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S3 Graphics, a former No.1 graphics company in the world and a subsidiary of VIA Technologies, is preparing to launch its PCI Express graphics chips in the fourth quarter of the year, according to the company’s Chief Financial Officer.

“Graphics cards using the GammaChrome 3D graphics accelerator from S3 Graphics will be available in stores in the fourth quarter,” Gerry Liu, CFO and vice president of marketing at S3 Graphics, is reported to have said by DigiTimes web-site.

S3 reportedly plans to present three products with PCI Express x16 connectivity in Q4 2004, however, only one of them is expected to enter mass production during the forthcoming quarter. This product is expected to offer performance similar to ATI’s RADEON X600 PRO, according to the company’s estimates, which is inline with S3’s current high-end DeltaChrome S8 Nitro product.

“The GammaChrome will feature a built-in high-speed interconnect (HSI) bridge chip for PCIe connectivity,” Mr. Liu is reported to have said.

It is unclear whether the company’s initial graphics processing units for PCI Express bus will sport so-called native connectivity, or will use an AGP-to-PCI Express bridge, but built into the chip. The source refers to new PCI Express x16 chips as GammaChrome and with an HSI bridge, however, earlier this year S3 Graphics said GammaChrome was going to be a new PCI Express x16 native architecture. Furthermore, HSI abbreviate is used by NVIDIA Corp., who supplies some of its AGP 8x graphics processors with a special bridge called HSI to allow PCI Express x16 connectivity.

Officials for S3 Graphics did not comment to the story for X-bit labs.

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