ATi All In Wonder Radeon 9600 XT

The Card & Multimedia Center

ATi has consistently impressed us with their All-In-Wonder line of products.  Not only because these cards are loaded with features, but because ATi is able to cram so much extra hardware onto a PCB that's usually no larger than their standard counterparts...

The ATi All-In-Wonder 9600 XT
Single-Slot & Full of Features




With the All-In-Wonder Radeon 9600 XT, ATi has incorporated some of the techniques used to cool down their high-end Radeon 9800 XT, but on a much smaller scale.  The gold anodized aluminum cooler installed on the All-In-Wonder 9600 XT, uses a similar offset fan with a finned-heatsink that's designed to pull air in through the fan and route the warm air away from the GPU.  This setup uses only a single slot, and is near silent.  The cooler is slightly larger than the model installed on ATi's "standard" Radeon 9600 XT, and for good reason.  The All-In-Wonder 9600 XT is actually clocked a bit higher than the Radeon 9600 XT.  The standard card ships with a default core clock speed of 500MHz, while the AIW 9600 XT's core is clocked 5% higher at 525MHz.  The 128MB of Samsung memory on the AIW is also clocked higher at 650MHz, up from 600MHz on standard card.

The large tin enclosure on the AIW 9600 XT is home to the Philips TV/FM tuner.  Visible on the external plate are the dual coaxial connectors that run into the tuner, that are used to connect the FM and television antennas or cable line.  Just below the tuner, ATi's proprietary Theater 200 chip can be found.  The Theater 200 chips handles the analog video decoding and stereo audio processing for the card.  It also sports a high quality vertical and horizontal scaler, as well as an adaptive 2D comb filter which helps to clean up images produced from a composite signal.

Multimedia Center
The Software That Brings it All Together

The image above is a graphical representation of all of the modules that comprise ATi's Multimedia Center software.  From the LaunchPad (visible in the center of the image), users can easily access all of the programs in the suite.  The various players are probably the most commonly used modules...

TV Player

FM Tuner

VCD Player

All of ATi's individual players have a similar look and feel (which is completely skinable by the way).  The TV Tuner, as the name implies, is used to tune into broadcast or cable television stations.  It isn't just a simple tuner, however, as it has a few unique features of its own that help differentiate it from competing products from the likes of Hauppauge or Leadtek.  ATi's TV Tuner works in conjunction with the included Guide+ TV listing software to make it very easy to search for, scan, view and record your favorite programs.  With Guide+, all you have to do is enter your location information the first time it is run, and TV listings for your locale are loaded directly into the database.  Simply click on a particular listing to view it, or record it directly to your hard drive at a later date.  It also has Multiview capabilities that give users the ability to display two separate channels simultaneously, should a second ATi TV tuner card be installed in the system.

The FM Tuner 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.  These button work just like the ones on an automobile radio - press the button, and the tuner jumps right to the desired station.  Like the TV Tuner, the FM Tuner can record Fm signals on-demand, but because there isn't a central database, like Guide+, for FM radio broadcasts, choosing the station and times to records are up to you...

The VCD and CD players also look and function similarly, with the ability the store playlists, and play interactive CDs or special Karoke disks.

We tested the latest version, v9.0, of ATi's Multimedia Center software with the All-In-Wonder 9600 XT.  This version incorporates all of the features and functionality we spotlighted in our first look at the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro, and in our update to that article here.  ATi's Multimedia center has a slew of other features as well, like Eazylook, which is ATi's take on a "10-foot" interface, and Thruview which lets you see through the video being played.  Over time, Multimedia Center has evolved into a very complete package of utilities.  Its ease of use and multitude of features are one of the main reasons behind the success of the All-In-Wonder line of products...

Tags:  ATI, Radeon, XT

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