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S3 offers affordable graphics card for home theater

The new Chrome 540 GTX GPU from S3 offers high media playback performance at an affordable price.

Hard-core gamers might laugh at this, but if you have a budget PC that you want to upgrade cheaply to be a media center that can play high-definition content on the big TV screen, then S3 Graphics has something for you.

S3 Graphics

The company announced Thursday the latest addition to its power-efficient Chrome 500 Series graphics processor family, the 850MHz DDR3-based Chrome 540 GTX GPU. The new GPU is capable of handling dual-stream Blu-ray and HD videos. It features a DisplayPort digital interface and HDMI and dual-link DVI and therefore supports connectivity to the latest digital monitors and HDTVs.

The new 540GTX GPU supports DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 3.0 for both Windows and Linux platforms. However, the card only can handle non-gaming rendering graphic applications well.

On the other hand, the card incorporates a high-performance ChromotionHD 2.0 video processor unit, advanced filtering, and clear-image post-processing. This means it can efficiently decode MPEG-4/AVC (H.264), MPEG-2, and VC-1 for Blu-ray and HD video. Furthermore, the Chrome 540 GTX features PowerWise technology for Green Computing that reduces the heat, supposedly without compromising performance.

The card will ship bundled with WinDVD 8 for Blu-ray playback at no extra cost. Video cards based on the new GPU are now available with prices that vary depending on configuration. Nevertheless, they will cost much less than the higher priced cards from vendors such as Nvidia or ATI.