IntroductionS3 Graphics ChromeS20 overview
A couple of months ago we were given the opportunity of taking a look at a family of midrange desktop and notebook GPUs. There's nothing surprising in that, as GPU designers often launch parts on a short-term cycle. What was surprising, however, was that they weren't from NVIDIA or ATI; the two industry heavyweights who, for a few years now, have dominated the sales of discrete graphics cards and performance-oriented notebook GPUs. Rather, it was S3 Graphics who detailed the upcoming release of its ChromeS20 range of GPUs. At that time, though, S3G was rather guarded when asked questions on clock speeds, basic architecture, and general performance in both 2D and 3D applications.
Time has moved on enough for S3G to spill some of the beans on the range of products that it hopes will do battle in the midrange, discrete graphics card market that's currently dominated by NVIDIA's GeForce 6600 GT and ATI's X800GT/X1300 PRO cards. Even before we take a closer look at what S3G has to offer, it's worth pointing out just what it's up against. The established duopoly have a proven track record of hardware excellence and decent software support. S3G's ChromeS20 range, then, needs to be better than both, available soon and, ideally, cheaper than the competition.