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Review: S3 DeltaChrome S8

by Tarinder Sandhu on 26 January 2004, 00:00

Tags: S3 Graphics

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S3 DeltaChrome S8 Graphics Card Review

Competition is good for the consumer. Assuming that the firms within a respective sector aren't colluding to keep prices artificially high, the presence of a number of players, ceteris paribus, forces innovation, aggressive pricing and, importantly, choice. At the back end of 2003 the consumer-level graphics card industry has been dominated by ATI and NVIDIA. In short, the necessary hardware requirement for DX9 performance entailed the purchase of a partner board from either company. In the midrange that meant either a Radeon 9600XT or NVIDIA FX5700 / Ultra derivative, and the top-end was populated by a partner's 9800XT or FX5950.

S3, a name that is a blast from the past, intend to change the status quo. Users may have fond memories of S3 as an innovator (S3TC texture compression) and manufacturer of decent GPUs up until the year 2000. NVIDIA's GeForce range took graphical processing to a new level and ATI subsequently got back in the power game with its Radeon 8500 GPU. S3 fell by the wayside, unable to compete, and was swallowed up by none other than VIA. So it was a pleasant and unexpected surprise to hear that S3 planned on releasing a midrange DX9-compliant 3D accelerator under the banner of DeltaChrome. Projected to compete with both ATI and NVIDIA low-to-midrange DX9 offerings, a pricing sector where each company sells GPUs by the proverbial bucketload, the DeltaChrome could be a definite turning point for S3's graphics fortunes.

We'll take a look to see if it has enough merit to seriously worry the incumbents.