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Written by Dan Ferguson   
Sunday, 27 February 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
Diamond All-In-Wonder HD Premium AIW5000
Features and Specifications
Closer Look: Diamond HD5570
Closer Look: Diamond HD750
Diamond AIW5000 Software
Multimedia Testing Methodology
Tuner Performance
3DMark Vantage GPU Tests
Devil May Cry 4 Benchmark
Unigine Heaven Benchmarks
Diamond HD5570 Temperatures
Diamond AIW5000 Power Consumption
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

TV-Tuner Card Final Thoughts

Multipurpose...I believe that is the word that best describes the appeal of the All-In-Wonder products. My computers are so powerful that I often have a difficult time buying other pieces of hardware around the house. I balk anytime I consider buying something dedicated for a single purpose, especially when it is for something my computer could do instead. DVD players are a classic example. I hate buying set-top players that die every 5 or so years when I have a perfectly good DVD drive on my PC that's been working for longer. It bugs me more when I have 50 different boxes in my entertainment center, each with its own power cord and connecting cables. Can't I just squeeze them all into onemaster device that allows me to use a single power cable and swap out modules as needed?

That's exactly what I love about PC's. Add the tuner card and I've eliminated one more box. The AIW5000 works well enough that it could be an upgrade for your video card in addition to adding the tuner capability. Plus you can game with it. I was able to play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and BattleField: Bad Company 2 at decent framerates. There were times at high resolutions when I would get some video lag, but it was defiitely playable and I won the match.

Gaming and multimedia are the more demanding tasks, the other routine stuff will be a breeze with this setup. While the AIW5000 is geared for an HTPC, there's no reason it can't be expanded to include other functions.

Regarding hardware expansions, it would be nice if the tuner card could be expanded to include other functions, like a mini receiver. Or on an even smaller basis allow multipl inputs for HDMI, composite, etc. perhaps even with a switching functionality. If I have multiple devices that I want to connect through the PC I either have to daisy chain them or use an external switching device or reciever. Using a nice external piece of hardware kind of defeats the purpose of having a tuner in the PC. I'll just opt for a video card with video-in.

I was slightly disappointed with my test results. I had hoped for better performance particularyl from the video card. It did fine, but I felt it could have done better. If power draw and temperatures were large factors in my purchase decision I would consider going for a more powerful card from a previous generation or a power-saving, budget model from the current generation.

Diamond All-In-Wonder HD Premium 5000 (AIW5000)

Diamond AIW5000 Conclusion

When it comes to finding stations and getting a crystal clear signal, the HD750 was bounds ahead of other cards tested. That is probably the single most important reason someone would opt for the AIW5000 over other options. This is especially important if your computer will be moving from place to place and picking up different signals. But this benefit comes at the cost of computer resources. The default package of hardware and software demanded a larger amount of CPU resources than expected. A decent CPU will be required to run it out of the box. But performance could be improved by upgrading the drivers and trying different media software. The HD5570 performed on par with ATI's factory version but produced more heat and drew more power. Neither issue was so drastic as to warrent scrapping the cards, but it will be an important factor in considering other alternatives.

There's not much that can be said regarding the appearance of two normal PCI cards. Their colors don't match which is kind of tacky. But these cards are meant for utility, not a flashy gaming setup. So their look is apt for their purpose.

The main drawback of these cards is the full-height case requirement. The AIW5000 is perfect for an HTPC but Diamond built the HD5570 on a full-height board so it won't fit in the smaller cases. Often a dual-slot video-card overshadows a PCIe port rendering it useless. Both cards only utilize a single slot which will help them fit into cases where the horizontal space is cramped.

There are so meany features provided by this package it's impossible to discuss them all without writing a true book. The tuner probably has the fewest features compared to other competing products. It's only a single tuner capable of decoding the most common signal. It has no on-board encoding ability and depends entirely on software for encoding and transcoding. Thus you need to pay greater attention to software choice. A fully licensed version of TotalMedia 3.5 is included in the package and it works well for TV watching and recording. It includes basic to moderate feature like scheduling, radio, video editing, and DVD / CD burning. There's a light video export module, but it's nothing close to full-powered transcoding. Power users will want to look for more advanced software. Finally, the HD5570 has the features of DirectX 11.

For a little over one hundred dollars you get a TV tuner, a full-featured DX-11 video card, and fully licensed PVR software. That's a killer deal any day. Look for the AIW500 at Amazon for $129.99. You could probably save some money by swapping out any or all of the package for cheaper alternatives, but the basic build is solid, gauranteed to be compatible, and provide all the basic features. From box to watching TV was about 15 minutes for me.

Pros:

+ Fast Installation
+ Good Reception
+ Good Performance
+ Full version of TotalMedia
+ Bundle Value

Cons:

- Single Tuner
- No Hardware Encoder
- Full-Height PCI Brackets

Ratings:

  • Performance: 8.50
  • Appearance: 7.50
  • Construction: 7.50
  • Functionality: 8.00
  • Value: 8.50

Final Score: 8.00 out of 10.

Questions? Comments? Benchmark Reviews really wants your feedback. We invite you to leave your remarks in our Discussion Forum.

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Comments 

 
# I don't think Diamond thought this through...aussiebear 2011-03-01 05:33
Good article.

Its just too bad that the Radeon HD 5570 part is going to be made a bit pointless as AMD's A-series (Llano) arrives sometime in June or so. It's GPU-based IGP is spec like a 5570, but from the charts I've seen; it performs a tad higher than a 5550 because of the shared memory bandwidth with the x86 cores.

The other part is with Diamond itself. They didn't make an effort on a solution that is thoughtful for the role that it was intended. It feels like they wanted to save as little money spent as possible.

They would be better off with a Mini-ITX mobo based on the Socket FM1 for A-series (Llano) Fusion APU and a digital/analog tuner integrated onto the motherboard.
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# RE: I don't think Diamond thought this through...Olin Coles 2011-03-01 07:15
Hardware is never 'made pointless' because a newer generation is coming. 60Hz HDTV's are still being sold and used, even though 120Hz became the standard and 240/480Hz versions are available. The same is true for video cards: what one person uses for Crysis 2 another person may only need for WoW.
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# All-In-WonderMaster Zoen 2011-03-04 04:53
You know, this is really odd. I was going through my parts closet last week to get a jump on spring cleaning, and came across my old AIW 1900. As I held it, thinking of all the fun transferring and encoding I had done when I received it nearly 4 years ago, I thought, "Huh, I haven't heard of a new All-In-Wonder card in a while. I wonder if they still make them?"
Suddenly, here it is! Providence! Coincidence? Who cares?! It's All-In-Wonder!
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# retireeOrville 2011-03-04 05:38
Dan,

So, why didn't Diamond put two receivers on the tiny card and add the minimal circuits to multiplex? Why didn't they go with a USB receiver that met the WMC spec? We all need one more remote don't we? Why do they push another god damned fan on HTPCs. Can't they passively cool their 5570. If not, why not a passively cooled 5550.

The single thing I like about this product is the possible way better signal sensitivity. Please write more about that aspect, not gaming.

Orville
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# RE: retireeDan Ferguson 2011-03-04 12:01
Orville,

thank you for your opinion. It sounds to me like you are calling for Diamond (and others) to expand their vision of a product and consider how it will most likely be deployed. I agree on your points on desired features. I don't need another remote.

This emphasizes my feeling that All-In-Wonder is best for a new or first-time builder and multitasker. If you already know your way around an HTPC and its peripherals then you'll probably want more features than an 'all in one', 'out-of-the-box' setup.

We try to balance our reviews around both the pros and cons of every product, highlighting areas of both that will most likely be of interest to our readers. What specifically do you like to know about signal integrity? Station capture is something to which everyone can relate.
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# RE: RE: retireeOrville 2011-03-05 07:09
Dan,
I have a small home theater system that I use for watching live TV, playing movies from my NAS and surfing the Internet. My system consists of a home assembled PC, a 7.1 channel Sony AV receiver, a 5.1 Channel JBL speaker system, a Sharp 46” HDTV set and a homemade TV antenna perched on my second story roof.
The HTPC includes a Core i3 530 CPU on an MSI HD57M-ED65 motherboard with 2x2GB 1.35 volt DDR3-1333 memory. Drive C: is an Intel 80GB SSD. Drive D: is a WD 500GB 2½” HDD. The PC also includes a Blu-ray combo ODD. My graphics card is a Radeon HD 5450 with 512MG GDDR3. My tuner is a Hauppauge WinTV-2250 TV receiver card that is based on the NXP SAA7164E chip made on older 90nm lithography and released way back in 2006. My HTPC runs Windows 7 Home Premium. I use HDMI 1.3 to connect the HTPC to the AV receiver and the AV receiver on to the TV Set. The only functions of the AV receiver are to siphon off the audio stream and drive the 5.1 speaker system and multiplex the video stream on to the HDTV set.
I chose the Radeon HD 5450 made by PowerColor because I thought it would do the job and because it was passively cooled. So far it seems to be working OK.
The HTPC burns about 65 Watts, at the wall, when it is active no matter what I ask it to do. When it is hibernated it burns less than 1 Watt, near as my WattsUp? Pro can measure. The whole home entertainment system burns 300 Watts, at the wall, active and 130 Watts, at the wall, when the HTPC is hibernated.
I dislike very much having to use a goddamned keyboard to operate the home entertainment system, but since I want access to files on other PCs and NASs connected to my copper network using the Windows drive mapping method, and those files are password protected, I am forced to use password protection on the HTPC to get automatic connection to shares. Therefore, I hibernate the HTPC instead of shut it down because from hibernation it will resume to the desktop without requiring a keyboard logon.
My home theater has two glaring weaknesses. The first is Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium as it relates to home entertainment. It is pure #, in my opinion. The second is the lack of sensitivity of the Hauppauge WinTV-2250 TV receiver. I live near the epicenter of Houston, TX. There, the blessed NXP SAA7164E chip does not do a decent job of picking up even the major TV channels. It really sucks.
I tried out Dish Network last year, but their fraudulent over-billing practice led me to send their receiver back after three months of double billing. I didn't find out about the class-action lawsuit against them until after it was already settled. Anyway, I'm making do with my homemade OTA antenna and I read every article like yours with interest. If you have any suggestions relating to better TV reception I would welcome them.
Thanks again for your article on the Diamond AIW5000,
Orville
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# RE: RE: RE: retireeDan Ferguson 2011-03-07 00:45
I find two resources helpful for improving my signal with ANY setup: rabbitears.info and TSReader. This combo allows me to know the technical data for each station and measure the performance for very small changes in my setup (orientation). I especially like TSReader for antenna tweaking, which could be useful in getting SNR for you homemade antenna. Best of luck.
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