Q3 2004: Nalu and Ruby Step One Floor Down
As usual, some time after the release of the top-end representatives of the new graphics architectures, ATI and NVIDIA roll out their more affordable solutions with functionality similar to the top-end models. It was the same this round: both companies introduced their new mainstream chips in the third quarter. They were GeForce 6600 and RADEON X700. But a little bit earlier…
S3 is Plowing up the Low-End Market
Unsuccessful in the top-end graphics market, S3 Graphics announced its low-end DeltaChrome-based product, the DeltaChrome S4 Pro, on the 14-th of July. For more details about these products read our review called The DeltaChrome S4 Pro: S3 Graphics' Entry-Level Offspring.
Unlike XGI, S3 Graphics didn’t foster any puffed-up ambitions, but targeted its produce at a specific category of users. The DeltaChrome series is mainly intended for people who want to use their PCs as a multimedia entertainment center with support of the HDTV format. The DeltaChrome S4 Pro suits ideally for this job: it is power-saving, rather fast in 3D, supports version 2.0 pixel and vertex shaders, can output HDTV video and facilitate its decoding and lay special effects in real time using the S3 Chromotion Engine.
Our tests showed that the Chromotion does reduce the CPU load when decoding video streams in MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 formats, but the load during HDTV playback was the same as with other cards – probably due to the lack of software support on the player’s part. The S3 DeltaChrome S4 Pro is overall a worthy product, especially if we compare it to the RADEON 9600 SE and GeForce FX 5200 Ultra chips the manufacturer actually positions it against.