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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

TotalMedia has four fixed options for recording quality; 'High Quality', 'Standard Play', 'Long Play', and 'Extended Play'. Repeated tests indicate that the exact recording format for each option are automatically chosen by the software based on the broadcast resolution. For example, a high quality recording of both 1080i and 720p sources resulted in a 1920x1080 video, and a 480i broadcast resulted in 720x480 recording. The extended play option resulted in recordings with resolutions matching the broadcast resolution. There did not seem to be a way to capture really low quality video.

Since even the lowest quality recording option results in adequate video the 'Extended Play' option was used for all tests. This mode represents the lowest resource demands for basic tuner functions. Extra features like higher recording quality, transcoding and multiple recording will demand even more system resources.

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

I was surprised to see such high resource utilization on my quad-core PC. My past experience testing on a dual core machine had lower CPU utilization. I can't help but wonder if there was a conflict or bug with my video driver that prevented the GPU from being utilized for any of the encoding.

The differences between resolutions is drastically obvious as more work is performed in encoding and saving the larger streams. The resources for 720p almost reaches that of 1080i since the double framerate of the progressive format saves twice as many frames per second. The 1080i is larger only due to the extra pixels.

At all three resolutions the ATI HD 650 had the lowest resource consumption, closely matched by the ASUS PHC3-150. The Diamond HD750 trailed behind using much more resources than the other cards.

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

The difference in resources required to record on top of just viewing TV wasvery small. In some cases the CPU utilization dropped. I can't think of a logical way to explain that phenomenon. Perhaps a video guru can add a comment. I know the difference is not due to the variation in recorded content. All runs were timed at 10 minutes and repeated multiple times. The CPU usage was very consistent between runs varying by less than one percent.

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

Since the CPU utilzation on the HD750 was higher than the other cards I would have expected it to have a better recording quality (more data captured takes more resources?). An analysis of the recorded videos shows this was not the case. The recorded content between the HD 650 and the PHC3-150 were quite comparable while the content from the HD 750 was notably less. I recorded multiple clips to verify, and the quality from the other cards kept coming out higher. It was not quite as consistent as the resource usage, but the relative differences were still evident. Based on my repeat testing the chart above exaggerates the differences between cards.

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

The bits per pixel reveal slightly more information about the recordings. The bits per pixel decrease with increasing recording resolution. This means that the higher resolution frames are of lower relative quality. But the advantage of having more pixels outweighs the slight degradation. The bits per pixel analysis highlights the PHC3-150 as having slightly better quality than the other cards. In this case the videos analyzed from the HD 650 and HD 750 had very similar qualities.

In this test system very few visual defects were noted in any of the recorded videos. There was some mild blockiness that is standard in transcoded mpeg videos, but it was not very noticeable. I attribute the difference to TotalMedia 3.5. Perhaps that is another explanation for the higher resource draw. Both ATI cards had a white line that periodically showed up at the very top edge of the video. This happened in both live and recorded TV. I think it is inherent to their choice of chips or board design. I did not notice any such defects from the PHC3-150. There were no dropped frames, no frame freezes or any other common defects from any of the recorded videos. Overall the videos from the ASUS PHC3-150 were of the highest quiality from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives.

The details from the recorded videos are shown below.

Recorded Video Details:

ATI 650 HD

ASUS PHC3-150

Diamond HD750

Broadcast Resolution

480i

720p

1080i

480i

720p

1080i

480i 720p 1080i

Container

MPEG-PS

MPEG-PS

MPEG-PS

MPEG-TS

MPEG-TS

MPEG-TS

MPEG-TS MPEG-TS MPEG-TS

Duration (s)

287

267.8

276

290

271

264

600 600 600

Size (kB)

130468

567974

410544

134857

572685

396386

228865 1018880 870400

Overhead (%)

3.9

0

0.3

0

0.3

0.1

0 0 .1

Video Type

MPEG2

MPEG2

MPEG2

MPEG2

MPEG2

MPEG2

MPEG2 MPEG2 MPEG2

Bit-Rate (Mbps)

15.0

16.7

65.0

15.0

16.7

65.0

15.0

13.2

65.0

Resolution

640x480

1280x720

1920x1080

640x480

1280x720

1920x1080

640x480 1280x720 1920x1080

Frame Rate (FPS)

29.97

59.94

29.97

29.97

59.94

29.97

29.97 59.94 29.97

Audio Type

AC-3

AC-3

AC-3

AC-3

AC-3

AC-3

AC-3 AC-3 AC-3

Bit-Rate (Kbps)

192

384

384

192

384

384

192 448 384

Sample Rate (KHz)

48

48

48

48

48

48

48 48 48

Channels

2

2

6

2

2

6

2 6 6



 

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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