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AMD Tunes Back In with All-In-Wonder HD
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by Rob Williams on June 26, 2008 in AMD-Based GPU, TV Tuners

ATI’s All-In-Wonder cards might have been killed off in 2006, but they are being brought back to life now in the form of the All-In-Wonder HD. The new card is based on the Radeon HD 3650, offers all of the benefits of the TV Wonder series and is priced at $199.

Introduction

In fall of 1996, ATI released a unique GPU called the All-In-Wonder. This PCI-based card was based on the 3D Rage II+ chipset and featured 4MB of EDO DRAM. What made the card special was the fact it had a TV tuner built in. Not a hybrid, but rather a combination of two different chipsets, resulting in one card for two very different purposes. It was an interesting idea, because it cut down on the amount of cards needed in the machine, and that has obvious benefits.

After that launch, ATI regularly released updated models, just as they do with their GPU line-ups. Over the course of ten years, we saw the launch of the All-In-Wonder 128, which was the last to be based on the 3D Rage chipset, all the way up to the All-In-Wonder X1800 XL and X1900, based on the same chipsets as their GPU brothers.

In the fall of the same year as the X1900 launch, it was announced that AMD (who then acquired ATI) would be discontinuing the All-In-Wonder line-up, at least on the GPUs. Since then, we’ve seen some consistent TV Wonder launches, including the HD 600 PCI and HD 650 Combo USB, both of which we took a look at this past February.

Those of you who enjoyed the idea of having a GPU and TV Tuner on the same card can now relax, because AMD has just announced the AIW resurrection, in the form of the All-In-Wonder HD.

Closer Look at the All-In-Wonder HD

During a briefing earlier this week, AMD noted that the excitement around this new launch is huge. So much so, that certain e-tailers, such as Best Buy, will be offering pre-orders almost immediately. How often do you see a pre-order for any type of peripheral? Not often.

The idea behind the All-In-Wonder HD doesn’t differ much from older models. The card still offers a fully-functional GPU core and has a tuner thrown in. This combination idea doesn’t so much save on costs as it does space. Plus, having a tuner right on the GPU is just convenient.

One downside that plagued the older AIW’s was that most often, the GPUs would be clocked lower than their non-tuner-based counterparts, for two reasons. The main one was to cut down on costs. No one wanted to pay more than they needed to for such a card, and second, the cards would get too hot, with two very robust chipsets ramped up at the same time.

The new card doesn’t fix this problem, but it still features a GPU core capable of delivering reasonable PC gaming performance. The core itself is based off of RV635 PRO, the same one used in the HD 3650. So while it won’t enable high-end gaming, it should suffice for lighter gaming or gaming at resolutions of 1600×1200 and lower.

Specs-wise from a GPU standpoint, the card offers a 725MHz Core clock and 600MHz on the memory, which AMD claims will deliver better performance than a standard HD 3650. DX 10.1 is of course supported as well.

As seen in the top photo, the new card appears identical in size to the Radeon HD 3650, but a few new features can be seen. Most obvious is the tuner in the corner near the bracket, but on the opposite side you can see a port connector. This is used to connect to the daughter card, as seen above. That card will be sold separately, as part of the ‘ATI All-In-Wonder HD Accessory Kit’.

The primary card on its own will support both HDMI and DVI, but adding the daughter card will open up support for S-Video, stereo input/output and component video. It will connect via a dongle, similar to connecting dual cards for CrossfireX.


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