S3 Graphics’ Latest Attempt: This Time for PCI Express Platform
Right now the PC market is moving from AGP bus to PCI Express. Both graphics giants, ATI Technologies and NVIDIA Corporation have already managed to develop a whole bunch of solutions for this bus: starting from the budget ones, such as RADEON X300 and GeForce 6200, and finishing with the high-performance expensive ones, like RADEON X850 XT Platinum and GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI.
Of course, it is evident that S3 Graphics couldn’t stay uninvolved into this process, so on March 9, 2005 the company finally raised the curtain of mystery over their new offspring, The GammaChromeS18 graphics processor, which was initially scheduled to come into this world in Q3 2004. The newcomer inherited major architectural peculiarities of the DeltaChrome solution, but also acquired a number of new unique technologies, which are worth our special attention. We will discuss them in detail later in this preview, and in the meanwhile I would like to introduce the major technical specifications of the new S3G GammaChrome S18:
- Interface: PCI Express x16, x8 or x1;
- Working frequency: up to 500MHz (in the Ultra version);
- 4 pixel pipelines, 4 vertex pipelines;
- Graphics memory: 32-256MB DDR SDRAM;
- Maximum graphics memory frequency: 450MHz (900MHz);
- Memory bus width: 64bit or 128bit;
- Maximum data transfer rate: up to 14.4GB/s (for 128bit bus);
- Four pixel and four vertex processors;
- Up to 16 textures per pass;
- Pixel and vertex shader 2.0+ support;
- Shadow volume acceleration;
- Up to 16x anisotropic filtering;
- Full-screen anti-aliasing up to 4x (supersampling);
- Programmable Chromotion 2.0 engine for video streams processing;
- Multi-display configurations support;
- Hardware acceleration for display rotation (supported angles: 90, 180 and 270 degrees);
- 10-bit RAMDAC with 400MHz frequency (maximum resolution: 2048x1536);
- Supports all HDTV modes (including 1080P);
- Supports power management functions.
As you see, GammaChrome boasts very contemporary features although it belongs to relatively inexpensive mainstream solutions. Its major technical specifications, such as working frequency and number of pipelines correspond to those of ATI RADEON X600 XT. However, unlike the ATI product, the new solution from S3G boasts a number of additional attractive features.