Date: November 24th, 2005
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: ATI Technologies
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PRODUCT VALUE FOR THE MONEY
Now a lot of people are saying that laying down close to US$270 bucks for a videocard is a little tough. But, when you add everything that comes with the package, it's actually quite a steal.
Take these prices for example (USD):
Serious Magic's Visual Communicator: US$99
Pinnacle Studio SE: US$99
Matchware Mediator 7: US$69
GemStar's GuidePlus+: US$249 Lifetime Subscription (which is included with this card)
Remote Wonder : US$39.99
Add those up: ~US$555.99 plus the actual value of the videocard. Now you see, for US$270 , you get nearly US$556 worth of value and that is not even taking in the videocard into the equation. These All in Wonder Cards bring hands down the best bang for the buck on the market. The software alone is worth more than the actual whole price tag.
VIDEOCARD PICTORIAL & WALKTHROUGH
Let's take a walk around this card and get you acquainted with your possible future purchase.
The AIW x800xl utilizes a less robust active cooler which is a little weak when it comes to the cooling department. Sure when the card is being used strictly for 2D applications it is fine, but when you are seriously stressing or even overclocking this core, temperatures rise from the default 33-34c to over 65c when stressed and 68c+ when overclocked and stressed. These temperature readings were taken with a room temperature of 23c and an open testbed environment. In a case temperatures would be a little higher. Don't get me wrong, I never had a stability problem, but I would have liked to have seen a cooler with a little higher performance.
I really still don't get this. Although the memory modules on the top of the card are cooled, the rear modules are left on there own. I would like to see some passive heatsinks installed for more uniform cooling. Also the buyer can install heatsinks rather easily on their own. This will limit the overclocking a bit when compared to a properly cooled card, but ATI is not interested in overclocking as are most manufacturers. They are looking at cooling assuming stock conditions only.
The connection configuration has changed from some of the other All in Wonder models. Instead of being on the external dongle, ATI decided to have the FM and the CATV connection right on the back connection plate. On some models, these two connection were on the dongle. Since then , the second analog monitor connection is on the dongle along with the connections for the input and output block seen in the composition section earlier. Speaking of dongle connection, you see will notice it in the center of the I/O plate along with the single DVI connection. As I have said in many videocard reviews, I would like to see dual digital connections and two DVI to analog converters thrown in the work to make this product more flexible than ever seeing digital flat panel monitors are getting so popular.
For the AIW X800XL, ATI decided to continue ditching the large Philips analog tv tuner seen on previous AIW versions and used the smaller Microtune based digital TV tuner which was first brought forward with the release of the AIW X600pro. Using the smaller TV tuner saves a lot of PCB space, weight and cost along with the flexibility, low power consumption and higher efficiency of a digital signal processor.
The AIW X800XT uses the tried and true Samsung 2.0ns (8 x 32Meg) GDDR3 memory capable of a little more than the 500Mhz clock rate ATI has applied. This memory is theoretically capable of reaching maybe 550Mhz if conditions are favorable. In a couple of sections I will show you if it can reach that level and unlock some hidden pixel crunching power. Stay tuned.....