I just got my hands on an S3 Savage4, so I decided to put it through the usual trials. For the purposes of this test, the Savage4 was placed in this Celeron rig. It will face off against my GeForce4 Ti4200 which resides in this AthlonXP system. All tests were performed under Windows 98SE with DirectX 9.0c. No unofficial service packs or any third-party hacks were used.
One quick note about the Savage4 drivers. I originally wanted to use the latest version available from here. However, my particular card suffers a BSOD when those drivers are installed. Therefore, I had to settle for an older version from the A-Trend Savage4 driver CD which Phil graciously hosts on his website.
Graphics cards tested:
- Nvidia GeForce4 Ti4200 using Nvidia reference drivers version 40.72
- S3 Savage4 using drivers from the A-Trend CD version 4.11.01.8005-8.06.01 (dated 7-1-1999)
- Final Fantasy VIII Demo - you can download the free demo from here
- Thief II: The Metal Age - retail CD version with the latest official patch 1.18 applied
Final Fantasy VIII configuration program
As expected, the config tool detects paletted texture support on the GeForce4. Interestingly, the Savage4 also gets a "Pass". But let's see how things look in the actual game.
Final Fantasy VIII options menu
To access this screen, start a new game, then press "D" to open the menu, move the cursor to "Config" using the arrow keys, and finally press "X" to open it. On the GeForce4, the menu colors are rendered perfectly, as expected. As a pleasant surprise, the Savage4 also renders this menu correctly. There is some dithering on the Savage4 screenshot that isn't present on the GeForce4 screenshot, but the menu colors do look as intended, and not washed out like on ATi and Matrox cards. This indicates that the Savage4 properly supports paletted textures.
Thief II Mission 11: Precious Cargo
Table fog does work on the Savage4, but it is rendered differently compared to the Nvidia, Matrox and 3DFX cards. The fog effect looks much more subtle on the Savage4. It seems that S3 implemented this feature in a somewhat unique way. Still, it does work, without needing any extra tweaks, so that's a decent result for the Savage4.