For those that don’t have the money to spend on the bad ass All-in-Wonder 9800 Pro
or even the All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro
, ATi has released their latest All-in-Wonder card using a chip that provides a lot of bang for the buck. It's not the new XT version but it's still a very good chip. The All-in-Wonder 9600 Pro
is nicely priced at $220 and gives you some new features that I am really looking forward to in the next high end All-in-Wonder cards.
Based on the RV350 core, the All-in-Wonder 9600 Pro
’s based on a .13u process producing a smaller and cooler center. It’s got four pipelines: half of the All-in-Wonder 9800 Pro
. DirectX 9 support with SmartShader 2.1 and Smoothvision 2.1 gives this card support for future games.
Besides the card, the purple breakout box and a few of the cables make their return. The dongle is a different and I will go more into this a little bit later. The breakout box has all your input connections so that if you want to plug in a console or record from an external source, you can hook it into this little purple box. The breakout box has an S-Video in, left and right audio in, and composite video in. ATi also includes one S-Video cable and a composite cable for your connection needs.
There are a few new and very welcomed features to the All-in-Wonder line. The first and arguably the most sought after feature is that the card now has dual monitor support. As a developer, I know the advantage of using two monitors and while the non All-in-Wonder versions of these cards allowed for dual monitors, this is the first time an All-in-Wonder card has official dual monitor support. It’s two VGA connectors and not DVI though but still, it’s true dual monitor support.
To support the extra connections, ATi has re-engineered the output dongle. It still has the digital out, composite out, stereo mini-plug, and S-video out. But now the two VGA connectors are also attached to the dongle to achieve the extra connections without having to expand the card to two slots. Whereas the previous All-in-Wonder cards had one DVI output on the card’s bracket, it’s been removed on the All-in-Wonder 9600 Pro
and all VGA outputs moved to the dongle. Those with LCDs that have DVI will be disappointed to see no DVI option now. But since this card is geared towards more to the budget consumer, most budget LCDs contain a VGA connector and ATi has provided this option according to their product target base. Word is that ATi will be working in a DVI solution in future mid to high end products in their All-in-Wonder line.
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