ATI All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro

Review

posted 1/30/2003 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: PC
The All-in-Wonder 8500 was a great all around video card that featured fast 3D graphics acceleration and the comprehensive multimedia features enabling TV viewing and video capture capabilities. With the advent of the R300 chipset, it was inevitable that an All-in-Wonder version featuring the fastest 3D chipset currently available would be made. Out comes the All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro and today we look at THE multimedia card to get.



Let’s start off with what you get when you purchase the card. Besides the card itself, you’re given a plethora of cables and connection adapters. For starters you get an output dongle, 6’ composite video cable, and a 6’ S-Video cable. For those with HDTV’s, ATi was nice enough to include a component cable so you can take advantage of your high definition TV. For video input, there’s an input block, which has an S-Video in, composite in, and audio in connectors. As with most video cards today, you also get a DVI-I to VGA adapter for those who don’t have an LCD monitor yet.

As with the All-in-Wonder 8500, the All-in-Wonder 9500 Pro includes the popular RF Remote Wonder to control your multimedia setup. The Remote Wonder gives you control of various PC functions without having to point the remote to a receiver like most traditional remotes. An RF receiver plugs into an available USB port. The remote works quite well and there have been some improvements in the software to extend the functionally of the remote. More importantly, arbitrary keystrokes can now be assigned to any one of the six programmable keys giving you the freedom to control a wide variety of programs. For those who thought the mouse speed was too slow when using the remote, you can now control the speed and acceleration of it. You can access the SDK to program your own remote functions along with plugins that can be downloaded to increase the functionality of the remote. The RF Remote Wonder is a great compliment to the multimedia card.



For the All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro, several new hardware aspects make their debut in the All-in-Wonder line. For starters, the new Theater 200 chip replaces the Rage Theater chipset that handled the video and audio processing, which is their third generation video chip. A 12-bit analog-to-digital converter improves on the old 9-bit one that’s on the Rage Theater to help improve video quality.

A new Philips analog TV tuner replaces the old digital tuner on the All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro. As with the other All-in-Wonders, there is only one tuner onboard so you are limited to watching what you record and no PIP features. But, ATi has allowed you to install a PCI TV Wonder card so that you can get the viewing features that are missing. Using an application called mulTView, the program allows for the two cards to work inconjunction. If you really are a huge TV viewer, you can have a separate program on the TV from the one on your monitor if you have the two connected. And as stated earlier, you can easily record a station and watch another at the same time.
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