A Heavily Utilized
The All in
Wonder RADEON 9700 Pro centers around the same R300
processor as the RADEON 9700 Pro that has already earned so
much acclaim within the gaming community. Its
specifications remain unchanged ? the chip is manufactured
on a .15-micron process and consists of nearly 110 million
transistors. Running at 325MHz, the chip generates a
significant amount of heat, so the rectangular heatsink used
on the RADEON 9700 Pro has been modified to provide a
similar amount of cooling surface area, yet fit around
board?s TV tuner. Even still, running 3D Mark 2001, we
measured temperatures up to 172 degrees Fahrenheit on the
back of the card.
to include 128MB of Samsung DDR memory (part number
K4D26323RA-GC2A). Technically, the RAM is rated for
operation at 350MHz, but the All in Wonder RADEON 9700 Pro?s
256-bit memory bus remains conservatively clocked at 310MHz,
delivering up to 19.8GB per second of memory bandwidth.
complex 3D processor, a memory subsystem, a TV tuner and
ATI?s own multimedia chip requires a good deal of power.
The R300 itself puts a heavy strain on the AGP bus?
capabilities, which is why the RADEON 9700 Pro includes an
additional four pin power connector. The All in Wonder card
sports the same connector, along with an advisory ? make
sure you have a 300W power supply.
2001, ATI introduced the All in Wonder RADEON 8500DV that
featured IEEE1394 connectivity and a silicon TV tuner. The
digital tuner was significantly smaller than the analog tin it
replaced, so we were naturally curious as to why it didn?t
carry over to the current generation card. Apparently, the
digital tuner consumed more power and consequently generated
more heat. On a card that already requires an external
power source and utilizes an oversized heatsink, these would
have been unwelcome design considerations. It shouldn?t
matter much though, as ATI claims both solutions provide
similar image quality from a standard cable input.
save space with a smaller tuner package, ATI has designed
the .18-micron Theater 200 to replace the Rage Theater/Micronas
combination required for video input processing and stereo
sound on previous All in Wonder cards. Theater 200?s video
decoder can capture signals from composite, S-Video and
component inputs, though the All in Wonder RADEON 9700 only
offers composite and S-Video input. Once the signal has been
acquired, dual 12-bit Analog to Digital Converters (ADCs)
maintain a quality video signal. The 12-bit ADCs compare
favorably to the Rage Theater?s 10-bit ADC and competing
9-bit ADCs. The video decoder also features an adaptive 2D
3-line comb filter, which ATI claims improves composite
input quality. Theater 200?s stereo processor decodes the
audio signal accompanying a television channel into a 16-bit
output with multiple sampling rates. In addition to saving
space on the board, Theater 200 also consumes less power
than the Rage Theater and Micronas chips previously used.
back plate features four connectors. First, a video input
port interfaces with an input dongle, providing S-video
input, composite video input and stereo audio input. A
cable TV (CATV) connector allows the card to accept either a
cable or an antenna signal for television reception. Then,
a video output port can be used either with the included
component dongle or with the included S-Video/composite
connector. Both feature an S/PDIF output, so if you plan to
use the All in Wonder in a home theater environment, the
card will interface directly with a Dolby Digital decoder.
Finally, a DVI-I output provides display to either a digital
flat panel or an analog display. Unfortunately, space
constraints limit the cards output capabilities, so the card
won?t support two displays, a la RADEON 9700 Pro.
First Wonder - 3D
On Par With the
RADEON 9700 Pro
Past All in
Wonder cards have done a superb job at integrating
multimedia capabilities with a respectable 3D core, however,
the All in Wonder RADEON 8500 was the first to match its
enthusiast counterpart in terms of performance. ATI has
followed suit this time around and as you?ll see in the
benchmarking section, the All in Wonder RADEON 9700 Pro is
the same 3D monster as the RADEON 9700 Pro.
the R300 chip is to thank for this. It is the first
graphics processor to employ eight, 128-bit rendering
pipelines, each with a single floating-point texture unit
for enhanced color precision. As a result of ATI moving to
an eight-pipeline architecture, the All in Wonder RADEON 970
Pro is able to boast a 2.6GPixel per second fill rate. More
importantly though, the move to 128-bit allows developers to
create more realistic environments without introducing
artifacts commonly associated with rounding errors.
Further, the DirectX 9 specification calls for the ability
to apply 16 textures per pass, which of course the R300
processor can do. The ability to address multiple render
targets is another feature introduced with DirectX 9,
allowing the graphics processor to apply pixel-shading
programs to a maximum of four objects in a scene.
One of the
big improvements made to the GeForce4 was the addition of a
second vertex-processing pipeline. R300 goes beyond that by
adding another two pipelines, for a total of four. The
result is an extremely high triangle throughput. Operating
at 325MHz, the R300 core can process up to 325 million
triangles per second. Applications boasting complex
geometry should benefit as a result, though we?ll
probably have to wait until DirectX 9 emerges for games
demonstrating that level of complexity.
Second and Third Wonders