Now let’s pass over to DVD playback.
During the playback of the licensed Dune movie with the optimized WinDVD 5 player version the CPU utilization never exceeded 7%. All Chromotion video effects also worked fine. When we played the same disc in Windows Media Player the CPU utilization varied from 11% to 12%. So the conclusion here is very simple I suppose: Chromotion engine does ensure some advantages during DVD playback, although it is not that critical for contemporary CPUs.
As for DivX, the CPU utilization lied between 5 and 11% when we played a file with 512x384 resolution in both: BSPlayer and WinDVD 5. All Chromotion effects worked just fine, without any problems.
So, Chromotion technology from S3 Graphics really does work, but it should be supported not only by S3 Graphics Company, but also by the video player developers. So far there is only one video player, which can take advantage of the Chromotion features: InterVideo WinDVD 5 with the special S3 Graphics drivers. Also note that the use of special effects is not absolutely free: you have to sacrifice some of the system CPU resources for that.
DeltaChrome: Beyond DirectX 9
While there are still not a lot of pure DirectX 9 games on the market, companies like NVIDIA and S3 Graphics added a number of additional capabilities exceeding DirectX 9 specifications into their latest generation of graphics processors. This was done not just in order to prolong the lifespan of the GeForce FX or DeltaChrome graphics processors, but to implement a number of specific features not directly related to PC gaming.
For instance, GeForce FX and Quadro FX graphics processors are very good in professional OpenGL applications and allow executing multitude features not found on the RADEON VPUs that are 100% compatible with DX9, not more, not less. This should help NVIDIA to address certain markets where real-time graphics was not historically available or simply make the work of graphics applications and GPUs more efficient by encouraging software makers to take advantage of the GeForce FX innovations.
S3 Graphics had a bit different reasons to add “DirectX 9+” capabilities into its DeltaChrome graphics architecture. Primarily, the list of extra features found in the DeltaChrome includes, but is not limited to: programmable render target blending (we expect to see this one in DX10); proprietary instructions for IDCT, adaptive filtering, deblocking, de-interlacing; programmable video shader; programmable depths shader; programmable table filtering and so on (you may check our initial DeltaChrome S8 Review for more details about feature-set of the chip). Basically speaking, S3 Graphics internally uses some of the additional architectural enhancements for a number of special features like Chromotion. Moreover, the DirectX 9 capabilities along wit extra features of the DeltaChrome are key components for the recently announced PGC (Personal Gaming Console), which means that game developers may eventually start using them, in case they develop games for the PGC at all.
With rich set of features and low power consumption, the DeltaChrome architecture could be a viable choice laptops, PDAs, mobile phones, STBs and others. Even though S3 believes that the DeltaChrome is great for laptops, at present S3 Graphics is seriously concentrated on promoting the architecture as the base for VIA’s Personal Gaming Console.