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GammaChrome Graphics Processor: Closer Look

PCI Express Interface

GammaChrome products employ a native PCI Express support which is fully compliant with the PCI Express 1.0A specification and can use 16, 8 and 1 lane interface configurations. The appropriate mode will be enabled automatically when the GammaChrome S18 based graphics accelerator is installed into any suitable PCI Express slot. In addition, the chip also supports a few power saving technologies, and features the ability to use a part of the system memory as a frame buffer, which has already become a common thing for most inexpensive graphics solutions. This certainly makes it a very economical and price-attractive choice.

I would like to stress that the PCI Express graphics interface of the S3G GammaChrome is implemented in such a way that the mobile versions of this graphics chip will be able to scale the number of lanes on the fly depending on the workload at the given moment, so that it will reduce the overall power consumption of the graphics subsystem. It is really important because only the PCI Express x16 bus already eats up to 2.5W of power. Although this feature is a typical characteristic of the standard, S3 Graphics claims that they have unique implementations of power management from their extensive history working with top OEM notebook customers.

Right now S3G is focusing on the proprietary implementation of their mobile PCI Express interface. However, it will undoubtedly require their partners to give up standardized MXM and AXIOM connectors since these types of sophisticated ‘built-in’ solutions are generally for ‘thin-and-light’ notebooks. Nevertheless, the company claims that there is a number of companies which expressed vital interest in this implementation. Moreover, the S3 Graphics representatives claim that they are already testing the MXM engineering samples of their GammaChromeXM18 solution.

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