ATI’s All-In-Wonder product family has always been unique. This product offered the users high 3D gaming performance combined with the richest multimedia functionality. All-In-Wonder X1800 XL is no exception. Besides the superior performance in contemporary 3D games, this new multimedia combine offers remarkable video and TV viewing opportunities as well as exceptional feature for work with multimedia content.
A definite advantage of All-In-Wonder X1800 XL is its price: for only $429 the user gets a powerful graphics accelerator, the opportunity to watch TV on the PC, and the ability to turn his or her computer system into a true home entertainment center. Besides, you will also get about $200 worth of licensed Adobe software and a Guide Plus + package. In other words, the today’s All-In-Wonder X1800 XL with all the bonuses I have just listed will cost you only $30 more than a regular RADEON X1800 XL, which certainly makes the latter as well as its primary competitor – GeForce 7800 GT – considerably less attractive.
Among the innovations introduced in the ATI All-In-Wonder X1800 XL I would like to specifically stress the following:
- New TV tuner (although new is not always better than old);
- Channels reception in DVB-T format;
- Much better quality Video-In/Video-Out;
- More ergonomic remote control unit;
- SCART support (important for European users);
- Support of hardware decoding of all popular formats.
However, there are a few disappointing drawbacks that should also be kept in mind:
- Unstable functioning of the TV-tuner;
- Long PCB that may not fit into typical micro-ATX cases, the so-called “living-room form-factor”;
- Outdated software tools of the MMC Library, Multimedia Center and TV Player;
- Limited settings for manual adjustment of the TV channels, which may cause potential problems.
The uniqueness of the ATI All-In-Wonder X1800 XL position is that is has no competitors in the market today. None of the graphics cards available today offers high gaming performance together with rich multimedia features. The multimedia solutions based around entry-level GeForce chips cannot compete with ATI All-In-Wonder X1800 XL in any way. At the same time, alternative solutions for each of the features we discussed today will cost much more and may conflict with one another within the same PC system. It is a totally different question if there is real market demand for solutions like All-In-Wonder X1800 XL and if this product will win the hearts of PC enthusiasts. Time will show…