You may have read our recent preview of the new graphics processor from S3 called GammaChrome (see our article called S3 GammaChromeS18 Graphics Processor Preview). Today we’re going to examine this chip and the graphics card based on it in more detail.
The documentation we received from S3 Graphics says there will be two versions of the product – GammaChrome S18 Pro and GammaChrome S18 CE – differing in the clock rates and the amount of graphics memory on board. The senior, S18 Pro model is expected to carry 256MB of memory and work at 400/300 (600DDR) MHz frequencies; the junior, S18 CE model comes with 128MB of memory and works at 300/300 (600DDR) MHz. The GammaChrome S18 Ultra version that we have previously mentioned on our site is missing in this list.
We received an engineering sample of the GammaChrome S18 Pro for our tests. Packed in an antistatic bag, the card was only accompanied with two discs with drivers from S3. The device didn’t even have the mounting bracket you fasten a graphics card in your system case with, but it did have two paper tags, one tag showing the frequencies of the sample as 350/350MHz. The tag proved to be wrong eventually as the real frequencies of the GPU and memory were 400MHz and 350 (700DDR) MHz, respectively.
The official documentation from S3 Graphics claims the final version of the GammaChrome S18 Pro is going to be clocked at 400/300 (600DDR) MHz, so the GPU of our sample worked exactly at the declared frequency, while the memory was clocked slightly higher than specified.
Now let’s have a closer view of the card.