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VIA Technologies’ subsidiary S3 Graphics is demonstrating in San Jose a working graphics card powered by the DeltaChrome VPU announced early this year. The first showcase of the new graphics chip is taking place at Intel’s Developer Forum where a lot of Intel’s partners exhibition their new devices.

Since the DeltaChrome series of VPUs was announced months ago and there were no reminders about the existence of the graphics processors, let me remind you their brief specifications:

  • Produced using 0.13 micron technology at TSMC;
  • 8 rendering pipelines with one TMU per each;
  • Advanced Pixel and Vertex Shaders. Features the DeltaChrome can provide are beyond the RADEON 9700 and DirectX 9.0 specifications, according to the company’s initial claim.
  • DirectX 9.0 and OpenGL 1.4 support;
  • Memory bandwidth saving technologies;
  • Multisample antialiasing for OpenGL and Direct3D;
  • Fonts antialiasing;
  • Multi-display capabilities;
  • 400MHz RAMDAC integrated;
  • Integrated TV-Out controller, TMDS transmitter and so on;
  • 480p / 720p / 1080i / 1080p HDTV resolutions via component (YPbPr) output, 480i standard TV output via S-video and composite output;
  • Programmable video engine;
  • AGP 8x.

There are rumours that the DeltaChrome chip runs at 300 – 400MHz, not too high frequencies, but definitely not low as well.

TT-Hardware web-site was the first to publish a picture of S3 DeltaChrome powered graphics card. Based on this picture we can point out that the chip does not require a serious cooling solution that will probably be a benefit for DeltaChrome’s mobile versions, besides, the graphics card itself has very few components onboard and promises not to be expensive at all. Furthermore, a little bit outdated TSOP memory makes me assume that the graphics card is not designed for the high-end applications.

Considering all the advantages of S3 DeltaChrome we can conclude that this VPU is not bad, at least! However, if it was good enough, there would be some talks about its performance and design-wins. Since there is no information about graphics card makers interested in DeltaChrome and also no clue about performance of the part, I assume that the DeltaChrome in its current state is either too slow for desktops, or simply not ready to against the champions due to some reasons. On the other hand, the new VPU from S3 may be an excellent DirectX 9.0-supporting solution for mobile computers.


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