Original Link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/1324




While we wait a tad for HDTV Wonder from ATI, we might as well backtrack a bit. Since the All-in-Wonder 9600 Pro, ATI has made a few changes in its multimedia line up. New to the mix are ATI's All-in-Wonder 9200, 9600, and 9600 XT. The introduction of the All-in-Wonder 9200 is supposed to supply a value option, previously slotted for the All-in-Wonder 9000 Pro.

Meanwhile, ATI has decided to end the All-in-Wonder 9600 Pro and divvy up the mainstream line into two segments: high and low; where the All-in-Wonder 9600 XT occupies the mainstream high segment and the All-in-Wonder 9600, the lower half.



Regardless of this, the most noteworthy news is that Wal-Mart is starting to carry the All-in-Wonder line, beginning with the All-in-Wonder 9200. Evidently, Wal-Mart is actually seeing (as well as forseeing) the increased mainstream interest into the multimedia PC, and obviously chooses a value-oriented product to sell. ATI, already enjoying the dominant position in this field, can only benefit. After all, Wal-Mart is big, really big.




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Anyways, let's get to the good stuff...




ATI's All-in-Wonder 9200 - Wal-Mart takes the bait

Of course, with the biggest retailer from coast to coast picking up All-in-Wonder cards to sell, this is no small news. And as expected, ATI is making as much out of it as possible. Considering the sheer selling capacity of Wal-Mart, it comes pretty much expected that they choose ATI over NVIDIA and others. After all, the All-in-Wonder line has proved tried and true (granted with some trial and error), but it also means that ATI has the benefit of experience, maturity, and recognition to leverage.

Since Wal-Mart sells products to the value-oriented buyer, it really comes as no shock that the All-in-Wonder 9200 is the only card of the line that they have plans to shelf currently. Plus, the alternative choice to the All-in-Wonder, the true king of multimedia, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004, is way too expensive, considering the type of products that Wal-Mart traditionally sells in large volumes.
 



Back of All-in-Wonder 9200's box.
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Back of All-in-Wonder 9600 XT's box.
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Considering the fact that ATI is going to enjoy the sales push of the Wal-Mart Corporation, they were more than willing to rework the retail box a bit for this special hallmark. Note that ATI has a "window view" in the back side of the package for prospective buys to get an idea of what they are actually getting.




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This is as much practical as it is for aesthetics. Going into any Wal-Mart store and walking up and down the aisles, you are bound to come across open boxes, due to curious people wanting to find out what is inside. Computer components are more expensive than your average box of crayons, so this helps Wal-Mart shows customers what they are getting and avoids them sending back "damaged" inventory.




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Because it is a more price-target product than ATI's All-in-Wonder 9000 Pro, it utilizes a VGA port instead of a DVI-I. ATI drives the price of the All-in-Wonder 9200 down even further by departing from their tradition of including a version of Remote Wonder with their AIW card. The only things included with the card are the manuals, drivers, software bundle (Pinnacle Studio 8.0 and Matchware Mediator 7.0), video in cable, video out breakout box, and a 50% off coupon for Remote Wonder to be purchased through ATI.




ATI's All-in-Wonder 9600 and 9600 XT

With the All-in-Wonder 9600 family (9600, 9600 Pro, and 9600 XT), ATI is hoping to do what they did with the All-in-Wonder 8500 family (8500DV, 8500). Since the All-in-Wonder 9600 Pro has been dropped, the idea is to offer the All-in-Wonder 9600 XT ($299) for crossover market in between gamers and multimedia users, or the latter that are willing to dish out a bit more for a reasonable graphics card. Not quite the All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro or 9800 Pro, but decent for DX9 titles.




All-in-Wonder 9600 XT.
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Meanwhile, the ATI takes things much further with the All-in-Wonder 9600 ($199), and strips down the card: no FM tuner, slower GPU, TSOP memory packages, a passive cooling system, plus swapping a Remote Wonder II for a Remote Wonder. The software package of the All-in-Wonder 9600 remains basically the same as the All-in-Wonder 9600 XT (Pinnacle Studio 8, muvee AutoProducer, and Matchware Mediator 7), minus the Mediator 7.




All-in-Wonder 9600.
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Unlike its bigger brothers, the All-in-Wonder 9600's features seem to be a great match for the mainstream market. Consider that even at the $100 difference with the All-in-Wonder 8500 duo (8500DV at $199 and 8500 at $299), we were pleased to see ATI keep dual VGA support on its All-in-Wonder 9600.

Yes, it is on red PCB, but this is one of those aesthetics that helps give the allusion that it is worth more than...




ATI's All-in-Wonder 9600 and 9600 XT (continued)

The only major difference between All-in-Wonder 9600 XT and 9600 Pro is the GPU, which we will get to in a bit. Other than that, ATI doesn't strip or add anything else to the XT derivative of the All-in-Wonder 9600.




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While the All-in-Wonder 9600 Pro didn't come with Remote Wonder II in the box, it did have an upgrade coupon for it (you still have to pay for shipping and handling). This was mainly because the availability of the remote didn't really match up with the card, which is why most users stuck with the Remote Wonder that is included in the box. With the All-in-Wonder 9600 XT, though, Remote Wonder II does come in the box.




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Surprising, we really liked this remote, despite its large size - the base is humongous. It has lots of improvements over its predecessor, all of which we will get to in another review.




Performance Delta

The performance delta that ATI has managed to create between the All-in-Wonder 9200, All-in-Wonder 9600, and All-in-Wonder 9600 XT reflects the price differences nicely.

Keep in mind that the 9200 is not a DX9 part, so any benchmarks that we would try to include would be skewed anyways.

 ATI's new All-in-Wonder Lineup
   All-in-Wonder
9200
 All-in-Wonder
9600
 All-in-Wonder
9600 Pro
 All-in-Wonder
9600 XT
Core Clock 250MHz 325MHz 400MHz 525MHz
Memory 128MB 128MB 128MB 128MB
Memory Clock 400MHz 400MHz 650MHz 650MHz
Remote No Remote Wonder Remote Wonder plus Remote Wonder II coupon Remote Wonder II
FM Tuner No No Yes Yes
Display VGA Dual VGA Dual VGA Dual VGA
HDTV support No w/additional adapter w/additional adapter w/additional adapter
Hardware MPEG encode assist No Yes Yes Yes
MSRP $149 $199 $249 $299

In our tests, the All-in-Wonder 9200 was basically the same as the Radeon 9200, and so was the All-in-Wonder 9600 to its desktop counterpart. As for the All-in-Wonder 9600 Pro (though discontinued), it ended up performing better than the Radeon 9600 Pro, but under the Radeon 9600 XT. Because of the performance skew that ATI did with the All-in-Wonder 9600 Pro, it wasn't too surprising to see the All-in-Wonder 9600 XT perform better than the Radeon 9600 XT.

It is interesting to note that while the All-in-Wonder 9600 XT has the "XT" suffix, it doesn't have OverDrive. ATI kind of puts it in the terms that it is like OverDrive is always on for the Radeon 9600 XT GPU, but even if that was the case, OverDrive wouldn't reach the fixed clock speeds of the All-in-Wonder 9600 XT.

So, a rough sketch of a performance ranking would be (from low to high): All-in-Wonder 9600 or Radeon 9600, Radeon 9600 Pro, All-in-Wonder 9600 Pro, Radeon 9600 XT, and All-in-Wonder 9600 XT.




Final Words

Basically, things are similar to the situation back when ATI had the All-in-Wonder 8500 duo out, though there are two gamer targeted AIW cards out now (All-in-Wonder 9700 Pro and 9800 Pro). With a little bit for everybody, ATI is hitting all the highs and lows of the market that they can, similar to their desktop line.

The odd thing is that ATI isn't selling the All-in-Wonder 9200, but still is selling the All-in-Wonder 9000 Pro, despite the fact that they have the same MSRP. Apparently, the All-in-Wonder 9200 is reserved for Wal-Mart for the moment, so ATI has to reserve the All-in-Wonder 9000 Pro as their value solution. From what ATI tells us, eventually they plan on selling the All-in-Wonder 9200 off their website, which will kill off the All-in-Wonder 9000 Pro.

Since it has been some time since ATI released the All-in-Wonder 9200, the price has already gone down at Wal-Mart and last time we checked, it was at $130.94, making it a cheaper card than the All-in-Wonder 9000 Pro, ironically. Keep in mind, though, that the All-in-Wonder 9200 doesn't come with a remote, but rather a coupon for 50% off the Remote Wonder that is limited to ATI's website. This means that you are going to have to shell out at least $25 (plus shipping) for it if you really want that remote.

But for those looking for a cheap, but decent, video card with a TV tuner, the All-in-Wonder 9600 hits the spot at $199. And for those more gamer prone, but still wanting a full range of multimedia features, the All-in-Wonder 9600 XT ($299) fits the niche nicely with dual VGA, a GPU faster than Radeon 9600 XT, and FM tuner.

As for us, we will stick with the All-in-Wonder 9600 XT, a new favorite here. And if there is one All-in-Wonder card that we are going to have to recommend, it is the AIW 9600 XT. A great tweaked graphics card, TV and FM tuning, as well as dual VGA make it a good one-size-fits-all-choice for just about anyone in the market for a multimedia card.

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