The situation remained almost unchanged up to January 7, 2003: on that remarkable day S3 Graphics announced a new DeltaChrome graphics core supporting Microsoft DirectX 9 API. Then on March 13, 2003 the company announced DeltaChrome one more time. Now they were talking about the entire chip family targeted for the desktop 3D graphics market. The top solution in this family was DeltaChrome F1 with the following specifications:
- 8 rendering pipelines with 1 TMU on each;
- Up to 256MB of DDR SDRAM graphics memory;
- Memory bus bandwidth saving technologies;
- Supports extensive pixel shaders 2.0+;
- Supports extensive vertex shaders 2.0+;
- Multi-display configurations support;
- 400MHz RAMDAC;
- Built-in TV-Out controller;
- Built-in TMDS transmitter;
- Component video-in support (YPbPr, 480p/720p/1080i/1080p modes);
- Chromotion video engine;
- AGP 8x.
As you see, the chip looks like a pretty serious solution, at least on the paper.
The next model, DeltaChrome S8, differs from F1 only by the size of the supported graphics memory (up to 128MB). DeltaChrome S4 features only 4 rendering pipelines and is the last model in the new product family.
This serious announcement gave everybody to understand that the company was planning to return to the positions they almost lost a year ago. Unfortunately, it turned out a paper announcement and the cards based on DeltaChrome chip didn’t hurry to turn up on the store shelves. The first DeltaChrome previews started appearing on the web in September, claiming that the new graphics cards on S3 chips will start selling in commercial quantities in October 2003. However, the mass shipments of DeltaChrome based solutions began neither in October, nor in November. Moreover, the first contract for DeltaChrome chips supplies has been made public only on December 17, 2003. The first partner of S3 Graphics in Europe appeared the Club 3D Company, which you should have already read about on our site (see our article called Club3D RADEON 9800 PRO: European Finest Graphics Card?). The first graphics card from this manufacturer using S3 Graphics technologies will be based on the top DeltaChrome chip – F1. It is quite possible that they will later introduce a few more solutions based on other S3 chips: DeltaChrome S8 and S4.
A short comment: we have just found out that some sources claim DeltaChrome F1 based graphics cards may never ever see the world. The thing is that this graphics solution family was initially positioned for the lower High-End market. Unfortunately, 128bit memory bus will hardly be able to help the solution conquer this market segment occupied by such successful products as ATI RADEON 9800 and NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900.
S3 graphics chip family now has one more member aka S8 Nitro. It will differ from its younger brother by higher working frequencies of the core and memory.
Will S3 be able to return to the desktop graphics market successfully? In fact, this is an extremely hard task nowadays, because the discrete graphics solutions market has been fully dominated by ATI Technologies and NVIDIA Corporation, which are very unlikely to give way to a new player here. Everything actually depends on the ability of S3 Graphics to provide its new processors with quality support and on the ability of its start-up partners to provide the graphics card makers with sufficient amounts of chips. Anyway, S3 Graphics will have to work really hard to win back the user’s hearts.
Our today’s review is devoted to S3 DeltaChrome S8 graphics solution. We hope that it will help you to find answers to most questions that trouble you today.