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S3 chip

A graphics accelerator chip used by many manufacturers of PC graphics cards. See SONICblue.


(SONICblue Inc., Santa Clara, CA) A former consumer electronics company that offered Rio MP3 players, ReplayTV recorders, home networking and modems, graphics cards and Web appliances.

Founded in 1989 as S3 Corporation by Dado Banatao and Ronald Yara, it was a major player in graphics chips, launching the first GUI accelerator in 1991 and single-chip 3D accelerator in 1995. ViRGE, Savage and Trio3D chips were used in numerous third-party graphics cards. In 1999, S3 acquired Diamond Multimedia Systems, maker of PC graphics cards and the Rio MP3 player. It also acquired the high-quality graphics assets of Number Nine Visual Technology.

In 2000, S3 sold its chip business to Via Technologies renaming itself SONICblue. In 2003, the company declared bankruptcy, and its Rio and ReplayTV business units were sold to Tokyo-based D&M Holdings, Inc., specialists in home theater and audio, including Denon, Marantz and Boston Acoustics brands.

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