after I reviewed the All-in-Wonder X800XL clamoring for a high end card with
the All-in-Wonder features, ATI comes out with one. While the All-in-Wonder
X800XL was delayed, the time to market for the All-in-Wonder X1800XL was the
same day as the announcement. Kudos to ATI for doing it right this time with
the release. With that out of the way, let's look at the All-in-Wonder X1800XL.
All-in-Wonder X1800XL uses the R520 architecture and features close to the top
of the line performance for the R5XX series. The X1800XL is built on the 90
nanometer fabrication process making it smaller than the previous generation of
ATI cards. Besides being able to pack twice as many transistors (320+ million
total) in the same area as the 130nm process, the chip can also operate on
lower voltages. Memory total on the card is 256MB of GDDR3 memory. Both the
memory and graphics engine are clocked at 500MHz. As with all the All-in-Wonder
cards released from a few years ago, there are no clock differences between this
card and the non-All-in-Wonder version so you are not getting a “crippled” card
architecture features an Ultra-Threaded Pixel Shader Engine capable of handling
512 threads at once and operating at over 90% efficiency for shader processing.
This time around, the architecture supports Shader Model 3.0, something missing
from the X800 line that many reviewers spoke negatively of.
memory controller design was implemented as well. There are eight 32-bit
channels totaling 256-bit that are coupled to an internal 512-bit ring bus.
Optimizing memory performance is done by various techniques such as better
compression and hidden surface removal techniques as well as programmable
arbitration logic. The arbitration logic can be improved via driver updates so
more performance can be achieved through a simple download.
don’t know about HDR then you’re not seeing the light. HDR or High Dynamic
Range creates more realistic and vibrant lighting. The X1000 line was built for
a more extensive support of HDR and allow for HDR when using anti-aliasing and
anisotropic filtering. When you combine the three, you’ll get some pretty impressive
a big selling point for ATI and a very important part of the X1000 line as well
as the All-in-Wonder X1800XL. A quick overview of AVIVO shows that it has dual
10-bit display pipelines and each has independent gamma correction, color
correction, video overlays, scaling, and de-interlacing technologies. One
feature that will really benefit HTPC users is the ability to accelerate
encoding, decoding, and playback of H.264 and VC-1 codecs. H.264 is made famous
by Apple and their HD trailers on their site.
VC-1 is Microsoft’s codec that’s an alternative to H.264. What does that
mean to you? It means less CPU power needed to play and encode HD video
translating to smoother and better looking video as well. When the switch to
Blu-ray or HD-DVD happens, you’ll be ready with this card since it will support
the codecs to handle smooth video playback. At the time of this writing, we
didn’t have enough time to really inspect the new Catalyst drivers that adds
H.264 decoding to the card but we’ll be sure to look at it in future articles.
still using the Theater 200 chip in this card and I really hope that they
decide to put the Theater 550 in the next batch. While the Theater 200 isn’t a
bad performer, the picture quality and hardware encoding of the Theater 550
would really raise the All-in-Wonder line to the top level in analog capture
capability. The Theater 200 chip has been in the All-in-Wonder line since the
All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro and that makes it around two years old. Not to say that
it’s a bad chip as it still does the job well but I’d like to see ATI move on
and incorporate the Theater 550 though.
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