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S3 Graphics Comes out of Hiding with Chrome20

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the more-fodder-to-drive-the-prices-down dept.

Graphics 275

Steve from Hexus writes "S3 Graphics, having been quiet for a while, has today announced a new graphics solution, Chrome20, with which they intend to take some market share away from ATI and Nvidia. From the article: 'We were offered a chance for some hands on play with a mid-range Chrome20 series desktop board - the machine was loaded with over 40 top games. A quick run of Half Life2 , Far Cry , Halo and a couple of other titles demonstrated that S3G's new 90nm mainstream card was working without any visual problems and with very playable frame rates.'"

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275 comments

Sweeet! (4, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503093)

Finally, an alternative to all that wonderful ATI stuff.

{blink}

Re:Sweeet! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503339)

OMG! LOL! Are you related to trip master MONKEY?
That is like the coolest! Where is his first post? Do you like, think he subcribes, or does he have all these disertations prewritten and sorted by topic so he can paste them in to any mildly related parent! Oh wow! I wonder.....

The Obligatory Question (5, Interesting)

mjrauhal (144713) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503101)

So, how about Linux drivers? Free ones?

Re:The Obligatory Question (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503176)

Indeed. Deltachrome drivers are conspicuous by their absense. We have Unichrome drivers (The Via/S3 joint venture, present in E.g. the Via MiniITX boards) but no Deltachrome. Which sucks.

Re:The Obligatory Question (3, Interesting)

SpeedyGonz (771424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503189)

I just hope if they're going to release linux drivers, they make them less a P.I.T.A. to install than Nvidia / ATI ones.

Maybe working more closely with the kernel developers, releasing the driver module as source code with the main kernel download, so it works out of the box.

Re:The Obligatory Question (2)

Allen Zadr (767458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503618)

Now, now. ATI is a royal pain, which has failed on me under several distros, and several computers - but the nVidia drivers have always been fairly reliable. Finicky maybe, but I've always been able to get theme to work.

Re:The Obligatory Question (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503217)

yes, i'm sure as a business their first priority is getting _free_ drivers out for an operating system that less than 1% of desktops use (desktops, mind you, i'm not talking servers), an operating system that doesn't run 95% of the games out there.

mod me down, but you know I'm right.

Re:The Obligatory Question (5, Informative)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503246)

Last I checked, Linux's desktop share was higher than Apple's which puts Linux over the 3% mark. Desktop numbers are highly biased againt linux simply because a) Most linux machines were previously windows, and b) Windows machines tend to be replaced more often, i.e. if i buy a windows computer today and another one in 2 years, both will be considered to be active and the nuber will be twice what it really is.
Regards,
Steve

Re:The Obligatory Question (2, Interesting)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503228)

An important question on a "Linux site." I'll consider buying one of these cards, but only if good Linux drivers are available either freely or for a few bucks. Not $20, I mean perhaps $5. Charging so little might not offset the cost of work that went into the software, but the important thing is to build a customer base.

Hear that, S3? I know you people read Slashdot.

Obligatory Observation: SGI (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503229)

The new S3 cards cause me to ponder why SGI failed.

Back in 1995, SGI should have dumped its proprietary hardware: specialized graphics chips and MIPS. SGI should have created the following dream box: Linux + ARM + commodity graphics chips from NVIDIA, S3, Chromatics, etc.

The special sauce that greases every component is OpenGL. SGI should have leveraged its software technology and dominated the graphics market for decades to come.

Yet, no one at SGI listened.

The critics warned that x86-plus-commodity-graphics-chips would eat SGI's lunch. The critics were right.

Re:Obligatory Observation: SGI (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503252)


NVIDIA hired all the employees away from SGI

If you mean like ATI's I'll stick with Nvidia.. (2, Insightful)

msimm (580077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503263)

Solid support is *much* more impotant to me then politics. I use Linux because it works for me and works well, same reason I use Nvidia cards under Linux.

Re:If you mean like ATI's I'll stick with Nvidia.. (3, Insightful)

arose (644256) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503296)

Exept when they break their drivers for months on old and low end cards. Solid support my ass, polictics are important for a reason.

Re:If you mean like ATI's I'll stick with Nvidia.. (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503656)

Don't the old ones work with the nv driver?

Re:If you mean like ATI's I'll stick with Nvidia.. (1)

arose (644256) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503783)

If I'd wanted an unacelerated card I wouldn't have bought an nvidia, sadly there is not much choice if you want vertex bigger then 1 pixel (the dri radeon driver has this limitation).

Re:If you mean like ATI's I'll stick with Nvidia.. (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503767)

Hmm? I've NEVER had ANY problem with the nvidia driver with a TNT2.

That DEFINITELY qualifies as an old card.

And, yes, I used nvidia, not nv. nv doesn't have 3D acceleration, even on those old cards, and the system this was in only had a 233MHz Pentium MMX.

Re:If you mean like ATI's I'll stick with Nvidia.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503394)

I find their not being able to fix the "99.9% CPU X lock-up while mouse pointer can still move around" for almost 2 years to be rather lousy support. Even if it's someone else's problem, the lack of visible progress is really lame.

Re:If you mean like ATI's I'll stick with Nvidia.. (5, Insightful)

mjrauhal (144713) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503439)

Solid support is *much* more impotant to me then politics. I use Linux because it works for me and works well, same reason I use Nvidia cards under Linux.
I find it funny that you immediately followed this up with:
They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.

Re:If you mean like ATI's I'll stick with Nvidia.. (1, Insightful)

Cyclops (1852) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503479)

Sorry, you're an idiot.

How can you have solid support when only one company can maintain the driver for all GNU/Linux versions you may be running in the future?

Go away, ye false pragmatist.

Re: The Obligatory Question (2, Insightful)

jejones (115979) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503310)

Obligatory qualifier: "open source Linux drivers with, as a minimum, feature and speed parity with the Windows drivers."

Re: The Obligatory Question (1)

mjrauhal (144713) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503483)

Parity schmarity, if they had features and speed greater than or comparable to the current free DRI solutions, it'd be a plus, even if the Windows drivers would be better.

And yeah, free, open source, whatever.

Re:The Obligatory Question (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503336)

I'd much rather they simply released complete documentation so that people who know what they are doing can write proper drivers.

Re:The Obligatory Question (1)

mjrauhal (144713) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503461)

This would of course be quite well and good. Still, it'd be nice if they also did at least some of the actual coding. (Obviously, I meant free as in speech drivers in the original post.)

A tiny market, but a loyal one? (4, Insightful)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503505)

It's a small market, true, but what exactly would S3 lose by opening up its drivers? They'd instantly become the graphics card for anyone running Linux. It's a small but real benefit---and what, then, would be the cost to them?

Apple users are a small market, but they're incredibly loyal. Why wouldn't S3 get in on that action?

--grendel drago

Re:A tiny market, but a loyal one? (5, Insightful)

myslashdotusername (903486) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503590)

what exactly would S3 lose by opening up its drivers?

Several lawsuits, as technology used in writing those drivers is patented, and they've likely cross-licensed the patents to even be able to write a modern 3-d driver.

now you could strip all the patented code, and fix it into a working driver, and provide source for it, but ATI already has been doing that for years, yet all I see from the /. community is a bunch of Nvidia fanboy ravings of how good the closed source Nvidia drivers are.

So I hope this answers your question, as to why they cannot do what you seem to think would be so easy. And hey, even if patents were a non issue, the drivers would still be a 'trade' secret, giving that away to your competetors for free means that they will always know how to make there product perform better than yours.

Re:A tiny market, but a loyal one? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503694)

now you could strip all the patented code, and fix it into a working driver, and provide source for it, but ATI already has been doing that for years,

Yeah and they still suck. ATI writes shit Windows drivers and the Linux drivers are not any better.

yet all I see from the /. community is a bunch of Nvidia fanboy ravings of how good the closed source Nvidia drivers are.

It's not a fanboy thing at all. nVidia currently just provides the best solution. It's not a great solution because it's so closed but it's the best available. They work pretty good and the performance is better than Windows most of the time. There are no other Linux supported cards and drivers that can match nVidia, period.

Re:The Obligatory Question (2, Interesting)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503626)

" So, how about Linux drivers? Free ones?"

Well after visiting their web site [s3graphics.com] and not finding any Linux drivers for their existing cards, and not even any mention of Linux nywhere on their site, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Yeah but.... (2, Funny)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503104)

Will it run all my "S3D" games that came with my 4MB Virge card 10 years ago?

Re:Yeah but.... (1)

Binestar (28861) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503269)

You seriously had a 4MB video card 10 years ago? ~1995. My computer in '96 came with a 2MB STB Lightspeed 128, which was a lot of memory for a video card at the time. When the 3dfx cards came out they were "loaded" with 4MB, but that was in '96. You rich bastard!

Re:Yeah but.... (1)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503383)

When the 3dfx cards came out they were "loaded" with 4MB, but that was in '96.
Even better, I had a Canopus Pure3D, which was the only 3dfx card to have 6MB, while the others only had four. Too bad by the time I purchased one, Voodoo 2 cards had just began to roll out.

Re:Yeah but.... (2, Informative)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503540)

I actually was quite poor and had a S3 4mb VRAM ViRGE back in '95 or so. It was actually pretty easy. You could buy the 2MB version and it had two more VRAM spots that you just popped 2 more MB into. I then bought a junk S3 card with 2 MB and put them in, viola! instant 4MB s3 ViRGE of pure pwnage.

Coming to an ECS motherboard near you. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503117)

You'll see me at Fry's....

Solution, or a card? (4, Insightful)

DavidNWelton (142216) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503127)

Is it a "graphics solution" or a PCI card? Sheez.

Re:Solution, or a card? (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503193)

I saw "meal solutions" on sale at my local Tesco's supermarket today.

It's getting just too much.

Re:Solution, or a card? (1)

negative3 (836451) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503303)

I've been at my first "real" job for about a month and a half (just finished grad school) and I already hate the word "solution" when used as marketingspeak.

Don't you mean ... (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503589)

... your "employment solution" for just a month and half post-"educational solution"?

S3 dear god (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503129)

Please stay dead you suckered many a poor fools back in the mid ninentys if you wiki Hell you should come back with S3 + Cyrix 686

you were never loved always loathed Please return back under your rock.

Re:S3 dear god (4, Funny)

myc_lykaon (645662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503209)

Please stay dead you suckered many a poor fools back in the mid ninentys if you wiki Hell you should come back with S3 + Cyrix 686 you were never loved always loathed Please return back under your rock.

AC - meet Mr Period (.) and his friend Mr Comma (,). They make writing fun! They have a cousin you know - She's called Miss Dictionary. All of these fun people are here to help you be understood. Enjoy them, embrace them and above all use them.

If you don't, you'll give people the impression that you are a dribbling fool who married his sister by mistake.

Re:S3 dear god (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503471)

Besides, my 6x86 rocked until I tried to run Quake 2 on it. At least I was smart enough to use a Matrox Millennium and a Voodoo 2.

Re:S3 dear god (2, Funny)

sedyn (880034) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503377)

"if you wiki Hell you should come back with S3 + Cyrix 686"

Does this mean that S3 = - Cyrix 20?

Re:S3 dear god (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503416)

I by no means claim the S3 + Cyrix 686 to be the bee's knees but I actually fondly remember my cyrix 166+ with a S3 ViRGE. I was able to pay about 1/4th the cost of a similar Pentium I and run all of the latest apps and games like Delta Force with no issues.

S3 got a bad name, but I actually never quite saw why. Same with Cyrix. Cyrix processors ran very comparable to Intel and AMD, and there really were no major 3D accelerators at the time.

I liked my Cyrix + S3 setup, and will gladly defend it.

Re:S3 dear god (1)

THotze (5028) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503541)

The first computer I built was almost exactly the same : it may have been a 133+ 6x86MX, but it was a S3 ViRGE, a 2GB hard drive made by some company in India... I forget their name but the drive was black and fully encased in what seemed like a rubbery material, years before anyone had been making hard drives enclosed like that. 2GB was decent for the time (1997), it was a steal, price wise. ANYWAYS.

The problem with the Cyrix wasn't its general performance - in fact, general performance wise they were a steal for their price. The problem was, their floating performance really blew... I knew this at the time, I mean, FPU performance was what you paid for when you went with Cyrix (or, to a lesser degree, AMD at that time.) Also, the chips, despite their lower-than-advertised clock rating (the PR system which AMD later adopted in a modified form), ran HOT. They said, I believe, HEATSINK + FAN REQUIRED on the chips themselves... and they meant it, at at time when you could probably run a Pentium without a heatsink and you could definitely run one without a fan.

Tim

Hardware Hell (4, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503417)

Hardware awaiting those sent to hell:

S3 Virge
VIA KT chipsets
Creative Labs 3DO Blaster
Iomega ZIP
Iomega Buzz
IBM Deskstar
Tandy CDR-1000
HP 5L
Cyrix 386 to 486 CPU Doubler
Anything Belkin

Re:Hardware Hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503564)

All inside a Packard-Bell tower case.

Re:Hardware Hell (1)

manno (848709) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503731)

Oh man too true I'll never forget my pakard-bell dx2-66 with it's patented incompatability card. what a pile if "ish" though it did get me through "Sam and Max", "Doom 2", "X-Com 2", and "Ascendancy".

Re:Hardware Hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503629)

..running Windows 95

Re:S3 dear god (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503621)

actually, these cards are great for video and cheap home theater pcs.

they have great video acceleration and are cheap to buy.

they consistently beat or perform as well as high end ati and nvidia hardware in the video arena.

you can still use them to play slightly older 3d games at decent speed but you and i both know they don't compare to the mid or high end from the 2 behemoths of the 3d industry.

if there are open source drivers then they'd make great GNU/linux cards.

I hope it's bundled with PowerPoint. (4, Funny)

i41Overlord (829913) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503150)

Because you'll need that to view the slideshow that S3 cards produce in 3d games.

Re:I hope it's bundled with PowerPoint. (2)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503297)

Isn't that the truth. S3 was the laughing stock of graphic chip developers back in the 90's, and will continue to be so if this new solution of theirs performs like their Virge chips did. Unfortunately I made the grave mistake of purchasing a Virge card years ago due to their price. As the old saying goes, "you get what you pay for", and what I got was complete trash. I could not play Quake at acceptable levels with that crappy card. Boy was I so pleased to put down the cash for the Pure3D 3dfx card. The Virge has got to be the worst graphics solution ever and will probably go down history as such. Adding insult to injury, many OEMs used that particular chipset for their cheap motherboards. I still break out in a cold sweat and have flashbacks of watching the rockets I fired in Quake slowly hitting their targets, one frame at a time. Die S3 Die!

Re:I hope it's bundled with PowerPoint. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503500)

S3 Virge cards worked very well for people who, gasp, didn't play intensive 3d games, and didn't have to pay for them. Like most users today.

Re:I hope it's bundled with PowerPoint. (4, Interesting)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503661)

Recently I scavenged my old computers to find a PCI card to use for my second monitor (my ATI 9700 Pro could only hardware accelerate one output at a time, leading to slow graphics, even on 2D applications like Firefox, on the second monitor). But, all my newer cards were AGP, even the one in my 266mhz Pentium II computer. So I went even farther back, to my Pentium 166mhz non-MMX. This was mistake #1.

The card in the machine was a 2MB Virge. Things I found out about the card over the next few minutes included:

1) It supported no resolution higher than 1024x768 60hz 16-bit color.
2) The output looked so bad even on 2D that looking at the monitor hurt my eyes.
3) The instant I dragged any 3D game window, even older ones, to the monitor with the Virge card, they started going at about 10 frames... per minute.

The Virge was the worst graphics card I have ever used. A while back I even tried to run Homeworld on it (as a primary card). Lowest detail levels--check. Lowest resolution--check. Lowest memory allocation--check. End result: D3D hardware acceleration mode goes slower than software mode, at about 2 frames per minute.

Coming out with (4, Funny)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503155)

I've heard these will be bundled with a 6.8GHz 1TB RAM and 2TB HDD Laptop.

Re:Coming out with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503220)

"...6.8GHz 1TB RAM and 2TB HDD Laptop..."

I really hope this one becomes a /. cliche...

How Much (1)

Transdimentia (840912) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503157)

Is it going to be another $600 card for the real thing, and $150 for a sub-par, labeled new but really the last version reboxed and overclocked like the current generation of video cards?

Yah I know, call me Mr. Run-on

How bout you actually release a version of the real card without 1TB of memory onboard for the people who just want to play every once and a while.

Re:How Much (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503374)

On the bright side, with S3 it must be the current generation because there isn't a "last version" to relabel!

Unless they're relabeling a Virge, in which case we're all obviously in Hell.

"Playable framerates" (4, Insightful)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503166)


Read: Nowhere near the performance of ATI/NVIDIA.

Unless they plan on taking over the integrated graphics, $300 PC market, why bother?

Re:"Playable framerates" (2, Insightful)

Brain_Recall (868040) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503373)

Because it's a start. ATi and nVidia just didn't come out of nowhere with a card-to-rule-all-cards. It took them time, and I imagine, it will take S3 some time too.
The point is competition. Far too long have we been stuck in a dichotomy of two-superpowers.
But, this isn't their first try, either. The S3 Delta Chrome was just average at release, and even segmented off into integrated graphics by a few VIA chipsets.

Trident tried to dive back into the graphics realm. Their card didn't go up to the hype (mostly because of some major engineering cutbacks) and they haven't tried again. Maybe S3 will keep it up.
But also remember, the integrated graphics market isn't bad at all. Intel makes no stand-alone cards, but they rule the video market (in terms of sales) because of their integrated graphics.

Re:"Playable framerates" (1)

doodzed (35795) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503404)

>>Read: Nowhere near the performance of ATI/NVIDIA.

For my money I do not need high framerates on all my boxes. My media player box and my browsing box need: stability, quality output and ok performance.

I would gladly trade most 3d for stability, less noise and HD output onto our 52inch sony. How fast does a card have to be to do mame and play movies. Any accelerated visualization is good, but I would gladly trade that for a lack of fan.

Re:"Playable framerates" (1)

anno1602 (320047) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503448)

I would gladly trade most 3d for stability, less noise and HD output onto our 52inch sony. How fast does a card have to be to do mame and play movies. Any accelerated visualization is good, but I would gladly trade that for a lack of fan.

Sounds like a case for a Matrox. Seriously, what you describe is exactly their strength.

Re:"Playable framerates" (2, Informative)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503465)

Read: Nowhere near the performance of ATI/NVIDIA.

Correction: Read "nowhere near the performance of ATI/NVidia's top-end models".

Why do NVidia bother selling the GeForce FX 5200 any more? It's crap compared to a 7800 GTX!

Oh, wait, it's because they can make a lot of money by capturing the low end of the market as well as the handful of geeks who are anal enough about frame rates to spend more on a single graphics card than the average person spends on a complete computer. Hey, you reckon S3 might just be planning to make their money by selling into the huge mainstream market, rather than wasting vast sums of money trying to compete at the top?

Re:"Playable framerates" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503581)

because that commodity market is -exactly- what they're trying to compete in

S3 video (2, Insightful)

highmaster (842311) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503188)

Isn't waiting for a high performance video solution a lot like waiting for a flawless shuttle launch? It has been a long time, a VERY long time since S3 could compete with any of the other major players in performance. They have always been the cheap integrated solution, or the cheapo get by with the bare minimum expansion card type of product. Not gonna hold my breath waiting for S3 to run the next generation video games, let alone current ones.

who are they kidding? (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503191)

you don't just wake up one christmas morning and have a card that can compete with the big boys

semi-off topic: intelliTXT (0, Offtopic)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503197)

Apologies for going off on a tangent, but precisely what the fuck is with all those links on the linked article? Pop-up windows were bad: pop-up divs and layers are worse. Now we have companies like IntelliTXT [vibrantmedia.com] vomiting multiple tiny pop-up divs in pages, waiting to dazzle you with scores of sponsored links every time you accidentally mouse over one of their keywords.

Blech.

Re:semi-off topic: intelliTXT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503285)

Funny you should mention it becuase I've just spent the last 2 or 3 minutes adblocking those guys.

Need to block scripts from "intellitxt.com" and "vibrantmedia.com"

It took a little longer than expected to find the correct sites becuase they don't appear on the adblock list like normal.

Re:semi-off topic: intelliTXT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503358)

Need to block "fluent.ltd.uk" as well :)

Re:semi-off topic: intelliTXT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503636)

I didn't get *any* pop-up at all nor any ad.
Didn't checked for the divs or such anyway.
FYI my user agent is: "Opera/8.02 (X11; Linux i686; U; en)".
Isn't it you have to get rid off your sh*t-delivering IE?

Flash teh pan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503223)

No one I know is going to buy something from a company that disappears for a few years at a time and then pops up with some midrange stuff...

Com'on these guys will be done selling video cards by Christmas, if they last that long... then they'll disappear again.

40 games at once? (1)

egriebel (177065) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503316)

OK, did they have 40 CD-ROM drives installed on the system? Because I'm sure that most of these games use SafeDisk which requires the CD as a key. Oh, they wouldn't rip them to HD and then use a cd clone program, would they? :-)

Re:40 games at once? (1)

goodenoughnickname (874664) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503460)

They weren't playing them all at the same time.

I think the more interesting thing about this article is the door that reads "This door is to remain closed at all times". How do they get in?

Re:40 games at once? (1)

egriebel (177065) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503549)

They weren't playing them all at the same time.
So, they had a stack of game CDs in a stack next to the system so that the journalists could swap the CDs themselves? "OK, who bogarted Halo!"

Re:40 games at once? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503567)

did they have 40 CD-ROM drives installed on the system?

funny!
I'd guess they just had their BT client running for about a week; as you might know, those iso images often come with a \crack subdir which contains the nocd patch ;.)

Yet more magic pixie dust... (5, Insightful)

L0neW0lf (594121) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503370)

Isn't this the way S3 does it every time? Let's see:

Step 1: S3 introduces a new graphics card. The name is similar to one they've previously made, but you've never seen that card before because no-one wants to produce and sell one. Specs seem similar too. As usual, it's supposed to be a mid-level card that won't "take on the big boys" but is supposed to have mainstream performance.
Step 2: Hardware review sites get a prototype board. They either experience a number of driver glitches, or performance that is vanilla enough that no-one is all that excited.
Step 4:Joe Gamer reads the review, and buys a tried-and-true midrange solution from ATI or nVidia that doesn't have the driver issues S3 was famous for in cards that actually made it out the door.
Step 5: S3 has teething troubles with the GPU, or the drivers, or production, delaying the chip's release until its performance is at the low-end, yet priced $20-40 above others' low-end cards.
Step 6: The lackluster performance of the GPU relegates it to boards made by one dinky little vendor nobody has heard of and doesn't trust, with nonexistent support. S3 has to lower their prices on the GPU to get any sales at all.
Step 7: S3 doesn't profit.

I'm just curious...how does S3 manage to keep their graphics card business afloat? Aside from a few integrated solutions on VIA chipset mainboards, I can't see any products they manage to make money on.

Re:Yet more magic pixie dust... (0, Flamebait)

badmammajamma (171260) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503482)

Nice summary but let me add one more step...

Step 8: S3 rots in hell. Seriously, you fuckers are the Enron of the graphics card world.

Re:Yet more magic pixie dust... (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503516)

Not everyone plays games, and you can get an S3 card to replace the "tried-and-true" ati or nvidia card that just burnt out for 20 bucks, and they actually do just fine.

Why pay 100 bucks for an ati or nvidia, when you can get comparable performance for 20 or so from S3? Oh, because "joe gamer" is a dipshit who only knows his favorite brand names, and equates that with being a computer expert.

Re:Yet more magic pixie dust... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503616)

Because you can get better performance and MUCH better drivers from an nVidia/ATI card for the same $20.
See pricegrabber: Cards for $20-$30 [pricegrabber.com]
(btw, this card will *NOT* be selling for $20)

Re:Yet more magic pixie dust... (1)

joke_dst (832055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503548)

I'm just curious...how does S3 manage to keep their graphics card business afloat?
Uhh they don't! That's why they went away!

The only way they're funding this drive is because they managed to trick a bunch of people they invented a 6.8GHz 1TB RAM and 2TB HDD Laptop... :)

Re:Yet more magic pixie dust... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503768)

Regarding VIA chipsets
That's because VIA owns S3

HDMI? (3, Interesting)

fallen1 (230220) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503506)

After reading the article and seeing that S3G has stated "No comment" after being asked about including HDMI on their cards, perhaps they may want to shoot for the, ummm, grey market where people who DO NOT want their computers controlled by outside forces buy their equipment? Maybe even supply areas of the world that want HDMI but without the annoying HDCP that goes along with it so they can still use older monitors/TVs _AND_ still get high definition video - not "oh, that's not a registered device with Central Command Authority! Thou shalt have only 480i. No HD for you!!"

Personally, I'm getting beyond tired of technology companies who, some singularly and definitely collectively, make more money than Holly-hood, err, Hollywood bending over backward to placate them. Yes, I know that the studios/**AA control the media/content for the most part but if the _major_ technology players stand up and say "Well, we control the technology everyone uses to your content and there is no other tech company(ies) large enough to challenge all of us so THIS is how we're going to play ball." then WTF would Hollywood do except try to get more laws passed? Then all the technology companies that opposed Hollywood could band together to fight that off as well - dollar for dollar and then some. What would happen to the products that those companies that stood up to Hollywood do - especially when the tech-oriented crowd started praising them to friends/family/etc? Sell multiple, multiples of items that are free of DRM and friendly to the CONSUMER? Wow, what a frigging concept! Make products friendly towards the consumer, don't treat them like a dollar with a body attached, treat fair use rights as they should be treated, don't treat the customer like a criminal from the get-go, tell the **AAs to fuck off and fight piracy where it counts (you know, those media distributors in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Russia, etc), and make millions upon millions of dollars.

Whew, I've had a very long day.. I think I need lots of sleep now. Sorry for the rant.

Re:HDMI? (2, Informative)

MrArmyAnt (847547) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503737)

Me gusta senior! That is so true. HDMI is actually a ppor format anyway, only passes stereo. All recoding in HD (Blu-ray and other wise) is actually stricly firewire, which has more bandwidth in television use than HDMI, withouth the problems. HDMI is on its way out, wait till blu-ray, firewire will be in. Go look at Mitsubishi TV's! Boo on HDMI!

S3 is back? Oh no! (2, Funny)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503519)

S3 Graphics, having been quiet for a while,
Well, when a company produces products that earn the nickname "graphics decelerators", being quiet for a while would probably be the best solution; that and going back and improving their solutions doesn't hurt either. ;)

_bi7ch (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503524)

for it. I don't OUTER SPACE THE can be liKe as it is licensed very own shitter, tossers, went out

GP2 (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503530)

I'd like to see S3 expand the market into the general purpose processing market. If their new GPUs were supported as GPGPUs, they might get people to buy their cards to increase all performance, without relying only on Intel and AMD to push CPU performance.

I've been waiting to see "coprocessor" PCI cards become popular, especially among gamers. I remember when we could buy "math coprocessors" to augment relatively slow/cheap math onboard the x86. That was before CPU manufacturing/marketing economics selected for all CPUs to have fast math sections, but with cheaper ones leaving the circuit lines "cut" to the fast part. Maybe that marketing hustle has inhibited the addition of "redundant" coprocessor chips.

GPUs are really just fast math coprocessors, optimized for graphics math and fitted with video coder chips. Gamers are the primary performancemongers and live at the bleeding edge of cranking performance. So they're the natural demanding market for pulling GPGPU products across the bleeding edge into mainstream architectures. Especially since GPGPUs aren't "Central", they're more likely to be "stackable", scalable processing units dynamically allocable for whatever's found at boot.

What we really need are GPUs that have "public" interfaces, either HW or SW (open drivers) that others can harness for GPGPU. Let's see if that kind of competition expands the market for these GPUs, instead of just fighting ATI and nVidia for the current market.

Um... (2, Interesting)

sootman (158191) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503542)

"Chrome20 is by no means going to take on the high-end cards, instead looking to provide good performance for your more average user."

Average users don't tend to replace their cards very often. If they do, they'll go with a 6-month-old card from a major player, not a formerly-OK company that basically seems to be saying "Look at us! We're as good as anything else! w00t!"* And until computers run on $3/gallon gasoline, I don't think "lower power consumption" is going to move a lot of cards.

As for "better performance" when it comes to HDTV... huh? Lots of rigs today can play HD video just fine, and unlike games, video does not benefit much from an ability to show more FPS--once you get past 30, you're pretty much done. Besides, video playback--a series of raster images--has not been much of a problem for years now. It's rendering polygons that's hard.

Sorry, S3, but I don't think this will do much for you.

* except for the fact that it's not actually shipping yet, and those other cards have had drivers out for years, and games are already optimized for them, and...

I hope they're successfull (2, Insightful)

OzPhIsH (560038) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503732)

I for one hope that S3 is successful in their attempt to get back into the market. More competition is a good thing. While I don't see them necessarily competing with nvidia or ATI at this point, one can only hope that they use this as a foothold to break back into the higher end markets in a few years. It can only mean faster and cheaper videocards for everyone. I understand that the cynics have a bit of history on their side when making fun of S3, but it ticks me off a little when I see people practically rooting for them to fail.

My Take (4, Interesting)

ribblem (886342) | more than 8 years ago | (#13503753)

I work for one of the major two major players in this market so I am probably a little biased.

The way I read this is yet another small player wants to run with the big boys. What makes this one different? Well they admit up front that they can't compete in the high end so they will target the low end. Is this going to make a difference? I highly doubt it. I predict a flop.

I'm not trying to be too harsh. I'm just stating it like I see it. Personally I'd like to see another player in this market, but I doubt it will ever happen unless someone like Intel decides to make high end graphics cards. Both ATI and NVIDIA spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on R&D to make their high end cards and all that R&D is applicable to the lower end discrete cards. The lower end cards now days use most of the great ideas we've come up with for the high end cards, but we just do fewer pixels in parallel thus using fewer transistors. Our lower end cards are also fairly power effience even though this article didn't mention it (almost like want people to assume our low end cards use 100W just like our high end cards do). Unless another company spends that kind of money I doubt they'll compete. I'm not saying it's impossible, just unlikely.

I think the graphics industry is becoming less and less likely to have a major revolution (i.e. to something other than triangle based rendering); which would make it much easier for a new player to get into the market. Graphics for the PC with all its legacy software is becoming more like the irreplaceable x86 platform everyday. If we do change to something completely different it will probably come to a console first, but the longer we go on optimizing algorithms and hardware for these triangle based systems the more unlikely such a revolution will come.

Most people who understand CPU architecture will tell you x86 is an old inefficient design, but Intel and AMD have spent so much time/money optimizing it that nobody can seem to come up with a new general purpose CPU that is better. I think the same thing is happening with graphics. The weird coincidence is that both of these fields have 2 major players...

S3 Again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13503780)

S3 has an almost perfect track record of making ok hardware and then allowing it to die off quickly due to virtually non-existant after sales support.

Even if a new S3 card showed a 15% performance increase over the fastest card on the market I wouldn't buy one for that reason alone. I can't readily think of another company that has dropped the ball as many times with its buyers having lived to tell about it for as long as S3 has.
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