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Review: Hercules 3D Prophet All-In-Wonder 9800SE

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 8 November 2003, 00:00

Tags: Hercules 3d Prophet ALL--Wonder 9800SE, Hercules

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Hercules 3D Prophet 9800SE All-In-Wonder Box

Alternate Box Shot 1
Alternate Box Shot 2

The box itself is very small, given what's inside. If I have one criticism of the presentation, it's the box. The card gets its own compartment inside but the rest of the All-In-Wonder bundle, of which there are many parts, get stuffed into a smallish compartment on the right hand side of the box. The RemoteWonder is my concern, with the remote itself not made of the most heavy duty plastic you'll ever see. Damage in transit worries me a little, although the sample turned up fine. A bigger box would definitely be a plus point though.

Hercules 3D Prophet 9800SE All-In-Wonder Breakout Box

As mentioned, the bundle contents are numerous. You get a plastic, cardboard strengthened, bag containing the cables needed to make full use of the All-In-Wonder, along with the DVI convertor. Separate bags inside for the purple breakout box, the S-Video cable and composite video cable, make up the cable bundle. You don't get a separate cable for phono hookup of the audio to the breakout box, it's assumed that should you want to make use of that, you'll have your own cables already.

Hercules 3D Prophet 9800SE All-In-Wonder Remote

The RemoteWonder is perhaps the most exciting part of the entire product. I enthused about it in my 9800 Pro AIW review and I'll do the same here. A decent size, it's very rounded at the back, making it easy to grip. Even though it's quite big and I have small hands, all the remote's main functions are no more than a thumb tap away if you hold it plum in the middle. The buttons are all tactile rubber and marked well, giving easy at-a-glance confirmation of the function you want to use.

I'd prefer a black remote, to fit in with my existing remote collection, but it's a minor aesthetic point. The receiver is a radio wireless device that connects to any USB port on your PC system. It's fully compatible with both USB1.1 and USB2.0 ports, indeed I tested it out on both just to make sure. The range is excellent, just like the identical version I came across before with the 9800 Pro, with a maximum scientific distance of out of my bedroom and down my stairs a bit. About 40ft. A small red LED at the top of the remote shows you when you're pressing a button and the red LED on the receiver shows that it's powered correctly by your USB port. Blue would soothe many, but ATI's distinctive red does just fine.

It's worth pointing out that the remote, while mainly made for use with an All-In-Wonder package along with ATI's new EASYLOOK software interface, is perfectly compatible with the latest versions of Snapstream, a PVS/PVR software package that works with a compatible TV tuner and provides arguably a better software interface to the All-In-Wonder TV features than ATI provides with its own MMC software. An All-In-Wonder, RemoteWonder and Snapstream combination is hugely desirable to this reviewer and Snapstream is seemingly well worth the investment. See a recent Tech Report review of Snapstream here, for more details.

I'll cover the software bundle on a seperate page, before looking at the benchmarks.