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S3 Graphics and VIA Technologies have done a great job in Las Vegas at Consumer Electronics Show by paper-launching their highly anticipated DeltaChrome visual processing unit. The new VPU will be available for mobile and desktop applications during the 2003 back-to-school/holiday cycle, EBN reported. Just like promised a lot of time ago, the DeltaChrome sports DirectX 9.0 functionality, lot of multimedia capabilities and so on. It would be a nice graphics processor for the fist and the second quarters of this year, but, as I understand now, it will be launched in the second half only, hence, VIA will be too late for the desktops and will face competition even on the mobile front.

Unfortunately, S3 Graphics currently does not declare any core-clock speeds of its new product since they probably do not have an idea in regards the final speed of the novelty. Thankfully, they unveiled the technical specifications on the DeltaChrome and I can share them with you.

  • Produced using 0.13 micron technology at TSMC;
  • 8 rendering pipelines with one TMU per each;
  • Advanced Pixel and Vertex Shaders. Features the DeltaChrome can provide are beyond the RADEON 9700 and DirectX 9.0 specifications, according to the press-release.
  • DirectX 9.0 and OpenGL 1.4 support;
  • Memory bandwidth saving technologies;
  • Multisample antialiasing for OpenGL and Direct3D;
  • Fonts antialiasing (!);
  • Multi-display capabilities;
  • 400MHz RAMDAC integrated;
  • Integrated TV-Out controller, TMDS transmitter and so on;
  • 480p / 720p / 1080i / 1080p HDTV resolutions via component (YPbPr) output, 480i standard TV output via S-video and composite output;
  • Programmable video engine;
  • AGP 8x;
Of course, about half a year before actual launch, there is not a lot of sense to talk about actual graphics cards, pricing, AIB partners and other specific things.

Will S3 Graphics/VIA Technologies become the third largest influential developer of graphics processor in the world and compete with ATI and NVIDIA? I do not think so seeing their style of work. They unveiled their Savage XP aka AlphaChrome in Summer 2002, but it has never been released. Now they paper-launched another GPU about six months before they will be able to start supplying it to their partners in mass quantities. Furthermore, S3 Graphics was absent from this market for almost three years now, so, they will face challenges not only with hardware, but also with software and drivers. Finally, when they start to sell the DeltaChrome, ATI is likely to release R400 and RV350 graphics chips, while NVIDIA plans to unveil NV35 and NV34 in the second half.

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