A Torrid Affair with Graphics: June 2002 3D Market Updateby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 18, 2002 6:14 PM EST
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The adapters only work under Windows (you won't get any POST screens, etc ) and in order to get your system setup for use with them you need to perform the initial setup with a conventional monitor attached (CRT/LCD). After you've installed the CATALYST drivers and properly setup your resolution/refresh rate (this is critical for making sure your system works, e.g. 640x480-60Hz or 720x480-60Hz for 480p or 1920x1080-30Hz for 1080i) you power down your system and turn it back on with the component adapter installed.
This being ATI's first attempt at such an adapter, the implementation is understandably rough. The biggest complaint we had was that there was a considerable amount of overscan where the desktop was being displayed outside the viewable area of our TV; ATI is aware of the problem and will offer a software fix later on.
We would also like to see ATI offer a HDTV control panel that lets you select from the standard HDTV resolutions and have that automatically configure the resolution/refresh rate of your display. This would be most helpful for users that aren't familiar with what resolutions 480p or 720p stand for.
Windows XP in 480p - Note that the Start Menu & Recycle Bin icon appear off the screen
Then there's the issue with games supporting HDTV resolutions; basically, most games don't. We found ourselves running at 640x480 in 480p mode in the vast majority of games we tested. Our test TV (a Toshiba TheaterWide HD 65H80) upconverts all 720p signals to 1080i and unfortunately would not work if we tried to force a 720p resolution and most games fail to offer 1920 x 1080 as a selectable resolution.
TV output done right - nothing matches the quailty of component outputs.
At 640 x 480 with 4X AA and 16X Anisotropic filtering enabled, the picture quality was quite impressive with 480p output enabled. We were looking at the best PC output we had ever seen on a TV. Since the adapters do nothing more than just reprogram the RAMDACs, the output quality is governed by the Radeon RAMDACs and not an external transcoder.
You can order the adapters from ATI's website for $29.00 USD.