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S3 Graphics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Via Technologies, plans to demonstrate a dual-chip graphics card at Digital Signage Expo 2010 later this month. The graphics card will carry two S3 Chrome 5400E graphics processing units (GPUs) and will be aimed at advanced multi-display applications, where it will challenge ATI Eyefinity technology with support of eight displays.

S3 Graphics Chrome 5400E X2 graphics card, which is designed for various multi-display digital signage applications is able to output up to four full-HD (1080p, 1920x1080, progressive scan) video streams to up to eight monitors thanks to PanoChrome technology. The graphics card comes with built-in Genlock support for synchronized source timing.

The Chrome 5400E X2 graphics card will hardly be able to compete with available high-end graphics boards based on ATI or Nvidia GPUs in terms of performance, however, its relatively low power consumption may allow the novelty to compete against ATI Eyefinity technology on the digital signage and embedded markets since ATI Radeon HD 5800 graphics processor supports “only” six monitors and is pretty power hungry. Needless to say that at present the market of advanced high-definition digital signage products is very limited, even though it will grow rapidly in the coming years.

The Chrome 5400E is one of the latest embedded graphics chips from S3 Graphics. The GPU supports DirectX 10.1/OpenGL 3.0 functionality and features built-in audio core with 7.1 output support via HDMI. The chip also features dual high-definition video decoders that support hardware acceleration of H.264 (MPEG4 AVC), MPEG2 HD and VC-1 formats as well as high-def video post-processing capabilities. Besides, the Chrome 5-series graphics processing units feature PowerWise technology for reduction of power consumption.

Samples of the S3 Graphics Chrome 5400E x2 will initially be available to ODM customers in the U.S. from Q2 2010.

“Via is delighted to work with S3 Graphics to bring unique digital signage embedded products to market, highlighting our prowess in delivering the very best in power-efficient, Hi-Def digital display technologies," said Daniel Wu, vice president of Via embedded platform division.

At the Digital Signage Expo 2010 Via Technologies will also be demonstrating its growing range of board and system-level digital signage products. These including the Via VB8003 board, the first mini-ITX board to feature a dedicated graphics processor and support for both dual HDMI, DVI and VGA ports. pico-ITX and em-ITX form factor boards that leverage the latest Via Nano processor platform and Via media system processor technologies will be displayed, facilitating versatile, high-performance 64-bit devices with superb hardware acceleration of the latest HD video formats, the company said.

Systems on display will include the durable Via VIPRO panel series, combining a comprehensive range of features in a high-quality, industrial-grade LCD panel, and the Via vmpc, a fanless, ultra-thin system featuring an industry-first thru-chassis VESA mounting design that can turn any standard display into a digital signage device in moments.

Tags: S3, S3 Graphics, Chrome, eyefinity, ATI, PanoChrome

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