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S3 unveils Voodoo-zapping Savage4

Resurgent S3 sets sights on 3Dfx, nVidia and arch-enemy ATI

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S3 has announced the successor to its Savage3D graphics chipset, the unsurprisingly named Savage4. The new accelerator is the first to support Intel's AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) 4X specification, claimed S3. And the company has also announced its first design win for the product: Diamond Multimedia, which will release a product based on the Savage4 in the second quarter of the year. Number Nine is believed to have licensed the technology too. Savage4 is the latest in the new generation of 128-bit graphics cards, led by ATI's recently released Rage 128 chipset. The S3 product offers 32-bit rendering, DirectX 6 texture compression, single-pass multitexturing, support for up to 32MB of video memory (though AGP also provides it with as much system RAM as its needs) and DVD playback. Savage4 will ship in two configurations: Pro and GT. The former is aimed in mid-range volume markets -- ie. 'must have the latest, fastest technology' gamers -- and supports up to 32MB of 143MHz memory. The Savage4 GT is a more mainstream part, supporting 16MB of 125MHz RAM. In short, the Pro will be gunning for 3Dfx/nVidia, while the GT will be targetting ATI. That said, even the GT looks set to outperform 3Dfx's forthcoming Voodoo 3, in both graphics and price. Voodoo 3, at least as far as the published spec. goes, supports just 16MB of RAM, and lacks the S3 chip-set's 32-bit texturing, texture compression and support for large 2K by 2K textures. It increasingly seems that, like so many market leaders, 3Dfx has rather taken its eye of the ball. We expect rapid changes to the Voodoo line-up, real soon. ®

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