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Matrox --  History

Matrox logo

Matrox unlike most companies mentioned on this web site  is still around today.  Matrox is a Canadian company based in Dorval, Quebec, which produces video card components, boards and other equipment for computers. It was founded by two guys Lorne Trottier and Branko Matić. The "Ma" from Matić and "tro" from Trottier, combined with an "x" for excellence, formed the Matrox name.

Matrox is in fact the umbrella name for two legal entities: Matrox Graphics Inc., the entity most recognized by the public, for designing graphics cards for over 30 years; the other entity is Matrox Electronic Systems Ltd., is a company involved in imaging (designing frame grabbers hardware and software editing etc.) for broadcast and video professional markets.
Matrox's very first graphics card product was the ALT-256 for S-100 bus computers, released in 1978. The ALT-256 produced a 256 by 256 pixel monochrome display by "racing the beam"; having the host CPU set registers on the fly to produce bit patterns as the screen was being drawn. This mode of operation meant the ALT-256 required no frame buffer. An expanded version followed, the ALT-512. It was available for the S-100 bus and Intel's Multibus as well.

Through the 1980s, Matrox's cards followed changes in the hardware side of the market, to Multibus and then the variety of PC standards. During the 1990s, Matrox's "Millennium" line of video cards were noted for their exceptional 2D speed and visual quality. They had a wide following among users willing to pay for a higher quality and sharper display. In 1994 they introduced the Matrox Impression, an add-on card that worked in conjunction with a Millennium card to provide 3D acceleration. The Impression was aimed primarily at the CAD market but failed to make much of an impression on the rapidly emerging 3D gaming market.

Matrox in the 1990's came out with numerous PC video cards aimed at the gaming market but could never really catch up with others who already had a head start.  Companies like Nvidia and ATI simply had better performance game video chips.

Since then, Matrox has shifted the focus of its card designs towards specialized, niche markets, moving more deeply into enterprise, industrial, and government applications.


MATROX  S-100 Boards
ALT2048     ALT256      ALT512


This page was last modified on 10/25/2013