iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






September'2001 3Digest
S3 Savage2000

By Andrey Vorobiev

This chip is presented by Diamond Viper II Z200 32 MBytes, AGP videocard.


  • S3 Savage2000 chip, 125 MHz clock rate;
  • 32 MBytes SDRAM memory in four SEC 7ns microchips, 143 MHz clock rate, 128- bit bus;
  • Peak speed of scene drawing in multitexturing mode is 250 megapixels/sec and 500 megatexels/sec.

We want to thank S3 Mafia for the slightly changed card they presented for our tests. It was tweaked up to 165/195 and even 165/200 MHz (see summary diagrams).

And, in general, cards based on Savage4/Savage2000 are in the decline nowadays as no one releases new drivers for them, and thus the technical support is getting worse and worse. We'll continue to review new 'cocktails' from old drivers, but it's clear that the reliability of this cards on new platforms has to be supported by completely new drivers, that is unlikely. Thus we are forced to put these articles into archives.

For the 20th of June'2001 the last drivers version is JGC 3.05.

You can see that situation varies from one version to another, but perfomance gets lower with higher versions. And the latest version from S3 (instead of Diamond) is just the worst. Those guys spoiled Savage4, laid their hands on this one and then left both of them unsupported :-(. Therefore you should use version up to 9.51.09 if you have i815, or 9.51.03 version for other platforms. And I must note that AGP 2x on this card needs to be forced if using the latest drivers.

Last version drivers work not more than fair via S3 Metal API in Unreal (lots of bugs):

In addition, the given API doesn't allow to test modes better than 1024X768X16, so Unreal testing was performed only through Direct3D. But there were some problems as well, you can take a look at them in the Screenshot gallery.

In general we have good gameplay in Quake3 (perfect with a tweaked card), but with some visual bugs in 3D. Need For Speed: Porshe 2000 functioned with some artefacts such as missing fog and lighting bugs:

In Unreal Tournament (S3 Metal API) the card is perfect and even little artefacts don't seem to spoil big textures. And not only S3 cards support big textures in UT nowadays. In reports about NVIDIA GeForce256, GeForce2 you can read about S3TC support and also look at the screenshots of S3TC activated through OpenGL.

I advise you to read about S3TC influence on speed and perfomance, because S3TC realization in OpenGL is important nowadays, and it shows good results.

You can compare screenshots with reference ones (NVIDIA GeForce3).

Games / Cards 1 2 3 4 5 6
S3 Savage2000


Games / Cards 7 8 9 10 11 12
S3 Savage2000


Games / Cards 13 14 15 16 17 18
S3 Savage2000


Games / Cards 19 20 21 22 23 24
S3 Savage2000

Game list:

  1. Quake3
  2. Unreal
  3. Unreal Tournament
  4. No One Lives Forever
  5. Serious Sam
  6. Colin McRAE Rally2
  7. American McGee's Alice
  8. Mercedec Benz Truck Racing
  9. Sacrifice
  10. F.A.K.K. 2
  11. Need For Speed V (Porshe 2000)
  12. Real MYST
  13. Blade of Darkness
  14. Giants
  15. 3DMark2001: Game1
  16. 3DMark2001: Game2
  17. 3DMark2001: Game3
  18. 3DMark2001: Game4
  19. 3DMark2001: Dot3
  20. 3DMark2001: EMBM
  21. 3DMark2001: Vertex Shaders
  22. 3DMark2001: Pixel Shaders
  23. Black & White
  24. Undying

3DMark2001 Game2 and Game3 lack some textures:

Heavy Metal: FAKK2 presents some strange artefacts (look at he crate). Sacrifice behaves weird, you can play it with default settings, but if you try to enter the settings menu, the game will crash to OS without any error messages. Thus Sacrifice isn't playable in Savage2000 for now. Colin McRAE Rally2 will lack a number of textures if you set their level to high. The same with Giants. And to continue the theme of incorrect lighting realization in Need For Speed, here's a shot from Blade of Darkness:

Look at the torch. No comments.

I shall mark that trilinear filtering is disabled when multitexturing is enabled, but if you turn multitexturing off, trilinear filtering will be enabled.

2D quality is fair enough. In 1280x1024 and higher resolutions you can notice as scene "soaps" so to say.

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