A Supplementary Addition

The Revolution IV boasts a unique feature that it can hold over the competition, it's 24-bit RGB Digital Data Output, which can be coupled with SGI's newly released Digital Flat Panel LCD for a true one-two punch.  SGI's 1600SW monitor has no true competition for it's price range ($2795 w/ the Revolution IV).  In comparison to AnandTech's Viewsonic ViewPanel analog LCD the 17.3" diagonal 1600SW's picture quality is virtually comparable to that of my own 21" Panasonic PanaSync E21.  Just 20 minutes with the 1600SW made me want to kick myself for spending $1300 on a 21" CRT.  The 1600SW supports the highest dot pitch at its native resolution, 110 dpi @ 1600 x 1024, of any monitor in its class as well as one of the highest pixel response rates of an LCD monitor.

The monitor itself, as you can tell by the 1600 x 1024 native resolution, has a very wide display with a 16:10 aspect ratio.  The display allows you to display two full pages side by side without having to scroll left to right at all.  As far as visibility goes and clarity at that high of a resolution, since it is a digital LCD it makes use of the 36-pin OpenLDI digital output on the Revolution IV (the monitor cannot be used with any other video card unfortunately) it's sharpness and clarity at 1600 x 1024 decreases the gap between itself and most conventional CRT monitors. 

The 1600SW allows for a user adjustable white balance which is configured in the HawkEye IV display utility mentioned previously, and all other controls for the monitor are made through the same software utility.  This unfortunately means that you need to have complete driver support for the monitor if you wish to make use of it, so all of your OS/2 and Linux users are most likely out of luck for now.  The monitor ships with the card as well as drivers for Windows 95/98, and Windows NT 4.0 so that will cover most bases, even if you plan on dual-booting between the two OSes. 

The 3" depth of the 17.3" screen (the approximate equivalent of a 19" CRT) is truly amazing and if you've ever used an LCD monitor, the 1600SW does redefine the standard with incredible quality and style.  To complete the package, this expensive little novelty does come equipped with a manual hydraulic jack to lower the monitor at equal intervals which can be removed for wall mounting purposes. 

The quality of the Revolution IV is only accented by the 1600SW monitor, and the card itself isn't dependent on it for its performance and outstanding image quality.  If you're looking to purchase a professional monitor with your next system, the added cost of the 1600SW truly does pay off as it is not only easy on your eyes, but saves much space on our increasingly cluttered desks.  The price for the monitor is quite high, however if you take into account that most 21" analog LCD's sell for around $4000+ and don't offer the same quality as this SGI all-digital solution, then the $2795 price tag (including the Revolution IV video card) isn't too bad at all.

If you happen to be a graphics artist or a publisher and happen to also like to play the occasional game or two on the weekends, you might be considering teaming up the Revolution IV with a Voodoo2 or some other 3D only graphics accelerator.  Unfortunately you can forget about using anything but the Revolution IV with this monitor, since it is a digital-only output device, the analog port on the Voodoo2 won't be able to output to it so you'll need a second monitor if you plan on running any games on your system at speeds greater than what the Revolution IV can offer. 

The Final Decision

Is the Revolution IV the right card for you?  If you're disgusted by the fact that you can barely read even the most sharp text at 1600 x 1200 on your new monitor, and if you're concerned greatly with competitive 2D performance and even more so, top-notch 2D image quality, the Revolution IV is the right card for you.  If you're a gamer, chances are that the Revolution IV isn't what you're looking for, however for professional use (including NT4 OpenGL applications) such as image editing, document publishing, and other such applications where quality is critical, the Revolution IV sets itself apart from the competition by a great distance. 

If you're looking for a stellar combination, add the cost of the SGI 1600SW monitor to the bundle and complete the package.  While the price of the monitor itself is still far away from equaling that of a similarly sized CRT monitor, you can expect the monitor to drop to below the $2000 sometime next year.

With or without the monitor, for a next-generation 2D/3D accelerator that isn't a gaming card, the Revolution IV does justice to the Number 9 name.  It is unfortunate that the card won't get as much publicity as it deserves simply due to the fact that the majority of the market looking for a new graphics accelerator will focus on gaming performance, one facet of the Revolution IV's existence that AnandTech simply can't vouch for.


Number 9 Revolution IV Graphics Accelerator
MSRP: $169 (16MB SDRAM), $219 (32MB SDRAM), $2795 (32MB SDRAM w/ 1600SW)

Website: www.nine.com
Installation
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  • FelixDeKat - Saturday, January 18, 2014 - link

    Good review. I was at Babbages the other day and decided to buy a Diamond Viper instead. Reply

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