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Testbed and Methods

Well, it’s high time we finally checked out the potential of our today’s hero in contemporary applications. Let’s find out what the new S3 DeltaChrome S4 Pro is worth in real conditions. As usual, we will see it competing with a few rivals:

  • ATI RADEON 9600
  • ATI RADEON 9200
  • NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700
  • NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600

For a better comparison we also included graphics cards based on S3 DeltaChrome S8 and S3 DeltaChrome S8 Nitro. All the tests were run on the following test platform:

  • AMD Athlon 64 3400+ CPU (2.20GHz, 1MB L1 cache);
  • ASUS K8V Deluxe mainboard;
  • OCZ PC-3200 Platinum EB DDR SDRAM (2x512MB, CL2.5-3-2-8);
  • Seagate 7200.7 HDD (SerialATA-150, 8MB buffer);
  • Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2;
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2, DirectX 9.0c;

As for the games we will use to test the performance of our today’s participants, we selected those applications which support API DirectX 9 and use its features to the full extent. Moreover, we also added a few popular OpenGL compatible applications, the latest versions of two next-generation games, and Aquamark3 and 3DMark03 test packages. Here is a complete list of software and applications we are going to use today:

First Person 3D Shooters:

  • Call of Duty
  • RTCW
  • Unreal Tournament 2004
  • Halo
  • Painkiller
  • FarCry
  • Highly Anticipated DX9 Game 1
  • Highly Anticipated DX9 Game 2

Third Person 3D Shooters:

  • Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 2
  • Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
  • Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne

Simulators:

  • IL-2 Sturmovik: Aces in the Sky
  • Colin McRae Rally 04

3D Real-Time Strategy Games:

  • C&C Generals: Zero Hour

Semi-Synthetic Benchmarks:

  • Final Fantasy XI Official Benchmark 2
  • Aquamark3

Synthetic Benchmarks:

  • Futuremark 3DMark03 build 340

Since most contemporary games are very demanding and S3 DeltaChrome S4 is a Value solution we gave up the tests in 1600x1200 resolution, because it is hardly possible to play in this resolution with a Value graphics adapter installed in your system. Especially, since we are talking about comfortable and pleasant gaming experience.

“EyeCandy” mode has been also excluded from the tests, because the new S3 drivers still do not support multisampling and the only available FSAA mode for DeltaChrome remains the 2x super-sampling, which is extremely resource hungry. And it would definitely be incorrect to compare it with the 4x multi-sampling supported by the other manufactures’ solutions.

 
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