ATI's latest entry into the All-In-Wonder family adds to that series legacy. The All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro is easily the fastest video card we've tested thus far, and includes the bells and whistles needed to differentiate it from being just another video card.
Low-resolution gaming is not what the 9800 Pro was built for. You'll want to up the resolution, and pump up the eye-candy, as this card can handle (most) of it. 3D image quality is excellent, and it will handle any action game currently on the shelf without breaking a sweat.
The AiW 9800 Pro isn't all play though. For casual video editors, the Theater 200 is a technological marvel, and improves greatly on the previous generation of the chip. The end result is a cleaner image, and additional items such as the Cobra Engine, and VideoSoap are welcome features for video editors. Even if you don't edit video, video and TV quality are improved over past AiW cards without the Theater 200. The Cobra Engine did give us a small boost in MPG encoding times as well.
The Remote Wonder works as it should, and if you are planning a PC-oriented home theatre setup, a remote is a must have, though it isn't the perfect mouse substitute.
Complaints? Sure, we have a couple. Like the AiW 9700 Pro, there is no way to setup Hydravision out of the box. Dual monitors are a must for graphic designers and multimedia authors, and there is no way to setup dual CRTs/LCDs in its current form. Considering the strong video capabilities, it is a shame ATI didn't include a FireWire connection. This isn't that big a deal as it would have been in 2001, as most motherboards worth their grain of salt already include this connection.
One debate we had in our video card forum was the value of the All-In-Wonder. Make no mistake… it isn't cheap. If you have a good gaming card, or you tend to change it often, it is more expensive to swap an AiW than it would to buy one add-on PCI TV-Tuner and multiple gaming cards. Our response is that the AiW 9800 Pro is only … more expensive than the vanilla 9800 Pro. A decent TV-Tuner will hover in the 100$ range. Add the Remote Wonder, free software, and hardware features such as the Theater 200 (and the improved image quality), I think it tips things in the All-In-Wonder's favour.
Another debate was about the idea of using an All-In-Wonder card in a multimedia PC in favour of a dedicated TiVo. In my opinion, a multimedia PC can do a heck of a lot more than a TiVo, such as play MP3s, AVIs, surfing the net, and playing games. Another advantage the AiW has in this situation is that the Guide+ software does not require a subscription for its services.
The All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro is the best-rounded card in ATI's current line-up, let alone anybody's line-up. You can debate until the cows come home whether the Radeon 9800 Pro or the nVidia FX 5900 Ultra is the faster technology, but there's no question that the 9800 Pro is a heck of a performer. Add all the fun stuff that comes with the All-In-Wonder, and you truly have a card that can do it all.
Skrevet den 6. Sep 2003. Nyheden er læst 1201 gang(e).
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