1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Linux Consumers Should Still Avoid S3 Graphics

Hardware

Published on 11 November 2012 08:38 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware
15 Comments

Whenever writing about VIA Technologies on Phoronix, S3 Graphics always comes to mind due to its relations with HTC and VIA. In fact, it's the only time that S3 Graphics usually ever comes to my mind aside from when talking about S3 Texture Compression. Anyhow, after writing this morning about the VIA KMS driver still not being mainline, it's worth reminding uninformed Linux users that S3 Graphics products remain poorly supported under Linux.

Even for Microsoft Windows users, S3 graphics cards remain quite rare these days on modern systems. S3 Graphics still has the Chrome 500/400 series as well as the Chrome 20 series, but they are hard to find in new PCs and it can be difficult to still even find them for sale. For a brief time, S3 Graphics on Linux looked a bit interesting when they were advertising a magical GPU Linux driver that offered Blu-ray support, DirectX 10.1, OpenGL 3.0, and NVIDIA VDPAU support under Linux. They were working on a new Linux driver and it did indeed comply with OpenGL 3.0~3.1 on supported hardware and supported NVIDIA's VDPAU API for hardware-accelerated video decoding.

They did release a few Linux GPU driver updates but nothing got better from there. The company's latest Linux driver for 32-bit and 64-bit platforms is version 14.05.02, which made its debut in September of 2011. This driver update simply offered up bug-fixes. Since last September, S3 has updated their Windows XP, Vista, and 7 drivers, but the Linux driver hasn't seen any new release.

With the unstable API/ABI for the X.Org Server and Linux kernel, this S3 binary driver from 2011 will certainly not work on any modern Linux desktop installation using the newer kernel/xorg-server.

Aside from the binary blob, there isn't any proper open-source S3 Graphics driver for their modern Chrome graphics adapters. Like the VIA hardware, you should avoid S3 Graphics if you are a Linux user since their driver support is now even worse off. The latest S3 Graphics products also aren't anything compelling at the hardware level compared to modern Intel/AMD/NVIDIA GPUs where you will find much better Linux performance and support.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. A Walkthrough Of The New 32 System Open-Source Linux Benchmarking Test Farm
  2. Habey MITX-6771: Mini-ITX Board With Quad-Core J1900 Bay Trail
  3. OCZ Vector 150 SSD On Linux
  4. Noctua i4 CPU Cooler: Great For Cooling High-End LGA-2011v3 CPUs
Latest Linux Articles
  1. AMD Kaveri: Open-Source Radeon Gallium3D vs. Catalyst 14.12 Omega Driver
  2. 12-Way AMD Catalyst 14.12 vs. NVIDIA 346 Series Linux GPU Comparison
  3. AMD Catalyst 14.12 Omega Driver Brings Mixed Results For Linux Users
  4. 6-Way Winter 2014 Linux Distribution Comparison
Latest Linux News
  1. Details On Using OpenACC & GPUs With GCC
  2. Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha 1 For Its Various Flavors
  3. Git 2.2.1 Released To Fix Critical Security Issue
  4. WTFTW: A Tiling Window Manager Written In Rust
  5. Jolla's Sailfish OS Update 10 Is Now Available
  6. HP To Launch Linux++ Operating System Next Year
  7. Civilization: Beyond Earth Launches For Linux
  8. NIR Has Been Revised As A New IR For Mesa
  9. New 64-bit Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities Disclosed This Week
  10. PostgreSQL 9.4 Brings JSONB & Many Other New Features
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. XLennart: A Game For Systemd Haters With Nothing Better To Do
  2. Debian init discussion in Phoenix Wright format
  3. Bench specific mount point
  4. Tool for measuring FPS in games
  5. Need some hand holding with upgrading xserver
  6. Ubuntu Developers Still Thinking What To Do About Adobe Flash Support
  7. Microsoft buying Mojang
  8. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers