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. The Power Consumption & Efficiency Of Open-Source GPU Drivers
  2. AMD R600g/RadeonSI Performance On Linux 3.16 With Mesa 10.3-devel
  3. Intel Pentium G3258 On Linux
  4. SilverStone Precision PS10
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Nouveau vs. Radeon vs. Intel Tests On Linux 3.16, Mesa 10.3-devel
  2. KVM Benchmarks On Ubuntu 14.10
  3. X.Org Server 1.16 Officially Released With Terrific Features
  4. Ubuntu With Linux 3.16 Smashes OS X 10.9.4 On The MacBook Air
Latest Linux News
  1. Git 2.1 To Further Mainline Windows Support Patches
  2. Debian 8.0 Jessie Is Settling For Linux 3.16
  3. Meson: A Next-Gen Build System Showing Promise
  4. Linux 3.16-rc7 Calms Things Down For The Linux 3.16 Kernel
  5. Open-Source AMD Users Report Hawaii GPU Acceleration Is Working
  6. Linus Torvalds On GCC 4.9: Pure & Utter Crap
  7. Cauldron 2014: GCC & LLVM Will Look To Collaborate More
  8. GCC Receives ACM Programming Languages Software Award
  9. KDE 4.14 Beta 3 Released
  10. A New Video Has Us Real Excited About The New UT For Linux
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. ASRock AM1H-ITX: One Of The Best AM1 Mini-ITX Motherboards
  2. Debian + radeonsi
  3. Open-source drivers on ATI R7 260X
  4. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  5. Table test
  6. How To Setup Radeon DPM On Ubuntu Linux
  7. New build, first Linux PC, what could go wrong? ;)
  8. AMD "Hawaii" Open-Source GPU Acceleration Still Not Working Right