S3 OmniChrome TV/Graphics Card
Summary & Conclusion
As we bring the OmniChrome review to a close, we walked away with mixed emotions. On the one hand, we liked the complement of hardware and software that accompanied the card. The marriage of InterVideo's Home Theater and a Remote Control was a nice touch, giving the user an easy to use interface for controlling the multimedia functions with a remote. And we were definitely impressed with the remote control. The unit felt very comfortable in our hands and the button placement was better than we've seen with competitive products.
From a gaming perspective, the OmniChrome came up a bit short, however. Back when we reviewed the Personal Cinema 5700 that was used for comparison in this review, we reported the card was a little too low-end to justify it for gaming. In relation to performance, the OmniChrome averaged half of the Personal Cinema's framerates, struggling to run even older titles like Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.
From a features stand point, the card was equipped adequately, although the HDTV output feature doesn't fit the mold. It is highly unlikely anyone would want to output analog TV signal to an HDTV. This leaves the other option being the ability to run video games on an HDTV screen. However, with the relatively low performance of the DeltaChrome S4, users will need to tone down image quality quite a bit to improve performance, degrading image quality and somewhat negating any visual improvements gained by running games on an HDTV.
Ultimately, we think if you are looking to build a simple Home Theater PC for connecting to a regular television, the OminChrome is well suited to the task. The interface offered by InterVideo's Home Theater is easy to use and the ergonomics of the Remote Control were excellent. When it comes to installation of the OmniChrome, the process was very smooth and quick, unlike other TV tuner products.
The expected price point for the OmniChrome is in the $149 range for the model we reviewed and a 400MHz version is expected to have an MSRP of $169. Naturally, these are MSRPs, meaning street prices should be lower. To give you an idea of where the OmniChrome falls in the current market, an All-In-Wonder 9600XT retails for around $189 and a Personal Cinema 5700 retails for $159. As long as the OmniChrome retails for less than the competition when it finally arrives in the U.S., and you don't do much gaming, the price can be justified. Gamers may want to save up a little more money and consider an ATI or NVIDIA products, with a more powerful GPU.
Good complement of software and remote control was very nice.
Simple, smooth installation process.
Relatively low in-game performance.
Limited Antialiasing in DX, none with OpenGL.