I bought this graphics card a few weeks ago,from Dixons,in a clearance sale for £30.Having a rather old and cranky pc,I thought this might make a good difference to the performance. Having an old motherboard without an AGP slot designed for the newer boards,I had to resort to the PCI slot solution.I was immediately impressed by the 32 MB of memory on board and what a difference it has made to my general windows and game experience.It also has a 300mhz savage processor (hence the name) This card can be tweaked in various ways;the software includes a program that allows the colours on your monitor to be more accurately printed out.Also included is a piece of Gamma correction software which allows you to tweak the lighting effects within your games. The main control panel is pretty thorough, there is the option to "overclock" the memory and graphic card speed settings to squeeze the last drops of power out of this card.This is worth a try as the higher settings merely make white dots and flicker appear on the screen.When this happens you can take the settings down bit by bit until the performance is at the maximum without the flicker. By far the biggest difference I have noticed with this card is the video playback.The software included on the CD has an MPEG program to allow smooth playback with DVD and CD video. It has made a huge difference to this on my PC,before the images were slow and jerky.Now the images are larger,smoother and sharper. I think that if,like me,you have an old dated PC with no AGP slot.Although it won't make your AGP owning mates green with envy,it will make a difference for you and your PC. If you have the opportunity to pick it up cheap then I would advise you do. I understand that there has been some problems with the compatibility of some games with this card.The creative site is pretty good on this issue,and tends to have all the latest drivers for this card.
The savage blaster 4 is the 3D card that I'm curently using in my PC at the moment. Apart from a spattering of games, I find that the card is very useful and gives me quite good peformance. You couldn't compare this card the the like of a GeForce 2 or something similair because it was designed and built at least a year before they we're built. If I had to chose between a Voddoo 3 3000 PCI and the savage 4 the savage 4 would win every time. Not only does it have more on board memory but in my opinion it gives better benchmarks.
i've had the card since it was first released, and i didn't get it to work without crashing for the first 6 months untill i brought a new motherboard to go with it, so compatability 1/5 the drivers are completely useless, eg. very slow in direct 3d and unstable in openGL and don't even think about using the s3 metal driver in unreal tournament! creative also have only ever realeased 2 drivers updates, one after a month and the next didn't appear untill 13 months later. also the only tech support you get is an email sent back containing bios settings to try and change. so support 0/5 the card is also very slow compared to other savage 4's, this is because the chip clock speed is 10% slower than every other manufacturer of savage 4 cards. don't think of ever running any game higher than 800x600 resolution at 16bit colour (even old games like quake2) so peformance 1/5 the only good thing about the card is that it is very cheap...
This card has taken a bit of stick along with its chipset, S3's Savage 4 but this is actually a very solid performing card particularly for its age and if you can find one will make the ideal replacement for that Voodoo 2 or Banshee with significant performance gains over these cards. Although the Creative version had dissappointing clock speeds at 110 MHz on the GPU in comparison with 125 MHz on Diamonds Stealth III also based on the Savage 4 chipset, this is a card worth considering if you have an older machine. A friend of mine (thepanther - Go and check his article out on the card) had one and used it on his K6-2 450 and played things like Quake 2, Half Life etc... with no problems whatsoever and I used to use a Savage 4 based card (Diamond Stealth III) and this served me very well in games like Quake II, Half Life, and at a push Unreal on the quicker levels. This should be considered for slightly older systems but in quicker systems 450-500 upwards, will soon become a bottleneck.
Many people put down this cards performance, but there are very few cards in it's price range that can out perform it. I work to a very strict budget for computer equipment (wife and five kids, spare any change guv') so when i needed o replace my no-name 4Mb AGP card, it was a tough choice. I had set myself a budget of £100 at the time which restricted me to mainly lower end versions (limited memory) of some 3DfX cards. Luckily though, i happened across the Savage 4 in a sale at Dixons for £49.99, so i snatched it up on the spot and have not looked back since. The card installed first time without a hitch on an AMD K6/2 333 system running Win '95. It comes with some impressive configuration software that lets you change everything from the standard monitor settings to overclocking the chip (at your own risk). The only game i have not been able to run since installing this card is 'constructor,' which is an old DOS game, but other than that i have happily run everything from the original doom through to Quake 3, Half life and Unreal tornement without any glitches at all. One thing i will concede is that it does lack performance at higher resolutions compared to the latest 3Dfx cards, but then again, they cost upwards of £150. The card i have runs at 110 Mhz, memory and processor speed, but can be clocked up to 143 Mhz. It also sports 32Mb of memory on board, more than enough for those large textures. Speaking of textures, the card also supports S3 texture compression, which is just now creeping into games support. It also has limited support for OpenGL applications. If you need a good card on a budget, you could do much worse than this for the price.
This card blew me away for all that it cost. The model I have is made by Creative Labs and costs only about £65 these days. Not bad to start with for a 32MB graphics card. My usualy test for these things is Unreal but it doesn't come with Direct-3D support as standard so I went hunting for an upgrade. I got it and also noticed that the upgrade had support for METAL inbuilt. I checked this out a little and found out that it's the proprietary 3D engine that the S3 cards use. Pleasant. Until I found that it simply wouldn't run. It kept crashing my machine. So I gave up on the METAL side of things and tried to work with the direct-3D stuff. Nice when it worked, actually spectacular when it worked. The drivers constantly either crashed though or simply stopped detecting on boot-up. Eventually I tracked this down to a VIAGART.VXD problem. I got the last one from my motherboard manufacturer and it's worked superbly ever since. I typically get 45 FPS with 32Bit colour in Unreal with my 600 MHz Athlon and 256MB of RAM. Not bad for a cheap card. Well for the money and I believe there's cheaper ones floating around for as little as £45. Nice buy.
I had a Creative Savage 4 a while back now when I was playing games such as Quake 2. I was also playing Half-life and games such as these ran very well on my old K6-2 450Mhz machine. I had one little problem with it though, that was the drivers, they were pretty poor to say the least, it took ages to install them and even then they had problems with games such as Unreal in the cards later stages. As I say about Unreal it wasnt just the graphics, the card its self was not up to much really, The graphics card just simply did not pull its own wieght on this type of game. Fps was pretty poor and when engaged in combat the game would get very jerky and unplayable. I do not think that this would be the drivers fault just the card was not powerfull enough to play this type of 3D intensive game. I dont think that this card is worth the money anymore, it retails around £50 now for a 32Mb version and for that you can get a TNT2 based card which is far better suited to today current games.
This card is the worst piece of junk I've ever had the misfortune to install in a PC. On paper, the specs don't look too bad - it's an old card, but compared to others in it's price bracket it looks really good - it has a weighty 32 meg of RAM (which was still pretty rare when it first came out), 32 bit colour, and was the first card on the market to handle texture compression (even now, the likes of 3dfx + Riva are just catching up with this technology). True, it's frame rate was a bit duff compared to it's competitors, but the price difference more than made up for this... it looked like an excellent budget card. The fact that it's stamped with the "Creative" brand is also very re-assuring, and may lull you into making a purchase. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! There is one major problem with this card. The drivers are absolutely appalling. I lived with this card for about 8 months, and found that virtually every new game was UNPLAYABLE out of the box; either the graphics would be corrupted, or the game would crash outright with no explanation - you'd have to wait 3 or 4 weeks for a new release of the drivers to come along and fix the problems. (and even then, you'd be left with severe glitches and flickers!) The final straw for me came when the manufacturers admitted that the (then) lastest version of the drivers interfeared with windows networking when you played Unreal Tournament and caused the system to crash!!! How can you expect to get away with selling a 3D card that doesn't even work with online games??? Maybe these problems have been resolved now, but I didn't hang around to find out. I got so frustrated one weekend that I ripped the card out, went down the shops and came home with a TNT 2. Life has been so much nicer since! DON'T BUY THIS CARD!