Despite what you may have thought, S3 is still around, and they’re still releasing new products in the graphics world. Their newest release, the S3 Chrome 400 series, aims to take advantage of the recent hype surrounding the use of graphics cards to speed up tasks traditionally reserved for the CPU. S3 hasn’t said what GPGPU standards the cards support, so it’s unknown if applications sped up by NVIDIA and ATI cards can also use S3’s Chrome hardware.
S3 introduced two cards in the Chrome 400 line, the Chrome 430 GT and the Chrome 440 GTX, with a familiar naming scheme. The 430GT is a 256MB card with GDDR2 memory 500MHz and the Chrome 400 series chip clocked at 625MHz.
The card actually comes in two versions. One, shown above, has a one DVI port and one VGA; the other has one DVI and one HDMI. The cards are identical in other respects. The Chrome 440 GTX steps it up a little bit. While still limited to 256MB of RAM, S3 uses 700MHz GDDR3 for this card, and bumps the 400 series GPU up to 725MHz. S3 is aiming for the 430 GT to go against the Radeon HD 3450 while the 440 GTX looks to edge out the Radeon HD 3470. The latter card also provides DVI, HDMI and VGA ports all in one fell swoop.
Each card supports DirectX 10.1 graphics as well as native hardware 1080p decoding for most HD formats on the market. The big news, as mentioned earlier, is that S3 is really pushing these cards for use in GPGPU applications, and even developed their own photo editing app called S3FotoPro to showcase the cards’ abilities.
The pictures above show a before and after representation of a photo going through S3FotoPro’s correction process. The program doesn’t require S3 hardware to run; it’s merely optimized for it so you can download and try it out for yourself.
Both cards are available directly from S3 now. The Chrome 430 GT (both versions) costs $49.95 while the Chrome 440 GTX runs $59.50.
S3 product page for the Chrome 430 GT HDMI
S3 product page for the Chrome 430 GT
S3 product page for the Chrome 440 GTX HDMI
You can download the S3FotoPro application here.