S3 Graphics Still Talks Up Linux Support, But Fails
Written by Michael Larabel in VIA on 12 February 2009 at 03:10 PM EST. 7 Comments
S3 Graphics has announced this afternoon the release of the Chrome 540 GTX, which they advertise as "The World's Most Connected Hi-Def Card" with its HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI connections. The Chrome 540 GTX runs at 850MHz, uses GDDR3 memory, and shares other features to the Chrome 530 GT that was introduced in the fourth quarter of 2008. In the press release announcing the S3 Graphics Chrome 540 GTX they once again mention Linux support... But is there any Linux support?

When it comes to Linux, mentioned in the Chrome 540 GTX press release is:

"DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 3.0 applications on Microsoft Windows and Linux platforms can be effectively run using the Chrome 540 GTX programmable shader cores to speed up 3D games, non-gaming rendering applications, and other visual processing functions using the built-in GPGPU engine."

They continue to talk up OpenGL 3.0 on Linux, and with the Chrome 540 GTX press release they even mention their GPGPU engine. This statement is similar to the announcement they made in the press release for the Chrome 530 GT. Back in November they mentioned Chrome 530 GT Linux support complete with OpenGL 3.0 and Blu-Ray / HD video playback. They even mentioned DirectX 10.1 and Linux platform support in the same sentence. However, they hadn't provided any Linux driver on their web-site.

A day later we heard back from S3 Graphics and was told they are working on a Linux driver. Benson Tao, the US PR representative for S3 Graphics, had shared they would publish a Chrome 530 GT Linux driver on their web-site by the middle of December and it would be accompanied by a beta OpenGL 3.0 driver. Well, in late December their Linux driver was still missing (not even an OpenGL 1.x or 2.x limited driver) and no sign of it coming.

After today's press release that once again mentions Linux support for the Chrome 500 series, is there finally a driver? Nope. There is a Linux driver for the Chrome 400 and 20 series, but nothing for either of their Chrome 500 series GPUs. Their Linux drivers for the older S3 Graphics ASICs are limited and for the Chrome 400 series their latest release is in fact their initial driver release ever made.

It's nice to see Linux mentioned in corporate press releases, but when in fact it's backed up by actual support. We have just sent off a note to S3 Graphics asking for another update on their Chrome 500 series Linux driver -- and whether it will still include OpenGL 3.0 and HD video playback support.

The Chrome 540 GTX press release can be found in the S3 Graphics press room.

About The Author
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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