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Review: S3 Graphics Chrome S27 including MultiChrome

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 20 May 2006, 10:15

Tags: S3 Graphics

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S3 Graphics still exists. Just thought I'd throw that snippet of info out there at the beginning, just incase you'd forgotten, which you'd be forgiven for. Since becoming a part of Taiwanese silicon behemoth VIA, S3 have steadfastly produced new graphics products, but nowhere near the pace that ATI and NVIDIA set themselves, and which the consumer has largely come to expect.

That their offerings are resolutely mid-range and low-end is fine, and just the way S3 like it we suspect, but it means S3 don't enjoy the top-down 'halo effect' of a super-duper high-end graphics board with all the performance, features, image quality and heatsink mass befitting such expensive bits of PC componentry.

Their fastest ever PC graphics hardware, which we're reviewing today in the very piece you're reading, is some distance away from challenging ATI and NVIDIA in the upper echelons of consumer graphics, and that's just on paper. If history is to be believed, on-paper specs don't always mean too much where S3 Graphics products are concerned.

And without a decent sales presence for their discete boards in many parts of the world, including this one, it's often hard to pick something of theirs up, even if you wanted to and despite any downsides they might have.

A technologist would be forgiven a somewhat dismissive attitude towards the company and their hardware, given all of that. But in the interest of giving their latest product configuration a fair crack of the whip, your author has done what most folks do and forgotten S3 Graphics even exist! Harsh? Yes, of course. But coming at S3 Chrome S27 with 'brand new' eyes means a decent look at what they're doing now, and in the future too. More on that later.

"What's the Multichrome bit in the article title, Rys?", I hear you ask. Ah, yes, S3 Graphics are having a go at dual graphics with S27. Called Multichrome, it's S3's version of SLI or Crossfire, letting you put two GPUs in a supporting platform for accelerated rendering.

So plenty to run you through, then. Given all of the above, are you as interested in seeing what S27's all about, and what single and Multichrome configurations of Chrome S27 have to offer versus their single and dual graphics opponents from ATI and NVIDIA, as I am? If yes, click for the next page and join me in our analysis.