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S3 Graphics, a fully owned subsidiary of Via Technologies, has started to sell its latest graphics cards in the U.S. The new S3 Chrome 430 GT graphics adapters cannot fight offerings of ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, or Nvidia in the mainstream market segment, hence, S3 concentrates exactly on entry-level market. But will it be successful?

The USA-based S3GStore started to sell own-branded S3 Graphics Chrome 430 GT graphics cards with 256MB of GDDR2 memory for the price of just $59. S3 claims that the new Chrome 4-series graphics chips support DirectX 10.1 feature-set in addition to decoding of high-definition video content encoded using H.264, MPEG2-HD, VC-1 or WMV-HD codecs. The company did not disclose whether the Chrome 4-series also support hardware post-processing of high-definition video.

The developer of the new graphics chips claims that Chrome 4-series can boast with relative energy efficiency thanks for design peculiarities as well as Fujitsu's 65nm fabrication process.

The new S3 Graphics Chrome 430/440 chips support DirectX 10.1, OpenGL 2.1 capabilities and feature Chromotion HD 2.0 video engine. The new family of graphics processors sports unified shader architecture, but it is unknown how many shader processors the Chrome 4-series chips have. The novelty has 64-bit memory controller, which means that it will hardly have decent performance in 3D video games. S3 Graphics' new Chrome 4 chips are compatible with PCI Express 2.0 bus and supports various display interfaces, including HDMI, dual-link DVI, DisplayPort, HDTV, and D-sub. The graphics card for $59 only sports dual-link DVI and D-Sub connectors.

S3 graphics claims that its Chrome 430 GT graphics solutions deliver "20% higher performance" in 3D video games compared to rivals in the same price-class, ATI Radeon HD 3450 and Nvidia GeForce 8400 GS, which are hardly intended for gaming.

Even despite of truly low performance, the offering by S3 Graphics could fight for a considerably larger share of the market if it was sold by several makers of graphics cards as well as retailers. Unfortunately, S3 only sells Chrome 430 GT graphics cards with 256MB of GDDR2 memory itself and only via its online store. Nevetheless, the company seems to be relatively optimistic regarding its new product due to its low price.

"S3 Graphics has once again delivered an outstanding product, leveraging our graphics, video, and power savings core competencies. The feature-rich Chrome 430 GT challenges the current discrete graphics landscape, bringing new functionalities previously seen only on high end desktops, bringing new meaning to the terms 'affordable gaming' and 'home entertainment',"said Dr. Ken Weng, general manager for S3 Graphics.


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