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DeltaChrome S4 Pro: Market Positioning

The original S3 DeltaChrome S8 and S8 Nitro brought pretty positive impression about the chips, but did not prove to be the best performers among mainstream GPUs in today’s games. As a consequence, we could only recommend the products to those, who were looking forward the unique peculiarities the S3 Graphics’ DeltaChrome can deliver. With that said there are probably going to be a lot of questions about the DeltaChrome S4 Pro market positioning.

We decided to ask S3 Graphics itself about the positioning of its new product for the entry-level market and enquired the company’s John David.

X-bit labs: What are the primary target markets for S3 Delta Chrome S4?

S3 Graphics: The DeltaChromeS4 Pro will represent one of the highest specification boards in its price range so its appeal should be relatively broad, but there are some market segments which will have special appreciation of the S4 Pro – owners of HDTV will be able to enjoy the native HDTV component video output , users creating media centric home PC will benefit from the Chromotion programmable video.

S3 Graphics has a large installed based of graphics cores in the corporate sector which have enjoyed high reliability and stable drivers – we will also target these users with the DeltaChrome S4 Pro.

To top all this , the S4 Pro will represent the best value for someone seeking hardware support for DirectX 9 vertex shaders and pixel shaders – so it also targets entry-level 3D gamers.

X-bit labs: Which graphics solutions do you consider as competitors for the DeltaChrome S4 Pro?

S3 Graphics: Currently we have been positioned against the GeForce 5200 Ultra and the RADEON 9600 SE, based relatively on price point and performance.

X-bit labs: Do you have any add-in-board partners to make the DeltaChrome S4 Pro products?

S3 Graphics: We are currently working with a number of AIB customers for DeltaChrome S4 (including customers like Club 3D and IO Data, who are already shipping the DeltaChrome S8). There are a number of new customers who are evaluating DeltaChrome for North America but we cannot disclose their name at this time.

X-bit labs: Can we find the DeltaChrome S4 Pro in different consoles/set-top-boxes and similar devices eventually?

S3 Graphics: S3 Graphics is currently talking with a number of manufacturers' on the use of DeltaChrome family in the game console and other similar devices.

X-bit labs: Will you offer the DeltaChrome S4 Pro for mobile PCs?

S3 Graphics: We are also in discussion with a number of OEMs about the DeltaChrome family of mobile GPUs. As you know, the design cycle for mobile products have a longer lead time than desktop products. Hopefully you willl be hearing more information soon.

X-bit labs: Since the DeltaChrome S4 Pro a cut-down version of your DeltaChrome S8 architecture that will shortly be replaced with more advanced GammaChrome architecture, should we treat the S4 as a base for next-generation of chipsets with integrated graphics core?

S3 Graphics: While there was a brief mention of S3/VIA’s next-generation DirectX 9 IGP at VIA Technology Forum this year, specific details have are yet to be disclosed.

To sum up, the DeltaChrome is a product for SOHO computers that should deliver crisp image quality, video playback and some 3D capabilities. Given that entry-level graphics cards face fierce competition from chipsets with integrated graphics cores, primarily Intel’s i915G and i965G, S3 should offer pretty competitive pricing in order to attract attention to the DeltaChrome S4 Pro, especially keeping in mind that i915G delivers performance comparable to the RADEON 9600 SE.

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