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S3's Savage4 Accelerator First to Market with Intel's AGP 4X Technology
Diamond Multimedia Announces Plans to Deliver Savage4-Based Cards

Santa Clara, Calif. -- February 1, 1999 -- Setting the 1999 mainstream graphics standard, S3® Incorporated (Nasdaq: SIII) today announced its Savage4TM architecture featuring industry-first AGP 4X, superior DX6 texture compression (S3TC) and advanced digital flat panel display support. S3 also announced today its first major Savage4 design win with Diamond Multimedia Systems -- underlining the strong level of customer commitment already secured for this architecture.

"Given the substantial demand for Savage4 thus far, we expect to win a significant share of the mainstream OEM designs in 1999," said Ken Potashner, president and chief executive officer for S3 Incorporated. "Following our strategic agreement with Intel, Savage4 is the next major step toward S3's goal of graphics leadership."

Targeted at the commercial and consumer PC markets, Savage4 is designed to deliver 3D rendering capabilities equivalent to high-end, niche gaming solutions, as well as leading 2D graphics and video acceleration. Built around a new 128-bit super pipelined 3D engine, Savage4 provides AGP 4X technology, true 32-bit 3D rendering, S3TC, trilinear filtered single-pass multi-texturing, hardware accelerated DVD, 32MB memory support and complete digital flat panel support.

Savage4 Design Win with Diamond Multimedia

With the launch of Savage4, S3 and Diamond Multimedia have established a strategic partnership to bring today's hottest graphics technology to market at volume price points. Targeted at both retail and OEM markets, Diamond's first Savage4-based product is expected to provide a commanding solution for commercial, professional and gaming applications.

"Diamond and S3 are strong partners and we anticipate our Savage4-based product to be extremely successful in the OEM and retail channels," said Scott Vouri, vice president and general manager of Core Graphics at Diamond Multimedia. "With the capability to support AGP 4X and S3TC we believe we have a powerful feature set and look forward to bringing those benefits quickly to market."

The Volume Mainstream Solution for 1999

Spanning all volume mainstream PC price segments, Savage4 comes in two configurations: the Savage4 PRO and the Savage4 GT. Targeted for mid-range volume PC markets, the Savage4 PRO offers industry-first AGP 4X technology, 143MHz memory support and up to a 32MB local frame buffer, while the Savage4 GT offers AGP 2X technology, 125MHz memory support and up to a 16MB local frame buffer for low-end PC markets.

Based on its feature set, expected performance level and price point, S3 believes that the Savage4 accelerator is the mainstream graphics platform to beat in 1999.

"Savage4 takes S3 back to what it does best -- high-end performance and features at competitive price points and the stability that volume PC manufacturers require," said Jon Peddie, president, Jon Peddie Associates (Tiburon, CA.). "I expect to see Savage4 gain widespread market acceptance in 1999."

Industry-First AGP 4X Technology

As Intel's only announced AGP 4X Validation Partner, S3 has worked closely with Intel to deliver the industry's first AGP 4X solution. Combining this advantage with Savage4's design for an easy upgrade path from AGP 2X to AGP 4X, S3 enables PC and add-in card manufacturers to quickly bring AGP 4X solutions to market across a wide range of price and performance segments. Additionally, by combining S3's AGP 4X solution with S3TC, Savage4 provides a platform for software developers to create levels of 3D image quality and scene complexity that outstrip anything available for the PC market today.

Complete 3D Feature Set

Delivering stunning 3D performance and image quality, Savage4 incorporates the complete Microsoft DirectX 6 3D feature set as well as optimized support for Intel Pentium III and AMD K7 processors. Highlights of Savage4's comprehensive 3D technology includes:

  • Single-Pass Multi-Texturing for high performance special effects on top 3D titles such as Quake II, Unreal and Half-Life. Building on this technology, Savage4 also provides the industry's only simultaneous usage of single-pass multi-texturing and single-cycle trilinear filtering for even higher image quality.

  • S3TC/DX6 Texture Compression and Support for up to 2K x 2K Textures for photorealistic image quality in gaming, entertainment and business applications. Rapidly gaining industry support, S3TC has been widely adopted for use in 1999's top 3D titles, including Unreal and Unreal Tournament, Quake3 Arena, Half-Life, Anachronox, Expendable and TrueSpace4.

  • True 32-Bit Color Rendering for richer more vibrant colors in today's 3D applications. While pundits claim that 32-bit rendering cannot be done without a significant performance penalty, S3's Savage4 architecture proves otherwise, delivering true 32-bit rendering at full frame rates.

  • Stencil Buffer for the use of real-time shadows in games such as Unreal Tournament.

  • Streaming SIMD and 3DNow! Support for better overall 3D performance on Intel Pentium III and AMD K7-based systems.

"With its S3TC texture compression, fast 32-bit color rendering, multi-texturing and AGP 4X, Savage4 will bring Unreal engine games to unparalleled levels of quality and performance," said Tim Sweeney of Epic MegaGames. "We're especially thrilled about the amount of visual texture detail that S3TC enables in Unreal Tournament. This chip will seriously raise gamers' expectations in 1999."

32MB Workstation Class Memory Support

With support for up to 32MBs of SDRAM/SGRAM memory, Savage4's memory support enables higher resolutions and enhanced image quality for mainstream PC users. Advantages of support include use of higher resolutions for comprehensive monitor support, true color at all resolutions, triple buffering for improved performance and up to 16X oversampling for photorealistic image quality.

Advanced Digital Flat Panel Support

Driving the transition to next-generation desktop monitors, S3's Savage4 provides a complete solution for PC manufacturers building digital flat panel-based systems. Developed in conjunction with PC and panel manufacturer's support, Savage4's digital flat panel quality enhancements include support for up to 1280x1024 (SXGA) resolution and integrated scaling capabilities for extensive monitor support.

Hardware Accelerated DVD Playback

Building on the video quality and performance leadership of S3's Savage architecture, Savage4 delivers an optimal hardware accelerated DVD solution. Highlights include:

  • Second Generation Motion Compensation Engine delivers full DVD frame rates, while leaving the system with plenty of CPU bandwidth to run other applications.

  • Subpicture Alpha Blending and Highlights provide consumer-level DVD functionality.

  • TV-Out Support for use of large screen monitors.

In addition to this rich feature set, S3 has worked closely with numerous software DVD partners such as Mediamatics, Quadrant International, Xing, Cyberlink and Zoran -- as well as being a Microsoft Hardware Video Acceleration development partner -- to ensure industry-wide compatibility and optimized support for Savage4's DVD solution.

Pricing and Availability

Sampling now, Savage4 is scheduled to be in mass production during the second quarter of 1999. End-users should be able to purchase Savage4-based add-in cards during the same time period, as well as Savage4-based systems by the end of the third quarter of 1999. Savage4 is priced at $25 (USD) each in quantity of 10,000 units.

About S3 Incorporated

One of the largest suppliers of graphics and video accelerators in the world, S3 Incorporated has established itself as a market leader in technology excellence, core business strengths, strategic partnerships and worldwide reach. Building on these strengths, S3 is committed to delivering targeted products for the Personal Computer, Computing Integration and Consumer Appliance Markets


Except for historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release, such as statements as to future design wins and share of mainstream OEM design wins, Savage4's competitive advantages, Savage4's production schedule, and the availability of products incorporating Savage4, are forward-looking statements that are subject to risk and uncertainties, including the impact of competitive products and pricing and of alternative technological advances, the ability of the company's foundries to manufacture Savage4 products in a timely manner, market acceptance of the company's and its customers' new products, customers' product marketing timelines, design, competitive product and other factors that may affect current and potential customers' decisions to use Savage4 product, and other risks detailed from time to time in S3's SEC reports, including its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 1998. S3 is a registered trademark of S3 Incorporated. The S3 corporate logo and Savage4 are trademarks of S3 Incorporated. Other marks referenced herein are the property of their respective owners.

Copyright 1999 S3 Incorporated.
All rights reserved.