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For Immediate Release

S3d Advanced Graphics Technology First to Enable 3D in Mainstream PCs

Family of Products From S3 Delivers Fully-Featured 3D Graphics for as low as $40

Las Vegas, NV -- November 13, 1995 -- S3 Incorporated (NASDAQ: SIII) today introduced the first two members of its new ViRGE (Video and Rendering Graphics Engine) family, the ViRGE 64-bit graphics and video accelerators. Based on the company's advanced new S3d architecture, ViRGETM and ViRGE/VX TM are the first single-chip products to integrate 3D rendering, 2D GUI and video acceleration with a RAMDAC and clock synthesizer. With a rich feature set, affordable pricing and wide industry acceptance, the ViRGE family is the first to enable 3D graphics on mainstream PCs.

Today, S3 also announced that eleven add-in-card manufacturers, in addition to leading motherboard and systems manufacturers, have publicly committed support for the ViRGE and ViRGE/VX products. Typically, new technologies for PCs are adopted first by add-in card manufacturers. As technologies mature, they are adopted by system manufacturers as well. S3 is working closely with major system companies to incorporate ViRGE accelerators in their products.

S3 expects that consumers should see affordable 3D graphics add- in-cards based on the ViRGE family in the first quarter of 1996, while system vendors are expected to follow suit starting in the second quarter of 1996 with 3D-enabled motherboards and systems. More than ten major game developers and software publishers have already agreed to support ViRGE-based PC platforms as well, offering 1996 home PC consumers a wide variety of realistic, interactive 3D games titles. This wide base of support helps to establish S3's ViRGE family as the industry's first truly mainstream PC 3D solution.

The high level of integration, coupled with a production-proven 0.5 micron manufacturing process, allows S3 to deliver the rich ViRGE family feature set and performance at prices starting as low as $40. S3 believes this represents the lowest published price in the industry today for 3D acceleration with this list of features. Based on a bill-of-materials analysis, the ViRGE family pricing is expected to translate to the availability of full-featured 3D add-in-cards starting around $200. System costs for the end user are expected to increase by no more than a minimal $50 in the second half of 1996 for PCs incorporating ViRGE.

"Until now, 3D graphics on the PC have been neither realistic nor affordable", said Neal Margulis, vice president, home and advanced systems, S3 Incorporated. "Currently available rendering engines are either underwhelming in their 3D rendering capabilities or have been priced out of the mainstream. S3's new ViRGE family meets and surpasses the expectations of the PC market by delivering users rich, realistic 3D rendering. Combined with our affordable price points and wide industry support, the ViRGE family will enable 3D graphics on mainstream PCs and will enable the PC to become the platform of choice for electronic game-play in the home."

S3d Technology: Rich Feature Set Delivers Clearly Visible Benefits
According to company research, the S3d engine delivers more features on a single chip than any competitive 3D accelerator publicly announced to date. Its rich feature set allows images to approach photo- realistic quality and delivers the most compelling user experience for interactive 3D applications. S3d is a triangle-based polygon rendering engine which provides compatibility with standard APIs for easier game development. The S3d engine provides a very complete texture mapping capability that simultaneously adds significant realism and reduces overhead complexity. The S3d engine also provides direct support for utilizing live video as a texture map. S3d supports perspective correction and sophisticated modes like bi-linear filtering, MIP-mapping and tri-linear MIP-mapping to deliver images that are free of annoying visual artifacts like "sparkle" and "jaggies". Transparency allows realistic rendering of glass, water and plastic objects. Atmospheric effects such as fog and depth cueing enable the rendering of real-world environments.

Other advanced features of the S3d engine include compressed texture formats which lower RAM requirements and increase texture and image quality. The Z-buffering feature speeds up the removal of hidden surfaces, a common 3D operation. In addition, S3's MUX buffering (patent pending) feature allows for Z-buffering support without incurring the cost of dedicated Z-buffer memory.

ViRGE: Targeted for the Mainstream Home PC Market
The ViRGE 64-bit DRAM-based accelerator features an integrated 135 MHz RAMDAC and clock synthesizer, making this the only single-chip 2D, video and 3D graphics accelerator available today. ViRGE is SVGA-compatible so as to support legacy DOS applications and games and provides high- performance 2D GUI acceleration support for resolutions up to 1280 x 1024 x 256 colors at 75Hz. High-performance memory subsystem includes single-cycle support for 1-, 2-, and 4-Mbyte of 64-bit EDO (Extended Data Out) DRAM memory. In addition to the Intel® x86 family, other CPU architectures are supported. For example, the PowerPC is supported with big endian/little endian byte ordering and relocatable addressing.

ViRGE includes all the multimedia capabilities of S3's successful Trio64V+ accelerator. The Streams ProcessorTM provides video acceleration features including stretching and color space conversion that are required for full-screen video playback with both software CODECs (COders and DECoders such as Indeo, Cinepak, et al) and hardware MPEG-1 sources. Low cost, full motion 30 frames-per-second video and audio decoding are enabled via S3's Scenic HighwayTM connection to the Scenic/MX2 TM MPEG-1 audio and video decoder. Live video is supported as well by the ability to connect with popular NTSC and PAL video decoders.

The ViRGE accelerator accommodates industry-standard local bus support through a glueless PCI 2.1 bus interface with PCI bus mastering for display list processing and video capture support. In addition, the ViRGE accelerator supports a glueless VESA VL-bus interface and provides complete PC/Monitor Plug and Play Support.

S3 provides support for the ViRGE family with all major 3D APIs, including OpenGL, Microsoft Direct3D and RealityLab, as well as Argonaut BRender and Criterion Renderware. Drivers are provided for all major operating systems such as Windows95®, Windows 3.1, Windows NT® and OS/2® 3.0 Warp®.

Samples of ViRGE are available now in a 208-pin Plastic Quad Flat Pack (PQFP), with production shipments planned for Q1 1996. Pricing starts at $40 each in volumes of 10,000 pieces.

ViRGE/VX: Targeted for Arcade-level Games, PC-based CAD, and Large Screen Support
The ViRGE/VX product offers all of the same features as the DRAM-based ViRGE, but substitutes support for VRAM and WindowsRAM( (WRAM), and increases the integrated RAMDAC performance level to 220 MHz. Resolutions up to 1600x1200x16 million colors @ 75Hz are supported and higher memory bandwidth is enabled by the block write feature, with two independent 64-bit pixel buses and a choice of 2-, 4-, or 8-Mbytes of video memory. ViRGE/VX also supports other processors with packed 24 bits per pixel memory addressing with alpha pitching.

ViRGE/VX is offered for $65 each in 10,000-piece quantities. The product is packaged in a 388-pin Plastic Ball Grid Array (PBGA) package and is expected to sample before the end of calendar 1995. Production is expected to ramp in Q1 1996.

About S3
S3 Incorporated, headquartered in Santa Clara, California is a leading supplier of multimedia acceleration solutions for leading personal computer (PC) platforms and operating systems. S3 is committed to applying its expertise in audio, video and graphics acceleration hardware and software to create innovative and affordable products for the home, desktop and mobile markets.

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S3 and True Acceleration are registered trademarks of S3 Incorporated. The S3 corporate Logo, S3 On Board and the S3 On Board Logo, No Compromise Integration, No Compromise Acceleration, Innovations in Acceleration, Cooperative Acceleration Architecture, Streams Processor, Scenic Highway, DuoView, Galileo, SDAC, MIC, Native-MPEG, S3 801, S3 805, S3 PS805, S3 805i, S3 928, S3 928PCI, Aurora64V+, Trio, Trio32, Trio64, Trio64V+, Trio64UV+, Scenic/MX1, Scenic/MX2, Sonic/AD, ViRGE, ViRGE/VX, Vision64, Vision864, Vision964, Vision/VA, Vision866, Vision868 and Vision968 are trademarks of S3 Incorporated. Other notations of and are trademarks of their respective firms. All tradenames referenced are the service mark, trademark, or registered trademark of their respective manufacturers.


Attachment

Editors' Note: The following supporting information is available. To receive any of the following, contact Paul Crossley at (408) 980-5400 x3664 or email pcross@s3.com. This information is available only to credentialled press, industry analysts and financial analysts. Distribution of this information is at S3's discretion.

Contacts for Further Information
    1. Briefed Analysts Listing : Names and telephone numbers of analysts briefed on the announcement.
    2. Quote Sheet(s): Offers a quote from officials at each of the OEMs, Add-in-Card manufacturers and game developers who have publicly voiced their support of S3d.
Supporting Documentation
    Press Releases
    1. Business Press Release: Discusses significance on the PC market of the S3 announcement, and lists. Add-in-Card manufacturers and OEMs who have committed to date to incorporate S3d into their end products. Discusses game developers who have committed to port their games to S3d.
    Technical documentation
    1. Non-technical tutorial on 3D acceleration: Describes the definition and significance of various technical terms i.e.: texture mapping, flat or gouraud shading, etc.
    2. White Paper on the move of games to the PC platform.
    3. Competitive Matrix comparing features and affordability of various previously announced 3D solutions.
    4. Technical Product Overviews: 2-Page Technical overviews on ViRGE and ViRGE/VX.
    Electronic Information
    1. Video News Release: Video version of the announcement for electronic media. Includes a standalone XX-minute package and supporting B-roll and sound bytes.
    2. Video Demonstration of Various Technical Features: Visually describes the impact of S3's 3D technical features on the visual quality of 3D animation.
    Suppporting Graphics
    1. Photography: Full-color artistic representations of various technical features.
    2. Block Diagrams: System block diagrams on ViRGE and ViRGE/VX.

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