The ATi All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 Review
Will The Real All-In-Wonder Please Stand Up?

By, Jeff Bouton
April 22, 2002


ATi has been manufacturing video cards and other multimedia products since 1985 and was one of the earliest companies to institute the concept of a combination TV/Video card.  The theory seemed simple, combine a quality graphics card and TV tuner into a single PCB, that would give the consumer the best of both worlds in a single product.  And so the All-In-Wonder product line was born.  These days, ATi has been releasing new models of the All-In-Wonder at a feverish pace, with three new versions since last fall alone, the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500DV, the All-In-Wonder Radeon 7500, and now the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500. 

Not long before the holiday season of 2001, Dave had the chance to review the first All-In-Wonder to incorporate the Radeon 8500 GPU.  The All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500DV targeted the video enthusiast looking for advanced video editing capabilities as well as exceptional 3D Graphics quality.  Powered by a 240MHz. Radeon 8500 GPU and 190MHz. DDR RAM (380MHz.), the 8500DV proved to be both a well-rounded, and well-endowed, graphics and video solution.  Nevertheless, with a price tag around $400 for the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500DV, customers got it "all" but they also had to pay for it.  Enter the All-In-Wonder Radeon 7500. 

The All-In-Wonder Radeon 7500 answered the prayers of many users looking to pick up a good TV/Video card without having to break the bank.  A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to review the All-In-Wonder Radeon 7500, a TV/Video card targeted toward the value minded customer with its competitively priced MSRP of $200.  The All-In-Wonder Radeon 7500 may have been significantly cheaper than the 8500DV, yet it still offered many of the same TV features as the more expensive card.  Powered by a Radeon 7500 GPU running @ 260MHz., and 64MB of DDR RAM running at 190MHz. (360MHz.), the All-In-Wonder Radeon 7500 proved to be both a capable and economical TV/Video card.  With such features as a stereo TV tuner, TV-On-Demand, and the same Remote Control feature as the AIW Radeon 8500DV, ATi could now provide a simpler solution for those users on a tight budget, who may not need all the advanced features of the premium model.  

Still, something was missing.  What about the true gaming enthusiast who wants a TV tuner but doesn't want to sacrifice an ounce of performance?  The All-In-Wonder 8500DV had a good amount of horsepower, but the memory speeds hampered gaming performance somewhat and the All-In-Wonder Radeon 7500 was more of an entry level graphics card.  Well, today we have the chance to take a look at ATi's answer to that question, the latest addition to the All-In-Wonder product line, the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500.

The All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 is ATis direct response to those hardcore gamers that want a powerful gaming card along with quality TV capabilities.  The AIW Radeon 8500 is the most powerful "All-In-Wonder" yet, with its robust 275MHz. Radeon 8500 GPU and 128MB of 275MHz. (550MHz.) DDR SGRAM .  Clearly, this new card is ATi's most ambitious All-In-Wonder to date, with the strength to take on some of the fastest gaming cards on the market today.  So let's take a peek at some of the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500's finer qualities and then we'll put ATi's latest "Wonder" to the test, to see how "Wonderful" it may perform when we compare it to the competition.

Specifications of the ATi All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500
You Really Do Get What You Pay For.


Awesome 3D gaming and graphics

-Powered by the revolutionary RADEON 8500 GPU @275MHz. and 128MB DDR memory @275MHz. for the most advanced 3D graphics in its class
-ATI's innovative TRUFORM, SMARTSHADER and SMOOTHVISION technologies make 3D characters and objects more
-ATI's HYPERZ II technology conserves memory bandwidth for improved performance in demanding applications
-ATI's latest 3D rendering technologies, CHARISMA ENGINE II and PIXEL TAPESTRY II, power incredible 3D processing capabilities leading to unbelievable graphics

Amazing TV features

-Pause live TV or record live broadcasts and watch them later
-Get instant replays of favorite programs
-Click through the transparent live TV window to access your desktop - no more moving the TV window to get to your work!
-Use the integrated Gemstar GUIDE Plus+ TM Interactive Program Guide 1 to view and search TV listings by category, actor/performer, or date.  Schedule      and record programs at the click of a mouse - all the benefits of a Personal Video Recorder without the monthly

Amazing TV features including

Magazine 1 - images and text from TV programs allowing you to read and archive TV Programs
-Hot Words 1 - real-time notification when selected words are detected in
-Zoom & pan - zoom in on the action on-screen and choose your own close-up
-Intelligent Teletext on your PC

1Available in North America only. 2Available in Europe only. 

Experience home theater with DVD and digital audio output on a PC

-Industry-leading DVD playback with AC-3 Digital Audio output to enable Dolby@ Digital 5.1 surround sound
-ATI's VIDEO IMMERSION II technology allows for adaptive de-interlacing for excellent quality motion video and text

Radio-frequency remote control

-Control the TV, video, DVD and gaming features of the ALL-IN-WONDER@ RADEONTM 8500 from another room in the house using ATI's remote control*
-No need to point the remote control at the receiver - connect your PC to your TV and watch DVDs, search channels, or record TV shows from your

*Available USB port required

Easily edit video into your own creations

-Capture still images and analog video in MPEG-2 format at up to 720x480 30 frames-per-second resolution
-Powerful video editing software allows you to add effects, transitions, sounds, and more to video
-Create your own personal productions to share with family and friends

Dual display technology

-Connect to a TV and a monitor (VGA or DVI) simultaneously - expand your active desktop space
-HYDRAVISION software provides a flexible, user-friendly interface for multiple display
-Set applications to automatically open in your preferred position on the monitor and eliminate the need to reset the computer every time you turn it on



The Bundle:

In addition to the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 having a wide array of features built into a single card, it also comes with an excellent complement of extras to take full advantage of all of the cards potential.  The package we received for review contained all the components expected to be available with the full retail package.  The All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 package is virtually identical to the All-In-Wonder Radeon 7500 we reviewed a few weeks ago, the main difference being the cards themselves.   An "Installation and Setup User's Guide" covers all of the details of the installation process while a "Cable Installation" diagram keeps the user from ending up with a tangled web of cables.  The package also contains 4 CDs, a Setup disk, a copy of Ulead's Video Studio 5 and Mediator 6, as well as a game CD containing full versions of Half-Life, Counter Strike, Team Fortress Classic and Half-Life: Uplink.

Click To Enlarge


The "Cable Installation" diagram makes connecting the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 to external devices such as Camcorders, Televisions, or VCRs a snap, by use of the ATi Input adapter.  The ATi input adapter provides four external connections:  S-Video Out, Composite Video Out, L. Audio Out, R. Audio Out which can accommodate virtually any video/audio peripheral.  ATi includes all of the necessary connectors and cabling to connect each device with ease.  1 S-Video and 3 RCA cables are included as well as an S Video to RCA converter.  To top all of this goodness off, a fully functional RF remote control is included, giving the user full control over all of the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500's features.  We'll get into this a little more later on.  For now though, let's take a closer look at the All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 itself.


Quality, Setup and the Drivers