S3 DeltaChrome S8 AGP Video Card Review

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VIA S3 DeltaChrome Video Card

Nathan Kirsch’s Thoughts:

So far this card has turned out to be pretty impressive. S3 Graphics has not once claimed this card to be a performance king, but as you can tell in the couple benchmarks we have shown that the DeltaChrome S8 can handle itself versus cards with higher clock speeds and mature drivers! Think about this for one second! The core of the DeltaChrome S3 is 300Mhz and has around 60-80 million transistors, and yet it still “hangs” with the other cards. While the initial numbers are impressive It is almost certain that this card will be “fine-tuned” by PCB revisions, BIOS updates, and driver improvements. After these changes it will possibly challange ATI & nVidia for a piece of the mainstream ~$150 video card market share.

Keep the S3 DeltaChrome series in the back of your mind as S3 has been able to produce a card that has impressed us in more ways than one!

The recent release of ATI Catalyst 3.10’s (yesterday) and the limited amount of time we have had with this card kept this review and results short, but we are currently working to bring you further in-depth testing of this card in the near future.

Justin West’s Thoughts:

From my experience with testing this card, I can easily tell that S3’s drivers are a bit pre-mature. We have been working with S3 throughout our testing of this card and can tell that major driver updates are definately in the works and should be release early next year. With that said, we can see that the Direct3D portion of the DeltaChrome drivers are right on target. We were very impressed that the DeltaChrome was able to keep up with our ATI 9600XT and GFFX 5600Ultra in preliminary tests. This tells me that the DeltaChrome’s architecture is definately ready for production.

As for DVD playback, I did watch some Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and was very impressed with the image quality. I was able to compare it to a screenshot from the same frame of the 9600XT and saw absolutely no difference in the quality. So S3 is definately not lacking in DVD image quality.

As you know, we are holding off on our new video card test suite for this card until S3 releases a final, all purpose driver version. We also have the utility to flash the video card’s BIOS, so I would not be surprised if a new BIOS for this card is release before the card is available for purchase as well. All in all, I must say for the infant that the DeltaChrome S8 is, it performs quite well against some of the bigger-name cards in its class. I see no reason why S3 should not be able to have the necessary updates available for the DeltaChrome S8 before it hits the shelves. I am very anxious to see S3’s future as a major video card manufacturer.

Kudos to S3 for a great start in the right direction!

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