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S3 Graphics Wednesday formally lifted wraps of its new breed of graphics processing units branded Chrome20-series. The new chips are aimed at mainstream computers and are produced using leading-edge 90nm process technology, which is likely to allow S3 Graphics to offer relatively high performance in games, while still providing low power consumption.

New Family Brings Some New Features In

S3 Graphics’ Chrome20 graphics processors are designed for PCI Express bus and sport a bit revamped architecture compared to the GammaChrome family unveiled earlier this year. In particular, the new Chrome20-series will feature a new video engine – Chromotion 3.0, a multi-GPU technology called Multi-G as well as improved antialiasing patterns, according to information posted earlier by unofficial sources. The Chrome20 family of chips does not have any feature-set improvements compared to predecessors and sport a set of DirectX 9.0+ capabilities found in GammaChrome and DeltaChrome.

General specifications of the Chrome20 family were also unknown at press time, but, according to unofficial claims, the top-of-the-range S27 processor would sport 8 pixel processors and, probably, no less than 4 vertex processors. The chip will support DDR, GDDR2 and GDDR3 types of memory with 128-bit interface width.

90nm Process Tech Set to Ensure Smooth Frame-Rate

The Chrome20 family of graphics chips is produced using 90nm process technology at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp.’s (TSMC) facilities. According to S3 Graphics, this allowed, at least the top flavour of the chips, to achieve “highest core clock of any GPU to date”, which is assumed to be over 650MHz or even higher than 700MHz, according to some sources. Possibly due to the fact that exact specifications of the Chrome20 product lineup are not set, S3 has not provided any real-world performance estimations about its new products, save for saying that the frame-rate in 3D games would be smooth.

“Users should demand that all available games run in full resolution at smooth frame rates at their standard settings – Chrome20 Series will fulfill that requirement,” a statement by S3 Graphics describes performance of the new product family.

Multimedia Orientation

Given that in the recent years it has been almost impossible for smaller graphics designers to compete against ATI Technologies’ or NVIDIA Corp.’s high-end products in terms of performance in 3D games, S3 Graphics concentrated on providing enhanced media playback, low power consumption as well as high-definition quality of video when it designed the Chrome20-series. Generally speaking, the Chrome20 is developed with multimedia-oriented computers in mind.

Availability Dates Set, Pricing Unknown

Public availability of the Chrome20 products would be before Holiday Season 2005, S3 Graphics indicated. Earlier this year the company began to supply S3-based graphics cards to the U.S. under its own brand-name.

It was projected earlier that the Chrome20 family of visual processing units will include three members: S23, S25 and S27 designed for entry-level, mainstream and performance-mainstream markets respectively. S3 Graphics has not confirmed such information and also has not determined pricing for its Chrome20 products.

Separate flavours of Chrome20-series for mobile computers are planned to be launched late this year and early next year, according to information obtained from third-parties.


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