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S3 Launches 'Chrome' Mini-Notebook Graphics Chips

The chips support Microsoft's DirectX 10.1, which is the graphics technology in Windows Vista capable of 3-D rendering.
S3 Graphics, a lesser-known rival of Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices, on Wednesday unveiled a low-power graphics processor for mini-notebooks.

The Chrome 430 ULP, which stands for ultralow power, is one of a series of three graphics processors introduced by S3. The 430, which is designed for use in the ultraportable notebook category, runs on less than 7 watts.

The more powerful 435 ULP is for thin-and-light laptops that are larger than mini-notebooks, which are typically defined as systems with displays of 10 inches or smaller. The third processor in the series, the 440 ULP, can play back video with a resolution of 1080p, which is considered true HD media, such as Blu-ray movies. The chip is designed for notebooks offered as desktop replacements.

The chips support Microsoft's DirectX 10.1, which is the graphics technology in Windows Vista capable of 3-D rendering. In addition, the chips have graphics acceleration technology for leading video standards, including H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VC-1, WMV-HD, AVS, and AVC.

S3 also boasts its own power management technology, which it calls PowerWise. The firmware uses algorithms and power-control mechanisms to balance performance and power during data processing. The technology also adds to notebook battery life, the company said.

Fujitsu is listed as a customer of S3's latest products. The chipmaker's Chrome brand competes with Nvidia Geforce and ATI Radeon product lines.

S3 Graphics, is a VIA Technologies joint-venture company specializing in the 3D-enabled PC graphics market. In addition, the company integrates chipset technology from VIA into shared memory architecture products for the high-volume value PC market.