S3 GammaChrome S18 Pro Video Card Review :: The Card

04-26-2005 · Category: Hardware - Video Cards

By Benjamin Sun
S3 GammaChrome S18 Pro
S3 GammaChrome S18 Pro Video Card Review
ModelGammaChrome S18 Pro
Graphics ChipS18
Graphics Memory TypeDDR
Memory (MB)256
Graphics Core Clock (MHz)400
Memory Clock (MHz)350
Memory Speed (ns)2
RAMDAC Frequency (MHz)Dual 400
Active Cooling on Graphics ChipYes
Heatsink on MemoryYes
Video CaptureNo
Dual Monitor SupportYes
Video In and OutTV Out
Package and Support
Printed ManualYes
Driver CDYes
Performance Tool SoftwareNo
Major GamesNo
Major SoftwareNone
VR GlassesNo
DVD Player SoftwareWinDVD
Video Recording SoftwareN/A

The first thing about the card I noticed was the funky looking box. The box is the first thing you see when you are looking at a video card on the retail store. VIA decided to put their GammaChrome S18 Pro logo on the top of the box. The cover has a cool looking dude with headphones and a pair of sunglasses in sketch form. The rear of the box has a description of the features of the card and a few pictures of games and applications to show off the features. One thing that S3 did that was especially gratifying was the side panel had a systematic easy install pictorial on how to install a video card. If you are experienced with installs, this is not an issue. For newbie's this is a good feature of the box.

The card itself is a rather short looking PCB. It is approximately one inch longer than the PCI Express X16 slot on a Foxconn 925X motherboard. The cooling fan is a 13-fin radial fan. The heat sink covers the majority of the rest of the card, including the memory chips. S3 has adorned the heat sink with the same dude that is on the front cover of the box for the card.

S3 GammaChrome S18 Pro Video Card Review Cooling


One nice thing about the card is the lack of a need of an external power supply connector. Many cards on the market today require a 6-pin power connector for power above the 75 watts the PCI Express X16 slot provides. There are 4 capacitors around the area where the power connector would normally be placed. The fan lights up with a blue light when power is applied to the video car. The input and output ports on the card are the standard DVI-I, D-Sub and TV-Out found on virtually every video card today.

S3 GammaChrome S18 Pro Video Card Review Back


S3 GammaChrome S18 Pro Video Card Review I/O


S3 GammaChrome S18 Pro Video Card Review Front Corner

Front Corner

The Bundle

  • S3 GammaChrome S18 Pro card
  • Driver CD
  • InterVideo WinDVD 5
  • 4 antistatic straps
  • TV-Out Cable
  • DVI-I to D-Sub adapter

The bundle is important to me in some respects. S3 includes InterVideo's WinDVD program. I use this program every day to play DVDs on my PC. Unfortunately, S3 did not include any games in the bundle. Hardware wise the S18 Pro came with 4 antistatic straps, a TV-Out Cable and a DVI-to-D-Sub adapter allowing dual monitors to be used. All in all a somewhat lackluster package is to be found in the box of the S18 card, but it is enough to get you up and going with the card so its function before form in this case.

S3 GammaChrome S18 Pro Video Card Review WinDVD


S3 GammaChrome S18 Pro Video Card Review Bundle