For the past few months, we've been hearing all about the S3's Savage2000 and how it would utterly crush the upcoming chipsets from ATI, NVIDIA, Matrox and 3dfx. Massive "fill-rates" and T&L performance numbers were being thrown around the net that would place this chipset beyond what anyone else was claiming at that point in time. During that timeframe, I was given the opportunity to take a sneak peek at the chipset (as reported in the S3 Savage 2000 preview ). I quickly realized that the Viper II would realistically be a competitor with a SDRAM GeForce, at best. I feel that the net had blown the comparison way out of proportion with ignorant speculation of the true fill-rate performance. Well the time has come for it to prove itself as we review S3's Diamond Viper II based on the Savage2000 (or S2000) chipset.
What Is The Viper II?
The Viper II is based on S3's latest chipset a .18 micron package that is supposed to offer on-board Transform & Lighting (T&L), hardware texture compression (S3TC), single-pass quad texture blending, hardware assisted DVD playback (through motion compensation and 16-tap upscaling/downscaling) and a reasonable price tag of $199.00 (USD). The board is running at 125 MHz core and 155 MHz memory speeds that are much lower than the anticipated 200 MHz speeds that were rumored to be released.