S3 Graphics previous attempts to re-enter the desktop market have not been as successful as they had hoped. While S3 Graphics Company – a subsidiary of VIA Technologies – has developed quite a number of graphics processing units (GPUs), mass market card suppliers in Europe and the U.S. did not adopt S3 Graphics processors and most users did not get a chance to even buy them. Nevertheless, the company has had some success in China and other Asian countries due to pretty competitive price to performance ratio.
Another set of reasons why S3 Graphics was not successful in the well-developed markets included facts of early designs problems with drivers and board compatibility. Moreover, some of the samples we received had issues such as hang ups. Another limitation we noted was S3 chips only supported super-sampling, even though high quality it consumes a lot more resources than the common multi-sampling.
S3 Graphics doesn’t want to give up, though, and is trying to get a slice of the graphics hardware market for itself. Our today’s review is about the new graphics processor called Chrome S27 and the graphics card that uses it. The new solution from S3 is supposed to challenge mass-user-oriented products from ATI Technologies and NVIDIA like RADEON X700/X1300 PRO and GeForce 6600 DDR2, respectively. The new GPU is the senior model in the new S3 Chrome S20 series which includes Chrome S25 and Chrome S27 processors that will be coming on three graphics card models differing in the type and amount of memory as well as in the clock rates. We’ll talk about the senior S3 Chrome S27 card.
The graphics architecture of the new GPU from S3 seems to be an improved Delta/GammaChrome capable of working at a very high frequency and supporting high-speed GDDR3 memory (for details see our article called S3 GammaChromeS18 Graphics Processor Preview ).
Using Fujitsu’s new 0.09-micron tech process, S3 Graphics managed to push the core frequency up to an unprecedented 700MHz! This sets a new record for desktop graphics hardware as the previous frequency leader, ATI’s RADEON X1800 XT, clocks the GPU at 625MHz.