The OmniChrome Up Close
The OmniChrome doesn't look all that different than any other TV/Video card combination. The card is comprised of an Analog Techwell TW9905 Tuner, DeltaChrome S4 Nitro GPU and 256MB of DDR Memory. The DeltaChrome S4 Nitro GPU is a 4 Pixel Pipeline solution that is clocked to run at 350MHz, 50MHz faster than the DeltaChrome S4 Pro we reviewed here. The processor supports Antialiasing up to 2X with DirectX games, with no Antialiasing options available for OpenGL at the moment (this may change with future drivers). Anisotropic filtering tops out at 16X for both DirectX and OpenGL applications. To handle the card's memory requirements, S3 opted for Samsung K4D551638D-TC33 modules which are set to run at 300MHz (600 DDR) as rated from the manufacturer.
The Techwell TW9905 Analog Tuner supports NTSC, PAL and SECAM formats and also provides support for Composite, S-Video and YPbPr component video. Essentially, YPbPr is common among HDTVs, where the signal is sent across 3 separate coaxial cables. This option is also found on higher quality CRT monitors and results in a clearer picture over single wire solutions.
There is one DVI output that can be converted to VGA using a standard DVI-VGA adapter, included in the bundle. There is also an S-Video input for video capturing from external devices, while the S-Video output handles video out to a standard TV or HDTV. As we mentioned earlier, S3 includes a Component to S-Video cable for the inputs while a second cable is provided to connect to various TV options. Additionally, there is a coaxial connection for connecting the analog TV Tuner to Cable or External Antenna.
When it came to installation, the OmniChrome installed without a problem. Once we inserted the disk, the process was virtually automatic, needing little interaction from us to complete. In three steps the drivers and two InterVideo packages were installed and with a single reboot we were up and running. All Tuner cards should install this easily.