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Product : All-In-Wonder 9600XT
Company : ATI Technologies
Author : Mark 'Ratchet' Thorne
Editor : Robin 'roki' Kim
Date : April 17th, 2004

Conclusion

Like the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro, I was quite impressed with the All-In-Wonder 9600XT. It's a very fast 3D card, it has remarkable image quality, it runs very cool and, of course, the multimedia features are second to none. With Dual-VGA and an FM radio tuner, the All-In-Wonder 9600XT even has a couple of features that the much more expensive flagship All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro doesn't offer.

Also adding immensely to the AIW 9600XT package is the awesome Remote Wonder II. Not only does it have excellent range but it's also very ergonomic, looks great, and is easy to use. With the upcoming IR blaster add-on it will resolve the only major issue I have with it; that of not being able to control set-top boxes.

Like the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro there were a few compromises made with the AIW 9600XT. The first is the continued lack of a DVI port. It seems that to support Dual-VGA, one of the most requested All-In-Wonder features, ATI had to drop the DVI port. Whether this is a big deal or not depends on your needs of course.

Also missing from the AIW 9600XT features list is the support for ATI's OverDrive technology. It was a little surprising at first to see this feature ommitted but when you think about it, it isn't a big deal since the stock core clock speed is already set to the maximum 9600XT OverDrive level. You can still overclock manually if you want. However, you do lose the ability to monitor the core temperature.

Finally on the AWOL list is the Half-Life2 coupon which was included with the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro. As I said earlier in the review ATI decided to drop the coupon from all but their Radeon 9800XT line of cards.

From personal experience I can safely say that the best use of a All-In-Wonder 9600XT would be in a HTPC (Home Theater PC) or SFF (Small Form Factor) computer. Besides having all the multimedia features HTPC users need and being small enough to fit in even the smallest SFF case, the AIW 9600XT also adds little heat to the inside of the case and doesn't tax the smaller proprietary power supplies that commonly come with SFF and some HTPC cases. With both the HTPC and SFF PC markets steadily growing it's a mystery as to why ATI isn't pushing the All-In-Wonder 9600XT into those areas more than they are.

Whatever the future holds for the All-In-Wonder line, I think the All-In-Wonder 9600XT is a great replacement for the All-In-Wonder 9600 Pro.


Verdict

Overall Score
4.5 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
The Good
  • Small, quiet, and cool.
  • Excellent 3D performance, faster than a regular 9600XT
  • Dual VGA support
  • FM-Tuner
  • No external power requirements
  • Remote Wonder II kicks ass
  • Fantastic choice for HTPC or SFF users
The Bad
  • HDTV adapter not included
  • No DVI
  • No OVerDrive
The Ugly
  • Green PCB (still)!





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