Most people are surprised to hear that there's an alternative to ATi and nVIDIA when choosing graphics cards, but there is. Today S3 Graphics have released the first card in the Chrome 400 Series - the Chrome 430 GT.
The Chrome 430 GT is a little different from the other graphics cards I've looked at lately. Usually when I'm talking a new card I usually scream the word "Power!" a lot and talk about how big the card is (seriously, just look at how small that thing is) and how I needed a crane to lower it into the PC. The Chrome 430 GT is different because it's small and ideally suited to small form factor PCs. Also, in stark contrast to other graphics cards, the Chrome 430 GT is aimed at energy-conscious PC users.
But it doesn't cut corners in terms of support. The Chrome 430 GT can handle HD playback and the latest DirectX 10.1 engine - all for under $60.
In data supplied by S3 Graphics, the card seems to perform spectacularly when pitted against the Radeon HD 3450 and the nVIDIA 8400 GS.
Is it a gaming card? Yes, but not if you're into counting frames. S3 Graphics is aiming the Chrome 430 GT at the "affordable gaming" and "home entertainment" end of the market.
Here are the product highlights:
- Microsoft® DirectX® 10.1 Support: An S3 proprietary unified shader architecture supports the latest additions to DirectX® 10.1 allowing realistic 3D rendering and increased visual acuity through improved Anti-aliasing, Image/Texture improvements, higher precision formats, and programmable lighting effects. These improvements allow Chrome 430 GT users to experience life-like rendering and image quality in supported DirectX® 10.1 applications.
- ChromotionHD™ Video Technology: Featuring a fully programmable video architecture with true HD quality 1080p playback for Blu-ray™ and HD-DVD™ content, the ChromotionHD™ engine supports the latest HD standards including H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VC-1, WMV-HD, and AVS, for a stunning movie experience. The video engine is also highly optimized with the decoding and post processing display pipeline that allows simultaneous acceleration of single and multiple video streams in HD format with vibrant colors and picture clarity.
- ChromotionHD™ Video Technology: Featuring a fully programmable video architecture with true HD quality 1080p playback for Blu-ray™ and HD-DVD™ content, the ChromotionHD™ engine supports the latest HD standards including H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VC-1, WMV-HD, and AVS, for a stunning movie experience.
- S3 Graphics PowerWise™ Technology: Sophisticated algorithms and power control mechanisms allow the Chrome 430 GT to deliver the optimal balance between performance and power on-the-fly, to meet performance and application requirements for power efficient graphics computing on desktop and small form factor (SFF) PCs.
- PCI Express®2.0: The Chrome 430 GT supports the latest advances to the PC component interconnect by offering users the ability to boost the graphics performance of their current systems with the high throughput PCI Express® 2.0 bus technology. The faster connection speed also allows users to take advantage of additional S3 Graphics technologies such as AcceleRAM™ which leverages system memory for image data storage.