Unique DeltaChrome Features: HDTV, DVD, MPEG4 Playback
Another very important capability the DeltaChrome graphics processors can boast is S3’s unique Chromotion engine for digital video playback. The technology allows to reduce CPU workload when playing video in different formats, including HDTV. With rising popularity of this standard the vast majority of graphics processors are likely to feature the same capability as well.
As we usually do with new GPUs, we tested S3’s latest graphics chip – the DeltaChrome S4 Pro – in Windows Media Player 9 by playing HDTV, MPEG-4/DivX и MPEG-2/DVD files. In order to test the Chromotion engine we used a specially optimized version of InterVideo’s WinDVD 5.
The file we tested was the usual one we use: the Magic of Flight downloaded from Microsoft’s web-site, it comes in 1920x1080 resolution and 8Mb bit-rate. All graphics cards demonstrated pretty equal CPU workload, which is not a news, as the lion’s share of resources is wasted to decode the HDTV stream using central processing units, while graphics cards only display the final result.
MPEG-4 playback revealed that there is massive advantage can be delivered by S3’s Chromotion engine. CPU load when using special version of WinDVD falls to 15%, which is an impressive result. It is interesting to note that S3 DeltaChrome S8 Nitro reduces CPU workload to an even lower point.
As expected, DVD playback test did not cause any issues. All graphics cards demonstrated equally low CPU load, but the Chromotion engine allowed to reduce it to tiny 7%-8% for S3-based graphics cards.
To sum up, S3 DeltaChrome S4 Pro perfectly plays video in different formats and demonstrates CPU load in line with competing offerings from ATI and NVIDIA. But the DeltaChrome chips have an important trump: Chromotion engine that reduces load on microprocessors to minimal levels once enabled.