When we use pixel shaders version 1.4 the situation improves a little bit: 8 rendering pipelines allow DeltaChrome to retain the parity with GeForce FX 5700 Ultra despite the pretty low working frequencies.
The situation with pixel shaders version 2.0 looks much worse, I should say. Only in the lowest resolution DeltaChrome appears a little bit faster than GeForce FX 5600 Ultra. I have to admit that pixel shaders processing is not among the trumps of the new S3 DeltaChrome chip. However, NVIDIA receives help from ForceWare compiler, while S3 VPU has to rely only on itself. Maybe S3 Graphics software developers will follow in NVIDIA’s footsteps and create a compiler similar to the one integrated into ForceWare, which will improve the performance of DeltaChrome during shaders processing. In fact, there is a lot of room for experimenting as the new solution we are reviewing today boasts much more advanced features list than the DirectX 9 specifications.
In fact, the results obtained in theoretical benchmarks are far from being optimistic. Now let’s test our solution in ShaderMark 2.0. Just like in case of NVIDIA graphics adapters, this test package refused to recognize full compatibility of S3 DeltaChrome VPU with DirectX 9:
In fact, the reason seems to be just the same: the current S3 driver doesn’t support floating point textures and render targets under DirectX 9. It must be corrected in the upcoming driver versions. Nevertheless, let’s have a look at the performance of our today’s hero during pixel shaders processing:
DeltaChrome demonstrated pretty low results here, however, it outperformed GeForce FX 5600 Ultra almost everywhere except Per Pixel Wood shader, where it suffered a complete fiasco having performed unacceptably slow for a contemporary mainstream VPU. I should admit that the newcomer coped pretty well with per-pixel diffuse lighting: it even defeated the solution from NVIDIA here. Nevertheless, there are not that many reasons for optimism: a product tending to become an up-to-date graphics solution for next generation games will never elbow its way through with shader performance like that. It could be flexible but very complex DeltaChrome architecture that caused this devastating result, as well as low working frequencies. The availability of 8 pipelines can somehow make up for the latter, while the efficiency of shader code processing is something the company still has to work hard on.
Anyway, the chip as is looks not that bad against the background of NV31/36.