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S3 Chrome S27 PCI Express Videocard Review

S3 Chrome S27 PCI Express Videocard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Quiet videocards always make the best options for a HTPC, and the S3 Chrome S27 videocard certainly gets a few marks on this front.
 78% Rating:   
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: S3 Graphics May 02 2006   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > S3 Graphics Chrome S27

S3 Chrome S27 GPU Details

The S3 Chrome S27 graphics processing unit is built on Fujitsu's 90 nanometre manufacturing technology, and it contains a little less than 70 million transistors. S3 has not publicly stated exactly how many transistors are used, just the ballpark figure. The Chrome S27 core is DirectX 9.0 compatible, and natively supports the PCI Express platform.

There are eight pixel pipelines along with four vertex rendering pipelines, and the Chrome S27's memory controller can operate at between 32-bits to 128-bits wide. The S3 GPU is compatible with DDR, DDR2 and DDR3 memory. When using DDR/DDR2, the memory is clocked at 500 MHz and can provide a peak bandwidth of 16GB/s. When using DDR3, the memory is clocked at 700 MHz, so it will provide up to 22.4GB/s worth of bandwidth. Memory sizes with DDR/DDR3 range between 32MB and 256MB, with DDR2, it can go as high as 512MB in size. Nice.

S3 is particularly proud that the Chrome S27 typically uses only 17-30W of power. This could make it a real option for individuals building low power DC-powered computers. Compared to a cutting edge nVidia or ATI part 30W is very power efficient. The integrated 400 MHz RAMDAC will handle a resolution of up to 2048x1536 should you need it. The Chrome S27 natively supports a high definition HDTV and standard TV encoder, and incorporates both the NTSC and PAL TV output standards.

On the eye candy front, gamers will soon discover that the S3 Chrome S27 supports up to 16x anisotropic filtering and up to 4x super sampling antialiasing. It would be unrealistic to expect the card to pump out the top AA settings though.... its 3D performance would be too slow. Remember the S3 Chrome S27 is not intended for high performance FPS gaming, it's better suited to the occasional gamer or RPG'er.

In terms of software applications the S3 Chrome S27 videocard includes S3's new Chromotion Video Engine which is a DirectX-VA media accelerator. The Chromotion Video Engine works with video codecs like WMV9 (Windows Media Video 9), MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. Post Processing filters also help to enhance poor 'low bit rate source' materials for a higher quality image on screen. Real time rendering allows the system resources to be devoted to other tasks as well.

Experts Tip: S Video Cable Not Needed

The Chrome 27 videocard doesn't come with an S-Video output cable, but that shouldn't deter users from trying to connect their computer to the television. Standard S-Video cables (like the ones that are included with camcorders) can be plugged directly into the rear of this videocard.

Or better yet, grab yourself a set of component output cables and take advantage of that video standard to hook up the PC to the Television. Component output yields a far better image on televisions which support the standard. Most screens sold within the last 6 years should.

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Looking closely at the PCB of the S3 Chrome S27 videocard we discover a Silicon Image SiI64CTG64 chipset. Now I'm sure you already know what the SiI64CTG64 entails - namely DVI output capability. With digital LCD monitors gaining huge popularity, it makes sense for S3 to equip the Chrome S27 videocard with digital output support.

Like ATi and nVIDIA before it, S3 Chrome graphics cards can run in parallel for more performance and S3 calls this form of "SLI" its MultiChrome technology. This allows users to string together two or more Chrome S27 videocards together, but S3 gets by without needing to physically connect each videocard together. Since PCSTATS only has one of these little videocards in the test labs, we're unable to expand upon the Multichrome feature with any solid benchmarks, but never the less it's an interesting capability in such an affordable graphics card.

To be fair to the hardware, PCSTATS will forgo the usual overclocking tests and move right into image quality and benchmarks.

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Contents of Article: S3 Graphics Chrome S27
 Pg 1.  S3 Chrome S27 PCI Express Videocard Review
 Pg 2.  — S3 Chrome S27 GPU Details
 Pg 3.  Image Quality of the S3 Chrome S27
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, 3DMark06
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: AquaMark 3
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: FarCry
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: Doom 3
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: Quake 4
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: FEAR
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: X3: Reunion

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