While not quite ready for
primetime, the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro package we received
for review was as close to the retail package as can be.
This, however, didn't stop ATi from throwing in a few
surprises along the way. The box included
virtually every necessary piece of hardware to utilize
all of the card's capabilities. Including the card
itself, the retail package will include the following:
Installation Setup Poster
Installation Setup Guide
ATi Driver/Setup CD
Pinnacle Studio 8 - ATi Edition
Matchware Mediator 7
Remote Wonder w/Remote Receiver (batteries included)
Video/Audio Input Block
Video/Audio Output Dongle
6' Composite Video Cable
6' S-Video Cable
As we eluded to earlier, the release
version of the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro had a
few things that were different that what was expected.
For one, the retail package will come with the Remote
Wonder, not the Remote Wonder II as originally plugged.
The logic behind this is simple. When ATi surveyed
users of the All-In-Wonder series, most were
mainly using the All-In-Wonder on their PCs with few integrating
it into their entertainment system. That means
there are a lot of Remote Wonders floating around that
are simply not being used, which is a shame. So to
be sure they were not throwing money away unnecessarily, ATi changed their approach. Now each All-In-Wonder
9600 Pro will include a Remote Wonder that can be
upgraded to a Remote Wonder II upon request for a small
shipping and handling charge. This is one of those
moves that help ensure the best dollar-to-value ratio of
One of the other major
surprises is that ATi will be including a full version
copy of the much anticipated Half-Life 2 when it is
released! Initially, retail packages will
include a voucher with a code to download or request a
CD after Half-Life 2 is released, and once the game is
ready for primetime, the full version CD will be included in
This is a huge bonus that sets a new standard with video card bundles. Instead of including antiquated
games that use yesterdays technology, ATi will give you
the latest in DirectX9 gaming so you can experience the
full gaming potential of the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro
without shelling out extra cash for a $50 game.
This is a major statement that ATi is confident in
their new card running one of the most anticipated DX9 games
to date. What else is there to say? Bravo!
Notice how earlier we said "The box
included virtually every necessary piece of hardware..."
With all of these trimmings, one of the most obvious
omissions in our opinion is the lack of an FM antennae.
Some users are going to be sorely disappointed when they
have to run to their local Radio Shack to find an
antennae for their new card. For those of you
whose cable company provides FM over the cable lines, a
simple splitter will suffice, but the rest of us are
left high and dry. With the history ATi has had
with the All-In-Wonder, typically providing a complete
package, we are a bit surprised and disappointed with
the lack of this seemingly simple component.
All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro
It's Finally Here!
It never ceases
to amaze us how ATi manages to add more and more features
with each new All-In-Wonder, yet the PCB never gets any
larger. This really is their strength and why they are
at the top of their industry. Instead of adding so
many features that the card takes up two slots, ATi takes a
more finesse approach that raises the bar in design and
innovation. The All-In-Wonder is
built with the RV350 VPU at its core. Like the
original Radeon 9600 Pro, the VPU is
clocked at 400MHz. and is complimented by
128MB of DDR RAM clocked at 325MHz, 25MHz higher than the
Radeon 9600 Pro. When we did a little research on the Samsung BGA
memory, we found they have a peak rating of 3.2GB/s and a top speed of 350MHz (700MHz DDR), leaving us a
little headroom for overclocking.
The edge of the card is as tidy
as its layout, condensing all of the All-In-Wonder's functions through four
major connections. Two coaxial connections are
provided, one for TV and the other for FM reception.
Below those is the single connector ATi has designed to
marry up with their proprietary Video/Audio Output dongle
that expands the features of the card, providing dual VGA
output, audio output and TV-Out functions. Lastly
is the input connection designed to work in conjunction with
Video/Audio Input Block to support the card's input
Driving the multimedia
functions is the potent Theater 200 processor and Philips
Tuner. The Theater 200 is both an audio and video
processor that handles all of the video capture
capabilities, even supporting High Definition inputs.
The Philips tuner is capable of both TV and FM tuning and
works in conjunction with the Theater 200 to handle TV
output as well as Time Shifting with both video and FM.
We feel like we've been down
this road before, with ATi impressing us with their newest
All-In-Wonder's potential. Once again their latest creation grabs
our attention with its design and multimedia functions.
The next thing to do is put this card through its paces in
the benchmarking arena to help size up just how good it is.
Hothardware Test System & Benchmarking