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ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon X1800 XL
Date: Nov 21, 2005
Author: Marco Chiappetta
Introduction, Specifications & Bundle

It has only been about six weeks since ATI officially unveiled their new Radeon X1K family of products, but the Canadian based graphics giant is already introducing a new addition to the line-up today. It probably comes as no surprise to many of you that, in parrallel with their X1K family of products launch, engineers at ATI were also hard at work on a brand new "All-In-Wonder" featuring one of the company's new GPUs.

The culmination of their efforts is the new All-In-Wonder X1800 XL, pictured below. This card has all of the same features as the "standard" Radeon X1800 XL, including a 16-pipeline, SM 3.0 class GPU clocked at 500MHz and 256MB of high-speed GDDR3 frame buffer memory. But in addition to the features offered by ATI's relatively new GPU, the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL also sports all of the multimedia functionality that the All-In-Wonder line of products is known for. We were recently given the opportunity to evaluate the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL and will present our findings on the following pages. Read on and feast your eyes on arguably the most feature-rich video card created to date.

Click Any Image For An Enlarged View...

ATI All-In-Wonder X1800 XL
The New Multimedia Flagship

Features - ATI Radeon X1800 XL
• 321 million transistors on 90nm fabrication process
• Ultra-threaded architecture with fast dynamic branching
• Sixteen pixel shader processors
• Eight vertex shader processors
• 256-bit 8-channel GDDR3/GDDR4 memory interface
• Native PCI Express x16 bus interface
• Dynamic Voltage Control

Ring Bus Memory Controller
• 512-bit internal ring bus for memory reads
• Programmable intelligent arbitration logic
• Fully associative texture, color, and Z/stencil cache designs
• Hierarchical Z-buffer with Early Z test
• Lossless Z Compression (up to 48:1)
• Fast Z-Buffer Clear
• Z/stencil cache optimized for real-time shadow rendering
• Optimized for performance at high display resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions

Ultra-Threaded Shader Engine
• Support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware
• Full speed 128-bit floating point processing for all shader operations
• Up to 512 simultaneous pixel threads
• Dedicated branch execution units for high performance dynamic branching and flow control
• Dedicated texture address units for improved efficiency
• 3Dc+ texture compression
_o High quality 4:1 compression for normal maps and two-channel data formats
_o High quality 2:1 compression for luminance maps and single-channel data formats
• Multiple Render Target (MRT) support
• Render to vertex buffer support
• Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL 2.0

Avivo Video and Display Engine
• High performance programmable video processor
_o Accelerated MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264 decoding (including DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray playback), encoding & transcoding
_o DXVA support
_o De-blocking and noise reduction filtering
_o Motion compensation, IDCT, DCT and color space conversion
_o Vector adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing
_o 3:2 pulldown (frame rate conversion)
• Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
• HDR tone mapping acceleration
_o Maps any input format to 10 bit per channel output
• Flexible display support
_o Dual integrated dual-link DVI transmitters
_o DVI 1.0 / HDMI compliant and HDCP ready
_o Dual integrated 10 bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
_o 16 bit per channel floating point HDR and 10 bit per channel DVI output
_o Programmable piecewise linear gamma correction, color correction, and color space conversion (10 bits per color)
_o Complete, independent color controls and video overlays for each display
_o High quality pre- and post-scaling engines, with underscan support for all outputs
_o Content-adaptive de-flicker filtering for interlaced displays
_o Xilleon™ TV encoder for high quality analog output
_o YPrPb component output for direct drive of HDTV displays
_o Spatial/temporal dithering enables 10-bit color quality on 8-bit and 6-bit displays
_o Fast, glitch-free mode switching
_o VGA mode support on all outputs
• Compatible with ATI TV/Video encoder products, including Theater 550

Advanced Image Quality Features
• 64-bit floating point HDR rendering supported throughout the pipeline
_o Includes support for blending and multi-sample anti-aliasing
• 32-bit integer HDR (10:10:10:2) format supported throughout the pipeline
_o Includes support for blending and multi-sample anti-aliasing
• 2x/4x/6x Anti-Aliasing modes
_o Multi-sample algorithm with gamma correction, programmable sparse sample patterns, and centroid sampling
_o New Adaptive Anti-Aliasing feature with Performance and Quality modes
_o Temporal Anti-Aliasing mode
_o Lossless Color Compression (up to 6:1) at all resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
• 2x/4x/8x/16x Anisotropic Filtering modes
_o Up to 128-tap texture filtering
_o Adaptive algorithm with Performance and Quality options
• High resolution texture support (up to 4k x 4k)

TV-Tuner Requirements
_TV signal from amplified antenna or cable. Versions available for:
_NTSC (North America, Japan and Latin America)
_Universal PAL/Secam/DVB-T (Europe and International PAL/Secam/DVB-T countries)
_MulTView requires additional supported ATI PCI TV Wonder card, compatible motherboard and soundcard

*Features vary from country to country and depending on the television standard. Note that Latin American countries using the PAL M and PAL N standards including Argentina and Brazil are supported by the NTSC version.

_DVI-I and VGA
_Stereo audio
_Composite video inputs
_Composite video outputs
_External stereo connections to sound card's line input and output
_YPrPb Output adapter (available in North America)

_Watch up to 125 channels on your computer
_Personal Video Recorder functionality allows users to record programs on your hard drive, pause live TV and resume broadcasts on your schedule
_Listen to Stereo FM on your PC
_Gemstar GUIDE Plus+ provides free interactive programming guides to select, schedule and record your favorite shows
_Control your computer from a distance using your Remote Wonder PLUS or MCE Remote Control** (optional)
_Easily capture and edit your home videos and burn to DVD's/Video CD
_Enjoy dual tuner capabilities such as Picture-in-Picture with ATI's MultiView *
_Theatre 200 video decoder powers your PC with high quality video
_Transfer high-definition component video output via a YPrPb adapter
_DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcast-Terrestrial)portable and mobile TV support in Europe
_Windows XP Media Center Edition compatible

Includes free software:
_Adobe Photoshop Elements 4
_Adobe Premiere Elements 2
_ATI Bonus DVD
_Gemstar GUIDE Plus+


Unfortunately, we did not receive a "retail-ready" All-In-Wonder X1800 XL for evaluation, so we cannot show you exactly what will be included in the retail bundle. What we have pictured for you below, however, are all of the cables and dongles that will be included with the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL.



The "domino" style, stackable input-output dongles that ATI recently introduced to the All-In-Wonder line of products make a return appearance here, along with a another custom dongle that houses a standard analog-DB15 monitor connector and a couple of additional connectors for the "domino" blocks.  Also pictured above are an S-Video cable, a standard composite video cable, and a simple di-pole FM antenna. A couple of other items were included with our sample as well, like a Remote Wonder Plus and obviously the card itself, but we'll show you those items a little later on. The full list of items that will be bundled with the All-In-Wonder Radeon X1800 XL include:

1 x Composite video cable (Yellow RCA connectors)
1 x A/V out domino block labelled AV OUT on the black connector with S-Video and composite output
1 x A/V out domino block labelled AV OUT on the red connector for YPrPb output
1 x S-Video cable (Black)
1 x FM di-pole antenna (Translucent gold wiring)
1 x Black hub (VGA out, input for purple connector, output for black connector)
1 x A/V input domino block with S-video and composite input
1 x Remote Wonder Plus (with batteries)
1 x Install CD
1 x Adobe applications disk (Photoshop Elements 4 & Premiere Elements 2)

1 x Users Manual
1 x Installation guide

If you're familiar with some of the other products in ATI's All-In-Wonder line-up, you may notice a big change with the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL's software bundle. In lieu of Pinnacle Studio, which has been bundled with All-In-Wonder cards for the last couple of years, ATI is now including full versions of Adobe Premiere Elements 2 and Photoshop Elements 4. This is a big change, for the better in our opinion. Adobe's image and video editing products are among the best available for the PC.

Inspecting the AIW X1800 XL

With the exception of the gold shielding over the silicon tuner and the various outputs on the card's backplane, the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL looks very much like the standard Radeon X1800 XL introduced early last month. Both versions of the card feature Volterra's multi-phase voltage regulator underneath a thin, red, aluminum heatsink at the far end of the PCB, and they have the same single-slot, variable-speed cooling apparatus as well.

Inspecting The All-In-Wonder Radeon X1800 XL
She's a Big One


The Radeon X1800 XL GPU at the heart of the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL is manufactured using TSMC's .09 micron process and is composed of roughly 321 million transistors. The GPU features ATI's new "Ultra-Threaded architecture" with Shader Model 3.0 support, AVIVO, and fast dynamic branching. As we mentioned earlier, the Radeon X1800 XL GPU has 16-pixel shader processors, but it also has 8-vertex shader processors, and is equipped with a 256-bit, 8-channel memory interface. The card's core is clocked at 500MHz and its 256MB of GDDR3 memory is clocked a 1GHz. At these clock speeds, a large-single slot cooler is sufficient to keep core and memory temperatures in check.


Unlike the standard Radeon X1800 XL though, the All-In-Wonder version sports a purple PCB with gold and red accents. The All-In-Wonder X1800 XL also differs from the standard version of the card in that it has only a one dual-link DVI output, along with F-Type FM and TV inputs, and a custom dongle connector on its backplane. The All-In-Wonder X1800 XL does have a second monitor output for multi-monitor support as well, but it is situated on a separate dongle and not on the card itself.


An integral component of the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL is the Microtune IC 2121; a small chip situated underneath the gold shielding at the upper-corner of the card.  The Microtune IC 2121 gives the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL its TV and FM tuning capabilities.  ATI switched to a silicon tuner a while back to reduce power consumption and free-up precious PCB real estate. The Microtune IC 2121 has much lower power requirements when compared to the older, and much larger, "tin-can" tuners found on early All-In-Wonder cards.  ATI claims the Microtune 2121 reduces power consumption by up to 11% over previous AIW products, with the tuner consuming only 1.5 watts of power.

Working in conjunction with the Microtune 2121 tuner is ATI's own Theater 200 chip. The Theater 200 sports dual 12-bit ADCs (Analog to Digital Converters), and handles all of the signal conversions from the card's TV/FM tuner and various inputs.  During the conversion process from an analog to a digital signal, the signal is passed through a 2D comb filter in the Theater 200 chip, and a video downscaler optimizes the output for your screen.  The Theater 200 is also responsible for demodulating and decoding audio streams into separate left and right channels.

Multimedia Center & Remote Wonder

Like previous products in ATI's All-In-Wonder line-up, the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL's multimedia features are accessed using the company's Multimedia Center software suite.  To evaluate the All-In-Wonder Radeon X1800 XL, we installed version 9.10 of Multimedia Center, which was included on our installation CD. Multimedia Center incorporates the applications necessary to access all of the card's various multimedia features.

ATI's Multimedia Center Suite
Still Going Strong

TV Tuner

DVD Player

VCD Player

CD Player

FM Tuner


ATI Application Menu

TV Tuning:
All of ATI's individual players have a similar look and feel, as is clearly evident in the screenshots above. We should note, however, that Multimedia Center is also completely "skinable", should users want to change the look of the interface. Obviously, the TV Tuner application is used to tune into broadcast or cable television stations (125 channels). It isn't just a simple tuner though, as it has a few unique features of its own that help differentiate it from competing products from companies like Hauppauge or Leadtek. ATI's TV Tuner application works in conjunction with the included Guide+ TV listing software to make it very easy to search for, scan, view and record specific programs. With Guide+, all you have to do is enter your location information the first time the program is launched, and TV listings for your particular locale are loaded directly into a database. Simply click on a listing to view it, or record it directly to your hard drive for viewing at a later date.

The tuner app also has Multiview capabilities that give users the ability to display two separate channels simultaneously, should a second ATI-based TV tuner card be installed in the system.  One thing we noticed while working with the AIW X1800 XL, is that tuning TV channels takes a bit longer than it would on previous AIW cards that used the larger Philips tuner. We experienced the same type of delays with the AIW X800 XT and X800 XL as well.  Just like the other AIW cards that are equipped with the newer Microtune silicon tuner, the AIW X1800 XL, took a second or two to lock-into a channel.

FM Tuning:
The FM Tuner application is fairly straightforward, with a simple layout and a few buttons that are used to scan for and store FM stations. The FM Tuner has the capability to store 10 separate favorites, that are accessible via the buttons situated along the top of the interface. These button work just like the ones on an automobile head unit - press the button, and the tuner jumps right to the desired station. And like the TV Tuner, the FM Tuner can record FM signals on-demand. Unfortunately, there isn't a central database of FM programing similar to Guide+, so choosing the station and times to record are manual operations. 

Other Creature Comforts:
The VCD and CD players also look and function similarly, with the ability the store playlists, and play interactive CDs or special Karoke disks.  ATI's Multimedia Center software also incorporates a host of other features as well, like "Eazylook", which is ATI's take on a "10-foot" interface, and "Thruview" which translucently places a video signal being played over your desktop work area.


Remote Wonder Plus
Control Your PC From Another Room

A major component of the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL's accessory bundle is the Remote Wonder Plus.  This is the third revision to ATI's Remote Wonder, and definitely the best in our opinion. The Remote Wonder Plus is much smaller than the original Remote Wonder and Remote Wonder II, but all function in a similar manor.  The Remote Wonder Plus features a multitude of customizable buttons to control various applications, at a range of up to 60 feet.


The stand-out feature on the Remote Wonder Plus is its mouse control knob.  Using it takes a bit of getting used to if you've only worked with standard mice, but after working with the Remote Wonder Plus for only a few minutes, we were very comfortable using it to perform some basic tasks on the system, like launching / closing applications or stepping through songs in the CD player.

Configuring the Remote Wonder Plus is very simple, thanks to ATI's easy to use programming software. Assigning functions to each of the remote's customizable buttons is as easy as selecting an item from a drop-down menu. And for more extensive programming, users can install plug-ins for many popular applications as well.  ATI ships the Remote Wonder Plus pre-configured to work with their Multimedia Center software and includes plug-ins for Guide+, PowerPoint and WinAMP.  However, a multitude of other plug-ins are available from numerous third-party sources as well.

More Software: Adobe Applications & Guide+

As we mentioned earlier, we did not receive a retail-ready All-In-Wonder X1800 XL for evaluation, so we were unable to test the new Adobe applications being bundled with the card. Starting with the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL, ATI will no longer be bundling Pinnacle Studio with their All-In-Wonders. Instead, users will get full versions of Adobe's Photoshop Elements 4 and Premiere Elements 2.

The AIW X1800 XL: More On The Software
Multimedia to the Max

Adobe Photoshop Elements 4


Adobe Premiere Elements 2

We hit Abode's website and pulled together some screenshots to give you all a glimpse of the Adobe applications that will be included with the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL. Basically, Photoshop Elements 4 and Premiere Elements 2 are "lite" versions of Adobe's very powerful Photoshop CS and Premiere Pro applications. Photoshop Elements 4 is an image editing and creation applications, and Premiere Elements 2 is for video editing and authoring. While these versions may not feature all of the tools incorporated into the professional versions of these applications, Photoshop Elements 4 and Premiere Elements 2 should by no means be considered limited. They both incorporate the most commonly used features found in Photoshop CS and Premiere Pro. They simply lack some of the more powerful features geared for professional users.

Guide +

The last of the applications included with the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL we'll be showing you is Gemstar's Guide+. This application has been bundled with ATI's All-In-Wonder products for quite some time, and adds a lot of value to the product. Guide+ essentially acts like a digital TV-Guide, and presents users with a comprehensive list of programming specific to the user's locale. Upon installation, users have to input their zip code, and then select their cable provider from a list. Then a few moments later, after downloading the appropriate listings, a visual representation is available on-screen. Simply click on a listing to view it, or even schedule it to be recorded. The listings are also fully searchable by category, title, or even actor. Guide+ is very easy to use, and is a perfect compliment to the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL. And perhaps best of all, there is no subscription fee for All-In-Wonder owners and updates are free.

Our Test System & HQV

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: We tested our NVIDIA based cards on an Asus A8N32-SLI nForce 4 SLIX16 chipset based motherboard, powered by an AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 processor and 1GB of low-latency Corsair XMS RAM. However, the ATI based cards were tested on an ATI reference Radeon Xpress 200 motherboard, but with the same processor and RAM. The first thing we did when configuring these test systems was enter each BIOS and load the "High Performance Defaults."  The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Professional with SP2 was installed. When the installation was complete, we installed the latest chipset drivers available, installed all of the other necessary drivers for the rest of our components, and removed Windows Messenger from the system. Auto-Updating and System Restore were also disabled, the hard drive was defragmented, and a 768MB permanent page file was created on the same partition as the Windows installation. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance," installed all of the benchmarking software, and ran the tests.

The HotHardware Test System
AMD Athlon 64 FX Powered

Processor -

Motherboard -

Video Cards -

Memory -

Audio -

Hard Driv
e -


Hardware Used:
AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 (2.6GHz)

Asus A8N32-SLI
nForce4 SLIX16 chipset

ATI Reference CrossFire MB
ATI Radeon Xpress 200 CF Edition

ATI A-I-W Radeon X1800 XL

XFX GeForce 7800 GT

1024MB Corsair XMS PC3200 RAM

Integrated on board

Western Digital "Raptor"

36GB - 10,000RPM - SATA

Operating System -
Chipset Drivers -
DirectX -

Video Drivers

Video Playback -
Video Playback -

Synthetic (DX) -
DirectX -

DirectX -
DirectX -
DirectX -
OpenGL -
OpenGL -
Relevant Software:
Windows XP Professional SP2
nForce Drivers v6.82
DirectX 9.0c

NVIDIA Forceware v81.89

ATI Catalyst v5.11

Benchmarks Used:
WMV HD Playback

3DMark05 v1.2.0
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory v1.04
FarCry v1.33*
Half Life 2*
Doom 3 v1.3*
Quake 4*

* - Custom Test (HH Exclusive demo)

DVD Video Quality: HQV Benchmark

For our first test, we used the HQV DVD video benchmark from Silicon Optics. HQV is comprised of a sampling of video clips and test patterns that have been specifically designed to evaluate a variety of interlaced video signal processing tasks, including decoding, de-interlacing, motion correction, noise reduction, film cadence detection, and detail enhancement. As each clip is played, the viewer is required to "score" the image based on a predetermined set of criteria. The numbers listed below are the sum of the scores for each section. We played the HQV DVD using the latest version of NVIDIA's PureVideo Decoder on the GeForce 7800 GT, and as recommended by ATI, we played the DVD on the ATI All-In-Wonder X1800 XL using Intervideo's WinDVD 7 Platinum, with hardware acceleration enabled.

Both of the cards we tested performed similarly in the HQV video benchmark. The NVIDIA powered XFX GeForce 7800 GT pulled ahead by only 5 points, thanks to its better performance in one of the film cadence tests. What's interesting to note is that the GeForce 7800 GT technically doesn't have support for 3:2:3:2:2 cadence detection, but it was definitely enhancing the images during that test.

CPU Utilization: WMV HD Content

Windows Media Video 9 Acceleration: Microsoft's Windows Media Video 9 (WMV9) HD format was accepted by the SMPTE HD-DVD consortium as a new HD format. The Windows Movie Maker software, which comes bundled with Windows XP, makes it easy for consumers to edit and save their favorite videos. These videos are saved in the .WMV format. Most of today's high-end GPUs include dedicated hardware to accelerate the playback of WMV and WMV-HD content for fluid full frame rate video even on systems with entry-to mid level CPUs. Previous generations of GPUs were not able to support WMV9 decode acceleration, so often times HD WMV9 content would drop frames when being played back on legacy hardware.

WMV-HD Decode Acceleration
So, what does Avivo do for me, today?

To document CPU utilization when playing back WMV HD content, we used the performance monitor built into Windows XP. Using the data provided by performance monitor, we created a log file that sampled the percent of CPU utilization every second, while playing back the 1080p versions of the "MP10 Digital Life" and "The Rules of Attraction" videos available on Microsoft's WMVHD site. The data was then imported into Excel to create the graphs below. The graphs shows the CPU utilization for a GeForce 7800 GT and the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL using Windows Media Player 10, patched using the DXVA update posted on Microsoft's web site (Update Available Here).


Average CPU Utilization - MP10 Digital Life
All-In-Wonder Radeon X1800 XL 38.29%
XFX GeForce 7800 GT 40.01%


Average CPU Utilization - The Rules of Attraction
All-In-Wonder Radeon X1800 XL 39.09%
XFX GeForce 7800 GT 36.33%

While playing the "MP10 Digital Life" video, both cards used a similar amount of CPU resources, with a slight edge going to the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL. The scale titled in favor of the GeForce 7800 GT, however, when playing back the "Rules of Attraction" trailer. Notice the excessive peaks and valleys when using the 7800 GT, though. This video has portions of high-speed action, mixed in with some blank black frames and multiple video boxes. The All-In-Wonder seemed the maintain a similar level of CPU utilization throughout, while the 7800 GT used much more, or much fewer CPU resources depending on the type of video. And it seems the Radeon and GeForce each offloaded portions of the video differently, as is evident by their opposing nature of the peaks and valleys in the graph.

3DMark05 & Splinter Cell

Performance Comparisons with 3DMark05 v1.2.0
Details: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark05/

3DMark05 is the latest installment in a long line of synthetic 3D graphics benchmarks, dating back to late 1998. 3DMark05 is a synthetic benchmark that requires a DirectX 9.0 compliant video card, with support for Pixel Shaders 2.0 or higher, to render all of the various modules that comprise the suite. To generate its final "score", 3DMark05 runs three different simulated game tests and uses each test's framerate in the final tabulation. Fillrate, Memory bandwidth, and compute performance especially all have a measurable impact on performance in this benchmark. We ran 3DMark05's default test (1,024 x 768) on both of the cards we tested, and have the overall results posted for you below.

The All-In-Wonder X1800 XL and XFX GeForce 7800 GT were evenly matched in the default 3DMark05 benchmark. Less than 30 points separated the two cards, a difference of less than 1%. Needless to say, a difference that small falls well within the margin of error in this test.

Performance Comparisons with Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory v1.04
Details: http://www.splintercell3.com/us/

SC: Chaos Theory
We've recently added Ubisoft's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, to our suite of game benchmarks. Based on a heavily modified version of the Unreal Engine, enhanced with a slew of DX9 shaders, lighting and mapping effects, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory is gorgeous with its very immersive, albeit dark environment. The game engine has a shader model 3.0 code path that allows the GeForce 6 & 7 Series of cards, and the new X1000 family of cards, to really shine, and a recent patch has implemented a shader model 2.0 path for ATI's X8x0 generation of graphics hardware. For these tests we enabled the SM 3.0 path on both cards, but High Dynamic Range rendering was disabled. We benchmarked the game at resolutions of 1,280 x 1024 and 1,600 x 1,200, both with and without anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled.


Both cards also performed similarly in the Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory benchmark. Without any additional pixel processing enabled, the XFX GeForce 7800 GT finished well ahead of the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL, but with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled, performance between the two cards was very close. At the lower resolution, the GeForce had an approximate 2.5 FPS lead that shrunk to just over 1 frame per second once we raised the resolution to 1600x1200. Had the XFX GeForce 7800 GT been clocked at NVIDIA's reference specs, this test would likely have gone in ATI's favor.

FarCry v1.33

Performance Comparisons with FarCry v1.33
Details: http://www.farcry.ubi.com/

If you've been on top of the gaming scene for some time, you probably know that FarCry is one of the most visually impressive games to be released for the PC. Courtesy of its proprietary engine, dubbed "CryEngine" by its developers, FarCry's game-play is enhanced by Polybump mapping, advanced environment physics, destructible terrain, dynamic lighting, motion-captured animation, and surround sound. Before titles such as Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 hit the scene, FarCry gave us a taste of what was to come in next-generation 3D Gaming on the PC. We benchmarked the graphics cards in this review with a custom-recorded demo run taken in the "Catacombs" area checkpoint, at various resolutions without anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering enabled, and then with 4X AA and 16X aniso enabled concurrently.


Neither card had any trouble with our custom FarCry benchmark. While running this game, the XFX GeForce 7800 GT had a clear advantage when anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering were disabled, beating the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL by about 12 and 19 frames per second depending on the resolution. However, with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled the two cards are much more evenly matched. With AA and aniso enabled, the GeForce 7800 GT was slightly faster than the Radeon at the lower resolution, but the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL pulled ahead slightly when we cranked the resolution up to 1600x1200.

Half Life 2

Performance Comparisons with Half-Life 2
Details: http://www.half-life2.com/

Half Life 2
Thanks to the dedication of hardcore PC gamers and a huge mod-community, the original Half-Life became one of the most successful first person shooters of all time.  So, when Valve announced Half-Life 2 was close to completion in mid-2003, gamers the world over sat in eager anticipation. Unfortunately, thanks to a compromised internal network, the theft of a portion of the game's source code, and a tumultuous relationship with the game's distributor, Vivendi Universal, we all had to wait until November 2004 to get our hands on this classic. We benchmarked Half-Life 2 with a long, custom-recorded timedemo in the "Canals" map, that takes us through both outdoor and indoor environments. These tests were run at resolutions of 1,280 x 1,024 and 1,600 x 1,200 without any anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering and with 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled concurrently.


The All-In-Wonder X1800 XL was able to outrun the XFX GeForce 7800 GT in every test configuration but one using our custom Half Life 2 benchmark. Both cards had no trouble tearing through this game though. As good as Half Life 2 looks, its simply no match for today's high-end graphics processors. We'll likely be updating our Half Life two tests with a custom demo from the "Lost Coast" level, which employs HDR (High Dynamic Range) rendering, though. With HDR enabled on a supporting level, Half Life 2 is far more taxing.

As it stands now, the XFX GeForce 7800 GT pulled ahead of the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL in only one test configuration - 1600x1200 with 4X anti-aliasing and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled. The performance deltas in this test were relatively small, however.

Doom 3

Performance Comparisons with Doom 3
Details: http://www.doom3.com/

Doom 3
id Software's games have long been pushing the limits of 3D graphics. Quake, Quake 2, and Quake 3 were all instrumental in the success of 3D accelerators on the PC. Now, many years later, with virtually every new desktop computer shipping with some sort of 3D accelerator, id is at it again with the visually stunning Doom 3. Like most of id's previous titles, Doom 3 is an OpenGL game that uses extremely high-detailed textures and a ton of dynamic lighting and shadows. We ran this batch of Doom 3 single player benchmarks using a custom demo with the game set to its "High-Quality" mode, at resolutions of 1,280 x 1,024 and 1,600 x 1,200 without anti-aliasing enabled and then again with 4X AA and 8X aniso enabled simultaneously.


Although the latest set of Catalyst drivers gave the Radeon X1K family of products a nice boost in performance when running OpenGL applications with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled, the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL wasn't able to keep up with the XFX GeForce 7800 GT in our custom Doom 3 benchmark. in this test, the XFX card held onto significant performance leads at both resolutions, regardless of whether or not any additional pixel processing was used. We suspect ATI still has a few tricks up their sleeves to bring even more performance to the X1K family in the future, but currently NVIDIA still has a distinct advantage here. Perhaps this will change in the future, but ATI still has a lot of ground to make up. Time will tell.

F.E.A.R. v1.02

Performance Comparisons with F.E.A.R
More Info: http://www.whatisfear.com/us/

One of the most highly anticipated titles of 2005, Monolith's new paranormal thriller F.E.A.R promises to be as thrilling to the mind as it is to the eyes. Taking a look at the minimum system requirements, we see that you will need at least a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 with 512MB of system memory and a 64MB graphics card that is a Radeon 9000 or GeForce4 Ti-class or better to adequately run the game. Using the full retail release of the game patched to v1.02, we put the graphics cards in this review through their paces to see how they fared with a promising new title. Here, all graphics settings within the game were set to the maximum values, but with soft shadows disabled (Soft shadows and anti-aliasing do not work together currently). Benchmark runs were then completed at resolutions of 1280x960 and 1600x1200, with and without anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled.


F.E.A.R. was yet another game where the XFX GeForce 7800 GT outperformed the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL when no additional pixel processing was used, but with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled, its a totally different story. With AA and anisostropic filtering disabled, the XFX GeForce 7800 GT posted framerates 12 and 9 frames per second higher than the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL depending on the resolution. With anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled though, the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL had an edge. At 1280x960, the AIW X1800 XL was 7 frames per second faster then the 7800 GT, and at 1600x1200 the two cards put up the exact same average framerate. This is yet another game where the pre-overclocked nature of the XFX GeForce 7800 GT helps its performance. Had the XFX card been clocked at NVIDIA's reference specifications, the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL's performance would look somewhat better in comparison.

Quake 4

Performance Comparisons with Quake 4
Details: http://www.quake4game.com/

Quake 4
id Software, in conjunction with developer Raven, recently released the latest addition to the wildly popular Quake franchise, Quake 4. Quake 4 is based upon an updated and slightly modified version of the Doom 3 engine, and as such performance characteristics between the two titles are very similar.  Like Doom 3, Quake 4 is also an OpenGL game that uses extremely high-detailed textures and a ton of dynamic lighting and shadows, but unlike Doom3, Quake 4 features some outdoor environments as well. We ran this these Quake 4 benchmarks using a custom demo with the game set to its "High-Quality" mode, at resolutions of 1,280 x 1,024 and 1,600 x 1,200 without anti-aliasing enabled and then again with 4X AA and 8X aniso enabled simultaneously.



The XFX GeForce 7800 GT smoked the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL in our custom Quake 4 benchmark. In this test, the XFX GeForce 7800 GT had a significant performance advantage at both resolutions, regardless of whether or not anti-aliasing was enabled. The performance deltas separating the two cards were much larger in the default tests, but even with AA and aniso enabled the XFX GeForce 7800 GT was between 21% and 25% faster than the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL.

Our Summary & Conclusion

Performance Summary: The All-In-Wonder X1800 XL performed well throughout our entire battery of benchmarks. When no additional pixel processing was used, the XFX GeForce 7800 GT we tested as a reference point had superior performance in the majority of the tests, but the two cards were much more evenly matched when anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering were used. When AA and aniso were enabled simultaneously, the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL and XFX GeForce 7800 GT put up similar numbers, with the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL performing better in the Direct3D tests and the GeForce excelling in the OpenGL tests.

We couldn't help but be impressed by the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL. ATI has taken the already powerful Radeon X1800 XL and equipped it with all of the multimedia functionality that has made their All-In-Wonder product line a success over the years. The card's performance in many of today's popular games may not have overwhelmed its main competition, the GeForce 7800 GT, but performance with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering was nonetheless very good. Even though there are more powerful graphics cards out there from a pure gaming standpoint, the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL is unmatched in terms of overall features. Simply put, this card can run any game you throw at it with more than acceptable framerates, while offering an unsurpassed assortment of multimedia, TV and video functionality as well. The All-In-Wonder X1800 XL is arguably the most feature-rich video card produced to date. Couple that with the new software bundle what includes some popular applications form Adobe and Gemstar's Guide+, and ATI has an obvious success on their hands. Further sweetening the deal is the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL's MSRP of $429. This card isn't cheap by any measure of the word, but it's only marginally more expensive than the standard Radeon X1800 XL that debuted with an MSRP of $449 only five short weeks ago. ATI also claims that cards will be shipping to retailers today, so hopefully we'll see prices drop below MSRP relatively quickly, as they did with the standard Radeon X1800 XL. We really liked the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL and are giving it a 9 on the Heat Meter.

_Excellent Multimedia Capabilities
_Single Slot
_Promised availability very soon
_Only marginally more expensive than "standard" Radeon X1800 XL
_Fastest All-In-Wonder Yet
_Remote Wonder Plus
_Adobe Software Bundle
_Free Guide+
_Geforce 7800 GT offers better overall gaming performance

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