ATI All-In-Wonder RADEON 9600 Pro (PT2)

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ATi's All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro Unveiled (PT2)
ATi Releases Their Best All-In-Wonder Yet

By: Jeff Bouton
October 6th, 2003

General Impressions:

Once we had the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro installed, we were eager to start playing with all of its functions.  In general, everything worked as expected, although there were a few items that we thought we should mention.  For one, due to limitation with the hardware, TV output cannot be dragged from one monitor to the next.  When the TV component is loaded, it will default to the primary monitor and will not move to the next screen.  While this may be necessary from a design stand point, this was disappointing since we think a lot of users will plan on watching TV on the secondary monitor while working on the other.  We had similar behavior with Flight Simulator 2004, a game known for its dual monitor capability.  No matter what we did, the screens would not span.  While it seems that ATi has offered an answer to the dual monitor dilemma, they still need to make some improvements before it can provide dual monitor gaming.

Another odd anomaly we encountered was with our Microsoft Explorer Optical Mouse.  We found that once we used the wheel of the mouse to scroll in any application, a faint buzzing could be heard at higher volumes whether we were scrolling, moving a program around the screen or simply moving our mouse around the screen.  This was a new issue that did not occur with a Radeon 9800 Pro installed, and only happened only after the wheel was used.  For now we lean toward the culprit being a driver issue with the All-In-Wonder or perhaps a conflict between it and our sound card.  We'll keep an eye on this and attempt to find a resolution and will be sure to revisit this review with any updates.

Aside from that, the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro installed in less than 10 minutes and we were up and running.  The processes is a little longer due to the additional hardware that gets installed, but once complete and we answered a few questions when launching the Multimedia Center for the first time, each component appeared to work as expected.

Now let's get started with some benchmarking!
 

HotHardware's Test Setup
The Power To Soar!

 

Common Hardware:
Intel Pentium 4 Processor 3.0GHz / 800MHz System Bus
MSI 875P Neo-FIS2R
1GB Kingston HyperX PC3500
Seagate Barracuda V 7200 RPM SATA 120GB Hard Drive

Common Software:
Windows XP with SP1
DirectX 9.0b
Intel Chipset Software v5.00.1012
Intel Application Accelerator RAID Edition v3.0

Video Cards Tested:
ATi All-In-Wonder Radeon 9600 Pro (128)
ATI Radeon 9600 Pro (128MB)
GeForce FX 5600 (256MB)
 
Video Drivers Used:
ATI Catalyst Drivers v3.7 - WHQL Certified
NVIDIA Detonator FX Drivers v51.75

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM:

We tested the ATi All-In-Wonder Radeon 9600 Pro on an i875P "Canterwood" based MSI 875P Neo-FIS2R motherboard, powered by a Pentium 4 3.0CGHz CPU (800MHz Bus).  The first thing we did when configuring this test system was enter the BIOS and loaded the "High Performance Defaults".  Next we set the memory to operate at 200MHz (Dual DDR400), with the CAS Latency and other memory timings set by SPD.  The AGP aperture size was then set to 256MB.  The hard drive was formatted and Windows XP Professional with SP1 was installed.  When the installation was complete, we installed the Intel chipset drivers and hit the Windows Update site to download and install all of the available updates, with the exception of the ones related to Windows Messenger.  Then we installed all of the necessary drivers for the rest of our components and Windows Messenger was disabled and removed from the system.  Auto-Updating and System Restore were disabled, the hard drive was de-fragmented and a 768MB permanent page file was created.  Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance", installed all of the benchmarking software and ran all of the tests.  All of the benchmarking was done with ATi's and NVIDIA's drivers configured for maximum visual quality.  ATi's "Quality" Anti Aliasing and Anisotropic filtering methods were employed throughout our testing, while the Performance slider available on NVIDIA's "Performance and Quality" driver tab was set to "Quality".  For the "4X AA + Aniso" tests listed in our graphs, we enabled 4X AA and 8X Anisotropic filtering in both NVIDIA's and ATi's driver panels.

 

Performance Comparisons With Gun Metal
DirectX 9.0 Gaming

One of the first and most effective DirectX 9 benchmarks to arrive on the scene is Gun Metal from Yeti Studios.  The goal of Yeti Studios was to develop a test that stresses a video card's DirectX 9 capabilities effectively so its true performance is reflected.  The idea is to stress test the card to its fullest to give us an idea of what DX9 performance it is capable of.  With this test we ran the Benchmark 1 at 1024x768 and 1280x1024.

The two Radeon 9600 Pro cards managed very close scores with the All-In-Wonder taking a minor lead.  This slight edge may be a result of the additional memory clockspeed, however, it's not something to get excited about.  The nVidia GeForce FX5600 managed a solid third place at both resolutions, dropping an average of 4-5 points, needing close to a 50% increase in performance to catch up.  Next we'll give Splinter Cell and Comanche4 a run.
 

Splinter Cell and Comanche4

Tags:  ATI, Radeon, pro

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