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S3 Graphics, a fully owned subsidiary of Via Technologies that develops and sells discrete graphics processing units (GPUs), unveiled its new Chrome 400-series graphics chip that supports DirectX 10.1 as well as some other new features unavailable previously. Unfortunately, the new chip will hardly be a choice of enthusiasts or gamers, as it is aimed primarily at entry-level as well as multimedia markets.

The new S3 Graphics Chrome 430/440 chips support DirectX 10.1, OpenGL 2.1 capabilities and features Chromotion HD 2.0 video engine that can decode MPEG 2, H.264 and VC-1 hardware decoding. The new family of graphics processors sports unified shader architecture, but it is unknown how many shader processors the Chrome 400 chips have. The novelty has 64-bit memory controller, which means that it will hardly have decent performance in 3D video games. S3’s new chips are compatible with PCI Express 2.0 bus and supports various display interfaces, including HDMI, dual-link DVI, DisplayPort, HDTV, and D-sub.

S3 stresses that its new product is mainly aimed at low-power multimedia systems, but not high-performance machines for gaming.

“S3 Graphics has developed a product that will deliver incredible, high quality 1080p HD playback for home media centers, desktop PCs and ultra-thin and light notebook PCs without creating the unwanted noise and heat often associated with high performance components. The feature-rich capabilities in the Chrome 400-series will provide the end-user with a broad spectrum of new visual capabilities in a leading performance-per-watt product,” said Dr. Ken Weng, general manager of S3 Graphics.

The Chrome 430 and 440 processors will be produced using 65nm process technology at Fujitsu. The first GPUs of the S3 Graphics Chrome 400-series will be available in late February 2008, the company said. It is unclear when new S3 Graphics cards are set to become available.

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