S3 intros GPU with DirectX 10.1, Blu-ray support

AMD is no longer the only company with graphics processors that support Microsoft’s DirectX 10.1 graphics standard. And yet Nvidia still hasn’t hopped on the DX 10.1 bandwagon just yet. So who’s the other contender?

AMD’s newfound rival is none other than S3 Graphics, whose newly announced Chrome 400 graphics processor introduces support for many of the same goodies as AMD’s latest GPUs. There’s DX 10.1 support, of course, together with a programmable unified shader architecture, Blu-ray/HD DVD playback capability with H.264 video hardware acceleration, and PCI Express 2.0 support. The GPU is based on 65nm process technology. On the connectivity front, you’ll find outputs for dual-link DVI with HDCP encryption, HDMI, and DisplayPort. The Chrome 400 even mimics the HyperMemory functionality of AMD’s low-end GPUs, allowing Chrome 400-based cards to use a combination of integrated and system memory.

Of course, AMD is probably in no danger of seeing the thunder of its Radeon HD 3000-series cards stolen. S3 says the Chrome 400 is intended for "energy-efficient desktop and notebook platforms" that require "extreme power-efficiency and rigidly low thermal specifications." The chip’s memory interface is only 64 bits wide, making it akin to today’s sub-$100 mainstream GPUs. Then again, S3 claims the Chrome 400 delivers "super gaming performance," so it could have some surprises in store.

Comments closed
    • pogsnet
    • 12 years ago
    • barich
    • 12 years ago

    I’d consider buying an S3 card if their driver support improved. There are no updated drivers for DeltraChrome anymore, for example, and it came out after the 9×00 series ATI cards which are still supported.

    • slot_one
    • 12 years ago

    I remember having a 1MB S3 of some sort in my old Comcrap back in ’95 or 96.

    I don’t know if it was the fault of the slow video card or the Pentium-120 that was in it, but if I tried full-screening even the most simple Video for Windows clips, the frame rate dropped from 30fps to 5. This new S3 model better have Video for Windows acceleration, daamit! Don’t care about H.264…I just wanna watch my 15 second Video for Windows clips the way they were meant to be watched! With upconversion of the original 160×120 video to 1080p!

    It’ll be interesting to see how this stacks up to the 8400GS. 🙂

      • Krogoth
      • 12 years ago

      You probably had a S3 VIRGE. 😉

        • Taddeusz
        • 12 years ago

        I had an S3 Virge DX for a while. Eventually paired it with a 3dfx Voodoo Graphics card. Weren’t those the days?

          • Krogoth
          • 12 years ago

          Heh, S3 VIRGE was rightfully called first 3D “decelerator”.

          That Voodoo Graphics must have completely blown it out of the water. 😉

    • Lord.Blue
    • 12 years ago

    ah, the creators of the worlds first graphics DEcelerator return.

      • just brew it!
      • 12 years ago

      Actually, they never really left. AFAIK all of VIA’s integrated GPUs have been based on S3 designs. (Speaking of graphics decelerators…)

      • adisor19
      • 12 years ago

      No no, that would be Trident ! Please, don’t try to confuse.

      Adi

    • Kurotetsu
    • 12 years ago

    #3, #6, I stand corrected.

    Well, good to see an old face jumping back into the limelight. If this part turns out to jump ahead of AMD’s GPU’s with what its packing, it’d be great for people who are stuck in the middle in regards to microATX systems. I mean, Intel has the better CPUs, but AMD has, by FAR, the better integrated graphics for mATX; but you obviously can’t mix and match them. This could solve that problem nicely.

    • just brew it!
    • 12 years ago

    If history is any guide, this product will be torpedoed by a lack of stable drivers.

    Historically, their drivers were even worse than ATI’s. And that’s saying a lot.

      • Krogoth
      • 12 years ago

      I do not recall that S3 suffer from driver issues rather from hardware issues.

      The Savage series had some interesting design defects that render it useless when it tried to do T&L operations when it claim to be able to support T&L.

      ViRGE lack some hardware components needed for some mini-OGL functions and full Direct3D support.

      • Flying Fox
      • 12 years ago

      Basically I will believe it when I see cards in store and people are not complaining about drivers.

    • donkeycrock
    • 12 years ago

    If VIA/SIS can stick around, AMD has it way better than them. I heard through an AMD employee that the CEO has squandered a lot of the money on frivolous items over the last couple of years.

    • lethal
    • 12 years ago

    you can certainly claim “super gaming performance” if your competition is intel’s integrated graphics :P.

      • BiffStroganoffsky
      • 12 years ago

      …or, your supported game list is spider solitaire, minesweeper….

        • Mithent
        • 12 years ago

        My Q6600 with 8800 GTS 512MB struggles with Solitaire in Vista. Seriously. Crysis? No problem, but Solitaire or the other built-in games..

        I’d really like to know why.

          • Meadows
          • 12 years ago

          Define “struggle”. I can play it fine, thank you.

            • Mithent
            • 12 years ago

            The cards move very slowly most of the time, jumping from place to place as it updates every second or so. I really don’t know why; occasionally it works okay, but more often than not it’s very choppy. The same has happened for other Vista games, such as Inkball (not that I play that often).

            • Meadows
            • 12 years ago

            What resolution? I tested it myself and those Windows games may be sensitive to resolutions. I don’t think they exploit all the available optimizations or acceleration. Just don’t run them in a maximized window if your resolution is 2560×1600, I wouldn’t even be surprised if those cards are streamed from RAM and not VRAM.

            • Mithent
            • 12 years ago

            Only 1280×1024 (need to get a new monitor to go with that new hardware!), and in a window anyway. It’s rather strange.

            • Meadows
            • 12 years ago

            What you see is a real fault then.

      • Forge
      • 12 years ago

      Actually, Intel’s stuff has been getting a lot better.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 12 years ago

        Better than steamy dog-poo is still nasty. Intel’s integrated graphics are still three generations behind AMD’s existing offerings, and AMD is about to release a new one.

          • evermore
          • 12 years ago

          Intel’s integrated graphics aren’t that far behind AMD or nvidia’s integrated graphics. One can hardly compare their add-in mobile versions of desktop video chips to Intel’s integrated video.

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 12 years ago

            AMD’s Radeon XPress X1250 (690G) is still king of integrated graphics, a year after its introduction.

            Yes, Intel’s newest integrated graphics chipset is better than their truly miserable previous offerings, but it’s still far behind even NVidia. AMD is ahead of the pack on integrated graphics.

            §[<http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=2942&p=8<]§

            • Shining Arcanine
            • 12 years ago

            That review ceased to be a valid comparison five months after it was done. Last August, Intel came out with new drivers that doubled performance by implementing support for hardware vertex shaders:

            §[<http://blogs.intel.com/technology/2007/08/gaming_on_integrated_graphics.php<]§ I know that the following is a Tom's Hardware review, but I could not find another review that uses the latest drivers from Intel: §[<http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/09/24/integrated_graphics_for_gaming_or_htpc/<]§ According to the review's data, AMD's integrated graphics and Intel's integrated graphics are about equal.

            • Hattig
            • 12 years ago

            AMD’s 7xx series integrated graphics double performance at least, apparently, over the 690 integrated graphics. Still pointless for a gamer, but probably good enough for a WoW box.

            My first PC had a 4MB S3 Virge graphics card in it. Awesome it was not. I also got a Diamond Monster 540III or something a year or two later with some S3 chip in it. That chip couldn’t do alpha-channels in textures.

            • evermore
            • 12 years ago

            So one generation later the performance got better again. That’s not 3 generations behind. G965 also used X3000 graphics, G33 is X3100, while G35 is up to X3500. Depending on the test, X3500 does pretty well. Not a lot of reviews though.

            §[<http://www.ocworkbench.com/2007/asus/p5e-vm-hdmi/b3.htm<]§

    • willyolio
    • 12 years ago

    these might be worth buying if they are MUCH more energy-efficient than AMD’s low-end UVD cards. if i had to jump off of UVD video decoding/quality, it had better offer some other great feature, like being fanless or embedded in a mini-ITX or something.

    • deruberhanyok
    • 12 years ago

    Good to see they’re still in the game, after a fashion. Although I admit I’m disappointed to hear about the 64-bit interface; at least the DeltaChrome cards had a 128-bit memory bus.

    If memory serves they didn’t have a lot of fancy tech to optimize mem bandwidth usage, though. Who knows, maybe they’ll have a part designed to fit more into that $100-$150 price range.

    • Dposcorp
    • 12 years ago

    cue someone reporting the AMD is buying Via while Nvidia buys AMD while IBM swallows them all up and everything gets halted at the last minute by the FTC
    *[<:)<]*

    • lex-ington
    • 12 years ago

    A third player in the business is always a good thing for consumer pricing. Just don’t have any more.

    • Ihmemies
    • 12 years ago

    Fresh? S3 has been around longer than Nvidia 😉

      • albundy
      • 12 years ago

      unfortunately…

        • d2brothe
        • 12 years ago

        Yes, because cheap low power integrated graphics have no place in the world? My laptop has S3 graphics…they’re bad…but its nice to be able to play Q3 based games every once in a while on the road.

    • Krogoth
    • 12 years ago

    S3 VIRGE 43v3R!

    • Kurotetsu
    • 12 years ago

    Finally, a fresh face in the video card world. Sounds like this is being tailor made for HTPCs.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 12 years ago

      Fresh face? VIA?

      • Meadows
      • 12 years ago

      I don’t remember things well (I’m not THAT old) but S3 has probably been around since nVidia, at the very least. And that says a lot. Yeah, ATI is much older than nVidia, though.

        • bthylafh
        • 12 years ago

        S3’s been around since the early ’90s.

          • Meadows
          • 12 years ago

          I know, and nVidia was founded in ’93 and ATI was in ’85. And I was born in between. First videochip I had was from S3.

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