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AIW 1900 or dedicated grapics card + tuner card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 25, 2006 10:39:40 AM

Hi,

I just bought The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, and therefore needs to upgrade my old graphic card (nVidia 6600 based PCI express card).

I want to use my PC for both gaming and multimedia, therfore I want a PC that has very good gaming abilities (but not necessarily in resolutions above 1600x1400), and unmatched TV/film abilities.

I believe from tests that the ATI AIW 1900 is an excellent choice for gaming, although it can't beat the 1900XTX or Geforce 7900GTX cards. Still I think it should satisfy my need for gaming.

What I don't know, and what I think there is a very little focus on in reviews, is wether the multimedia functions of this card (TV, tuner, DVD playback, connectivity, etc) is better or not than rival dedicated TV/tuner cards.

Could you please help me with some recommendations here?

Will I get better TV or DVD playback with a dedicated TV card than the ATI AIW1900 can provide?

If this is the case, does anyone have any recommendation of a TV tuner card that is better than the AIW1900 in the dedicated TV/multimedia tasks?

If the AIW1900 is the better cards, does anyone have any experience with this cards with regards to noise?

Last question, will this card be better for gaming than the Geforce 7800GT and GTX range?

Hope someone will help me...



PS. Why don't THG make a updated test of tuner cards and compare them to the AIW cards?
March 25, 2006 6:28:18 PM

The X1900 (XL) AIW is a very good deal, and if you do not mind it being slightly slower than the X1900XT, than it is an excellent choice around $440. The TV Card is good quality indeed with good s/w to boot.
March 26, 2006 3:26:36 AM

You could get better playback with a dedicated tv card (depending on the card). I think the AIW uses the older chipset, but I haven't seen any of the 550 cards to see if they're really all that better.

My last 2 video cards were AIWs and I've been very happy with them, but the software based encoder solution they use are a downer if want to use any 3rd party tv software. With a dedicated card you can use programs like ffdshow and dscaler to make your picture and dvds look better, and you can use 3rd party htpc software to their full capabilities.
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March 26, 2006 3:37:12 AM

I just bought the AIW 1900 and installed it. So far its pretty nice, though I haven't got to test on Oblivion yet, since my copy is still in the mail. I like the tuner and FM tuner. and the noise isn't an issue. I did replace the fan with an accellero 2 so I could OC it a bit, but the fan was quiet before hand.

I can let you know when I get a chance to really put it to the test.
March 26, 2006 3:38:27 AM

Cool, like to hear about it!
March 26, 2006 11:18:41 AM

Thanks for your inputs guys, and I look forward to hear the test result of this card in Oblivion.

PS. The only drawback I see with this card, is that it is much more expensive here in Norway, where the cheapest outlet sells it for approximately $665 on internet, and in high-street retail shops it will probarbly cost around $750-800 if I can find it... :(  (but then again, all the high end graphic cards are very expensive here)
March 26, 2006 2:56:20 PM

Ouch. I feel for you. I got mine for $435 and was leery of spending so much. I expect Oblivion on Monday or Tuesday, and will let everyone know then.
March 28, 2006 2:24:26 PM

Well, I got the game and here are my first impressions: Sweet!

The game looks great on the AIW1900. Full details, no lag or slowdown whatsoever. Note that you can't run HDR and AA together even with an ATI card. I do notice a small issue with textures in the top right and left corners from time to time. I am not yet sure whether this has anything to do with the card.

On a side note, I have also had some stability issues with the game crashing, though I think this may be a dual core issue. I am going to try setting an affinity to one core and see if that helps.
March 29, 2006 12:02:19 AM

First, I've never owned an AIW, but I respect the AIW's reputation. From everything I've read, they are great products, unique in all the world.

Second, most of the newer AIW work in Windows Media Center Edition 2005, and is officially supported by ATI. This is remarkable because, as was mentioned, the analog tuner in the AIW 1900 is a software encoder, which means the encoding of the video is done by the CPU, not on the AIW card. Microsoft designed WMCE to specifically reject software encoders because MS feared that they would take too much away from the overall system performance.

Third, the AIW 1900 uses a leser analog tuner; the Theater 200. The best analog tuner in the market is any tuner model that uses ATI's Theater 550 Pro chipset. It is an hardware encoder. If you have mighty CPU (3.0 GHz or 3000+ or better), you should not have performance problems, unless you are going to do a lot of video editing and processing.

Fourth, it supports ATI"s AVIVO technologies, which enhances video quality.

Fifth, it has video input. With video in, you can connect a camcorder, VCR, DVD movie player, or GAME CONSOLE, and show it on your TV or pc monitor, whatever is connected to your system. And, record to the hard drive.

Sixth, the AIW 1900 makes your box ready for HDTV.

Hey, play Oblivion on a wide screen!!
!