed there would be a backlash from the community for not producing a product that never made it to production.

It isn’t entirely unusual for a manufacturer to produce a product that doesn’t make it to mass production, so there’s no doubt in our minds that there ever was a basis for a G800 just like there once was a socketed Pentium II processor floating around Intel (and a very big one at that) and ATI’s labs have definitely housed some unique creations. 

During Comdex of last year we learned of the slight possibility that Matrox would be producing a mid-range gaming card.  Plans for that were eventually scrapped and instead what Matrox focused their attentions on was an updated version of the G450.  Considering that the G450 was an updated version of the G400, we feared that Matrox’s backlash would come not because they couldn’t deliver on a rumor but because their “next-generation” part was based on the two-year-old G400. 

Matrox’s G550

Matrox has had a way of creating markets for their products that didn’t exist before.  They were the first to truly promote and show the world what Environment Mapped Bump Mapping (EMBM) could offer.  How could we ever forget that one Expendable screen shot that made almost everyone want a G400 for the sole purpose of having bumpy water?  Then they convinced the world that dual monitors wasn’t just for the high-end anymore, it could be used in games, internet browsing and document editing among the usual array of applications. 

Both EMBM and DualHead have managed to become check-box features that competing vendors have also implemented because of user demand.  It would seem as if Matrox has had a handful of relative successes in creating markets for their features.

Matrox’s latest foray into the graphics market attempts to build on their successes of the past and create yet another market with the G550.  Although they’ve always said that the third time is a charm, it looks like that may not be the case for Matrox.

The Chip
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