S3's DeltaChrome

S3's DeltaChrome - Page 3

The S3 DeltaChrome S8 & S8 Nitro
A Veteran Re-Enters The Fray...

By, Marco Chiappetta
March 9, 2004


We tested the S3 DeltaChrome S8 evaluation boards on an i875P based MSI 875P Neo-FIS2R motherboard, powered by an Intel Pentium 4 3.2CGHz CPU. The first thing we did when configuring this test system was enter the BIOS and loaded the "High Performance Defaults". Then we set the memory to operate at 200MHz in dual-channel mode, with the CAS Latency and other memory timings set by the SPD, and set the AGP aperture size to 256MB. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Professional with SP1 was installed. When the installation was complete, we installed the latest Intel chipset drivers and then hit the Windows Update site to download and install all of the available updates. Then we installed all of the necessary drivers for the rest of our components and Windows Messenger was then disabled and removed from the system.  Auto-Updating, System Restore and Drive Indexing were then disabled, the hard drive was de-fragmented and a 768MB permanent page file was created. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance", installed the benchmarking software and ran all of the tests.

Please pay special attention to the legends in each graph, as the S3 DeltaChrome with the beta v15.08.09b drivers we used does not support the levels of anti-aliasing as you might expect.  2XAA was the maximum setting available with the DeltaChrome in Direct3D applications, while in OpenGL, no AA was available at all.

HotHardware's Test Setup
Intel Powered - 3.2GHz System

Processor -

Mainboard -

Video Cards -

Memory -

Audio -
Hard Drive -

Optical Drive -
Other -

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers -

Intel Pentium 4
MSI 875P Neo-FIS2R
i875P "Canterwood" Chipset

S3 DeltaChrome S8 Nitro (325MHz / 325MHz)
S3 DeltaChrome S8 (300MHz / 300MHz)
ATi Radeon 9600 XT
GeForce FX 5900 XT
GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
1024MB Kingston HyperX PC3500
Integrated SoundMax Audio
Western Digital "Raptor"
36GB - 10,000RPM - SATA
Lite-On 16X DVD-ROM
3.5" Floppy Drive

Windows XP Professional SP1 (Fully Patched)
Intel INF v5.1.1.1002
DirectX 9.0b

S3 15.08.09b Drivers
ATI Catalyst v4.2
NVIDIA Forceware v56.56
Performance Comparisons With AquaMark3
DX8 and DX9 Shader Ops

Aquamark 3

Aquamark 3 comes to us by way of Massive Development Massive's release of the original Aquanox in 1999 wasn't well received, but it was one of the first games to implement DX8 shaders, which led to the creation of Aquamark 2 - a benchmark previously used by many analysts. Since the Aquamark benchmarks are based on an actual game engine, they must support old and new video cards alike.  Thus, Aquamark 3 utilizes not only DirectX 9 features, but DirectX 8 and DirectX 7 as well.  We ran this benchmark at resolutions of 1024x768 and 1600x1200 with no anti-aliasing, then again with 2x AA enabled.  Throughout all of these tests, 4X Anisotropic filtering was enabled from within Aquamark 3's control panel, which is the default setting for this benchmark.

Throughout this article, we've compared both of the DeltaChrome cards to similarly priced competing cards in the Radeon 9600 XT and GeForce FX 5700 Ultra.  To see how they compare to something a little more expensive, we've thrown in some numbers from a GeForce FX 5900 XT as well.  As you can see by the above graphs, the DeltaChromes didn't perform very well in the Aquamark 3 benchmark, versus its comparably priced counterparts.  At 1024x768, with and without AA, the DeltaChromes were the lowest performing cards, coming in between 20% - 30% behind the nearest competitor.  At 1600x1200, the gap shrunk considerably, but their performance was again below that of the competition.  The spread hints at S3's current driver immaturity and less efficient memory controller, since clearly as you throttle performance back with higher fill rate demand, the Delta Chrome gains back some of its losses.

Benchmarks With Halo
Halo - No Xbox Here!


For many gamers, the release of Halo marked the end of a long wait, since it was originally released as an Xbox exclusive a few years back.  No additional patches or tweaks are needed to benchmark with Halo, as Gearbox has included all of the necessary information in their README file.  The Halo benchmark runs through four of the cut-scenes from the game, after which the average frame rate is recorded.  We ran this benchmark twice, once at 1024x768 and then again at 1280x1024.  Anti-aliasing doesn't work properly with this game at the moment, so all of the test below were run with anti-aliasing disabled.

The S3 DeltaChrome S8 and S8 Nitro performed at a level a bit closer to their direct competition in the Halo benchmark, but they still pulled off the two lowest scores in this test.  At 28.18 frames per second, the S8 Nitro came in a full 16.8% behind the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra at the lower resolution.  The performance delta between the S8 Nitro and the next fastest card at 1600x1200 shrunk down to 11.3% - which is a considerable margin at frame rates this low.  As expected, the lower clocked DeltaChrome S8 came in a few frames per second behind the S8 Nitro, and the much more expensive GeForce FX 5900 XT blew past all of the competitors.  We should also mention that both of the DeltaChrome cards had some problems rendering all of the scenes in the Halo benchmark.  At random areas in the test, textures would flash on the screen.  This is a common problem with beta drivers, however, so we expect S3 will be able to clear this issue up before cards actually ship here in the states.

Unreal Tournament 2003 & Splinter Cell Testing  

Tags:  S3, Chrome, Delta, rom, AC

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