ALL-IN-WONDER: ATIís multimedia powerhouse
Since their introduction way back in 1996, ATIís ALL-IN-WONDER series has wowed the computing world with their unique ability to combine multiple uses into one graphics card. Need a video card for video capture/editing so you can fine-tune your home movies? ATIís ALL-IN-WONDER cards can do that. How about watching TV or DVD movies on your PC? ATIís ALL-IN-WONDER series can do that too.
In fact, they can do much more than that, with the Multimedia Center software that ships with every ALL-IN-WONDER card you can not only watch television programming on your PC, you can record it to your PC too. In fact, the ALL-IN-WONDER can even be programmed to automatically record your favorite television shows while youíre away from your desk at work or at play; you can even use the ALL-IN-WONDER to pause live TV (timeshift), just like a TiVo. This allows you to talk on the phone while your PC records the television show you were watching. Once youíre off the phone, you can pick up right where you left off, fast-forward through all the commercials, or even skip right back to the live broadcast. Meanwhile, with the ALL-IN-WONDERís GUIDE PLUS software, youíve got a pretty good electronic programming guide that can not only tell you whatís on, you can also use it to search for specific television shows or actors.
Basically, with ATIís ALL-IN-WONDER, you can combine the functionality of your home theater systemís DVD and CD players, VCR, and TiVo all into one device. And thanks to the ALL-IN-WONDERís built in FM tuner, you can even listen to the radio on your PC. When you combine this with the built-in 3D capabilities found in the graphics core, youíve got an excellent platform for gaming as well.
In a nutshell, thatís the premise behind ATIís ALL-IN-WONDER series, and itís a formula theyíve executed brilliantly. Over the years competitors have come and gone in an attempt to dethrone the ALL-IN-WONDER. This list includes 3dfx with their Voodoo3 3500 TV, Matroxís Marvel G400-TV, and more recently, NVIDIA tried but failed with their Personal Cinema line, which was canned 1.5 years ago. If you browse through the FS Hardware page, youíll see that weíve reviewed all these competitors, but none have been successful for one reason or another.
Now ATI is back with another ALL-IN-WONDER card, the ALL-IN-WONDER X1800 XL. As its name suggests, this board is based on ATIís recently launched X1800 XL graphics core, and it looks like another winner. Letís take a look at the card shall we?