HIS uses plain-ol’ air to chill the X1900 XTX and the 512MB of DDR3 memory on the IceQ3, but the IceQ3’s cooler diverges widely from ATI’s whiney leaf-blower.
HIS places one large copper heatsink and a sintered heatpipe over the GPU (the heatpipe is welded to the heatsink using a technique that doesn’t melt the adjoining materials). A second, physically distinct copper heatsink spans the eight memory chips to prevent any thermal transfer between them and the GPU.
A 7.25cm fan draws air in from both sides of its hub, blows it across the heatsinks, and out of the case. Locating such a large fan so far back on the card offers two advantages: The air it’s circulating hasn’t already been warmed by the GPU, and the small amount of noise it produces remains trapped inside the case.
The IceQ3 came from the factory with its GPU and memory clocked at ATI’s reference-design values of 650- and 775MHz, respectively. After unlocking the board using the Overdrive tool in ATI’s Catalyst driver, we were able to boost the core to 689MHz and the memory to 774MHz. This didn’t deliver much of a performance boost over ATI’s reference design (which auto-overclocked to 689- and 792MHz, respectively), but the core in HIS’ card ran cooler by 7 C at peak load.
Month Reviewed: November 2006
+ BLUE ICE: Considerably cooler and quieter than ATI's reference design.
- YELLOW SNOW: Expensive; no faster than ATI's reference design.