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GeCube 9600 XT All in Wonder - HTPC for the Masses

By: Shawn Baker | AMD Radeon GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Apr 19, 2004 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: GeCube



- Package


Being aimed at mainly the home theater sector, you don't get all the game demos that you would normally get with a regular graphics card. Instead a copy of PowerDirector has been included which gives you the ability to edit your own home videos through the processors on the 9600 XT AIW.



If you live in Australia the distributor has also included a copy of PowerCinema which is software designed by the makers of PowerDVD and PowerDirector. While we haven't written anything in the past about PowerCinema we have been using it on our Home Theater PC for quite some time now. This software can also be used in conjunction with the Remote Wonder as pictured below.



The remote is a very good addition especially with the way SFF computers are taking off these days. Simply hook the USB receiver into your SFF computer and you can access a whole bunch of entertainment type options using the included remote control from the comfort of your couch or whatever it is you sit on.



We have another port on the back which could be mistaken for an S-Video. This purple port is connected to a specialized ATI purple box included in the package (as pictured above). It includes all the input connections you need including S-Video, Video RCA and left and right stereo audio RCA for use with playing PAY TV on your PC or copying footage from your video camera to your PC, for example.


- The Golden Cooler


We first saw pictures of the GeCube 9600XT AIW a few weeks back and the first thing that stood out was the excellent looking gold heatsink fan. While looking at the card in person, you notice just how visually appealing the graphics card looks.



The AIW cards have never really been aimed at overclocking and you can notice a few little things on the 9600 XT AIW that wouldn't make it the best overclocker. Such as, the front of the cooler only covers about 3/4 of the memory and the rear memory chips don't have any type of cooling at all. This is quite understandable due to the card being more cramped due to the Philips TV tuner which does occupy quite a bit of space.


- Layout


As we just mentioned, the GeCube 9600 XT AIW is slightly more cramped than your normal "Average Joe" 9600 XT. Fortunately even with the addition of the TV Tuner (which also provides support for FM radio only) you don't need the extra molex connecter as the AGP port is capable of putting out more than enough power.



One of the most noticeable differences between the non-AIW and AIW 9600 XT is where all the ports are located on the face plate. The main port that stands out is the port that looks like a squashed DVI port.


- IO Port


The Philips tuner gives us both a video and aerial port on the back of the card so you can watch TV and listen to FM radio (no AM support is included) through the Multimedia Command Center software we will talk about soon. While these features are nothing sensationally unusual, the connector we are about to talk about is something that people may not have seen before.



The white port which looks like a square DVI port actually does quite a bit of work. This same port was also seen on the 9600 Pro AIW line of cards. Essentially it is a cable which splits into six different connectors which plugs into the square DVI looking port. With this you have the ability to use two VGA monitors as well as providing the ability to output your PC display to a TV using your choice of S-Video or comp. Video out.



You also have an RCA S/PDIF audio out connection for 5.1 digital audio which can be used with your home theater speakers through your amp. This type of setup is perfect for those who use cheap onboard audio solutions or a sound card which does not include the ability to output your PC audio to your amp using either RCA, RCA S/PDIF or Optical cables.


All in all this is a great little cable and considering the amount of room available on the panel you don't miss out on all the great features on offer from the other XT range of cards - The only thing you are missing is a DVI port but you can't have everything, right?


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