ATI All In Wonder 9700 Pro Review
The Fastest 3D in a Multimedia Package

By: Chris Angelini
November 4th, 2002

Wonder Number Two - Multi-Sample Anti-Aliasing

The R300 core is the first from ATI to feature multi-sampling anti-aliasing.  As opposed to super-sampling, which was used on the R200 processor and involves rendering a given scene multiple times for the desired effect, multi-sampling is far more efficient.  Back when we first previewed the RADEON 9700 Pro, ATI set up two comparably configured test systems one with a 9700 Pro and the other with a GeForce4 Ti 4600.  Using a demonstration from the DirectX Software Developer Kit and 4x anti-aliasing on both cards, it was shown that the RADEON 9700 outperformed the GeForce4 in both speed and image quality.  Moreover, with 6x anti-aliasing enabled, the RADEON 9700 Pro continued to outperform the Ti 4600.  Again, the benchmarks will demonstrate how well the R300 core handles ATIs multi-sampling algorithm.

...And The Third - DVD Acceleration

If you asked a computer hardware enthusiast how they first came to know ATI, youd either hear about painful driver issues or remarkable video acceleration.  ATI has ruled that particular scene since processors running at 500MHz were responsible for the brunt of the decoding process.  First, hardware accelerated motion compensation was added, then inverse Discrete Cosine Transform (iDCT).  Both features free the host processor by moving the tasks to the graphics card.

At the same time, ATI also incorporated alpha sub-picture blending to allow DVD menus and subtitles to appear without artifacts.  Using an overlay, alpha blending allows the graphics chip to blend a sub-picture (a menu, for example), over the video stream.  Without the feature, sub-pictures will appear crosshatched.  And most recently, ATI added adaptive de-interlacing, which selects bob or weave de-interlacing on a per-pixel basis depending on the presence of motion or not. 


Even though the R300 core is based on an entirely new architecture designed by an entirely new group of engineers, it still enjoys the performance advantages introduced by Hardware Accelerated Motion Compensation and iDCT as well as the quality features Alpha sub-picture blending and an improved version of Enhanced Adaptive De-Interlacing.

Prior versions of the Multimedia Center have utilized the Ravisent decoding engine.  This time around, ATI has instead optimized the Cyberlink engine (the same decoder used in PowerDVD), including adjustable fast forward/rewind, A/B looping, and menu display.  The DVD application also supports THRUVIEW, a feature that alpha-blends the DVD window, making other applications and icons visible through the video stream.  Finally, Multimedia Center 8.0 includes the option for multiple subtitles - the primary subtitle will display at the bottom of the screen, while the second plays at the top of the screen.

The Fourth and Fifth Wonders