HIS X1950 Pro IceQ3 Turbo

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HIS X1950 Pro IceQ3 Turbo

Raedon_X1950.jpgOur enthusiasm for ATI’s new X1950 Pro GPU is tempered by the fact that the chip is incompatible with DirectX 10. And our enthusiasm for the clock-speed boost and advanced cooling that HIS graced this card with is tempered by the fact that it’s street-priced $60 higher than other third-party X1950 Pro cards.

If the fancy cooling and the overclocking it enables (HIS runs the core at 620MHz, compared with 575MHz stock; the 256MB of memory runs at 740MHz, compared with 690MHz stock) delivered significantly improved performance, we’d be all over it. But we achieved only mildly stronger benchmarks results with the IceQ3 than we did with ATI’s reference design.

As with HIS’ earlier X1900 XTX IceQ3, the copper heatsink covering the GPU is physically separated from the one attached to the memory. This prevents heat from transferring from one component to the other. And the bi-directional fan, set far back on the card, draws air from both sides and exhausts warm air out the chassis. The trade-off, however, is that this apparatus consumes two slots. ATI’s reference-design cards are svelte single-slotters, and we found them to be only slightly louder.

We were going to try ATI’s Overdrive feature to see if we could take the card even further, but we discovered that Overdrive does not appear in the Catalyst toolbar when the HIS card is installed. Catalyst Control Center automatically shuts off access to Overdrive if the card manufacturer departs from ATI’s reference design. In this case, HIS apparently uses a thermal ASIC that the driver doesn’t recognize.

HIS sent us only one card, so we paired it with a ref-design X1950 Pro to test CrossFire. The internal CrossFire connections are a huge improvement over the previous dongle design, but performance was the same as or slightly slower than what we saw running two stock X1950 Pro cards. Bottom line: We’re not impressed.

Month Reviewed: January 2007
Verdict: 6
URL: www.hisdigital.com

Raedon_X1950b.jpg

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