Many of you probably aren't familiar with Matrox's user interface and control panels, but they have done a great job with their PowerDesk application suite, which has a look and feel similar to the Windows XP interface.
PowerDesk User Interface
The main categories are self explanatory and information for each item is provided when performing a mouse-over on the icon. You might be asking, "where's the driver panel?" Matrox canned that type of interface and did it their way. When you access the display driver panel in Windows, a shortcut is provided to this application.
I like it. In fact, I like it a lot. The user interface is appealing, help is beneficial to the user, and it provides quick and easy access to important display settings. Be assured that I'll have more to say about PowerDesk later on in the review.
I've been using NVIDIA based graphics cards for so long and I wasn't sure what to expect from the Parhelia. The best case scenario was that most games would work, albeit not very well optimized, mixed in with a few system crashes. But I was wrong. During the time I've used the Parhelia, my system has yet to experience crash. This is an impressive accomplishment given the fact that Matrox had a LOT of ground to cover in going from the DirectX 6 era to the Parhelia.
One thing you might want to know is how tweakable the Parhelia is. The next two screenshots show the PowerDesk control panels for managing desktop and 3D graphics settings.
PowerDesk Desktop Panel
PowerDesk 3D Panel
"What? That's it?!" Well, think about the tweaks that are available for ATI and NVIDIA based graphics cards. For the majority of users, most graphics settings are rarely adjusted as users typically want to choose a method of antialiasing along with a anisotropic texture filtering.
Matrox also provides the user with the Technical Support Tweak Utility shown below.