Thursday, October 2, 2008

S3 Graphics Chrome 440 GTX

I bought a new S3 Chrome 440 GTX in the S3 online store. I wanted to know how this card is doing, especially because it is DirectX 10.1 compatible. The other reason why I bought it was that it has a HDMI output. Just putting it into my desktop machine was interesting. I removed a 8800 GTS which was really heavy and than this card that was so small and didn't even need an extra power supply. It looks like some of my graphics cards from the end of the 90th when they started to put fans on the cards. With the small fan it should be possible to passively cool that card easily.

I just went through the DirectX 10 SDK examples. Motion Blur is about 5.8 fps and NBodyGravity is about 1.8 fps. The instancing example runs with 11.90 fps. I use the VISTA 64-bit beta drivers The other examples run fast enough. The CPU does not seem to become overly busy.
Just saw that there is a newer driver. The latest driver which is WHQL'ed has the version number 248. The motion blur example runs with 6.3 fps with some artefacts (the beta driver had that as well), Instancing ran with 11.77 fps and the NBodyGravity example with 1.83 fps ... probably not an accurate way to measure this stuff at all but at least it gives a rough idea.

The integrated INTEL chip 4500 MHD in my notebook is slower than this but then it supports at least DX10 and the notebook is super light :-) ... for development it just depends for me on the feature support (Most of the time I prototype effects on PCs).
While playing around with the two chipsets I just found out that the mobile INTEL chip also runs the new DirectX 10.1 SDK example Depth of Field with more than 20 fps. This is quite impressive. The Chrome 440 GTX is running this example with more than 100 fps. The new Raycast Terrain example runs with 19.6 fps on the Chrome and with less 7.6 fps on the Mobile INTEL chip set. The example that is not running on the Mobile INTEL chip is the ProceduralMaterial example. It runs with less than 1 fps on the Chrome 440 GTX.
Nevertheless it seems like both companies did their homework with the DirectX SDK.
So I just ran a bunch of ShaderX7 example programs against the cards. While the INTEL Mobile chip shows errors in some of the DirectX9 examples and crashes in some of the DirectX 10 stuff, the Chrome seems to even take the DirectX 10.1 examples that I have, that usually only run on ATI hardware ... nice!
One thing that I haven't thought of is GLSL support. I thought that only ATI and NVIDIA have GLSL support but S3 seems to have it as well. INTEL's mobile chip does not have it so ...

I will try out the 3D Futuremark Vantage Benchmark. It seems a Chrome 400 Series is in there with a score of 222. Probably not too bad considering the fact that they probably not pay Futuremark for being a member of their program.
Update October 4th: the S3 Chrome 440 GTX did 340 as the Graphics score in the trial version of the 3D Mark Vantage.


sohaib nawaz said...

hi i was just wondering because graphics programing might be something that i want to be in the future but i am not sure what it is.
so could you please tell me what a graphics programer actually does?
what subjects would i need to become a graphic programer?
in uni what course would i need to take?

thank you for your time
i would really appreciate this

Wolfgang Engel said...

well a graphics programmer programs the graphics card or any other processor that is used to show the game.
I believe Math is very important ... I regret that I didn't do more math in School and at the University. There are dedicated Computer Graphics courses. I am talking at least once a year in front of the UCSD computer graphics course. There are similar courses everywhere. Some people also study computer science. Others just skip University and become great programmers too :-)

Andy Firth said...

i went direct to a master degree in math... which after the first year turned into mathematical computation.

This was in the UK back in '95. Essentially the MathComp degree is a double major where each side is sku'd towards the other.

I believe that 90% of what a graphics programmer does is interpret the requirements of artists into real algorithms. By and large the tech side is relatively simple compared to the interpretation side.

Rob wyatt said...

I too wish I had done more math, especially as math (in particular math relating to lighting) is getting more and more complex.

I did a degree in electronics and a masters in micro-architecture, this was in the UK back in the early 90's. The specifics of what I learn't is pretty much irrelevant today but the theory did me well. At the time low level programming was the only way and since then I have stayed a low level programmer.

Wolfgang Engel said...

My strategy to cope with this is currently stuck. I started to write a book on Math for Graphics Programmers in 2001 ... I never made it farer than about 40 pages in the whole time frame but I decided to start working on it as my next project ... let's see how far I get. I will also re-focus the project and deal with more hands-on stuff.