S3 Graphics Chrome 440 GTX 256 MB Review 51

S3 Graphics Chrome 440 GTX 256 MB Review

(51 User Comments) »

Introduction

S3 Graphics Logo


S3 Graphics is a graphics chips company in California which was founded in 1989. Over the years they produced numerous chipsets like the legendary S3 Trio and S3 Savage GPUs. They were bought by VIA in 2004 and their graphics knowledge was integrated into VIA's IGP chipsets. Their recent line of discrete GPUs is called the "Chrome 400" Series which features DirectX 10.1, Blu-Ray/HD-DVD decoding and HDMI+HDCP support.

Two Chrome 400 products are available at this time: the Chrome 430 GT and the faster Chrome 440 GTX. Both use the same 65 nm graphics chip, but the 440 GTX uses GDDR3 and higher clocks. Both cards are targeted at the entry-level segment, with possible uses in office systems or Home Theater PCs. Even though gaming is supported, don't expect anything beyond basic resolutions at medium detail settings.

S3
430 GT
S3
440 GTX
Radeon
HD 3850
Radeon
HD 3870
GeForce
9600 GT
GeForce
8800 GT
GeForce
9800 GT
Radeon
HD 4850
Shader units 323232032064112112800
ROPs44161616161616
GPUChrome 400Chrome 400RV670RV670G94G92G92RV770
TransistorsUnknownUnknown666M 666M505M 754M754M 956M
Memory Size256 MB256 MB256 MB 512 MB 512 MB 512 MB 512 MB 512 MB
Memory Bus Width 64 bit64 bit256 bit 256 bit 256 bit 256 bit 256 bit 256 bit
Core Clock625 MHz800 MHz670 MHz 777 MHz 650 MHz 600 MHz 600 MHz 625 MHz
Memory Clock500 MHz800 MHz828 MHz 1126 MHz 900 MHz 900 MHz 900 MHz 993 MHz
Price$54$69$99$125$90$140$160$170

Packaging & Contents

Package Front
Package Back

The package chosen by S3 is small but stylish. On the back you find all the product highlights. Giving four out of five stars in the gaming category is certainly a bit of an overstatement considering the high-end cards available on the market today.



You will receive:
  • Graphics card
  • Warranty document + Driver CD

The Card

Graphics Card Front
Graphics Card Back
Graphics Card Height

S3 has decided to go with a low-profile card which allows use of the card in small form factor media PCs. If you take a closer look the the PCB design, you will see a very simple cost effective design that does not use complex circuitry for voltages or anything else.

Monitor Outputs, Display Connectors

The card has one analog VGA, one DVI and one HDMI port. This configuration is certainly the optimum for a card in this segment. VGA to allow CRT users to use this card without going through the hassle of an adapter. Dual-link DVI for the LCD users and HDMI for all media PC scenarios.
Just like ATI, S3 has integrated an audio device on their card, so your big screen will receive an audio stream from the graphics card without the needs of an external audio in cable.

Graphics Card Teardown PCB Front
Graphics Card Teardown PCB Back

Here are the front and the back of the card, high-res versions are also available (front, back). If you choose to use these images for voltmods etc, please include a link back to this site or let us post your article.

A Closer Look

Graphics Card Cooler Front
Graphics Card Cooler Back

The cooler is really nothing more than a chunk of metal with a fan spinning in the middle. As our temperature tests show later it is absolutely sufficient for this card. However, I would have preferred to see a passive cooler, which I think is very possible given the low heat output of the GPU.

Graphics Card Power Plugs

The S3 Chrome 440 GTX does not need any external power source. It draws all power from the PCI-Express bus.

Graphics Card Memory Chips

S3 uses GDDR3 memory chips from Samsung with the model number K4J52324QE-BC12 which are exactly the same chips the "big" boys use on many high-end cards. In order to keep the cost reasonable, the memory chips have a slower access time of 1.2 ns (= 833 MHz).

Graphics Chip GPU

The GPU is among the smallest I have seen in recent times. It is made in a 65 nm process and has a die size of 85 mm².
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