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Graphics Software

ATi's New All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 128MB 248

KillaBee writes "ATi has taken the wraps off their latest addition to their 'All In Wonder' product line of graphics cards with TV and video editing functionality. The All In Wonder Radeon 8500 128MB card, reviewed here, has ATi's fastest Radeon 8500 core along with a full 128MB of 300MHz DDR SDRAM (600MHz DDR). This is ATi's 'Swiss Army Knife' card that brings with it very competitive 3D graphics performance as well."
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ATi's New All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 128MB

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  • Graham (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    ATI have this market all wrapped up at the moment, and the prices are good for both the AIW products and the standard Radeon cards. Drivers are a lot better as well. Nothing that is as good as a GeForce 4 Ti4600 though, but that is darn expensive :)
    • Hardly.

      "ATI have this market all wrapped up at the moment, and the prices are good for both the AIW products and the standard Radeon cards."

      The prices for the GeforceX products are good too, and the price difference is relative to performance.

      "Drivers are a lot better as well"

      Don't make me go there. ATI's website is hell (dont know how bad it is currently, but historically it's been a huge mess) so it's near impossible to find out which driver you need. Not to mention Detonator is the bomb.

      "Nothing that is as good as a GeForce 4 Ti4600 though"

      You just contradicted yourself.

      "but that is darn expensive "
      Again..price relative to performance. In technology, you're always going to pay top dollar for that "last little bit" be it difference between a 2.0ghz cpu and a 2.2ghz cpu. The Ti4600 chews up and spits out the Radeon cards. In the high end market (the one you're referring to) nVidia is most definitely king.


      • Re:Graham (Score:4, Interesting)

        by irregular_hero ( 444800 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @07:37PM (#3398436)
        Don't make me go there. ATI's website is hell (dont know how bad it is currently, but historically it's been a huge mess) so it's near impossible to find out which driver you need. Not to mention Detonator is the bomb.

        Hmm. Last I checked, the "Find a Driver" link on the front page went right to a selection screen for card and OS. Maybe that's a different ATI.

        The poster that you're complaining about is actually right. In terms of the "all-in-one" Video Input-capable cards, ATI has always had the best set of utilities and hardware for people who didn't care about getting a bit higher in Quake's frame rate. Hydravision, ATI's multiple monitor-support software, is still head and shoulders better than any other video card manufacturer's setup. And ATI's "multimedia" applications are tightly integrated and work well. nVidia's "Personal Cinema" is quite a bit clunkier and not integrated with the other media "bits" as well. I know -- I use both.

        Where ATI has always fallen down is the quality and efficiency of their drivers. They don't release performance fixes well or often enough, although they've made some good strides to get better. Now that ATI sells chipsets to other manufacturers (following nVidia's lead), we might see them start beating on the capabilities of their drivers soon enough.

        Case in point: On paper, the Radeon 8500/128 has some features that could give it a definative edge on the Ti4. Unbound by drivers, it could very well have higher performance than most of the nVidia chipsets -- it already pushes the envelope set by the Ti3 very well. It has a highly efficient way of managing memory bandwidth -- of which it has more of than the nVidia card... It has an incredible shading engine that promises nearly double the performance of anything on the nVidia card... Its GPU, the PTIII, is theoretically capable of a higher fillrate at 32-bit than the nVidia card.

        But, of course, it all comes down to how well the software interfaces with the hardware. The drivers need work. Maybe ATI will get it together, and maybe it won't.

        It'll be fun to watch. I, frankly, can't wait until there's some good competition among video chipset vendors. I was getting bored after 3dfx tanked.

        • As someone who has had to support ATCrap in the past, I just don't recommend the cards to friends. Many a night has been blown trying to get drivers and settings working for ATI cards. Quite frankly, its not worth it. Yes, there are some nice perks to having an AIW, but being able to use it is another matter. Nvidia has eaten them alive at the OEM level due to this. Had a friend that worked in the server group at Dell and told me one of the major reasons Dell does a significant portion of its business through Nvidia now, is because Dell was tired of trying to support ATI video cards.

          ATI drivers sucked, suck and will suck for the forceable future and if they don't get off their hands and get them right they will end up exactly like 3DFX.

    • Actually, most recent reviews have placed the Ti4400 at better than the 8500s and comparably priced. The all-in-one capability of this card makes me ambivalent between the two, though. Will I really record that much video to disk (already have a TiVo) or should I just continue to concentrate on the games? Maybe when the highest density DVD recorders are finally available. I think I shall game now.
  • We seem to have gotten quite a lot of these lately, dear editors...
  • Just bought a ATI Radeon Aiw 8500 (64Mb version) 14 days ago :-( :-( :-(
    Anyway wanne buy a second hard Aiw?

    • They'll give you an upgrade credit if you'd like to trade up..they'll also give you credit..i think $100 for trading in you Nvidia for a new 8500 AIW.. sounds like they're scared...I personaly wouldn't trade mt Geforce4 4600 for anything..;)
      • Re:DAMN! (Score:3, Informative)

        by twilight30 ( 84644 )
        Some points to mention:
        • It's available to US & Cdn. end users only
        • You get more if you supply them with old ATI cards, I believe (about $50 US/Cdn, depending on where you are).
        The FAQ is available here [ati.com] and applies to both PC and Mac architectures.

    • Don't worry about it, that extra 64MB does next to nothing (ex speed increase)

      you will have to wait a while for games to take advantage of those extra RAM, but by then, you would be drooling for something better.

      RAM is cheap, ATi and NIVIDA just put more RAM so people would upgrade.
    • Sorry forgot to put in the LINK [theregus.com] for the trade in details..;)
  • Is it just me or are the specs onf the sight != to the specs in the post?

    Aside from that, it looks like we have another good option for those of us who want to do tons of different things with our video card/computer setup.
  • PCI? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CmdrTaco (editor) ( 564483 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @07:08PM (#3398292)
    I may be a minority here, but recently I've been searching for PCI versions of cards such as this ATI one. I've been trying to make a home made TIVO type box, and so far I have a FlexATX Sis620 board with a 533 Celeron in a Sahara1000 FlexATX case. The problem is there are only 2 PCI and no AGP, so I'm quite limited in my choices for quality capture cards such as the All-In-Wonder. Is there any reason why most of the video cards geared toward capability rather than gaming performance are also almost exclusively manufactured as AGP? I'd think hardcore gaming would be just about the only reason to need big boost in speeds.
    • Re:PCI? (Score:2, Informative)

      I have a PCI version of the AIW Radeon in a p3 667 and it works very well. These cards are all over for around $120.
    • Re:PCI? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NoMoreNicksLeft ( 516230 ) <john.oyler@c[ ]ast.net ['omc' in gap]> on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @07:19PM (#3398357) Journal
      Dude, for the price of such a card, you could buy a tivo. With some money left over for the 100baseT card for it. I wasn't required to subscribe when I bought mine, and I don't plan on it. A dedicated solution, a cheap solution.. no dropped frames or segfaults. If you want to build your own, to say that you've done such a thing, good luck. But if you just want a kickass linux PVR... someone already makes it.

      To be honest, I can think of many early PCI TV tuner cards you might buy, but without checking I'd think the performance on those would be horrible. Everything that is current, is high end, for professional use. $700 and up.
      • OT, I know, but would you be willing to comment on what functionality is available to you on the Tivo unit without paying for a subscription?

        I'm interested in getting one, and I only care about two things:

        1. Ability to pause live show for a few minutes (phone rings, bathroom break, etc.) and then resume.

        2. Ability to tell Tivo to record at a certain day/time. (ideally it would sit between my DirecTV box and the TV, and just record whatever is on the pipe at that time.)

        If I get the box, can I do those without subscribing?

        • Re:PCI? (Score:3, Interesting)

          #1 works out of the box. The thing by default records up to an hour's previous footage constantly, allowing pause, replay, etc. Changing the channel kills this (it starts a new buffer).

          #2 is possible, and somewhat simple. You'll have to screw around a bit, to get a bash prompt on the serial port. Once there, you send a few pre-compiled binaries to it, allowing some more functionality (this doesn't require opening the thing, no idea how it affects the warranty). The simplest way would be to set up some script on a cron tab that shells in and manually starts up the appropriate binaries. You can of course manually record shows.

          Also, the guide format is partially/completely hacked, but isn't public. It wouldn't be too tough to write a libwww perl script to grep tvguide.com listings, and reformat it in a way that the tivo would understand. I'm not sure what more I can say that would be legally safe.
    • Re:PCI? (Score:3, Funny)

      by Gizzmonic ( 412910 )
      t's Spring, and the need for a new video card presents itself. Why? Because the one you bought 6 months ago is "outdated," meaning it doesn't get the highest FPS on some benchmark site like the one whored in this article.

      So is it time to drop the $400? To rely on buggy drivers rushed out by ATi or nVidia? To snarl at DirectX's mysterious problems, which may or may not be related to some of your older hardware not agreeing with your new card?

      You've stared at the numbers on the site, and you don't see any reason why not. Did you know some sites exist (and make money) just by getting new video cards and "benchmarking" (aka "playing") them? Is this fair? Are you going to contribute to this universally unfair practice? Of course, you clicked through to buy from the first vendor listed on the site. You can hardly wait for the UPS man to come tomorrow (you can afford expedited shipping, you only paid 95% of what you'd pay at a retail store anyway).

      As a savvy PC gamer, you've already downloaded the latest crack off Usenet. You never pay for software-why should you? The hardware costs enough as it is, besides, each game on the PC is just an iteration of Doom or Command and Conquer. Brainless blowing away, or boring resource management? You love 'em both. Or at least, they're available, and you play them.

      You laugh at your buddies with an Xbox, because "I can build a more powerful system than that for half the cost!" You've scorned the Gamecube because "The Gamepurse is for kiddies!" Your Playstation 2, purchased for Final Fantasy X, lies collecting dust next to your DVD player (which sucks compared to the one on your computer-NATCH!)

      You pause a bit to think about your computer purchases over the last year:

      • Athlon T-bird and motherboard-$250.

      • Athlon XP and motherboard-$400.

      • "L337" Custom Water Cooled Case-$300

      • 1 Gig RAM (purchased 256MB at a time)-$400.

      • SB Audigy-$95.

      • GeForce 3-$350.

      Now this Radeon card will be about $400, but it's worth it! Buy a Mac? Never! They don't have games, and besides, they're too expensive.

      Buyer's remorse never seizes your temples with its steely vice grip. You'll never lose your job at the helpdesk, and even if you do, Mom and Dad will be there to help you out. You're a sharp guy, and you're surely going places. Right after this game of Return to Castle Wolfenstein, that is...

  • Okay, are we going to have to see this every half hour? I am not buying one.

    At least they have not reposted Katz's ad for his fucking dog book or whatever.

  • by wackybrit ( 321117 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @07:10PM (#3398300) Homepage Journal
    In the past, ATI's 'All In Wonder' cards have been pretty crappy compared to the other cards out at the same time. You wouldn't be running Quake1/2 at a decent res on those puppies with a good framerate.. whereas the TNT was far better but had far less 'features'.

    Finally it seems video processing power has reached a level similar to that of CPU power. That is, the latest 'high-end' spec is overkill for 95% of applications, and very fast 'general use' products (such as the All-In-Wonder) are now actually pretty good.

    This card will satisfy nearly all users except those who want to run Quake 3 at 1600x1200 in 32 bit color, and offers more 'user features' than regular nVidia based cards can currently bring to the table. However, unlike with past All-In-Wonder cards, this will actually be able to run most games at a decent speed in a decent resolution!

    Good for ATI!
    • The Radeon 8500 is actually neck and neck with the GeForce3 TI 500 (which performs better than a low end GeForce4). I'm constantly reading here and in other places that high end GeForce3 and 4 cards are "overkill," and I can tell from personal experience that a GeForce2 MX runs Quake3 in 1200x1024/32-bit color (with all the goodies) at a passable framerate. I think that this, combined with ATIs OEM deals (the mobility Radeon 7500 seems hot), they stand a chance to take quite a bit of market share from NVidia and the (IMO) overpriced GeForce4 line.
  • I already use my computer to watch movies, TV shows. My LCD monitor seems fast enough to handle it, and the quality is awesome. With a card like this, and a DVD drive, who needs a TV any more?

    I just miss the remote.

    Websurfing: The Next Generation - StumbleUpon [stumbleupon.com]
    • It come's with a remote dude... A radio USB remote no less, you can hook it up downstairs, and watch it on the TV upstairs, with no loss of control.. I'll be looking into getting a PCI version this.
      • Yeah, but just you try using it. I have one, and I find it frustrating as hell - the mousepad isn't pressure sensitive, so it's very hard to maneouvre accurately. Not to mention its "programmable" buttons can only be programmed to do useless things.

        Go buy a MouseRemote [x10.com] from X10 (yeah yeah, just do it), and get the MaX10 [sourceforge.net] software. So much nicer to use, far more flexible, and it's a regular pre-programmed universal IR remote & X10 gadget controller too :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The last All-in-Wonder story was about the stripped-down cheapo extra-good-value AIW. This story is about the 128MB beefed-up version.
  • I used to be a big fan of ATI; in fact, I'm using one at this very moment (at the time, the Radeon VE was one of the few readily available dual display cards, and I had no luck with two cards in one system). But I've found their drivers to cause serious problems with Win2K, my console OS of choice, and will not be buying any more of their cards. I'm in the market for a GeForce 4 Ti 4200 (seems there's one company already making them) with dual outputs, and when I find one, bye bye, ATI.
    • by Coolfish ( 69926 )
      hear hear. Just like Matrox, I thought they had some inovative technology that other companies weren't really interested in (the Rainbow Runner G, Dualhead, etc. for example). But the simple fact remains that just like Matrox, ATI has awful customer support, and terrible drivers. Then, once you figure "okay, this technology has had time to mature, i can expect some solid drivers", tada, they discontinue the product.

      So what do you do? Get a video card that has all these snazzy new features, but you bring it home and the drivers don't even suppor it yet? (my Ati Radeon VE refused to do both monitors at acceptable resolutions, and it took them a long time to even acknowledge the issue). I've figured I'll go with a company that at least appears to support their cards properly, Nvidia. I'm looking forward to my next upgrade.

      • Mod this up, dont every buy the bull "Drivers will mature".

        Learn from past mistakes, even if the hardware is good, they write bad drivers, bad software, and they lie about benchmarks.

        Im sticking with Nvidia, and My version 2880 linux nvidia drivers rock my linux world.
      • by Tim Browse ( 9263 )

        As a game developer, I can back this up re: driver problems. We had a crash bug in the Matrox G400 OpenGL driver, and supplied Matrox with an example program.

        They then asked us what our program was doing - we thought "Er, aren't you the driver writers? Can't you tell?"

        So we gave them the source in the end, including some of our engine. Eventually they came back and said that it was a problem, but they wouldn't be fixing it as the G400 was not their latest hardware, and so it had lower priority. They might fix it in the future - maybe.

        BTW, at the time, the G400 was the latest card you could buy from Matrox. They basically told us that they wouldn't fix bugs in the drivers for their most recent currently shipping product.

        We were not exactly impressed.


      • Here is another Matrox story... I have a Matrox G400 Marvel - nice TV tuner, (hardware) video capture, good stuff. They only had drivers for win98, but drivers for win2k were right around the corner. The box ran better than I expected, but still had the stability and 2G file limits with the win9x core...

        Fast forward a year and a half. The blessed win2k drivers come out. The card turns my $300 card (lots for me at the time) into nothing more than a tv tuner card under win2k -- after much weeping and nashing of teeth, they tell users they will give a $50 rebate to the new and improved G450 Marvel -- without any hardware encoding.

        I'm also one of those poor slobs who got stuck with a HP dvd100i too. Stay way clear of it. The best part is when HP asked for $100 to "upgrade" the DVD+RW to record DVD-R like they said it would in the press release. That, and none of the laptops with DVDs will actually read a data DVD+RW I created with it. Total waste of money.

        Argh. Never again for both of those folks. Not that I am bitter....
        • I don't know about HP specifics. But as I understand it, DVD+RW drives are supposed to write DVD+RW disks, and DVD+R. DVD+R is supposed to be fairly universal, much like DVD-R, but with a slightly higher chance of compatibility problems when compared to DVD-R disks.

          Now in addition, most DVD-RW and DVD+RW drives can write to CD-R disks. Are you saying that that in assition to CD-R, CD-RW, DVD+RW and DVD+R, some HP drives can also write to DVD-R disks?

          That doesn't seem likely, but if they do... Sweet! I have always avoided HP WORM drives since experiencing the continual crap they seemed to have put out since their 2x CD-R days. But if they are making a drive capable of DVD+RW, DVD-R, and CD-RW, then perhaps I should give them another chance....

          Hey, have you checked out the functionality of your Matrox card under a Free Software OS? Perhaps the Xfree86ers have done a better job than Win2k in this case? That is, if you don't mind a seperate utility for your tuner functionality. As for hardware encoding, do you mean MPEG or MJPEG?
          • The Register [theregister.co.uk] has links to most of the information on the DVD+R $100 upgrade, along with some other threads wworth reading. From personal experience, the DVD burner will create "generic" CD's (able to be used by nnormal CD-ROMs) if you enable a compatibility program if you use the DLA software (makes it a big floppy, closes session when you run the proggy). Only works for CDs, not DVDs. The "create data DVD" software does not work in any drive that I have tested, unless it is in the box tthat has the HP dvd100i (or the samsung cdrw/dvd sm-308b is the only other drive that can read these bloody DVD+RWs). My bad if I said DVD-R, it is DVD+R.... the +R are a few bucks cheaper today.... and will probably be the "bulk" CD+RW like we have today. As a side note, most of the software does not work on win2k server -- pro is ok, but they never say that on the box or press.

            The matrox card plays tuxracer and quake3 our of the box. I tried the video capture stuff a while back, but it did not work well for me. The old G400 marvel did hardware MJPEG, which could be cut into different formats. The card did most of the work, so I could really make a 400mhz P-II w/SCSI drives go far. I'm not sure where things are today - I have access to a rt2000 whenever I need to chop real video - but for home use it is not worth the hassles.
    • yeah it's a real pain, I had to install WinXP instead of Windows 2000 and only the MS drivers worked, ATI ones where a disaster although my friend says that the ATI drivers has been fixed now.
      • I run XP and an 8500DV. I have my share of complaints about the software & drivers, but now that I've found a config that's merely annoying instead of hopelessly broken (with the aid of a software update and a lot of workarounds), I can say that most things do work, some of them quite well.

        However, there's still some plain stupid things that remain broken, like the massive memory leak(100s of MBs) when ffwding through their own .vcr files, or how it's unable to remember the Custom capture setting if you happen to choose one of the .vcr format settings, or the random crashes on scheduled recordings, to pick three out of dozens.

        I reported all of these issues and many more in the MMC 7.5 software, months ago. I offered my help in reproducing them & tracking them down. I got no followup, and surprise surprise, they're all still broken in the recent MMC 7.6 update.

        The hardware is definitely done well, quality is great, and I'm usually willing to give software a chance to mature, but seeing these kinds of major bugs persisting in software through that many revisions, I've lost a lot of faith.

    • ATI has a long and noble history of releasing the worst, lowest-quality, most unusable drivers ever. It wasn't enough that they wrote horrible drivers: they refused to make any efforts to improve the situation. They refused to admit there was a problem; they refused to fix the bugs; they invariably claimed it was a motherboard problem when I complained. I swear, if ATI would hire some people who had the slightest clue how to write decent drivers, nobody would ever have heard of NVIDIA.

      They've made so many good products crippled by unusable drivers. It's kind of a shame. I know I'll never buy an ATI product after my one experience with them. I've already talked several friends out of purchases. Even if it should ever come to pass that ATI has the best cards (and drivers), the company's attitude has convinced me never to buy any ATI product, no matter what.

      I wonder how many other people feel this way about ATI. I know of at least a few.

  • As an All-In-Wonder Radeon owner, just want to clear up the things the article glosses over. You can't set it to record the same show no matter what time it comes on, you can't view listings more than 7 days in advance, and unlike a Tivo, it won't record similar shows for you. This is not set-it-and-forget-it software, and people need to stop comparing it to Tivo. It's much closer to a VCR than to Tivo: you have to manually program it, and it's just not that smart. (The quality's outstanding, though.)
    • Articles are generally based on press releases which emphasise the good points of a product - for an unbiased opinion you need to ask someone who actually has one before buying.
    • Did you know that the ATi AIW series are just like a TiVO?!
      They even say TIVO on the box!
      Why right now I have my tv in, and video going out!
    • That is very informative, thank you for the information. I was wondering about that very issue. Ever more importantly than "similar" shows, would be a readily available advance warning indicator of all new shows, so that I could decide for myself if I like new shows, and I wouldn't have to miss any piliot episodes. While it isn't like any television I regularly watch, I did stumble across the Collin Quin show, and found it a mostly enjoyable, less heavyhanded alternative to the corpse of Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, that was also the last episode.

      As for an All-in-Wonder not performing as a TIVO, there is no hardware reaason why it couldn't, that's just a feature of the software. From my understanding, the TIVO requires a subscription for those advanced services - unless you buy the "lifetime" of the device option, which puts the cost up with Replay TV. Now there is software which is working on PVR functionality for Linux, so that you wouldn't need the included Windows software to run basic PVR functionality. It isn't likely that the "Free Software" would be able to get broadcast listings.

      But as for complaining about only 7 days in advance, I have digital cable via Comcast, and I don't recall ever seeing listings go past 5 days in advance. Occastionally the service goes out, and I see no listings... it once had 4 days, and then after it recovers, it takes some time to get past 4 hours in advance. I wouldn't mind a steady week's headway in programming. This can also lose synh with reality
      on occasion, like when a program has temporarily shifted its time slot to make way for a sporting event.

      Back when Politically Incorrect was occasionally worth watching, to do so was virtually impossible (when I had work the next day) because I need sleep, and the VCR was rendered ineffective when Mr Mahr would air whenever Nightline felt like resting, be it 11:45 or 1:00AM. I have seem it start around 2:30. Other times I'd tune in early, just to see a toothy Ilyana "my name is, Opr---Ilyana" doing her thang. So tell me, how far into the broascast future does TIVO see, and how accurate/flexible are it's claims? Was it able to adjust for the Buffy Musical's overtime?

      The only significant problem to having Full TIVO like functionality is the television programming schedule. If this was freely available, there is no reason why PC PVR couldn't supplant standalone consumer devices. Now, does anybody know of any way to get such TV listing services into a computer? Is there any service that provides such listings, for free or a fee? Or would I have to spilce into some co-ax to siphon the Comcast/TIVO/satelite schedule?
      • TIVO is as accurate as the information that the company received from... (I forget the name of the company that does the listings). The information is as up to date as your last successful call in.

        So if ABC says Mahr is on at Midnight, that's what time TIVO records it. If they have an accurate time, then TIVO records that.

        As far as special things like Buffy, yes it did know to record for an extra 10 minutes. It also knew that Jerimiah was going to be on 15 minutes late last week.

        It knows that a show is pre-empted for a different show. It knows quite a lot -- a lot more than I'm willing to sit down and figure out on my own.

        I don't know the All In Wonder's functionality, but if you're going to compare it to TIVO, you have to compare a lot more of the features.

        Does the card allow you to record one show while watching another show that has already been recorded (without dropping frames)? Does it allow you to watch the show it is recording 15 minutes behind what its recording?

        Is it always recording so that if I want to pause or rewind, I can. If after watching it for 20 minutes, I decide I'd like a to record it, is it able to record the entire show (including the 20 minutes I've just watched)?

        If not, it aint a TIVO.

        I can Vid cap right now to my hearts content. But that aint TIVO either. Because if it doesn't have all those wonderful extra features, whats the real difference between it and a VCR (with VCR+)?
  • by steppin_razor_LA ( 236684 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @07:22PM (#3398375) Journal
    I am the "proud" owner of a Radeon All In Wonder. I dropped close to $300 on the card. I bought it hoping to set up a home theatre PC. I was looking forward to experimenting with broadcasting the video via 802.11 to the downstairs office so that my GF could watch while working.. etc.

    ATI totally caved to Microsoft and only supports their "latest" video capture API (DirectShow). Well guess what even though DirectShow has been out for a long time, there doesn't seem to be a lot of support for it -- even from Microsoft. So if you want to use NetMeeting or Windows Media Server or Real Server -- you can go suck an egg.

    The video capture software they bundle it seems to capture into a proprietary MPEG2 format that doesn't play on other computers. If you want to share something you captured, you need to re-encode it.

    There are third party applicaitons available -- I think that FlashMPEG can do capture for it now.

    All in all, I am *REALLY* disappointed with the card. The hardware seems fine, but the software & support just blow.
    • What, ATI's annual driver release not good? Say it isn't so!


      Wait a second, this is ATI we're talking about. They're even worse than Creative with drivers, I swear. There was a time when I had to switch between three sets of ATI drivers for Half-Life, UT, and Quake 3, each switch requiring two 3-minute reboots in Windows 98.

      The only way to use the TV functions on any ATI card is with an external program. I recommend DScaler [sourceforge.net], which does some fancy processing to the signal to make it look good enough to eat (unless it's squid day on Iron Chef).

      • I agree. I quit buying ATI because of their horrible drivers and the crappy software that came with it. Their video capture software left a lot of room for improvment. I hate GUIs which are over-done in appearance which hide the buggy bloated code underneath.

        I miss not having the ability to capture TV images, but then again I don't watch much TV anymore anyway.

        • Yeah, I only fire up the DScaler when it's time for some hot hot South Park action, but I never remember because TV isn't as fun as Super Mario Kart in ZSNES. There's an over-done GUI with nice fast code underneath, right there.
      • I own an earlier ATI All-in-wonder, and the drivers are indeed lacking in that they're flaky as hell. And hey, wasn't there a big flap about ATI optimizing their drivers specifically for Quake 3 not too long ago in order to appear more competative while running everyone's favorite 3D office app?

        Also, comparing ATI drivers to Creative is just downright cruel and unusual. I'm still waiting for an official (read: functional) Windows 2000 driver for my Creatve DVD card. I think I'll be opening a skishop in hell before THAT ever gets released.
      • OMFG - don't get me started on ATI. I have an AIW-pro 32MB card. It was great after I installed it, never had any problems (ok, except with UT). Then one day I come to find out that they had new drivers/software. Since I thought the TV software could be better, I downloaded all of them. BIG BIG BIG mistake. After installing the new drivers, my video signal would just drop whenever it felt like it. Not playing games either, during normal PC activity. I couldn't get it back. My monitor gave the message "Video Cable Connected?". I had to reset the machine, and we all know how Windows likes that. (couldn't even CTRL-ALT-DELETE). I used to have no problems playing Ghost Recon, and after the driver install, it would only run for about 2 minutes before locking up. Several emails to ATI support went into the black hole.

        It took several attempts, but I finally uninstalled the drivers and software, and installed the ones that came with my card. But even now, I still have the occasional problem that I never had before. Yeah, the TV functionality is pretty cool, and the main reason I got the card was to transfer some video tapes to digital format, but I highly doubt I'll buy another ATI card. YOU LISTENING ATI ???!!!!


    • You blatently missed the "Custom" capture setting that you can, "customeize".

      This is not a troll.

      Try capturing to stright DivX or some jazzy jeff alternative.

    • Hey. Sometimes the technical daredevil solution is not the best one. I'm speaking from the position of someone who has spent countless hours and weekends on projects like the one you attempted to provide some video (porn?) over your home network for your 'GF' (Gay Friend?).

      Granted, your ambitions may have been cheated by ATI's laziness in leveraging some half-assed package provided my microsoft. But even if it had worked, do you really need your computer AND your girlfriend's computer wasting CPU cycles on encoding and decoding video files and tying up your home network with all that data? The lowtech approach of running coax or whatever in parallel with your ethernet cables and plugging it into a seperate TV set might be a more reliable and easier-to-implement solution.

      Don't get me wrong, though. I'm not mocking your project. It just echoes some of the technological boondoggles I've sucked myself into.
    • i have used ati products for quite some time ... but i was so disappointed with their
      drivers, and ati's linux support (read: drivers) isn't that great.

      i just bought a fresh nvida card because they have (yes i know it's closed sorce) very
      good linux drivers, the are fast and i can play quake 3 in 1280x1024 or use
      tvout to watch dvd's on my tv.

      i think what ati has to do, get the drivers working, also ati should consider more linux
      support (drivers!), i know many gnu/linux using people who have
      nvidia cards just because they are working very well, and i won't buy any ati products
      until they have: a.) better drivers b.) linux drivers

      to be fair, ati does support linux, but i think they have to realize, that people dont like
      to wait a half or even a year before their graphics board is working the way it should be ...

      i think ati builds good cards, but their drivers have ever been, and are still crap,
      i remeber years back where i used windows and gnu/linux in dual boot, ati's drivers for
      windows had many problems, but i had a 3dfx card back then
      so i don't cared that much.

      all i can say is, if you are willing to wait that someday the drivers are good, then buy
      ati's cards, as i said before, i don't buy their products anymore.
    • I bought an 8500DV late last year because of it's soon to be released component output cable. It was touted as the best solution for home entertainment systems because of the component video output, not available in any other graphics card.

      We are now half a year further and no component output cable. The FAQ dully states:

      Q12: Is component output enabled with the initial shipment? When is it available? How do I get component output?

      A12: No, component output will not be available with the initial shipment. It will be available in 2002. You will be able to purchase an upgrade package from ATI with an adapter to connect your graphics card to your HDTV through YPbPr.

      Great, so that will be, what, 31st December 2002?

      It's amazing how companies get away with these kind of false promises. Several emails asking for a more specific timeframe went unanswered (after requiring me to go through a rediculous amount of trouble finding a way to actually get a proper email address).

      An other important thing to mention that I keep running into: NEVER trust information on a web-page. The company will modify it without any record of the previous version (only a few weeks and it's out of Google cache as well), leaving you with no prove whatsoever.
  • by j09824 ( 572485 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @07:29PM (#3398400)
    Are all the features available from Linux? Are the drivers open source, or are they semi-closed, like nVidia's? How good is OpenGL performance on Linux?
    • I'm not sure how much suppor there is for the video capture features of the card under Linux right now. However, ATI releases all the specs to their cards so that people like the DRI project can develop drivers for them (which is much cooler IMHO than NVidia's closed drivers). So, while it may take longer for the drivers to mature, they will most likely be free software.

      A little off your question...
      I've seen a few people complaining about their AIW Radeon's, etc. I just have to say that (owning an AIW 7500) the drivers are much more mature than what they talk about. I've had no problems using the capture functions, no problems with any game (D3D or OpenGL) and it DOES encode to non-proprietary formats (MPEG2, AVI, etc) to allow for editing w/out conversion.

      The quality is fantastic (I can't wait till I get somewhere where I have reception). I recommend getting one of these card if TV+good 3D acceleration is your bag.
      • I agree. I was once an ATI hater too. I used to despise trying to get drivers to work correctly, but unlike many others who are basing their opinions on cards 2 or 3 generations ago, I gave them another chance.

        And guess what.

        Best hardware purchase I have ever made. The drivers are a TON better than before. They still aren't perfect but they work, and quite well. Updates are now atleast monthly with quite a few "leaks" in between.

        Compared to my geforce owning friends, I have no more issues than they have with their drivers, and in some cases less, which is suprising because my card (8500DV) does so much more than play games.

        As I sit here, the TV is paused in an overlay window on top of this text area just waiting nicely for me to continue when I am finished.

        Sure it takes a leap of faith to "change", especially when a company has wronged you in the past. So how many of you are running AMD?

        You never know...your old issues may be holding you back from a truely amazing experience.
    • Unfortunately there is no OpenGL support [sourceforge.net] for the 8500 under Linux.

      I was disappointed that ATI doesn't appear to be willing to fund 8500 development through Tungsten Graphics [tungstengraphics.com] like they did a few years ago [rageunderground.com] (when TG was called Precision Insight).

      I was just in the market to buy and new card, and as much as I wanted an ATI, I ended up buying a GeForce3. I don't like that NVidia's stuff is a closed binary implementation, but at least they take the Linux market seriously enough to support it.

    • nVidia's 3D drivers are not semi-closed. They are completely closed.

  • ... and give me linux drivers and I'd buy one. I'd keep my nVidia(s) around, in the same case, for games though. The video editing would be nice and worth the cash.
  • Trade-In Program (Score:2, Informative)

    by jimmcq ( 88033 )
    You can get up to $150 off a All-In-Wonder Radeon 8500 128MB AGP through ATI's Trade-Up Program [ati.com].

    Basically if you order the card through them you get an instant $50 rebate... Then when you send in an old ATI card or even a different brand of graphic card, they will send you a $100 rebate.
  • Somehow 'Swiss Army Knife' sounds a bit mundane these days. And we all know that 'Swiss Army Chainsaw' already exists and has more blades than Larry Wall can count. Therefore, I propose the term SwissCard for this beauty. (Something under that name is already being made by Victorinox, but I rest assured none of the /.ers care about IP SchmIP issues.)
  • Slashdot editors - Please stop posting minor product announcements as news items. There are lots of other sites that do a better job of covering this kind of thing. Please keep it to "Stuff that matters."
  • Man, I'm getting a bit sick of waiting on ATI... the AIW Radion 8500 is the same as my original All-in-Wonder from 1996 with a new graphics chip plugged in.

    ATI promised DTV a couple of years ago and has yet to deliver on the promise. Why deal with flaky drivers and questionable benchmark tactics when I can just get a TV wonder that does EVERYTHING the AIW adds and have the FREEDOM of selecting whatever graphics powerhouse card I want?

    Meanwhile, NVidia has pretty much caught up to ATI in the All-In-Wonder type packaging with the Personal Cinema-based cards and fluid VIVO support. With an external tuner, NVidia can even potentially deliver DTV as a retro-fit.

    Ugh. ATI disappointed me way too many times for me to ever get excited about their products again. Sadly, my first ever PC video card was an ATI EGA Wonder in 1988 (hooked up to a Mono TTL monitor simulating EGA with 16 shades of grey)... I still have it in a doorstop somewhere around here.
    • Another nice feature would be a GOOD MPEG2 *ENCODER* in hardware, available for video in encoding AND firewire encoding as well. Not software, and not quarter frame - full 720x480 30fps encoding at high quality for seamless editing. This is what I REALLY need for a complete home video suite.

      My current set up consists of a 60gb 7200rpm drive (data), 30gb drive (OS and software), TV Wonder for basic VIVO and PVR fucntionality, Firewire card for my Digital8 camcorder, 20in monitor (ancient Nanao Flexscan), and a DVD-ROM drive running on a 1ghz P3 with 512MB RAM. The addition of a good MPEG2 encoder that can handle real-time capture of the DV stream into full-frame MPEG2 would be perfect.
    • I agree.. This NTSC tuner merits a big yawn for me.

      DTV makes more sense for PVR functions. The data is already compressed digital. All you have to do it save it to disk. And, the quality is leaps and bounds better than our 50 year old NTSC standard.

      It's about time they got on board with DTV. I would be the first in line to buy one.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @07:53PM (#3398488) Homepage
    Okay maybe I'll get modded down -2 fricken-moron for this...

    ...but what is wrong with the 64MB version? Does it go into swap space or something?
    • In the sense that it'll use your system memory via AGP, pretty much. Performance-wise, it's pretty analogous to going to HD swap from system RAM, though not quite as drastic of a performance difference.

    • It didnt get 187 Frames per seconds on quake 3. that is really bad. with other words: all benchmarks require a lot of FPS now or they will say: buy XXX instead.

      Some games can use that 128 MB now. THe best reason to buy such a card is to have "the best stuff".

      -128 MB sounds better that 64MB
      -It is faster (this card has faster memory).

  • I've still never forgiven ATI for not bothering to write drivers for Windows 2000 that supported dual display for their Rage Pro/Mobility series of cards, thus stranding thousands of folks with laptops with ATI video built in.

    ATI says it's Microsoft's fault (yet somehow Nvidia figured it out).

    This is a great feature, especially for laptops, since you can run PowerPoint on one screen and your notes on the other.

    ATI seems to have a nice history of never/rarely providing driver updates once they release a new chipset. This is incredibly dumb - the Rage Mobility M1 is still used in brand new, shipping systems, yet the drivers for Windows 2000 are like 18 months old, feature-wise!

    Thus, they make my "never buy again" doody-list. Next laptop will have Nvidia.

  • HEH. Long story, but I'll make it short.

    4 years ago, I was buying a "new" PC. Given the choice between the less expensive nVidia and the more expensive ATI, I stuck with the brand I had heard of (never heard of nVidia before) and went with the ATI. Wrong choice. It was an ATI Rage 64 or something, I forget, Rage LT PRO, I think it was. There was NO hardware 3D OGL acceleration, and minimal D3D. Out rolled a new DX release, and out rolls a buggy as hell uncertified driver. It took them like 10 releases to get it right, and they still didn't have hardware support. Under Linux, the situation was somewhat better - the opensource drivers used acceleration, and I got a lot better frame rates. But it would lock all IO on the box until I telnetted in and chvt'd on occasion - and sometimes it wouldn't even let me telnet!

    So the point I'm trying to make is, for your own good, don't buy it. Not flamebait, but just wait until you see the EXACT CARD in the EXACT BOX you're getting running the EXACT SOFTWARE you're gonna run. For your own sake.

  • ATI? Yuck. (Score:3, Informative)

    by topham ( 32406 ) on Tuesday April 23, 2002 @08:07PM (#3398544) Homepage
    Aside from it taking me 3 months to get my ATI card working as it SHOULD...

    (All-in-Wonder Rage 128) I finally can get the TV-tuner working and watch TV while I use dual monitors.

    Never did figure out HOW I GOT IT WORKING.
    (This under Win2K)

    ATI drivers *SUCK*. Their DVD support SUCKS (I have a standalone MPEG2 decoder card, I've had it since I was using a Pentium 166, it has always played DVDs flawlessly.) On my Pentium III ATI's DVD support glitches now and then.

    I was better off under W95 with my Pentium 166, & creative Labs decoder.

    I will not consider an ATI card again until they improve their driver support and pull their head out of their ass. (Mpeg2 encoding should be done in hardware, it takes a Pentium III to do it in software, and you can't do much else...)
    • ATI drivers *SUCK*. Their DVD support SUCKS (I have a standalone MPEG2 decoder card, I've had it since I was using a Pentium 166, it has always played DVDs flawlessly.) On my Pentium III ATI's DVD support glitches now and then.

      Got DMA? :)

      Seriously, Win98 will sometimes forget the DMA setting on DVD drives. You can set it back, but upon the necessary reboot, it will forget it. I had to uninstall and install the drive. Without DMA, my DVD would pause every couple of seconds.
      • Enabled or disabled DMA the DVD playback to ATI cards is no-where near as good as the seperate card I bought with my DVD drive.

        I had very good results with the MPEG2 decoder and my DVD drive on a Pentium 166mmx -without- DMA enabled.

        On my Pentium III 500Mhz with the ATI card and DMA enabled it isn't as good.

  • is available at Anandtech here [anandtech.com] it compares the AIW 8500DV (with gets the editors choice award)it also has similar offerings from Matrox and Nividia, if you want to see whats out there.
  • I'm looking for a card with decent TV out. I want to watch all this cool video I've encoded on a real TV where the women in my life won't complain. Has anyone seen any sort of review coverage of the quality of TV outs on cards like the 8500 (or some nice Geforce?). I know the sharpness will never be great, but if geometry (trapezoid, pincushion) and scaling (overscan!) can work, that would be good enough for me.
  • A friend bought an All-In-Wondder card, and not supprisingly, it had problems with counter strike. go figure. The ATI cards are cool when it comes to video capture, but am I the only one who will sacrifice that for good graphics?
  • Anything which does many things, does none of them well. Get a standalone capture card, and don't by ATI unless you want miserable driver support. I got burned on a ATI TV Wonder (the software just locks my machine up constantly) and a ATI All-In-Wonder a few years ago. Nvidia chips have never caused me grief, and always have the world's best drivers, updated regulatly.

  • Hey dudes, curious about something: I used to have a Radeon 8500. The dual monitor support was capped at 1280 by 1024 @ 60hz. I really want to run > 60hz since I can see the flicker. Anybody know if:

    a.) It can run higher than 1280 in dual mode (I really like 1600

    b.) Can it run at a higher refresh rate than 60hz?

    It doesnt bother me if they two monitors MUST be the same rez/refresh, but I need the higher refresh rate. Does this particular card support that? If not, does Nvidia make one that does?
  • What exactly is slowing them down? I have the 8500 (not the AIW), and I bought it because of the dual head support. It looks great under linux, and I'm pretty happy with the way they make it work under Win2K. But what's the deal? I paid money for the card, and I got flaky drivers that do a poor job of displaying 3D occasionally, and cause more crashes in the time that I've had it than I EVER had with Win2K. nVidia seems to manage okay. And it isn't that they're trying to support something they know nothing about. They designed the damn card, so where are the drivers?

    Why, why, why? I'd love to reccomend this card without reservation, but I can't. I love the 8500, but I always have to add the caveat that the drivers are kinda lousy.
    • I have an 8500 too, and I must agree that the drivers are a tad flaky. (I've had several "spontaneous" reboots so far, though they've been fairly far between.) Just a few observations about this card and it's drivers..

      - 2D transparency of windows and stuff in 2K and XP is done using the 3D acceleration parts of the card. Sometimes, after running software that makes rather heavy use of pixel shaders, I'll end up with anything transparent suddenly being mono-color. I suspect they had a state-saving problem in that particular version of the drivers... suffice it to say, the latest driver version fixes this issue.

      - As a developer, I've been using this card to write vertex and pixel shaders, and let me tell you, this thing does not react well to incorrect values. As an example, I once accidentally fed a mangled pixel shader pointer value to the SetPixelShader call in DirectX, and the following render call I made caused the computer to reboot. Ditto happens if you specify an incorrect specification for vertex information. It's a shame they don't check for obvious errors like this, something nVidia does. (Although I should point out that part of me is extremely thankful that the card does react badly to these problems. Otherwise, I probably never would've discovered the problem in the first place.)

      - The OpenGL texture-loading-into-memory issue---which I really don't know much about--is not yet fixed in an official driver release, as I understand it. So most people will still be experiencing the texture memory chug in Quake III, which appears to be part of what this review is based on. I'm not sure if the other tests are OpenGL or DirectX, but maybe this'll shine a little light on why there's a bit of that discrepancy. (Was the texture shuffle thing an issue in DirectX too? Anyone know?)

      - Windowed 3D rendered contexts that are rendering slow can end up feeling like they're lagging by a bit. Compared to a Geforce3, it can seem like the Radeon8500 is a slow mule, but I think it's just from being triple-buffered instead of double-buffered. (Incidentally, this might also be responsible for another issue I've seen crop up while moving from a Geforce3 to a Radeon8500; the base memory footprint, graphics memory-wise, tends to be larger on the Radeon8500. This is more of a feeling than a documented fact, but I suspect that when you're working on a Radeon8500, you actually have less texture memory to play with than on a Geforce3.. even when they both have the same on-card memory and AGP aperature sizes. I think this would actually make for an interesting comparison sometime, if someone would actually make a benchmark that compared the amount of stuffs you can stuff into each of these cards.)

      All in all, I'm happy with my purchase. This is probably the most stable set of drivers I have seen come out of ATi ever. Granted, I'm not running multihead, so I don't know how much added complexity that throws into the equation, but.. hey, it works, and a hundred times better than the Rage Pro and Rage 128 drivers did. For instance, this one calculates clipped vertex coordinates correctly, something the Rage Pro had issues with in OpenGL. And I had an issue that bugged me about the Rage 128 too, but I seem to've forgotten it.. : )

      Still, I have one issue that's been bugging the daylights out of me with the Radeon8500, more because I can't logically figure out why it would be happening rather than because it's annoying. I've been playing this old game called Oni, and while it runs faster than ever with the new card, and looks simply amazing, I've begun to notice that.. well.. the texture coordinates on the level geometry actually jump around ever so slightly. It's really quite bizarre to watch... : )
      • Still, I have one issue that's been bugging the daylights out of me with the Radeon8500, more because I can't logically figure out why it would be happening rather than because it's annoying. I've been playing this old game called Oni, and while it runs faster than ever with the new card, and looks simply amazing, I've begun to notice that.. well.. the texture coordinates on the level geometry actually jump around ever so slightly. It's really quite bizarre to watch... : )

        It smells like an integer precision problem in the game itself. Do you have any way of checking out the same game on an NVidia card, say?

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