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 Go to S3

S3 are one of the biggest names in the PC market. Their cards  were very popular with manufacturers about 2 years ago, because of the excellent price/performance ratio that they offered. The 868, 968, Trio64, 64V+ video chipsets all offered good, even excellent 2D peformance and for the time, good hardware assisted MPEG decoding too. A particularly famous range of cards that used these chips was the Diamond Stealths. Usually coupled with 2MB of VRAM the Stealth were considered to be the best choice for the home buyer. When 3D arrived however, S3 were a little slow off the mark. Eventually they released the Virge line of chips. Although not bad, the 2D was not top of the range and the 3D was pretty poor. Later versions of the chip, such as the GX version improved this situation, but, all in all S3 didn't do much to elevate their position. The image quality wasn't bad though, being pretty sharp all round. More recently S3 released the Savage 3D. This is a pretty decent gaming card despite having only 8MB RAM. The main feature that gives it an edge over it's competitor's is it's texture compression feature. By making the textures smaller, you not only save memory, but, you can transport the data around the computer faster too. Although no games ,to my knowledge,  support this facility, Direct X6 does, and inevitably it will prove useful in the future. Theoretically the 8MB onboard can store 24MB of textures! The newest thing in the S3 product line is the Savage4 chip. It also supports texture compression, while providing 3rd genration 3D speed. It's definitely worth keeping an eye on S3.