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ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900
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Date: Jan 31, 2006
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: Marco Chiappetta
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Introduction, Specifications & Bundle

When ATI launched the Radeon X1900 last week, the company didn't simply unveil a single new high-end sku. Instead, they announced a total of four new X1900-based products; the high-end Radeon X1900 XTX, the slightly lower clocked Radeon X1900 XT, the X1900 CrossFire Edition, and the product we'll be evaluating here, the All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900.

As its name implies, the All-In-Wonder X1900 sports a Radeon X1900 GPU, but unlike the other products in ATI's current X1900 line-up, the AIW has a smaller 256MB frame buffer, and its core and on-board memory are clocked substantially lower.  There are some other major differences as well, like the single-slot cooler and of course the AIW's multimedia functionality, but strictly speaking in terms of features, the All-In-Wonder X1900 offers everything that the Radeon X1900 XTX does, and then some. Take a look.

  
Click Any Image For An Enlarged View.

ATI All-In-Wonder X1900
The New Multimedia Flagship

Features - ATI Radeon X1900
. 380+ million transistors on 90nm fabrication process
. Ultra-threaded architecture with fast dynamic branching
. 48 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 XilleonTM 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.

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


Highlights:
.
_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+

 


      

      

The "domino" style, stackable input-output dongles that ATI recently introduced to the All-In-Wonder line of products make a return appearance with the AIW X1900, 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, some software, 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 X1900 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
2 x Adobe applications on CD (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 X1900'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.

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Getting Down With the AIW X1900

With the exception of the gold shielding over the silicon tuner and the various outputs on the card's backplane, the All-In-Wonder X1900 looks much like any other high-end ATI based graphics card. Both the All-In-Wonder X1900 and the other high-end X1800s/X1900s feature Volterra's multi-phase voltage regulator underneath a thin, red, aluminum heatsink at the far end of the PCB, and the AIW X1900 has the same single-slot, variable-speed cooling apparatus as the X1800 XL.

Inspecting The All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900
She's a Big One

The Radeon X1900 GPU at the heart of the All-In-Wonder X1900 is manufactured using TSMC's .09 micron process and is composed of roughly 384 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 X1900 GPU has 48-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 480MHz (960MHz DDR). At these clock speeds, a large-single slot cooler is sufficient to keep core and memory temperatures in check.

    

Unlike the standard Radeon X1K family of cards in ATI's current line-up, the All-In-Wonder version sports a purple PCB with gold and red accents. The All-In-Wonder X1900 also differs from the standard Radeons in that it has only 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 X1900 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 X1900 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 X1900 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. Although ATI has had the newer, more powerful Theater 550 in their arsenal for some time, it has yet to be integrated into an All-In-Wonder product.

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MMC & The Remote Wonder Plus

Like previous products in ATI's All-In-Wonder line-up, the All-In-Wonder X1900's multimedia features are accessed using the company's Multimedia Center software suite.  To evaluate the All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900, we installed version 9.13 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, but for how much longer?

TV Tuner

DVD Player

VCD Player

CD Player

FM Tuner

Player

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 X1900, 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 X1800 XL as well.  Just like the other AIW cards that are equipped with the newer Microtune silicon tuner, the AIW X1900, took a second or two to lock onto 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

Another major component of the All-In-Wonder X1900'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. And the buttons can be mapped for use with Windows XP MCE 2005 as well.

    

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. We have to admit though, that we've used the Remote Wonder Plus before and have gotten somewhat used to its "feel".

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.

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Adobe Application Bundle & Guide+

As we mentioned earlier, ATI is no longer bundling Pinnacle Studio with their All-In-Wonder cards. Starting with the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL we reviewed a few weeks back, ATI starting including full versions of Adobe's Photoshop Elements 4 and Premiere Elements 2 with their All-In-Wonders.

The AIW X1900: More On The Software
Multimedia to the Max

  
Adobe Photoshop Elements 4

 

  
Adobe Premiere Elements 2

The screenshots above should give you all a glimpse of the Adobe applications that will be included with the All-In-Wonder X1900. 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 X1900 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 X1900. And perhaps best of all, there is no subscription fee for All-In-Wonder owners and updates are free.

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Our Test System & HQV

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEMS: 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 ECS KA1 MVP Extreme motherboard based on the Radeon Xpress 200 chipset, 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

ECS KA1 MVP
ATI Radeon Xpress 200 CF Edition

A-I-W Radeon X1900

Radeon X1900 XTX
Radeon X1900 XT
Radeon X1800 XT
GeForce 7800 GTX
XFX GeForce 7800 GT

1024MB Corsair XMS PC3200 RAM
CAS 2

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

NVIDIA Forceware v81.98

ATI Catalyst v6.1


Benchmarks Used:
HQV
WMV HD Playback

3DMark06 v1.0.2
FarCry v1.33*
F.E.A.R.
Half Life 2*
Quake 4*

* - Custom Test (HH Exclusive demo)

DVD Video Quality: HQV Benchmark
http://www.hqv.com/benchmark.cfm

For our first test, we used the HQV DVD video benchmark from Silicon Optics. HQV is comprised of a number 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 total scores 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 X1900 using Intervideo's WinDVD 7 Platinum, with hardware acceleration enabled.

ATI has done an excellent job improving the video playback quality of the X1K family of products. When they were first introduced back in October '05, X1K cards scored in the high 30s in this test, which was well below what NVIDIA could do with the GeForce 7 series. But now, with the latest Catalyst drivers installed, ATI dominates in this test, breaking the 100 point barrier and besting NVIDIA by a wide margin.

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CPU Utilization with 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 X1900 using Windows Media Player 10, patched using the DXVA update posted on Microsoft's web site (Update Available Here), and using ATI's own player that is included in the MMC software suite.

Average CPU Utilization - MP10 Digital Life
All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900 (ATI Player) 42.01%
All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900 (WMP10) 48.66%
XFX GeForce 7800 GT 40.01%

 

Average CPU Utilization - The Rules of Attraction
All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900 (ATI Player) 44.45%
All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900 (WMP10) 42.22%
XFX GeForce 7800 GT 36.33%

The latest set of Catalyst drivers available for testing did a great job at increasing ATI's video playback quality in the HQV benchmark, but they also seem to have increased CPU utilization. We ran a similar set of tests to the ones above in our evaluation of the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL a few months back, and at that time, the X1800 and GeForce 7800 GT traded victories. Each card performed within a couple percentage points of the other in that article. This time around though, the GeForce card has lower CPU utilization while playing back both videos. We thought this could have been an issue with WMP10 and the new X1900, so we ran two sets of tests using Windows Media Player and the ATI Player included with the Multimedia Center Software suite, but NVIDIA came out on top each time, sometimes by as much as 8%.

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3DMark06 v1.0.2

 

Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.0.2
Details: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/

3DMark06
Futuremark recently launched a brand-new version of their popular benchmark, 3DMark06. The new version of the benchmark is updated in a number of ways, and now includes not only Shader Model 2.0 tests, but Shader Model 3.0 and HDR tests as well. Some of the assets from 3DMark05 have been re-used, but the scenes are now rendered with much more geometric detail and the shader complexity is vastly increased as well. Max shader length in 3DMark05 was 96 instructions, while 3DMark06 ups the number of instructions to 512. 3DMark06 also employs much more lighting, and there is extensive use of soft shadows. With 3DMark06, Futuremark has also updated how the final score is tabulated. In this latest version of the benchmark, SM 2.0 and HDR / SM3.0 tests are weighted and the CPU score is factored into the final tally as well.

The 3D performance tests from this point forward in this article are going to tell and interesting story. For one, we're going to see how the Radeon X1900 GPU performs when clocked much lower than the XTX or XT models. We're also going to get to see how the smaller, lower clocked frame buffer on the All-In-Wonder X1900 affects overall performance.

3DMark06 has the AIW Radeon X1900 performance at about the same level as a Radeon X1800 XT or 256MB GeForce 7800 GTX, but well behind the flagship X1900 cards. Slashing the frame buffer to 256MB and lowering the core and memory clock speeds to 500MHz/480MHz caused the AIW X1900 to fall behind an X1900 XT by about 1000 points here.

We saw a similar spread in 3DMark06's Shader Model 2.0 tests, with the new All-In-Wonder trailing all of the other cards by margins as small as 69 points, to as large as 754 points. The All-In-Wonder's scores in this particular tests seems to pay homage to that days of the Commodore 64.  Ahh...those were the days. :)

3DMark06's Shader Model 3.0 test shows the power of the X1900's 48 pixel shader processors. Here, the All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900 outpaces the X1800 XT and the GeForce 7800 GTX. Only the much higher clocked Radeon X1900 XTX and X1900 XT were about to beat the latest All-In-Wonder in this test.

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FarCry v1.33

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

FarCry
If you've been on top of the gaming scene for some time, you probably know that FarCry was one of the most visually impressive games to be released on the PC last year. 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 article with a custom-recorded demo run taken in the "Catacombs" area checkpoint, at various resolutions without anti-aliasing or anisotropic filtering enabled, and then again with 4X AA and 16X aniso enabled concurrently.

 

The All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900 was plenty powerful for FarCry, but it did trail all of the other cards at both resolutions, regardless of whether or not any additional pixel processing was used. The All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900's smaller frame buffer and lower core and memory clock speeds make it perform much like a 256MB GeForce 7800 GTX in FarCry, but not quite on the same level of an X1800 XT or either of the high-end X1900 cards.

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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 '04 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.

 

All of the cards we tested had absolutely no problem tearing through Half Life 2. At both resolutions, both with and without anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled, every card we tested posted triple-digit frame rates. The All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900 hung right alongside its high-end counterparts at the lower resolution, where the test system was essentially CPU bound. At the higher resolution, with AA and Aniso disable, the AIW Radeon continued to perform on par with the higher-end cards, but with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled, it dropped in behind the GTX at the rear of the pack.

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F.E.A.R. v1.02

 

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

F.E.A.R
One of the most highly anticipated titles of 2005 was Monolith's paranormal thriller F.E.A.R. 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 popular 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.

 

 

The All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900 performed like a cross between the Radeon X1900 and GeForce 7800 GTX in the F.E.A.R. benchmark. Without any additional pixel processing, the latest All-In-Wonder performed at a level somewhere between the X1800 XT and GTX at both resolutions. With anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled the same basically holds true, but the AIW's smaller frame buffer and decreased memory bandwidth due to its lower clock speed resulted in a significant performance decrease at the higher-resolution.

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Quake 4 v1.0.5.2

 

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.

 

Our custom Quake 4 benchmark proved to be a challenge for the All-In-Wonder X1900. The card's smaller frame buffer, in conjunction with its lower core and memory clock speeds, translates to much lower performance than all of the other cards we tested here, regardless off resolution or whether or not additional pixel processing was enabled.

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Our Summary & Conclusion

Performance Summary: Obviously, with a 256MB frame buffer, and much lower core and memory clock speeds than the other cards in ATI's Radeon X1900 line-up, the All-In-Wonder X1900 isn't a contender for the 3D performance crown. But that is not what this "jack of all trades" video card is tartgeted at. Throughout our testing, the new All-In-Wonder X1900 performed much like a 256MB GeForce 7800 GTX, except in Quake 4 (OpenGL), where the AIW X1900 was clearly outpaced by the other cards we tested. Overall though, the All-In-Wonder X1900's 3D performance should be considered very solid by today's metrics, thanks to its 48 pixel shader processors. The card's performance in the HQV benchmark was second to none. However, CPU utilization while playing back HD content was a bit higher than we had expected based on our experience with the All-In-Wonder Radeon X1800 XL. Perhaps future driver updates will remedy this situation.

***Update May 4, 2006: ATI dropped the price of All-In-Wonder X1900 from USD$499 to USD$449.

ATI seems to have taken two steps forward, and one step backward with the All-In-Wonder X1900. We like the fact that ATI was able to introduce a new All-In-Wonder based on their latest flagship R580 GPU so quickly. And we also like that a side effect of introducing new All-In-Wonders based new GPU architectures, is higher 3D performance and more features for these multimedia powerhouses. But ATI seems to have gone back to the "cut down" All-In-Wonder philosophy with the AIW X1900. With the All-In-Wonder X800 XT and X1800 XL, these cards had the same specifications as their "standard" desktop counterparts. With the All-In-Wonder X1900 though, the desktop parts are clocked much higher, have more memory, and as such offer much better 3D performance. Although the All-In-Wonder Radeon X1900 is technically the most powerful All-In-Wonder yet, we wish ATI kept its specifications more on par with its standard counterparts. Then again, perhaps the All-In-Wonder X1900 is a precursor to an as yet unannounced, lower-priced, X1900 based desktop derivative and ATI simply fast-tracked the AIW X1900 to bolster the launch of the GPU?  Time will tell.

At a $499 MSRP, the All-In-Wonder X1900 is the least expensive product in the Radeon X1900 line-up, despite its wealth of multimedia features. Couple that with the fact that the Radeon X1900 is arguably the most feature-rich GPU on the market, and you can't help but like the All-In-Wonder X1900. 3D performance wasn't awe inspiring, and we would have preferred a 512MB frame buffer, but thanks to the AVIVO video engine, video playback quality is excellent and the card's multimedia features are currently unmatched by any competing products. We wanted a little more 3D horsepower, yes, but in the end the AIW X1900 is still the most capable and feature-rich All-In-Wonder yet. We're giving the All-In-Wonder X1900 a solid 8.5 on the Heat Meter.

._Feature-Rich
._Excellent Multimedia Capabilities
._Single Slot
._Promised availability very soon
._48 Pixel Shaders for under $500
._Fastest All-In-Wonder Yet
._Remote Wonder Plus
._Adobe Software Bundle
._Free Guide+
._Lower GPU and Memory Speeds than any other X1900 standard board
._X1900 branding--X1800 performance

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