For users who primarily use their system for Internet browsing, email, word-processing or the occasional game the Diamond Stealth III S540 Xtreme fits the bill. At 640x480x16 the S540 Xtreme board provides very playable frame rates above 30FPS in all of our tested games. If you are an avid game player who enjoys playing 3D games at resolutions above 640x480x16 and have the cash, then this isn't the board for you, go spend the money on a higher-end more expensive board.
There is plenty of competition in the low-end 3D graphics arena. For a $99 solution (S540 Xtreme will be sold for $129 minus a $30 rebate) it's competition in terms of price/performance will be the VD3 2000, ASUS Magic M64 and ATI Rage 128.
The S540 Xtreme loses to most of its competitors across the board in all our game benchmarks excluding Quake 3 Arena and some of the 32bit tests. But each of these lower-end boards including the Xtreme product provides playable (30FPS or greater) gaming at the lower 640x480x16 resolution. The S540 Xtreme is not going to blow your mind but the board will "put out" at lower resolutions. The only other drawbacks that we've encountered were driver issues in a select few applications. You can check out these issues in our "32 Graphic Card Meltdown - Part Two" article. For some people these issues are bad enough where a petition has been created on the net about it "Petition" . All in all though, we still think the S540 Xtreme has its place for the economy 3D gamer.
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