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ATI All In Wonder 9700 Pro

/ Feb 29th, 2004 No Comments

Since its introduction in 1996, ATI has sold over 3 Million AIW (All – In – Wonder) graphics cards. The original AWI was the first single-slot product in the industry to offer 2D, 3D, and multimedia video acceleration, TV output, an advanced TV tuner, and video capture. We’ve certainly seen was the people at nVidia has been up to with our reviews of the GeForce4 cards, and it’s about time we saw what the competition has been doing.

What’s so special about this AIW 9700 Pro Card? What justifies it’s MSRP of $449, and its going retail price in and around $399? How about performance and features? Yeah, remember THOSE things – those two little details that should drive any consumer’s buying habits. Well this card certainly delivers with those two details in mind.

Specifications & Features

Features

RADEON 9700 PRO Visual Processing Unit

Eight parallel rendering pipelines

Four parallel geometry engines

128MB DDR memory

256-bit DDR memory interface

AGP 8X support

THEATER 200 Video decoder and stereo audio processor

S/PDIF output

Dual 12-bit ADCs

Adaptive Comb Filter

Stereo TV tuner with 125 channels

TV-ON-DEMAND timeshifting

Radio frequency remote control

Video capture and editing including VideoCD and DVD Authoring

Component Video output via a YPrPb adapter

System Requirements

Monitor & Display support

One display (VGA or DVI) simultaneously connected with a TV or VCR

YPrPb output adapter (available in North America only)

Connectors

DVI-I (15 pin VGA adaptor included)

Stereo audio, S-video, and composite video inputs and outputs

External stereo connections to sound card’s line input and output

Dolby digital stereo audio output (S/PDIF)

Warranty

3 years limited

TV features:

Stereo TV Tuner with 125 channels.

TV-ON-DEMAND

The power to pause live TV, get instant replays, record live broadcasts for later viewing.

Stay on top of the live action while in TV-ON-DEMAND™ mode with the Live Preview window.

THRUVIEW™ – click thru the transparent live TV window to access your desktop – no more moving the TV window display to get to your other windows!

VideoSoap™ – next Generation filtering options for Personal Video Recordings that improve captured image quality, particularly when capturing to low bitrates.

mulTView™ – the ability to add a second tuner for PiP , PoP , and many more features.

Gemstar GUIDE Plus+™ Interactive Program Guide- allows user to view and search TV listing by category, actor/performer, or date. Schedule and record programs at the click of a mouse – all the benefits of a PVR without the monthly fees.

Home Theater:

Superior quality DVD playback with AC-3 Digital Audio output to enable Dolby® 5.1 Surround Sound.

ATI’s VIDEO IMMERSION II technology integrates industry leading digital video features for unprecedented video quality.

Component Output and Video Editing Support:

Watch DVDs, TV-ON-DEMAND™ on an HDTV ready television using component output.

Capture still images and video for use in your own creations.

Add effects, transitions, and sound to video footage.

Save your authored videos to VideoCD and DVD formats.

Bundled with Pinnacle Studio 8.0

RF Remote Wonder:

Controls the TV, video, DVD, Interactive Programming Guide, Internet, and gaming features of the ALL-IN-WONDER 9700 PRO.

No need to point the remote control at the receiver. Connect your PC to your TV and search TV channels, watch DVDs, surf the web, or record TV shows from your couch.

Industry’s Best 2D/3D Graphics Technology:

Industry’s first 8-pixel pipeline architecture, providing twice the rendering power of any competing product on the market.

Complete Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 support and AGP 8X support.

128MB DDR memory accelerates the latest 3D games.

256-bit memory interface removes hardware performance bottleneck and provides users with faster 3D graphics.

THEATER™ 200 provides exceptional video quality viewing during live TV, video input and capture.

ATI’s new FULLSTREAM™ and VIDEOSHADER™ technologies provide sharper image quality and better-looking visuals.

Holy cow that’s a lot of features. Basically think of an incredible graphics cards with an amazing graphics processor, then add in all the features of the top capture/TV card on the market, and you’ve got the ATI All In Wonder Pro 9700 video card. Now you can see why everyone is buzzing about this product – there’s no other like it today. If you added the price of the bundled software alone, you’re looking at $150 to $200 right there – an amazing value for consumers!!!

The card requires a 300 Watt power supply in your computer system. For most of you , this won’t be a big deal at all. The minority of you might have to replace your existing power supply with a new one , but that wouldn’t run you more than $50 to $75 (decent model), and you’ll have to buy one anyways down the road for future upgrading purposes. Nevertheless, the card requires you to “plug-in” a connector from the power supply into the video card (adapter included). Some might have heard of this and had some reservations, but in truth, it’s no big deal at all.

Retail Bundle

Retails packages include…

The card

DVI-I to VGA adapter

YPrPb component adapter

Remote control unit and receiver

4 AAA batteries (for the remote)

Composite and S-Video cables

ATI input and output connection blocks

Set-up CD and manual

Power cable connector

Pinnacle Studio 8.0

MatchWare Mediator 7.0

Morrowind

We used the same system we tested the GeForce4 Ti4200, Ti4400, and Ti4600 on for this review…

Test System Specifications:
– AMD 1800+XP Processor
– ABIT KR7A Motherboard
– 512 MB RAM
– Windows XP
– DirectX 9.0

We used the following benchmarking utilities to the fullest:

– 3D Mark 2001 SE
– Vulpine GLmark
– Comanche 4 Benchmark Demo
– nVidia Chameleon Benchmark Utility
– Quake III (32-bit color, everything maxed out)

We had heard that this card would kick the Ti4600’s right in the nuts … kinda graphic there I know, but hey I call it the way I see it, and it’s very true. Across the board the ATI AIW 9700 pro beat out the GeForce4 4600 card in every benchmark we ran. Considering the pricetag of the 4600 is around the same price, and you get 320 more features (TV in, video capturing, software) with the ATI card, it’s almost nonsensical to consider which is the better value today.

The cool thing is the inclusion of the radio frequency remote control, making your computer system a true “entertainment center” and allowing you to control the thing from another room in your house if need be. We’re wondering if one added up all the features that this thing comes with into separate parts (i.e. 1 video card, 1 cable tv card, 1 remote wonder card…) you’d be looking at $1,000+ most likely. Bundled together for what it goes on the street … it’s just a mind blowing value.

3DMark2001 SE SCORES

3DMark2001 SE is the latest installment in the popular 3DMark series. By combining DirectX8.1 support with completely new graphics, it continues to provide benchmark results to make informed hardware assessments. This is probably the most popular benchmarking program out there, and for good reason. The results…

That’s 1,030 points higher than the top GeForce4 card on the market, a difference in 3DMark performance percentage of 10.64% better than the competition. That equates to the ATI AIW 9700 Pro outperforming other cards for games and applications – the numbers don’t die.

Comanche 4 Benchmark Demo

Next we ran through the popular Comanche 4 Benchmark Demo. We ran through three different runs, on 800×600, 1024×768, and 1280×1024 resolution levels. The Benchmark demo is a DirectX 8.1 benchmark that represents a real-world gaming experience. It measures a given system’s performance in frames per second and Tris per second (higher is better).

 
800×600
1024×768
1280×1024
ATI
AIW 9700 Pro
29.56
FPS /
5.887M Tris Per Sec
31.60
FPS /
6.294M Tris Per Sec
31.31
FPS /
6.236M Tris Per Sec
XFX
GF4 4600
31.83
FPS /
6.341M Tris Per Sec
32.04
FPS /
6.383M Tris Per Sec
34.06
FPS /
6.784M Tris Per Sec
GeForce4
MX420
26.51
FPS /
5.250M Tris Per Sec
22.23
FPS /
4.403M Tris Per Sec
16.03
FPS /
3.174M Tris Per Sec

A surprising result that the 9700’s scores for this 8.1 test were lower than the 4600’s scores. The scores were very close in the 1024×768 range, but not close at the highest 1280×1024.

Quake III Arena Demo

We’ve consistently run the Quake III demo in our review of video cards. Let’s see how the XFX Ti4600 card stacks up against the other cards…

Geforce4 Ti 4600 Results

 
FPS
(higher is better)
1024×768
162.6
fps
1280×1024
152.5
fps
1600×1200
132.2
fps

Again with the strong and steady improvement. Check out the chart of a bunch of cards stacked together at 1600×1200 resolution, in FPS (higher is better)….

Tremendous respect has to go out to ATI who blows away the GeForce4 Ti4600 score out of the water. A 167.6 to 132.2 difference in frame rate per second, representing a 26.78% difference in gaming performance. For all you First Person Shooter fanatics out there – this card should have you drooling by now.

Conclusions

If you’re looking for a top of the line video card that does everything you possibly would want a video card to do, then you should run out this second and purchase this card. The ATI All In Wonder 9700 Pro is undoubtedly the best dollar-for-dollar video card solution on the market today. Video editing, composite video output, cable television input, and a top of the line graphics processing core all add together to make this card a top notch Editor’s Choice product.

Understandably there might be a few of our readers who might worry and/or wonder about the support for the ATI cards, since the nVidia cards are so widely supported with drivers on the net and through game developer companies. Worry not, the ATI cards have a huge contingency as well, and have gained huge respect with their recent 9000 line series. The numbers speak for themselves – your typical GeForce4 4600 card will most likely run you in and around the $400 to $450 mark. This card runs about the same, if not lower (some e-tailers have priced it a tad under $399), and you get so much more that it’s hard to justify spending your hard earned dollar any other way.

Serious props go out to the people at ATI and their engineering team especially for making a card that really is truly the bang for your buck. After the debacle that was the Matrox Parhellia, it’s great to see a big company step up and take some of that market share in the video card market – and ATI has continued to perform for consumers.

All in all – this card blew us away. Enough said.

OVERALL SCORE: 98%
Editor's Choice Award

Sean W. Gibson

Sean W. Gibson

Founder, Featured Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Sean Gibson has been the owner and Executive Editor of Gaming Illustrated for over eleven years. His roles include acting as CEO and President of Gaming Illustrated, LLC and also includes being a reviewer, previewer and interviewer. Sean's opinions on this site do not reflect those of his full-time employer.
Sean W. Gibson
Sean W. Gibson

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