Architecture Continued & Screenshots
Along with true hi-res HDTV output, the DeltaChrome S4 features S3's "Chromotion Programmable Video Engine," which is similar to ATi's "Video Immersion II" feature. The Chromotion Engine was designed to enhance video playback in a variety of ways. For example, DVDs are enhanced by a per-pixel adaptive de-interlacing technique that helps reduce the feathering and pixelation that occurs with some other products.
The Chromotion Engine can also filter a video to help reduce or eliminate the "blockiness" associated with a low-quality stream. Take a look at the screen captures above and you'll immediately perceive the benefits of this feature. Anyone who has tried to watch a streaming video over the Web has seen these blocky images first-hand. The de-blocking is handled automatically, provided you have a player that supports S3's Chromotion video processing technique.
Another feature inherent in the Chromotion engine is called "ArtisticLicense." With ArtisticLicense, the DeltaChrome's pixel shaders can directly manipulate a video, so with the proper tools, users can apply a special effect to a video stream in real-time. At the moment, effects such as soft focus, emboss, sharpen, and neon edges are available with the DeltaChrome, and others are sure to follow. A few of these effects are shown in the screen shot above.
The DeltaChrome S4 also has Hardware-Assisted Display Rotation for 90, 180, and 270 degrees of rotation. This feature is useful for Tablet PCs or LCD users who may prefer viewing the screen in a different orientation in certain applications. Being able to rotate the display also gives users the ability to maximize screen real estate as shown in the images above. Notice all of the wasted white space on either side of the guitar in the image on the left, and that the entire guitar doesn't fit on the screen. When rotated 90 degrees, the wasted white space is reduced, and the whole guitar is visible on-screen without having to scroll up or down.
Like the DeltaChrome S8 that came before it, the DeltaChrome S4 is equipped with native HDTV (high-definition television) support. The S4 supports 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p HDTV resolutions via the card's component (YPbPr) output. It also supports 480i standard TV output via S-video and composite output. The DeltaChrome's integrated HDTV encoder includes the following key features:
|•_Full desktop view in HDTV mode
•_Integrated into graphics core, no need for external dongle
•_Macrovision enabled for 480i/p mode
•_PC99 specification support
•_NTSC/PAL support for standard TV mode
•_Vertical overscan and underscan compensation
•_2x Oversampling for premium image quality
|•_2/3 tap flicker filter with programmable coefficients
•_Adaptive aperture correction
•_4:4:4 conversion with 10 bit DAC resolution
•_Full range RGB to YUV color space conversion with Hue, Saturation and Contrast adjustments
•_Smooth vertical overscan compensation with programmable contraction factor
If you'd like further detail with regard to the DeltaChrome's HDTV capabilities and HDTV in general, we suggest you take a look at this PDF available on S3's Web site. There is a ton of useful information available in that document.
We took a comprehensive look at the DeltaChrome S8's image quality when compared to a Radeon 9600 XT and a GeForce FX 5700 Ultra in our initial preview of the technology, so we won't go in-depth again here. The DeltaChrome S4 produced images that look identical to the S8's, which is to say they were quite good. To see a direct comparison, we suggest checking out our S8 preview. What we've got for you here is a gallery of screenshots taken in Unreal Tournament 2004 at a resolution of 1024x768 with 2XAA and 8X Anisotropic filtering enabled. As you can see, the DeltaChrome renders each scene very well, and the images look very good.