News Reviews Forum Contact About Links Advertise
    





HotHardware
Is Hosted By!



 

ATi's All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro Unveiled
Just When You Thought It Couldn't Get Any Better

By: Jeff Bouton
August 5th, 2003

 
It's hard to believe that ATi pioneered the TV/Video card with their All-In-Wonder product line and years later we find little competition in sight aside from nVidia's Personal Cinema line.  Perhaps the lack of real competition is due to ATi virtually mastering the TV/Video card concept by offering high end video solutions with equally high end graphic capabilities.  Over the years, ATi has continued to increase the value of the All-In-Wonder line by including a Remote Wonder with each model since the All-In-Wonder 7500 was introduced.  Another strength is ATi's Multimedia Center software.  Multimedia Center 8.6 is a fully functional software package, eliminating the need for third party software to access all of the cards features.  It's details like this that give ATi the edge to stay on top and keep any competitors at bay.  But don't think for a second that ATi would get complacent and ride the wave of success for as long as they could.  Even though they run the TV/Video card market virtually unabated, they still go at the business as if there was a aggressive competitor nipping at their heels.

Today we will take a look at the latest release from ATi, the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro.  You may think that this is a simple mid-range All-In-Wonder that fits nicely between the All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro and the All-In-Wonder 9000 Pro, but you would be wrong.  ATi took their latest model to the mat and added new features not seen on any other All-In-Wonder, making it the most desirable All-In-Wonder to date for casual gamers.  While ATi is not quite ready to release the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro to the reviewing public, we were provided with a fair share of information to whet your appetite.  In the next few pages we'll highlight some of the features of the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro, Multimedia Center 8.6 and the new Remote Wonder II.  When the review sample arrives, we'll update this piece with a closer look at the complete package, the card and the much anticipated benchmarks.
 

Features of the All-In-Wonder RADEON 9600 Pro
Is That Dual Monitor We See?



  

Click to Enlarge

NOTE:  These specifications were copied from a standard Radeon 9600 Pro video card with the All-In-Wonder's features added at the end.  ATi has not released any detailed specifications of the card, leaving us to use these as a "projection" of what's to come.  When the review sample arrives we will update any information needed to accurately reflect the features of the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro.   
 

GRAPHICS TECHNOLOGY

  • RV350 Visual Processing Unit (VPU)

  • Core Clock Speed 400MHz - unconfirmed

MEMORY CONFIGURATION

  • 128MB of DDR RAM

  • 300MHz DDR / 600MHz Effective Speed - unconfirmed

  • 128-bit Memory Interface

3D GRAPHICS FEATURES

  • Four parallel rendering pipelines process up to 1.6 billion pixels per second

  • High precision 10-bit per channel frame buffer support

  • 128-bit DDR memory interface

  • AGP 8X support

SMARTSHADER 2.1

  • Full support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 programmable pixel and vertex shaders in hardware

  • 2.0 Pixel Shaders support up to 16 textures per rendering pass

  • 2.0 Vertex Shaders support vertex programs up to 1024 instructions with flow control

  • New 128-bit per pixel floating point color formats

  • Multiple Render Target (MRT) support

  • Shadow volume rendering acceleration

  • Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL via extensions

SMOOTHVISION 2.1

  • State-of-the-art full-scene anti-aliasing

  • New technology processes up to 15.6 billion anti-aliased samples per second for unprecedented performance

  • Supports 2x, 4x, and 6x modes with programmable sample patterns

  • Advanced anisotropic filtering

  • Supports up to 16 bilinear samples (in performance mode) or trilinear samples (in quality mode) per pixel

  • 2x/4x/6x full scene anti-aliasing modes

  • Adaptive algorithm with programmable sample patterns

  • 2x/4x/8x/16x anisotropic filtering modes

  • Adaptive algorithm with bilinear (performance) and trilinear (quality) options

  • Bandwidth-saving algorithm enables this feature with minimal performance cost

HYPERZ III+

  • Hierarchical Z-Buffer and Early Z Test reduce overdraw by detecting and discarding hidden pixels

  • Lossless Z-Buffer Compression and Fast Z-Buffer Clear reduce memory bandwidth consumption by over 50%

  • Fast Z-Buffer Clear

DISPLAY SUPPORT

  • 15-pin VGA connector for analog CRT / DVI-I connector for digital CRT or flat panel

  • S-video or composite connector for TV/VCR

  • Independent resolutions and refresh rates for any two connected displays

GENERAL FEATURES

  • Comprehensive 2x, 4x, and 8x AGP support

  • DDR memory interface supports 64/128/256MB configurations

  • Fully compliant with PC 2002 requirements

  • Optimized for Pentium® 4 SSE2 and AMD Athlon™ 3Dnow! processor instructions

  • Supports optional THEATER™ 200 companion chip for NTSC/PAL/SECAM video capture

  • Highly optimized 128-bit 2D engine with support for new Windows® XP GDI extensions

VIDEO FEATURES

VIDEOSHADER

  • Seamless integration of programmable pixel shaders with video data

  • High quality, hardware accelerated de-blocking of internet streaming video

  • Noise removal filter for captured video

  • Integrated MPEG-2 decode

  • Hardware accelerated iDCT, motion compensation, and color space conversion

  • Top quality DVD and all-format DTV/HDTV decode with low CPU overhead

  • Back-end scaler delivers top quality playback

  • Upscaling and downscaling with 4-tap horizontal and vertical filtering

  • Filtered display of images up to 1920 pixels wide

  • Unique per-pixel adaptive de-interlacing feature combines the best elements of the “bob” and “add-field” (weave) techniques

FULLSTREAM

  • Noise removal filtering for captured video

  • MPEG-2 decoding with motion compensation, iDCT and color space conversion

  • All-format DTV/HDTV decoding

  • YPrPb component output

  • Adaptive de-interlacing and frame rate conversion

  • Dual integrated display controllers

  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400MHz DACs

  • Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI and HDCP compliant)

  • Integrated TV Output support up to 1024x768 resolution

  • Optimized for Pentium® 4 SSE2 and AMD Athlon™ 3Dnow!

  • PC 2002 compliant

DISPLAY FEATURES

  • Dual integrated display controllers

  • Drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions and refresh rates

  • HYDRAVISION™ software provides complete control over multi-display configurations with a user-friendly interface

  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel palette DACs operating at up to 400MHz

  • Integrated 165MHz TMDS transmitter supports resolutions up to QXGA (2048x1536) and complies with DVI and HDCP specifications

  • Integrated TV-Out support up to 1024x768 resolution

  • YPrPb output for direct drive of HDTV monitors

HOME ENTERTAINMENT FEATURES

  • Stereo TV tuner with 125 channels

  • TV-ON-DEMAND™ records programs on your hard drive, pauses live TV and resumes broadcasts on your schedule

  • FM-ON-DEMAND

  • Gemstar GUIDE Plus+™ provides interactive programming guides to select, schedule and record favorite shows

  • MULTIMEDIA CENTER™ 8.6, industry leading suite of integrated multimedia applications

  • ATI’s new EAZYLOOK™– remote control user interface

  • REMOTE WONDER II - Radio frequency wireless remote adds the flexibility of a hand held, 30 foot user interface

  • Video capture and editing including DVD and VideoCD Authoring

  • THRUVIEW™ creates live, translucent TV, video and DVD windows for easy desktop access

  • MulTView™ enables dual TV tuner capabilities including Picture-in-Picture and independent channel surfing*

  • THEATER™ 200 video decoder and stereo audio processor with S/PDIF output

  • Component Video output via a YPrPb adapter (Adapter Included)


One of the most significant upgrade to the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro, compared to all previous models, is the ability to support Dual Monitor outputs.  Previously, there simply was not enough real estate on the PCB to include a TV Tuner and two monitor connectors.  So the next thing ATi did was redesign the interface on the card and rely on a customized wiring harness for accessing the video connections.  As the images show, the video connectors are all routed through a single connection on the card using a pigtail, helping to maximize the space used on the PCB itself.  We were equally pleased to see a flexible solution which should reduce any stress on the card, unlike the DVI to VGA adapters we've seen in the past that extended the video connector and added stress to the card when a monitor was connected.

Click to Enlarge


 

The Remote Wonder II
The Best Gets Better

Ever since its introduction, the Remote Wonder has been a terrific compliment to any All-In-Wonder TV/Video Combo.  The Remote Wonder expands the features of the All-In-Wonder while eliminating line-of-sight issues by utilizing radio frequency instead of Infrared.  New with the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro is the next generation to the Remote Wonder, aptly named Remote Wonder II.  The second edition is tightly integrated with the EAZYLOOK software to make full use of each of the All-In-Wonders functions.  Like its predecessor, the unit offers 6 programmable buttons for custom use and includes an additional 4 auxiliary buttons for future usage.

                       

One of the more noticeable changes compared to the first version of the Remote Wonder is a redesigned mouse controller that should offer a smoother experience and better control vs. the original.  Several months ago we had a private meeting with ATi and had the opportunity to see the Remote Wonder II first hand and it was real nice.  The disk is a raised pad with a recess at the top for a more natural, ergonomic feel.  Unlike the previous model, the newly redesigned Remote Wonder II should be more intuitive and integrate more naturally when combined with EAZYLOOK.  We look forward to getting our hands on the new Remote Wonder II again to see how well integrates with EAZYLOOK.

Next we'll highlight some of the Multimedia Center 8.6 and EAZYLOOK features and capabilities.

Multimedia Center 8.6 & EAZYLOOK





This site is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. The contents are the views and opinion of the author and/or his associates. All products and trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All content and graphical elements are Copyright © 2000-2004 David Altavilla. All rights reserved.