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 Articles & Reviews
  1. Khronos Group Announces Vulkan, OpenCL 2.1, SPIR-V
  2. Samsung 850 EVO SSD Linux Benchmarks
  3. Kubuntu 15.04 Is Turning Out Quite Nice, Good Way To Try Out The Latest KDE
  4. 5-Way Linux Distribution Comparison On The Core i3 NUC
  5. OCZ ARC 100 Linux SSD Benchmarks
  6. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Works Great As A Linux Ultrabook
Latest Linux News
  1. The Khronos Group's Vulkan, SPIR-V & OpenCL 2.1 Presentations
  2. Valve Developed An Intel Linux Vulkan GPU Driver
  3. Valve Starts Listing The Steam Machines In The Steam Store
  4. Ubuntu Will Start Booting With Systemd Next Monday
  5. A Brand New Linux Network Stack Proposed: Linux XIA
  6. Niche Drivers Get Ported To Atomic Mode-Setting For Linux 4.1
  7. openSUSE Tumbleweed Continues Ascending
  8. Open-Source SPIR-V Reader & Writer Written In Java
  9. LunarGLASS Adds Experimental SPIR-V Front-End
  10. The New Open-Source Linux Test Farm Is Almost Operational
Most Viewed News This Week
  1. Confirmed: Vulkan Is The Next-Gen Graphics API
  2. Xfce 4.12 Released After Nearly Three Years Of Work
  3. 8cc: A Small C11 Compiler
  4. Unreal Engine Made Free By Epic Games
  5. Canonical's Latest Demo Of Ubuntu Unity 8 Convergence In Action
  6. Mozilla Thunderbird Adoption Climbs, Thunderbird 38 In May
  7. VLC 2.2 "Weathermax" Brings Better VP9 & H.265 Support
  8. Features Coming For The Imminent Xfce 4.12 Release