It's safe to say that the NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti has claimed the high-performance end of the 3D video market. The ATI Radeon 8500 cards are excellent performers with a high price-performance ratio, but for those with the cash, the GeForce4 Ti 4600 is definitely the high-end target. At least until ATI releases their next-generation chip and we see how the performance stacks up, this will likely be the status quo for the immediate future.
Of course, ATI has made enhancements to their existing Radeon 8500 line and produced Radeon 8500 and Radeon 8500LE boards featuring a full 128-MB of high-speed DDR. This helped the Radeon 8500 128-MB increase performance levels, but the most intriguing new product was the All-in-Wonder Radeon 8500DV. This card had a lower-clocked version of the standard Radeon 8500 chip, but included a host of multimedia and A/V features that really set it apart from the crowd.
The ATI All-in-Wonder cards are a very popular line with both home and professional users alike, and this is an area where ATI has a definite advantage over NVIDIA. Sure, the GeForce4-based VIVO cards offer basic A/V functionality, but can't really compare to the host of video, sound, CATV and even Firewire options found on the AiW Radeon 8500DV. The same goes for the lower-speed NVIDIA cards featuring their Personal Cinema technology, which cannot compete based on pure gaming performance. ATI looks to continue this A/V advantage with their new All-in-Wonder Radeon 8500, a 128-MB board that looks to combine the best of both worlds into a powerful and feature-rich product.
The key to the AiW Radeon 8500 design is that it takes a 275 MHz Radeon 8500 128-MB card and merges it with many of the features of the AiW Radeon 8500DV. Theoretically, this union of 3D video power and multimedia A/V features should provide a viable solution to the old ATI dilemma of weighing the All-in-Wonder's impressive feature set up against its lower gaming performance. The All-in-Wonder Radeon 8500's may represent the holy grail of home entertainment, and could finally give gamers the high-end features and performance that many have been waiting for.