Matrox Millennium

A couple of days ago I bought an original Matrox Millennium PCI SVGA video card. It’s a 1997 DELL OEM rev. B board with 4MB WRAM. Board layout and components are really beautiful:

Matrox Millennium front side

Matrox Millennium front side

Back in it’s heyday this card was selling for around 600$. Needless to say I used a much cheaper and slower noname PCI SVGA card with Cirrus Logic CL-GD5436 chipset and 1MB DRAM. I can’t quite explain why it’s so much fun to play around with stuff that was way out of reach when it was current, but it is.

Out of curiosity I searched online for BIOS update and found this mirror of Matrox web site download page from 2005: BIOS updates for Matrox Millennium, Millennium II, Mistique, Mistique 220, Productiva G100, Millennium G200, G200MMS, G400, G450, G450MMS, G550, P650, P750 and Parhelia. For some unfathomable reasons Matrox removed those files from it’s current web site, but they are still available on Matrox ftp server

Updating BIOS was fairly straightforward. Run setup351.exe under Windows, it unzips files to C:\mgafold\setup351. To start flashing, run C:\mgafold\setup351\UPDBIOS.EXE. This is a DOS-only program, it didn’t work under Windows. C:\mgafold\setup351\ directory size is about 1.6MB, so it won’t fit on a single 3.5” floppy. I reformated HDD to FAT32, booted from Windows 98 boot floppy and ran UPDBIOS.EXE. It helpfully notified me that I had BIOS v2.3 and it will be updated to v3.0:

Matrox Millennium BIOS update

Here is a backup copy of Matrox Millennium BIOS v2.3 for anyone interested.

Since it’s an OEM version of card, I wasn’t sure if it has 175 or 220MHz RAMDAC. Fortunately Matrox drivers reported it as 220MHz version:

Matrox Millennium information

I later found out that all 4MB OEM boards had 220MHz RAMDAC. Only 2MB OEM boars had 175MHz RAMDAC.