S3 Graphics, a joint venture between S3 and VIA, announced its low-cost and energy-efficient Chrome 400 Series GPUs earlier this year, and we all collectively thought "you know, they'd be interesting in a notebook..."
Today, the California-based manufactured has realised that thought with the launch of its Chrome 400 Ultra Lower Power (ULP) GPU series, aimed right at the notebook, mini-note or netbook market. The ULP series is based on the Chrome 400-series architecture, but designed to be ultra-thin to allow manufacturers to install dedicated graphics cards into mini-notes and netbooks.
The Chrome 400 ULP series consists of the Chrome 430 ULP, Chrome 435 ULP and Chrome 440 ULP. The most energy-efficient part, the Chrome 430ULP, offers a TDP of less than 7 watts and promises to deliver HD video and DirectX 10.1 gaming.
The complete range is broken down by S3 as follows:
- Chrome 430 ULP: The S3 Graphics Chrome 430 ULP is the first dedicated graphics processor developed especially for ultra thin and light notebooks. With a remarkable industry-leading TDP of less than 7 watts, the Chrome 430 ULP is by far the most energy-efficient GPU on the market, bringing HD video and DirectX 10.1™ gaming to extreme mobile devices including mini-note PCs.
- Chrome 435 ULP: Perfect for thin-and-light notebooks, the S3 Graphics Chrome 435 ULP offers superb performance-per-watt metrics, out performing competitor products by over 40% in benchmarks while using consistently less energy. The Chrome 435 ULP offers users a superior visual experience without sacrificing battery life.
- Chrome 440 ULP: The S3 Graphics Chrome 440 ULP takes mobile graphics performance to new heights. With up to 60% better performance than its competitor equivalent, the Chrome 440 ULP delivers true HD 1080p media playback, including dual-stream Blu-ray or Blu-ray Picture-in-Picture (PiP) support which coupled with DirectX 10.1 gaming performance, makes it ideal for desktop replacement systems.
With S3's proprietary unified shader architecture providing support for DirectX 10.1 and its ChromotionHD Video Engine providing support for GPU-accelerated video playback, it appears to be a promising solution on paper. Another feature, dubbed "PowerWise", promises to preserve battery life and "deliver the optimal balance between performance and power on-the-fly".
Dr. Ken Weng, general manager at S3 Graphics, said:
S3 Graphics can now deliver a superior mobile visual experience that users will soon demand on all mini-note and mobile products, Our latest Chrome 400 ULP series processors offer manufacturers a mobile graphics component that's long overdue; a truly power-efficient mobile GPU that really performs.
We've yet to see any performance figures, but we get the feeling that a mini-note armed with a VIA Nano CPU and an S3 Graphics Chrome ULP GPU could give an Atom-based alternative a run for its money.
Trouble is, few manufacturers have opted to utilise VIA's Nano chip in an Atom-dominated market. However, the S3 Graphics Chrome 400 ULP is already shipping, and we're told Fujitsu is one of the OEMs who've adopted the GPU.
Official press release: S3 Graphics Delivers Ultra Power Efficient Mobile GPUs for Mini-Notes and Notebooks
Official product page: S3Graphics.com