S3 introduced their new Chrome 500-based graphics cards recently. The new chips look to be aimed squarely at competing with the new Radeon HD4350. Based on the feature lists, they may even have a shot.
The new S3 Chrome 500 includes support for automatic power saving functions, DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 3.0 graphics functionality. HD playback is handled on-card, with support for a number of high-definition codecs: H.264, MPEG-2, VC-1, WMV-HD and AVS. This means Blu-Ray won’t be a problem, either.
Currently available is the Chrome 530 GT HDMI 512MB, directly from S3. Coming with one DVI and one HDMI (both HDCP compliant) port, the card also supports 7.1 sound out through the latter. S3’s new offering has a 500-series GPU clocked at 625MHz and 512MB of GDDR2 memory clocked at 500MHz.
It will be interesting to see what budget users end up going for, as the card offers some attractive features, especially for HTPC builders. One thing that caught my eye was that Chrome states that this card supports MultiChrome, their own multi-GPU solution. Coming in at less than 25 Watts and $45, ATI might just have a fight on their hands. If anyone ever finds out about this card, that is.
Chrome 530 GT HDMI 512MB at S3Store