In the review of the ATI All-In-Wonder
RADEON 9700 PRO card we mentioned that ATI occupies a leading position
in the sector of graphics cards with multimedia features. But after
that we tested several such cards from NVIDIA which also have unique
features, for example, the Leadtek
WinFast A180 TDH Cinema comes with an FM tuner.
Let's see what ATI's latest top combo unit can offer us in the All-In-Wonder
RADEON 9800 PRO based card from Sapphire. It's interesting that the card
is named Beast instead of Atlantis which has already gained a certain reputation.
Well, let's see what kind of beast it is :-) .
Frankly speaking I was surprised seeing such a small box, especially compared
to the package of the All-In-Wonder RADEON 9700 PRO.
It turned out that Sapphire solved the mystery of fancy bags which house
much more things that they seem to be able to. Well, the box contains the
DVI to D-Sub adapter for analog monitors
Remote Control and USB radio-frequency receiver
4 batteries for RC
Adapter for output ports (S-Video, RCA for composite signal, mini-jack
for sound card's line-in and S/PDIF for external Dolby Digital decoder)
Adapter for input ports (S-Video, 3 RCA for video and two audio channels)
Y:Pr:Pb cable for component connection (such TV sets are quite popular
S-Video - S-Video and RCA - RCA cables
5 software CDs
Connection guide and RC guide like those bundled with the All-In-Wonder
RADEON 9700 PRO
Apart from the installation CD the card's bundles with the following software:
One of the CDs contains Redline utility described yet in the review
of Sapphire's cards which reminds the Rage3D
Tweak. By the way, the Redline requires registration.
I was pleased to see a video editing utility named Pinnacle Studio 8.4
Let's pretend that both CDs with the Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness
were bundled exceptionally of the company's free will. (See details
in the 3D Video section.)
The installation package is not that simple.
The Software Install menu
contains a considerable list of additional software.
There're players optimized for the video hardware support technology, FULLSTREAM
DivX Player, special edition
and MUVEE autoProducer DVD Edition for creation of VCD, SVCD or
which, by the way, integrates into the icon panel
The DivX Player comes only an a usual executable file, with FULLSTREAM
disabled by default. You must copy it to the hard drive and run it there.
Are they that careless or what?
ATI MultiMedia Center, ATI DVD-decoder and Unified
Component Install are also supplied.
|Sapphire All-In-Wonder RADEON 9800 PRO
|Sapphire All-In-Wonder RADEON 9800 PRO
|There's nothing unexpected.
AGP x8/x4/x2 interface, 128 MB DDR SDRAM in 8 chips on both PCB sides.
Samsung (BGA) 2.8ns memory chips (corresponds to 350 (700) MHz), memory
clocked at 340 (680) MHz, GPU at 380 MHz. 256bit memory bus.
|You can read more on performance of the this card in any reviews of
RADEON 9800 PRO based solutions. I just want to say that the RADEON 9800
PRO is currently the most powerful 3D accelerator. Besides, I'm sure it
Since the RADEON 9700 PRO and RADEON 9800 PRO based cards don't have
critical differences the respective All-In-Wonder solutions don't differ
The same heatsinks, the same Philips FQ1261ME tuner.
The card can connect to a sound card's AUX-in (the connector is above the
tuner's unit). In this case you must select Auxiliary as an audio-in
Unfortunately, the cable is not bundled.
Signal decoding is carried out by the THEATER 200 chip.
By the way, this is the only 12-bit ADC installed on video cards
and TV tuners. Its specs were already listed in the previous
Athlon 2800XP CPU (Barton)
Gigabyte 7VAX ( KT400) mainboard
1 GB RAM (Samsung 512 MB PC3200 + Kingmax 512 MB PC3200)
Creative Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 sound card
ECS EZ-TV (TVP3XP) TV&FM tuner
IBM DTLA 305020 hard drive
Windows XP Professional (SP1) ENG and Windows XP Professional (SP1) RUS
It's pretty simple to install the card as the connectors are conveniently
The component cable is red
I think ATI'd better make something like the AV Breakout (see MSI-8918
Personal Cinema FX5200) because it's not very convenient
to have separate input connectors on a separate unit
and output ones on an ordinary adapter
However, the contact was reliable and stable.
In the tests we used the latest WDM driver from the Catalyst 3.8 package,
Catalyst 3.8 as a video driver and ATI MultiMedia Center 8.7.
After installation we got the following devices:
The MMC 8.7, as we mentioned last time, requires
Unified Component Install and ATI DVD-decoder.
I have nothing to add to it.
For normal operation under the Windows XP and DirectX 9.0b
you should install a respective patch (we wrote about it in
the review of
the Compro VideoMate TV Gold Plus) or download the updated
version of the DirectX 9.0b.
The Fast and Exhaustive channel search modes have all
the same disadvantages.
Channel switching results in a 2-3 sec delay in the Exhaustive Scan
mode and brings artefacts in the Fast mode.
You can change the scan mode in the MMC settings in the Display (!)
section under the Initialization Wizard icon.
Unfortunately, the only channel with imperfect reception that I have couldn't
be found at all though many other tuners successfully found it. Manual
input of the frequency didn't help either.
On one hand, the white balance is perfect, and the color rendering in SECAM
is the most natural among all tuners I've seen
On the other hand, there's some color noise
and the tuner has problems with red color
There are no pickups and noise noticed in the All-In-Wonder RADEON 9700
PRO. Is that because of the better screening or different PCB design?
We spoke about the MMC features in the following reviews:
All-In-Wonder RADEON 8500 DV video
Introduction into DVD video playback on PC based on RADEON
All-In-Wonder RADEON 9700 PRO video
The All-In-Wonder series has one more interesting feature named MULTVIEW
which is rarely examined as the test PC needs the ATI TV-WONDER tuner.
It supports PiP (Picture-in-Picture) and PoP (Picture-outside-Picture)
modes within one PC screen and on different displays in the multimonitor
Surprisingly, the TV part of the MMC has decoded a second tuner installed
in the system.
The MULTVIEW didn't become available but it pleasantly delivers
normal operation of the second tuner.
With the Details button in the TV-Setup
you can create settings separately for every channel
Here you can also find EAZYLOOK (menu displaying technology) and
THRUVIEW (semitransparent overlay) reviewed last time.
The record scheduler looks strange
9 (nine!) scheduler stages - it's tiresome.
Earlier we saw that it wasn't a problem to arrange all it on a single
To make up for it, the scheduler allows both recording and playing from
Recording from any source can be paused and then resumed. You
can find the joint only if you know for sure where it should be. It's the
first time I come across such a useful feature.
Video capture and processing
The capture quality was examined in the Sapphire RADEON 9600 PRO VIVO card
Also I should say that the MMC perfectly works with any codecs installed.
ATI Remote Control
The new driver also touches the remote control
Probably, this All-In-Wonder is the last generation that uses the RC from
X10 Wireless Technology, Inc. It will be soon replaced with a newer solution.
At http://remotew.free.fr/ you
can find new plugins. The old ones are also quite functional, - the plugin
downloaded half a year ago for the WinDVD 4.5 gets on with the WinDVD 5.1.
I wish NVIDIA used such approach in its Personal
This time it wasn't such a problem for me to sum it up like in case of
the All-In-Wonder RADEON 9700 PRO because there are fewer disadvantages
and because this time I have other models to compare with.
Good sensitivity of the TV tuner
Pretty good image quality
Very good color rendering.
Audio processor supplied
Component Y:Pr:Pb connection to TV supported
Pause function in recording
EAZYLOOK screen menu technology
THRUVIEW semitransparent overlay
Good quality of capture from external sources both in case of S-Video and
Rich sampling features including VideoSoap
Codecs from third companies supported (including all MPEG4 versions)
User-friendly functional software
Remote Control supporting various applications
The radio-frequency channel delivers long-distance operation of RC (up
to 9 m) irrespective of the line-of-sight coverage
Very good performance in games
Rich accessory pack
Outdated TV tuner
Problems with colors in received images
Delays or artefacts resulting from channel switching
Channel Surf mode doesn't work correctly with channels with Cyrillic
- No FM tuner (especially compared to the competitors)
No cable for sound card's AUX-in
Well, this is ATI's new flagship in the sector of multimedia cards. This
card is not deprived of shortcomings but absolute perfection does not exist
either:-) . The competition in this sector is stiffening tough ATI still
keeps the lead.
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