S3's DeltaChrome

S3's DeltaChrome - Page 6

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

By, Marco Chiappetta
March 9, 2004

Performances Comparisons With Novalogic's Comanche 4
Combat Helicopter Sim

Comanche 4

We used Novalogic's combat helicopter simulator Comanche 4 for our next batch of DirectX tests. Comanche 4 uses DX8 class pixel and vertex shaders to produce some of the realistic visuals used throughout the game. Unlike some of the previous tests though, this benchmark is heavily influenced by CPU and system memory performance, especially at lower resolutions. However, when the resolution is raised and anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering are enabled, the current crop of 3D accelerators tend to slow down quite a bit.

The S3 DeltaChrome S8 Nitro redeemed itself somewhat in the Comanche 4 benchmark when anti-aliasing was disabled, where the card managed to pull off its first victory.  Once we enabled anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering, however, it was all downhill.  In the low resolution test, with AA and Aniso enabled concurrently, the DeltaChromes were severely outperformed by the NVIDIA and ATi powered cards.  In the high resolution test, the DeltaChromes did a bit better, relatively speaking, but frame rates were too low to be considered playable.

Benchmarks / Comparison With Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
Q3 Engine Based Freebie

Wolfenstein: ET

We also ran through a batch of timedemos with the OpenGL game Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. Wolfenstein: ET is a free, standalone multiplayer game that is based on the original Return to Castle Wolfenstein, that was released a few years back. It uses a heavily modified version of the Quake 3 engine which makes it a very easy to use benchmarking tool. We created our own custom demo and used the built-in timedemo feature to check each card's frame rate. The tests below were run at 1024x768 and again at 1600x1200, without anisotropic filtering and again with 8X and 16X aniso enabled.

As we mentioned earlier, the S3 DeltaChromes currently do not offer any anti-aliasing in OpenGL applications, which hints at the relative immaturity of S3 OpenGL support.  We asked S3 when (or if) they planned to add this feature in a future driver release and were told it's currently not in the schedule.  So, if you crave AA in OpenGL, the DeltaChromes are not for you.  In an effort to give you multiple data points in an OpenGL benchmark, we tested our custom Wolfenstein timedemo with two different levels of Anisotropic filtering enabled (8X and 16X).  The GeForce cards only offer up to 8X aniso, hence the "N/A"s in our graphs.  The DeltaChrome S8 and S8 Nitro again stumbled, getting outpaced by 40%+ margins in this test.  It's clear that S3 has some work to do with regard to OpenGL performance with the DeltaChromes.

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Tags:  S3, Chrome, Delta, rom, AC

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