ATI takes All-in-Wonder to PCI Express, announces X700

Markham (ON) - ATI today announced its first PCI Express-based All-in-Wonder video card for TV fine-tuned for TV and video editing applications. The company also formally introduced the X700 visual processor family targeted at the mainstream graphic card market.

The new X600 Pro represents the eighth generation of the All-in-Wonder product line and again aims to appeal to users who want a solution for home theater, video editing, and gaming.

In addition to the 400 MHz X600 chip, the cards provides full, native 16-lane PCI Express bus interconnect to transfer data between the VPU and CPU in both directions simultaneously, according to ATI. The new video card allows data to be sent and received concurrently at twice the speed of existing AGP 8X or previous All-in-Wonder solutions.

The X600 Pro package includes an updated version of the firm's multimedia center software, which now includes TV and FM on-demand for saving radio music to MP3 files as well as integrated capability for burning DVDs. The TV tuner design allows users to view up to 125 channels of cable or antenna broadcasts. The company also revised the design of the remote control, which now is enabled to control all functions of the computer, ATI said.

Unique to North American versions of All-in-Wonder boxes will be the production software Serious Magic Visual Communicator, an ATI-customized version of Pinnacle's video editing software Studio 9, as well as Gemstar's GuidePlus+ software.

ATI also announced the X700 GPU for the mainstream graphics card market. According to ATI, the new processor includes "features previously introduced in the X800 family of VPUs and a higher level of performance than some of last year's high-end visual processors, but for less than $200." The product integrates eight pixel pipe and six vertex pipe architecture to increase performance mid-range priced graphics processors, the company said.

The Radeon X700 family will include the X700 XT, the X700 PRO and the X700, with several of memory configurations available. According to ATI, the X700 Pro is shipping now with the X700 and X700XT following in October. Graphic cards with the new X700 chip are expected to be available from Abit, Asus, Connect3D, Diamond Multimedia, Gigabyte, High-Tech, ITC, MSI, Palit, Sapphire, Tul, Visiontek and Yuan with prices starting from about $150 for the entry level X700.

In a first review at the test lab of Tom's Hardware Guide, it is clear that ATI continues to make life difficult for its Californian rival Nvidia. The first punch, the launch of the X700 line of mid-range graphics cards set to compete against NVIDIA's recently introduced GeForce 6600, is followed by ATi's "Catalyst A.I." driver performance optimization that purportedly boosts performance in Xx00 cards.

The benchmark results reveal that ATI has closed the performance gap to the GeForce 6600 GT with its new X700 XT - and done so at a slightly lower introductory price.

Read the complete review.