Introduction

For the past year and a half or so, ATI and NVIDIA have fought a hard battle over leadership in the desktop graphics market with very little in the way of outside competition. Before that, NVIDIA held a comfortable position in the industry after 3dfx started to struggle. There is the occasional release of a Matrox card, PowerVR poked around for a little while, and the ultra low end "just VGA" market has always been filled with the likes of Trident (bought by XGI last year). The desktop graphics arena is filled with the bones of companies who have tried to gain a foothold in one of the most greusome markets in computing. Six month product cycles and always staying one step ahead of the competition is not something that many companies can survive.

S3 (under the wing of VIA) is a company with a second chance at the graphics market, and today we are previewing their upcoming DeltaChrome S8 Nitro graphics card which will be offering users another choice in DirectX 9.0 hardware. This card is supposed to compete in the midrange segment with the likes of the venerable ATI Radeon 9600 and NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 series cards. Of course, the numbers we will see here aren't final numbers as this is a preview of the hardware running on beta level unfinished drivers. OpenGL numbers will be especially low, but S3 says DirectX numbers will be closer to what we can expect.

We will be able to garner an idea of what we can expect to see from the DeltaChrome S8 Nitro when it is finally finished. We will also be able to explore the features of the card and the drivers and take a look at how much value this card could potentially have.

Does the S3 Graphics DeltaChrome S8 Nitro have the potential to deserve the label of a midrange card? Does S3 have any hope in making a solid reentry into one of the toughest markets on earth? Read on to find out.

The Card
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  • colinm - Saturday, May 15, 2004 - link

    S3 needs to get good drivers for their other products before they even try to put a new product on the market. I bought a S3 Savage about the time the TNT was released and S3 still hasn't made solid drivers for it, much less ANY product released since then. S3 is a joke, don't be fooled for a moment. Don't buy their hardware no matter how much potential it has expecting them to eventually fix the driver issues because it will NOT happen. Reply
  • bldkc - Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - link

    I agree, it's a POS. As a mechanical engineer I have guys coming in to see me every day with their "upgraded", or "more efficient" designs. All I know is it has to meet my specs. I will not vary my specs if there is someone else who will meet them.
    I tell them what I want, but they show up with something that doesn't meet my needs. Sound like the S3 with the Deltachrome? The point is that just because it does some things well does not mean it isn't a POS. Heck, my daughter's Reader Rabbit games would have this thing on it's knees.
    Reply
  • kamper - Saturday, March 13, 2004 - link

    also a spell checker wouldn't hurt too much would it? It's not "impliment" and it definitely isn't "impilment" Reply
  • kamper - Saturday, March 13, 2004 - link

    as cliffa3 points out, you guys really need to hire someone with an english degree. Here's another one that had me scratching my head for a while:
    "Another option S3 has open to is will be to use..." wtf? (2nd last paragraph, last page)
    Reply
  • aka1nas - Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - link

    Well it obviously needs driver work, but, as long as they get it marketable and don't price it too high then they can make enough of their money back on it to keep them in the game. I think some of the problem with the graphics card market is that the few new players that try to enter the market either don't have the capital or fortitude to try to stay in for the long-term. Even if the deltachrome doesn't make a profit for S3, they can still quite possibly defray much of the cost of developing it and apply the experience in hardware design and drivers that they have gained and make a great second generation product. It takes time and a lot of coordination to get people to work effectively and efficiently at such a complicated project. Reply
  • LoneWolf15 - Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - link

    S3 seems to have one continuous problem: They aim too low.

    I'm not saying they should go for top-end, but if you want to market a 3D vid card these days, then look at the current models you want to compete with --and then design a card that will beat their successor (in this case, the Radeon 9600XT/GeforceFX 5700). S3's cards, when released, are always cards we might have been interested in six months ago, but in the current market are either too pricey, or still not stable enough, guaranteeing that at the point S3 gets their drivers just right, the card is 8-10 months out of date, and only a good deal if priced in the $99 range, assuming they actually support the GPU for awhile with driver updates.
    Reply
  • Serp86 - Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - link

    yeah. it definately got potential, but it needs mature drivers.

    Kinda like the radeon 8500....(although it was high end, and performed good at release, if it was released with mature drivers it would have been the turning stone for ati, not the 9700Pro.)
    Reply
  • Marsumane - Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - link

    This is actually great news. If they actually get this card working to the level of a 9600 pro, then we could definately see some more sort lowering of the prices. This could prove to be very good for us consumers that like to buy sub $200 cards. It seems to have good potential, and I cant wait to see its final performance/price. Reply
  • AgaBooga - Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - link

    From the results, I think it needs more driver work Reply
  • Idoxash - Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - link

    "wow, another POS"

    I guess if nothing can out beat ATI and nVidia in speed it's a POS? There are many aspects of a video card then just speed alone. For example: From wut I read many months ago when S3 first talked about this new GFX card of theirs they stated it uses something like 7 watts of power. If that is the case then you have a GFX card that does dang good in speed and uses far, far, less power then any other GFX card.

    In either way they should turn this into a intergrated chip as well for notebooks and mini-mobos. Be a nice gfx chip to have alone with a low energy consuming C3.

    --Idoxash
    Reply

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