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S3 unveils its Cooperative Accelerator Architecture.

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 13, 1995--Continuing its commitment to bring leading edge functionality, features and performance to mainstream PC markets, S3 Inc. (NASDAQ: SIII) unveiled its Cooperative Accelerator Architecture solution.

The Cooperative Accelerator Architecture is the industry's first graphics, audio, and MPEG solution designed for the mainstream PC motherboard that intends to create a new quality and affordably baseline for multimedia on commercial and home desktop PCs.

The chipset is the industry's first multimedia acceleration solution with hardware support for the Microsoft Windows '95 DirectDraw feature set. S3's Cooperative Accelerator Architecture supports open industry standards intended to foster the growth of multimedia titles, improve ease-of-use and minimize overall system cost.

The new S3 solution couples TV-quality, full-screen, 30 frames per second (FPS) live video or MPEG video, CD-quality audio, broadcast-quality special effects and high-performance 2D graphics acceleration. The multimedia accelerator chipset delivers high-end video and graphics capabilities to the high-volume commercial and home desktop PC markets, allowing for motherboard implementations, end-user MPEG daughtercard upgrades for $100 or the complete solution for an estimated end-user add-in card list price of $250.

Historically, the "affordability barrier" for multimedia accelerator cards, graphics and video, has been at or below $250. The S3 solution can achieve this price point and includes hardware MPEG decoding, to enable high-quality playback of MPEG titles.

"With the Cooperative Accelerator Architecture S3 is able to offer our customers a powerful multimedia acceleration solution directly for the PC motherboard or for an add-in card that is approximately half the cost of current hardware solutions," said Gary Johnson, senior vice president of multimedia and mobile products for S3. "As a result of the extensive functionality and price model, we believe this architecture can change the paradigm for mainstream multimedia acceleration."

"By offering its Cooperative Accelerator Architecture as a motherboard solution, S3 has changed the standard for quality video on the mainstream desktop PC," said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a San Jose based market research firm. "Prior to S3's solution, hardware MPEG was often proprietary and restricted to high-end users, which hindered MPEG title development and PC market penetration."

S3's Cooperative Accelerator Architecture partitions the graphics/video acceleration, MPEG acceleration and audio functions to work in conjunction with today's CPUs to maximize performance and minimize cost. S3's Cooperative Accelerator Architecture consists of products designed to offer enhanced multimedia performance at cost-effective price points.

The S3 Cooperative Accelerator Architecture includes:

- S3 Trio64V+ 64-bit, DRAM-based, digital video-enabled integrated graphics and video accelerator, using S3's Streams Processor, with the industry's first hardware support for Microsoft Windows 95 DirectDraw. The Streams Processor combines video and graphics on the fly, delivering a new level of viewing quality and interactivity to the PC.

- S3 Scenic Highway interface, which is based on a defacto industry standard live video interface supported by multiple third-party video chips. This is extended by S3 to support bi-directional data transfer between the Trio64V+ and the S3 Scenic/MX2 MPEG audio/video accelerator.

- S3 Scenic/MX1 (PCI) and S3 Scenic/MX2 audio/video MPEG-1 decoder accelerators, whose design is optimized for today's PC platforms and applications.

- S3 Sonic/AD, programmable, sigma-delta audio DAC, S3's first audio product.

The S3 Cooperative Accelerator Architecture is intended to fulfill today's requirement for quality multimedia acceleration technology for the PC desktop market including the home. The three-chip solution uses the MPEG (Motion Picture Expert's Group) compression/decompression scheme. MPEG is able to condense up to seven times the amount of data, with higher quality, over other codecs and it is an open international standard. With the acceptance of MPEG to bring multimedia to the desktop PC, there has emerged a demand for TV-quality video and CD-quality audio. Today's PC also requires that these audio/video features be integrated with high-performance 2D graphics acceleration and affordable to the mainstream consumer. Given these requirements, S3 has developed an architecture designed to cost-effectively offer PC users viewing and listening quality, interactivity, support for open standards and affordability.

The S3 Cooperative Accelerator Architecture offers PC users high-quality display and audio technology. Currently available, price-sensitive multimedia solutions have generally compromised quality. Software codec solutions have had limited frame rates and reduced colors. Scaling has also been compromised as full-screen video often appears jagged and blocky. In addition to viewing quality, audio quality has been compromised, as cost-sensitive users are confronted with mono audio that is not properly synchronized with the video display. The requirements for viewing and listening quality are TV-quality, high-resolution, full-screen video and high-quality audio.

The S3 Cooperative Accelerator Architecture offers user 24-bit color (16.7 million colors), bi-linear scaling up to full-screen, 30 FPS video acceleration, and CD-quality audio with hardware-assisted synchronization. In addition to MPEG decompression, the S3 Scenic/MX1 and S3 Scenic/MX2 provide hardware assisted audio and video synchronization support. The decompressed audio is transmitted to the S3 Sonic/AD, which outputs stereo, 16-bit, CD-quality analog audio. The Sonic/AD incorporates a programmable clock generator, allowing for on-the-fly changes in the sampling rate. In addition, this supports audio file requirements for sampling rates other than those of the MPEG standard.

Viewing quality is handled by the S3 Trio64V+, which leverages its 135 MHz integrated RAMDAC technology and the Streams Processor to overlay 24-bit, high-resolution, full-screen video (which is color space converted to RGB) without changing the current graphics mode (even in 8bpp graphics mode). The Streams Processor also supports hardware double buffering, which allows for "tear free" video playback. The Streams Processor seamlessly integrates the graphics and video streams to bring a new level of viewing quality and interactivity to the PC desktop.

S3's Cooperative Accelerator Architecture leverages the S3 Streams Processor and the S3 Scenic Highway to offer users broadcast-quality effects and interactivity. Current low-cost hardware acceleration solutions cannot mix graphics, MPEG and live video at high resolutions. Today's mainstream solutions only focus on maximizing 2D performance, but tend to provide limited support for interactive effects, limiting the ability to play feature-rich games under Windows. The requirements for high-quality interactivity are accelerated special effects, hardware MPEG, high-bandwidth video interconnectivity and rapid system response time.

The S3 Cooperative Accelerator Architecture provides broadcast quality special effects, hardware MPEG, 24-bit video over graphics at any color depth. With the Streams Processor technology, PC software can be enhanced with transparent video, color keying (graphics on video), chroma keying (video on graphics), stretching, filtering and games acceleration using "sprites" and transparent BitBLTs. The Streams Processor technology blends and filters video and graphics on-the-fly in the same frame buffer, minimizing cost, to enable interactivity and maximize performance.

The S3 Scenic/MX1 and Scenic/MX2 provide cost-effective, hardware MPEG-1, video and audio decompression at 30 FPS. The Scenic/MX1 targets the add-in card market, using the PCI local bus. The Scenic/MX2 connects to the S3 Trio64V+ via the S3 Scenic Highway, directly on a motherboard or using a credit-card sized upgrade daughtercard. The S3 Scenic Highway offers a high-speed bi-directional protocol that couples video and graphics to improve system performance and interactivity.

The Trio64V+'s 64-bit graphics engine fulfills the requirement for rapid system response time. The graphics engine is based on the industry-leading Trio64 engine and provides full acceleration for graphics operations including BitBLTs, line draws and high-speed text and fills. The Trio64V+ is also the first multimedia accelerator to utilize the complete Windows 95 DirectDraw feature set for 2D graphics and video.

S3's Cooperative Accelerator Architecture offers support for open industry standards with the goals of furthering the growth of multimedia titles, improving ease-of-use and minimizing overall system cost. Today's MPEG solutions use proprietary encoding schemes that limit the amount of available content and are not user-friendly. In addition, current multimedia solutions have limited connectivity to existing consumer electronic devices. Standard requirements for multimedia solutions include: an industry standard for MPEG APIs, a low-cost video interconnectivity standard, an industry standard audio bus and standards for multimedia OSes, a system bus and power management.

S3's Scenic/MX1 and Scenic/MX2 are compatible with the Open MPEG (OM/1) consortium's standard for MPEG. This open standard enables independent hardware and independent software vendors to enable MPEG applications to run on MPEG hardware.

S3's chipset is believed to be the first of its kind to integrate a defacto industry standard video bus used by companies such as Philips and ITT to minimize system cost. This interfaces the S3 Trio64V+ with a third-party TV tuner, camcorder, laser disc or camera, enabling live video on the PC. In addition, S3 has extended this with a bi-directional interface to its Scenic/MX2 MPEG decoder, enabling low-cost, high-quality MPEG video on the PC. Together, these high-speed interfaces are called the S3 Scenic Highway. The S3 Sonic/AD also connects to the Scenic/MX2 (or Scenic/MX1) via the I2S defacto standard audio bus developed by Philips.

S3's Cooperative Accelerator Architecture supports Microsoft's Windows 95, Windows 3.1, DOS and IBM's OS/2 Warp operating systems for advanced multimedia functionality and compatibility. The chipset supports all of the Windows 95 DirectDraw API standards and will support IBM's ENDIVE API. In addition, the S3 Cooperative Accelerator Architecture is plug and play compliant to increase ease-of-use and ensure compatibility.

The S3 multimedia chipset supports the PCI and VESA Local busses. The Cooperative Accelerator Architecture also supports power management via the "Green PC," VESA DPMS.

S3's Cooperative Accelerator Architecture offers TV-quality, full-screen, 30-frames-per-second (FPS) live video or MPEG video, CD-quality audio, broadcast-quality special effects and high-performance 2D graphics acceleration specifically designed for PC motherboards or for an all-in-one estimated add-in card list price of $250. This unprecedented price model is intended to enable the Cooperative Accelerator Architecture and MPEG-1 to raise the standard for multimedia quality for the desktop business and home PC markets. Today's low-cost solutions tend to rely upon software, and can leave users to cope with jerky motion in small sized clips with tinny sound.

The S3 Cooperative Accelerator Architecture can achieve its low-cost through the S3 Scenic Highway, which eliminates unnecessary, expensive glue logic. The Scenic Highway also enables a low-cost upgrade to MPEG or live video. Today's solutions that offer MPEG functionality can cost users $200-$400 and won't support the extensive graphics and video functionality found in the Cooperative Accelerator Architecture. However, an end-user that already has a video-enabled S3 multimedia accelerator, such as the S3 Trio64V+, can add S3's MPEG solution for an estimated cost of $100, via an add-in card or motherboard daughtercard.

Samples of the S3 chipset products are available now. The S3 Trio64V+ is packaged in a 208-PQFP (plastic quad flat pack). The S3 Scenic/MX1 and Scenic/MX2 products are packaged in 128-PQFPs. The S3 Sonic/AD is packaged in a 28-PLCC (plastic leadless chip carrier). The Cooperative Accelerator Architecture will be in production in the third quarter of this year. The S3 Trio64V+ is priced at $32 for 10,000 units. The S3 Scenic/MX1 and the S3 Scenic/MX2 are priced at $35 for 10,000 units and the S3 Sonic/AD is priced at $3.85 for 10,000 units.

S3 Inc. is dedicated to applying acceleration technology to create a natural PC interface. A publicly held company, S3 combines silicon and software to accelerate graphics and video for leading PC platforms and operating environments. -0- Note to Editors: A formal press conference was held regarding this material. It can be heard 24 hours a day until 5 p.m. PDT, June 20, 1995, by calling 800/839-4174.

S3 and True Acceleration are registered trademarks of S3 Inc. 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, Galileo, SDAC, MIC, Native-MPEG, S3801, S3 805, S3P805, S3 805I, S3 928, S3928PCI, Trio, Trio32, Trio64, Trio64V+, Scenic/MX1, Scenic/MX2, Sonic/AD, Vision64, Vision864, Vision964, Vision/VA, Vision 866, Vision868, and Vision968 are trademarks of S3 Inc. Other notations of TM and R are trademarks of their respective firms.

CONTACT: S3 Inc.

Anne Banta, Andrew Logan, 408/980-5400
COPYRIGHT 1995 Business Wire
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 13, 1995
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