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Once a top graphics company, S3 Graphics is working hard to crank up its positions on the market of discrete graphics processors. At Computex Taipei 2004 show the company revealed its new graphics chip targeting users who do not buy kicking performance for large sums, but prefer to have an affordable, but feature-rich solution.

DeltaChrome S4 Nitro – a Low-End Fighter for S3

The new DeltaChrome S4 Nitro graphics processor to be available in weeks timeframe is a cut-down version of the company’s DeltaChrome S8 Nitro chip that is designed to fulfill the needs of mainstream users. The lower-cost S4 product features 4 rendering pipelines, two times less compared to the S8 graphics chip, but still delivers advanced pixel and vertex shaders beyond DirectX 9.0 specs, certain memory bandwidth saving technologies, multi-display capabilities, 400MHz RAMDAC, integrated TV-Out controller, TMDS transmitter and so on, support for 480p / 720p / 1080i / 1080p HDTV resolutions via component (YPbPr) output, 480i standard TV output via S-video and composite output, programmable video engine and AGP 8x support.

A number of graphics card vendors, including Club 3D from the Netherlands as well as some leading companies from Japan, said they would jump on the S3 DeltaChrome S4 Nitro bandwagon.

Top-to-Bottom Lineup – the Corner-Stone of Success?

With the latest announcements included, S3 Graphics and another company trying to win a part of the market from such graphics giants like Intel, NVIDIA Corp. and ATI Technologies – XGI Technology – supply graphics processors for mainstream and entry-level markets. While both companies are likely to grab market shares from the bigger rivals in certain segments, for massive expansion both cruelly require a strong lineup of graphics processors that can deliver performance and pricing that is on par with the leaders.

While the history of personal computers knows examples when clearly positioned product was able to bring hefty revenues for its developer, the most-recent cases point out that the market now loves families of products targeting different price-points. As a result, it may be crucial for graphics companies to release an array of graphics processors at once. Even though this requires more funds, the outcome for the developer may be far more positive.

GammaChrome – The Next Big Thing for S3 Graphics?

For S3 Graphics the DeltaChrome is not something the company pins a lot of hopes on. Later this year the firm is expected to unleash the GammaChrome lineup of visual processing units that will be more powerful compared to the DeltaChrome and will be intended for PCI Express platforms. S3 Graphics’ GammaChrome-based products are expected to be available Q3 2004 in retail add-in-card as well as OEM desktop/notebook personal computers. S3 decided to refrain from sharing any of the GammaChrome features and specifications besides saying that the chip will feature even more advanced video capabilities than the predecessor.

Just like NVIDIA and ATI S3 Graphics is currently developing a special improved compiler for shaders to incorporate it into its drivers. The new compiler will bring a performance advantage to the DeltaChrome chips, but its main target is the GammaChrome architecture. It is possible to expect that GammaChrome will take a very substantial advantage of the compiler in addition to generally revamped architecture.


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