Singapore Hardware Zone

ATI All-in-Wonder Pro PAL B/G Version 4MB PCI Review

Date: 8th June 98
by Jackie Lee Choon Yau

ATI All-in-Wonder Pro PAL B/G Version 4MB PCI

- The Good
- The Bad
- Test System Configuration
- Conclusion
- Rating

- Other video cards reviews

The most anticipated ATI family newest edition, the ATI All-in-Wonder Pro for PAL (PCB Version 2.0) has reached us in a standard ATI design box. That's right, this card supports PAL television broadcast. The card is accompanied by a comprehensive manual for both All-in-Wonder and All-in-Wonder Pro and an installation CD. The arrival of this card has not caused any uproar in Sim Lim Square. The reason is probably due to its predessor drivers incompatibility and its high price tag of S$499. The software bundle is rather limited in its variety.  However, the available software is sufficient for you to utilize the features in this card. Last of all, this card comes with a "Windows 98 Ready Sticker" on the box.

The following are the attached software you will find if you buy it in Singapore:

  • ATI Installation CD-ROM International Release V 5.00 (Windows 95 Drivers, ATI Video Player, ATI-TV)
  • 04 packets of required cables
  • MGI VideoWave for Windows 95
  • INCOMING AGP + 4MB OEM Version
  • G-Police Demo

This card is upgradeable to 8MB for future use. The Video Capture Chipset is the famous Brooktree Bt829AKRF chip which is made in Mexico. (Same as Canopus Total3D 128V)

 

Specifications

Interface PCI 2.1
Chipset ATI 3D RAGE PRO
Ram 4 MB 100 Mhz SGRAM
Data Path 64 bit
TV-Output Present (800x600)
Video Playback MPEG-1, Indeo, & Cinepak
Supported Resolutions 640 x 480 - 1600 x 1200
Supported Refresh Rates 60 - 200 Hz

The Good

ATI attempts to package 7 leading-edge features onto one card and has managed to do it quite well as an "All-in-One" TV, Video, Graphics solution. The impressive integrated TV Tuner which offers DBX Stereo and instant replay in case you miss a frame from the exciting X-Files ! |8-). This feature is unique from the other competitors in the field. You just have to plug in an antenna or an aerial cable and you are ready to watch TV from your monitor.

Left is the ATI All-in-Wonder Pro PAL PCI. Right is the Canopus Total3D 128V PCI.

The PCB of ATI is bigger than the Canopus. This could be accounted for the inclusion of the TV Tuner on the ATI.

The Complete Features includes :

To better understand the details of the basic features, just warp over to ATI Home Page as it would be absolutely meaningless and inefficient to reproduce them to those who are already informed.

An additional note is that even though the box says DVD Quality Playback. Please do not be mistaken that this card supports MPEG-2. To play DVD movies, you still have to get a DVDrom and a DVD MPEG-2 decoder.

The benchmarks below were performed under the Windows 98 Environment and with the installed DirectX Version 6 Beta.

ATI All-in-Wonder Pro PAL B/G Version 4 MB PCI

Benchmarking Softwares Using Windows 98 Default ATI 3D Rage PRO Drivers
Final Reality V1.01 2.50
Wintune97 Video Test / Mps 44
Wintune98 Online Video Test / Mps 43.18
Quake 2 Timedemo1 / fps 11.8
Quake 2 Timedemo2 / fps 11.8

Done @ 640 x 480 with OpenGL for Quake II V3.15 tests and @ 1024 x 768 for the rest of the other tests.


The Bad

There are a few bad points with this card. First of all, it is the expensive price tag of S$499 that will probably make you put the purchase of this card on hold or even out of the question. Next, even with the "Windows 98 Ready" sticker, the installation CD does not include the drivers for the new OS due this month, June 98. Default Win98 drivers were used and this was recommended at their homepage too. The Quake 2 TimeDemos gave an ultra low frame rates of only 11.8 fps. It makes me wonder whether they were optimized drivers or not. Furthermore, the 2D/3D performance is only slightly better than a Diamond Stealth II S220 PCI 4MB. The Win98 drivers were also unable to do trilinear filtered texturing. Just check out the Final Reality V1.01 Test. Lastly, the 3D quality is bad as it can be seen from Motoracer. The fog effects are present. But, there were problems in texture mapping. Poor filtering of the roads. Pixelated background and trilinear problem could be indentified too. Click on thumbnail and see it for yourself.

Click to see the full size!

Test System Configuration

Processor(s) AMD K6 266 Mhz .25 micron Chip
Overlocked Configuration 300 Mhz (4.0 x 75.0 Mhz)
Ram 64 MB Mitsubishi SDRAMS Dimms
Motherboard AOpen AP5T Ver 3.4 V1.70j
HardDrive(s) Quantum 3.2GB ST
Operating System MS Windows 98 Build 4.10.1998
DirectX Version MS DirectX Version 6 Beta
Other software used Nil
Video Card(s) ATI All-in-Wonder Pro PAL PCI
Video Card Drivers Windows 98 ATI 3D Rage Pro 4.10.1720 dated 11th May 1998

Conclusion

Overall, this card is an average performer in 2D/3D acceleration but it has feature-packed characteristics. If you are willing to get a "Stealth II S220 performance equivalent" card with full TV, Video features equiped and if you are living in a country that supports only PAL television broadcast then what are you waiting for? ATI All-in-Wonder Pro PAL should be your next investment. If not, I would recommend that you hold your horses for the time being.

* Performance could increase with ATI Optimized Windows 98 Drivers in the future.


VIDEO CARD RATING

Overall Rating (Out of a maximum of 5 Star)

Installation *****
Performance ***
Price *
Software Bundle **
Material Quality *****
Overall Rating ***1/2

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Market Place @ Sim Lim Square!

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Copyright 1998, Singapore Hardware Zone. All rights reserved.
Last updated November 21, 1998.

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