Founded in 1984, Gainward started out making video cards in Taipei, Taiwan. Since then, they've grown rapidly and have worked with almost every major video chip manufacturer. Not many had heard of Gainward, partially due to their large OEM focus, but many of the "generic" video cards you find are in fact made by Gainward. Ever seen a CARDEXpert board? That's Gainward. Actually, they also do a lot of OEM manufacturing work for larger, better known video card manufacturers. They won't say who, but rest assured that the list includes some of the most famous video card manufacturers around.

A few weeks ago AnandTech took a look at our first Gainward products - a couple of motherboards, the i440BX 6IBA and i440ZX 6IZB. Those two boards didn't fare all that well, so we decided to check out the video card side of Gainward's business. As mentioned above, this is where they got it all started and where they are by far more successful.


Here are the full specs for the S3 Savage4 from S3. Since the Gainward is a straight up reference design, the general Savage4 specs apply.

High-Performance 2D/3D/Video Accelerator

  • Floating point triangle setup engine
  • Single cycle 3D architecture
  • 8M triangles/second setup engine
  • 128-bit rendering pipeline
  • 110M pixels/second trilinear fill rate
  • Full AGP 4X/2X, including sideband addressing and execute mode
  • S3 DX6 texture compression (S3TC)
  • Flat panel desktop monitor support
  • High quality DVD video playback

3D Rendering Features

  • Single-pass multiple textures
  • Hardware bump mapping
  • Full scene anti-aliasing
  • Anisotropic filtering
  • 8-bit stencil buffer
  • Single cycle trilinear filtering
  • 32-bit true color rendering
  • Specular lighting and diffuse shading
  • Alpha blending modes
  • MPEG-2 video textures
  • Vertex and table fog
  • 16- or 24-bit Z-buffering
  • Sprite anti-aliasing, reflection mapping, texture morphing, shadows, procedural textures and atmospheric effects

Motion Video Architecture

  • High quality up/down scalar
  • Planar to packed format conversion
  • Motion compensation for full speed DVD playback
  • Hardware subpicture blending and highlights
  • Multiple video windows for video conferencing
  • Contrast, hue, saturation, brightness and gamma controls
  • 60MHz VIP video port allows HDTV resolutions
  • Digital port for NTSC/PAL TV encoders

High Speed Memory Bus

  • 110/125 MHz memory interface
  • 2 to 32 MB frame buffer
  • 1Mx16 or 2Mx32 or 4Mx16 SDRAMs
  • SO-DIMM memory upgrade
  • Block write support

2D Acceleration Features

  • Highly optimized 128-bit graphics engine
  • Full featured 2D engine for acceleration of BitBLT, rectangle fill, line draw, polygon fill, panning/scrolling and hardware cursor
  • 8, 16, and 32 bpp mode acceleration

Flat Panel Desktop Monitor Support

  • 24-bit digital interface for flat panel encoders
  • Auto-expansion and centering for VGA text and graphics modes
  • Support for all resolutions up to 1280x1024

Full Software Support

  • Drivers for major operating systems and APIs: [Windows. 9x, Windows NT 4.0/5.0, Windows 3.x and OS/2. 2.1/3.0 (WarpTM), Direct3DTM, DirectDrawTM and DirectShowTM, OpenGLTM ICD for Windows 9x and NT]
  • Comprehensive SDK, utilities and ISV tools
  • ISV and bundling programs

Additional Features

  • 300MHz RAMDAC with gamma correction
  • I2C serial bus and flash ROM support
  • ACPI and PCI power management
  • Hardware and BIOS support for VESA timings and DDC monitor communications
  • PCI 2.2 bus support including bus mastering
  • 27x27mm PBGA with 336 balls
  • 2.5V core with 3.3V/5V tolerant I/O

As you can tell by the specs, the Savage4 already features a fully functional OpenGL ICD under Windows 9x and NT, a definite plus. The 300MHz integrated RAMDAC is seemingly standard among the big four manufacturers, 3dfx, NVIDIA, Matrox and S3, and it provides for an increasingly sharp 2D picture in comparison to the old Savage3D.

The Card
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