ATI All-In-Wonder RADEON 9000 Pro

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ATI All-In-Wonder 9000 Pro
Multimedia and Gaming Power on a Budget

By: Jeff Bouton
May 25th, 2003

The Card
Neat and Clean

ATi has mastered the art of equipping their All-In-Wonders with a lot of multimedia options without creating an overly large card.  In fact, the All-In-Wonder 9000 Pro has a compact, clean design that gives the appearance of "room to spare."  Part of this is possible since the card is built around the R250 core which runs remarkably cool when compared to the competition.  This negates the need for an oversized cooler which would make the card more bulky.  The Card is fitted with a Philips tuner which also seems a bit smaller compared to previous All-In-Wonders models, yet doesn't skimp on video quality.  The All-In-Wonder sports AGP 4X & DirectX 8.1 which would currently satisfy the needs of virtually any game on the market to date.  The Radeon 9000 Pro VPU on this card, is clocked to run at a brisk 275MHz and is complimented by 64MBs of Infineon BGA DDR memory, running at 540MHz. Along with a DVI-I output, the card is fitted with a standard RF input and video inputs and outputs that match up to the additional hardware included in the package.


Driving the Multimedia experience is ATis Theater 200 Analog Video Decoder and Audio Processor.  The Theater 200 handles all of the Composite, S-Video and Component analog signals and converts them to digital signal, even processing a High Definition TV signal if available.  Complimenting its video capabilities, the Theater 200 is also responsible for full stereo decoding, adding high quality stereo sound to video playback.

The All-In-Wonder may be geared toward the budget conscious multimedia enthusiast, but we didn't get the impression that ATi planned on skimping on the features of the more affordable card.  Instead the card came with a fair collection of features that should keep the avid videophile quite happy.  The output quality from the tuner section on this card is excellent.  Signal reception on a standard cable feed was snow free and clear with good resolution and fidelity on our standard 19" CRT test-bed.  However, the best part is there is still even more to the All-In-Wonder 9000 Pro, the Remote Wonder. 
 

The Remote Wonder
No Line of Sight?  No Problem!

There have been a number of various manufacturers that have tried to tackle the concept of integrating a fully functional remote control with a PC, but ATi is the only company capable of true integration in this area, at least as far as what we have seen on the market to date.  While most other remote control designs require line of sight in order to function, the Remote Wonder takes on the task through RF signal, rather than infrared, circumventing the clear sight issue.  All that is needed is a small USB RF transceiver that can be plugged into the rear USB port of a PC, hiding the hardware altogether.

Not only is the Remote Wonder designed to fully support all of the Multimedia Center's functions, ATi has continued to expand it's capabilities by allowing plug-ins to be imported for use with other software packages.  By default the Remote Wonder supports Microsoft Powerpoint and WinAmp but we found the fun really started when we paid a visit to Remote Wonder, a website dedicated to offering plug-ins for dozens of popular applications.  The best part is if you don't see a plug-in that suites your needs, ATi has allowed for a fair amount of programmable features that will help you tailor the Remote Wonder to your specific needs.  We found the Remote Wonder to be the perfect accessory to compliment the All-In-Wonder series of cards, performing quite well whether in front of the computer or in another room, out of sight.

 




Multimedia Center 8.5 and EASYLOOK
Unlocking the Multimedia Experience

Tying all of features of the All In Wonder Radeon 9000 PRO together is ATi's proprietary Multimedia Center Version 8.5.  The Multimedia Center is designed to give the user access to all of the card's features without the need to purchase additional software.  Along with a robust TV-Tuner module, the software also consists of a DVD, VCD, CD player.  The software boasts an excellent "translucent" screen feature for viewing a video on the entire screen without obscuring the desktop.  The card also has the ability to implement Video Soap which helps clean up video quality on input sources that may be a little blocky, unclear or low resolution.  An interactive GemStar TV menu is also provided that downloads the latest TV schedule from the internet and allows previews of each channel as the list is scrolled.

Since the completion of this article, ATi has released this updated Multimedia Center 8.5.  The updated software is available to those with a Multimedia Center 8.1 installation CD in their possession.  While normally we wouldn't make an issue of an updated software package, we made an exception based on some newer features that compliment the All-In-Wonder and Remote Wonder package. 

One of the most impressive changes to come about with the Multimedia Center 8.5 is called EAZYLOOK.  This new functionality unlocks on-screen display options when accessing the system's home theater functions.  This software is exceptionally useful for those planning to pump the All-In-Wonder through a Television or large monitor.  The software allows for simple, clear visual access to a number of functions through use of the Remote Wonder, such as Volume Control, Chapter Selection, Info Screen and more.  Below are a handful of screenshots that give a better idea of what EAZYLOOK is all about.
 


Volume Control

Chapter Selection

Info Screen

 


Library Screen

Library Selection

 


Media Info

Permanent Icon

Trick-Play

The EAZYLOOK feature works in conjunction with the Remote Wonder, to control all aspects of Multimedia Center 8.5. This is truly an excellent evolution to the All-In-Wonder product line, that extends the capability and feel of the overall product.  What is most impressive is that this new software is a free upgrade for those users with MM Center 8.1, adding even more features to an already feature laden product line, free of charge.  Nice job ATi.

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Tags:  ATI, Radeon, pro

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