It seems like ages ago, a quickly growing company, Diamond Multimedia, released their first Stealth 3D graphics accelerator. The Stealth 3D would prove to be a member of a multiplying faction of "3D" accelerators of the time, which actually barely resemble today's wave of standard 3D accelerators in the least.

Diamond's Stealth III S540

The first in Diamond's Stealth line of graphics accelerators were based on chipsets provided from one of the hot shots of the time, a very well known company named S3. Unfortunately, the transition from this mock-up 3D accelerator market to the powerful 3D industry of today was ill made by S3, and the company faded into the shadows not to be heard from for quite some time.

While S3 was lurking in the background, Diamond made a few new friends by the names of 3Dfx (now 3dfx) and Rendition. Later on, an up and coming company named NVIDIA also joined the bunch, providing Diamond with a killer lineup of high performance 3D accelerators that were tailored to fit the needs of virtually every unique user. When S3 finally returned to the scene looking for their old pals at Diamond to welcome them back with open arms, the bitter rejection of S3's (at the time) flagship Savage3D design by Diamond put the once gigantic video manufacturer in their place, back at the drawing boards.

This time around, armed with the Savage4, and stepping in right as Diamond's former companion, 3dfx, stepped out, S3 is ready to make amends and get their name back into the eyes of the public. With Diamond's desktop lineup being composed entirely by solutions from NVIDIA and S3, there must be an incredible level of attention paid to making sure that their own products don't compete with one another. Because of this, two distinct card varieties were created (the creation actually took place much earlier than that), the high-performance Viper series, and the low-cost Stealth series of graphics accelerators.

NVIDIA's TNT2 occupies Diamond's high-performance Viper line, leaving S3 to show the rest of the competition the true meaning of the terms "low-cost high-performance" with their presence in Diamond's latest Stealth III line of graphics accelerators. Unlike the TNT2, most Savage4 board manufacturers will be shipping their products at the same time, but if you do happen to come across Diamond's latest concoction, should you give 'er a try? Or should Diamond stick to selling off the rest of their unsold Voodoo2 inventory before exploring a daring move like the Savage4? There's only one way to find out

Specifications

  • S3 Savage4 ProTM 128-bit 2D, 3D and video engine
  • Advanced graphics technologies at an affordable price
  • Life-like 3D image quality featuring S3TCTM texture compression
  • Lightning-fast, high-resolution 128-bit Windows. acceleration
  • Complete support for today's games and software (Direct3D. and OpenGL. ICD)
  • NEW Diamond InControl Tools 99 utility to customize the gaming desktop
  • Loaded with 32MB high-speed memory
  • For AGP 4X and AGP 2X computers, optimized for Pentium III and AMD K6-2 and K6-III systems

The first thing that must be noted about the Diamond Stealth III S540 is that it is based upon what is known as the S3 Savage4 Pro, and not the regular version of the Savage4. The only real difference between the regular and Pro models is that the Pro allows for a memory clock of 143MHz, while both solutions offer core clock frequencies of 125MHz.

The specifications for the S540 are fairly simple and straightforward, at the last minute Diamond decided to opt for a 32MB SDRAM configuration as opposed to the 16MB RAM configuration previously hinted at. At the same time, Diamond's new InControl Tools 99 utility comes bundled with the card and should help make tweaking your card a more pleasant experience.

Other than those differences, the S540 is your run of the mill Savage4 board, however in order to establish any major differences let's take a closer look at the card itself.

The Card

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