When someone says "Matrox", what's one of the first things that comes to mind? One answer would probably be outstanding 2D image quality.
UltraSharp Display Output Technology - Provides the highest signal quality RGB, DVI, and TV outputs
400MHz 10-bit RAMDAC
10-bit GigaColor technology - Supports 10-bit per channel color throughout the graphics pipeline
Glyph Antialiasing - Provides hardware acceleration for antialiased text in Windows 2000 and Windows XP
10-bit DVD decoding
There are some that feel the Matrox 2D mystique is completely overblown. If you insist that there's no difference in 2D image quality, take a look at the frequency response charts that Matrox has provided on their website. If that still causes doubt, then I recommend using your own set of eyes to evaluate the Parhelia's 2D quality.
Another area the Parhelia shines is in secondary video output, which is just as good as the output on the primary display. While using a GeForce4 Ti 4200, I noticed a series of wavy lines on one of my secondary LCD's that's not there with the Parhelia. I even took a digital snapshot of my Dell 1900FP LCD panel for illustation.
The vertical line on the right extends from the top of the screen all the way to the bottom. And the text that you see is of poor quality. On the Parhelia, the display was crisp and clean throughout.
I'd like to point out one thing with regards to 2D image quality. NVIDIA does not manufacture its own graphics cards so it's unfair to say that all NVIDIA based graphics card will produce the same quality. For example, the GeForce4 Ti 4200 I used may not be representative of all GeForce4 offerings. At the same time, this becomes a critical issue because you have to know which manufacturers to avoid. With the Parhelia, you know that you're going to get the same quality every time.
The bottom line is that you know that 2D image quality shouldn't be a problem given Matrox's legendary status in this area. Yes, there really is a difference, so don't get sucked into believing that 2D image quality is a thing of the past.
GIGACOLOR / GLYPH ANTIALIASING
Since using the Parhelia, I've always enabled Gigacolor on the desktop. It's difficult to say how this feature contributes to the overall 2D image quality and it becomes more difficult for me due to the fact that I use three LCD displays. Why is that? Because, LCD's tend to use 8-bit DAC's.
Likewise, I always have Glyph Antialiasing enabled. From my understanding this feature directs the hardware to do the processing, thereby making 2D performance noticeably faster.