Introduction

While still having some trouble keeping pace with NVIDIA, ATI has been doing well lately with quality graphics solutions like the X800 GTO. The X1800 series has also shown promise, although there are still issues with the price, which doesn't quite reflect performance with respect to the competition (specifically the 7800) right now. The X1800 XL is showing up between $370 and $400, while we can find the 7800 GT at prices between $320 and $370. That said, as prices hopefully fall, the X1800 XL looks to be a good high-end choice from ATI for the holidays.



Many are familiar with ATI's All-In-Wonder series of graphics cards, which offer not only gaming power, but also various multimedia features such as TV playback and recording on your PC. ATI has released a few different versions of the All-In-Wonder, and for the most part, the multimedia aspects of them are similar. Recently though, we got a chance to look at the newest edition of the A-I-W, the X1800 XL A-I-W, and we are impressed with what we saw.

Obviously, the main difference between the X1800 XL A-I-W and past versions is the level of gaming power, which is highest here with the X1800 XL. The multimedia features have also been upgraded, and we'll look at that in the next section. The main features that the All-In-Wonder variation of this card provides are centered around video I/O, and the capabilities of this card make it quite useful to those who want an easy way to get video on to their PC. Due to the upgraded graphics performance, the X1800 XL A-I-W should look even more desirable to those gamers who want to be able to play the latest games and have some extra video options as well.

We'll be looking at all the different features of this card to give an idea of what it is capable of media-wise. We'll also take a look at how it performs in a few games relative to the competition, as well as what kind of power consumption we see for the card. As always, price plays an important part of the overall value of the part, and because we only know the suggested retail at the time of this writing ($429), there will be a fair amount of subjectivity here. That notwithstanding, there is no denying the X1800 XL A-I-W's potential, so without further delay, lets take a look at it.

The Card
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  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - link

    Until ATI adds HARDWARE ENCODING (from all I know, the Theater 200 does not) of at least MPEG/MPEG-2 (better MPEG-4), the extra money doesn't justify buying an All-In-Wonder. I'd rather spend my money on a Hauppauge WinTV PVR card, or something else that does that job so I can encode video and free my CPU for other things I might be doing. Reply
  • Tewt - Saturday, November 26, 2005 - link

    No Theater 550 chip and outdated Gemstar Guide will keep me from buying another AIW card. BeyondTV is ok but it is too buggy/incompatible(esp with ATI AIW cards) and accesses the internet waaaayy too much. Though I liked the automatic download, I had switched to the Gemstar Guide because it didn't access the internet so much and take a lot of CPU usage while just operating in the background. But Gemstar feels old in that I cannot set an automatic download(for instance, once a day check for updates at 9pm) and it cannot get all the channels/programs listed correctly. Not to mention, I've never had a satisfying experience with ATI's multimedia center. Tivo has been out so long, why can't ATI, Hauppage or Snapstream get it right when it comes to ease of use/installation/update?(Yes I know its PC versus consumer electronics but I hope you get my point).

    For now the best I can hope for is my Hauppage/BeyondTV combo.


    Reply
  • ElJefe - Thursday, December 01, 2005 - link

    I know this is now an old thread, but I have to add some things:

    550 chip has been rated as being LESS clear in picture quality than the 200. yes it has been by all in wonder reviewing sites as well as me personally. For regular tv cleaning up the picture type of function, 200 actually does it better. 550 has some synthetic cleaning procedures for fuzz and such, but sometimes it degrades the picture.

    200 actually is where it is at.

    But the non hdtv is mad gay.
    Reply
  • Leper Messiah - Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - link

    Maybe the picture quality is better, but ATi has really stagnated in this market. nVidia needs to get serious in this market and force some competition! Reply
  • NullSubroutine - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    again, i think there are alot of people like me who have 19" LCD's who run 1280x1024. seeing who the fastest in 1600x1200 really isnt helpful. i request to have 12x10 with 4x 8x restored in all future benchmarks. Reply
  • huges84 - Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - link

    I second that. The high resolutions are nice for some people, but 1280x1024 with some AF and AA should be a standard test. This helps a lot bigger section of your audience make a decision than 1200X1600 does. Reply
  • g33k - Tuesday, November 22, 2005 - link

    Looking at the 16x12 4aa benchmark it would seems like ATi would be the way to go for 12x10 with 4aa/8aa. Their cards suffer less of a performance hit with AA enabled. Reply
  • AaronAxvig - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    I have the X600 AIW, and I must say that ATI has dropped the ball on its software. 3 times I have tried getting the TV software to run decently, but I never can. Just last night I tried, on a clean install of XP Pro, with the newest drivers from ATI's website. I thought all was going well, and recording some TV. Then BANG, it freezes. 1/2 hour of recording is gone, and the TV program is stuck there. This is the same thing that has always happened to me. You can't use task manager to end the program; the only way is with a hard reboot. Can't even shut down. So, until ATI does some hardcore fixing (or I find out how to fix it), this card will remain a novelty to me. Reply
  • quasarsky - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    i'm getting really sick of ati not adding the theatre 550 chip. c'mon ati. get it together! :( Reply
  • quasarsky - Monday, November 21, 2005 - link

    oh and at's comment about the card will always be more expensive than a 1800xl regular card? ha

    my x800xt aiw card was cheaper than alot of x800xt cards, and it was $275 shipped brand new from buy.com :-D
    Reply

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