S3 Graphics

S3 Graphics

S3 Graphics Device Drivers

S3 Graphics, Ltd was a company specializing in graphics chipsets. Although they do not have the large market share that they once commanded they still produce graphics accelerators for home computers under the "S3 Chrome" brand name. A lesser known competitor of the "Nvidia Geforce" and "ATI Radeon" card lines.

S3 was founded and incorporated in January 1989 by Dado Banatao and Ronald Yara. On March 5, 1993, S3 began an Initial Public Offering of 2,000,000 shares of common stock on Nasdaq. After several profitable years as an independent startup company, struggling with the transition to integrated 3D cards, S3 remodeled itself as a consumer electronics company and sold off its core graphics division to a joint venture with VIA Technologies for $323 million. The joint venture, S3 Graphics, continues to develop and market chipsets based on the S3 graphics technology.

The reformed company carried over a substantial cash pile from the profitable TRIO days and a successful investment in UMC, a Taiwanese semiconductor foundry. On November 15, 2000, S3 changed its name to SONICBlue and its NASDAQ stock symbol to SBLU. The new business model focused on digital media and information appliance opportunities. ReplayTV, Rio, and GoVideo were some of the brands developed. On March 21, 2003 SONICBlue filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 2004 the company was bought out by Via technologies, and the name was changed back to S3. They have since continued to produce graphics accelerators for home computers under the "Chrome" brand name. Such as the Deltachrome, Gammachrome, Chrome S27 and Chrome 440GTX.

S3 produces graphics cards primarily for PCs. While the earlier products such as the TRIO range were 2D only, later 3D functionality was added with the ViRGE and then Savage cards. More recently S3 chipsets have been sold as integrated VIA north bridge parts. However these units are also avaliable for PCI-E. The Chrome 440 series supports DX10.1, HD Bluray video, and 3D acceleration powerful enough to run most of todays games on moderate settings.