HIS Radeon X850 XT and Radeon X800 XL - IceQ II Turbo

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In January we took a look at the HIS X700 Pro IceQ Turbo because it piqued our interest with its somewhat unique cooling solution.  HIS took a page from the book of "OTES", which stands for Outside Thermal Exhaust System, a thermal management approach pioneered by Abit Computer, that has been out on the market in various incarnations for a couple of years now.  The HIS approach also employs a cooling scoop and shroud design in which a large fan at the rear of the assembly pushes air across the GPU and RAM heatsink plate, and out through a rear slot plate in the PC chassis.  While this design does consume two motherboard/chassis slots of real estate, the benefits are well worth the added bulk because virtually all of the heat dissipated off the front side of a graphics card can be completely eliminated from inside the case, in addition to improving chassis airflow and ventilation in general.

What impressed most about the HIS X700 Pro IceQ back then, was not only how well the HSF assembly cooled the card, but how wonderfully quiet it was with its relatively low-speed, large-bladed fan pushing a fair amount of air across the sink and out of the case.  The next two cards we received from HIS take us up a notch on the performance scale, however.  The HIS Radeon X850 XT IceQ II and Radeon X800XL IceQ II are high-end ATi based solutions with a buffed up second coming of the IceQ cooling system we've come to really appreciate here in the HotHardware labs.  Here's to efficient, quiet cooling for high end 3D Graphics.  Let's see if these two new entrants from HIS are cut from the same cloth as their predecessors.

Specifications of the HIS X850 XT IceQ II Turbo - Dual DVI and VIVO Edition
Standard X850 XT with killer cooling

Specifications:

Graphics Processor
- ATI Radeon X850 XT VPU - 540MHz (Turbo), 520MHz (stock) - R480 0.13um process
- 16 parallel pixel pipelines
- 6 vertex shader process engines

Memory Configuration
-256MB GDDR3 memory -
1.18GHz (Turbo), 1.08GHz (stock)
-256-bit memory interface

RAMDAC
-Dual integrated 10-bit per channel palette DACs operating at up to 400MHz

Bus Interface
- PCI Express
(R) x16 lane native support

Connectors
- Integrated TV Output support up to 1024x768 resolution

- YPrPb component output for HDTV display connection
- Single and dual link external TMDS transmitter support for high resolution and/or multi-monitor DVI configurations
- Compatible with ATI's THEATER™ video decode and capture devices for VIVO (Video Input / Video Output)
- Dual DVI + VIVO

Cable / Adapter Bundle
- VIVO Cable
- HDTV Output cable
- 2 DVI to VGA Adaptors

Features:

- Fast: HIS's intelligent Cooling technology automatically adjusts IceQII fan speed base on the X850's loading and temperature to achieve best performance
- Quiet: Less than 20dB
- Cool: -11oC cooler than original cooling fan
- All Cool: Outstanding IceQII cooling performance extends the card life with UV Sensitive effect
- HIS iTURBO: Overclock the graphic card safety, with the balance of the best performance and cooling effect
- Platinum packing with software bundle
- Professional customer service and technical support

Software Bundle:
- FlatOut Full
- Microsoft Dungeon Siege Full
- PowerDVD 6
- PowerDirector 3 SE Plus
- Power2Go 4
- 3D Album PicturePro

Specifications of the HIS X800 XL IceQ II Turbo
.11 micron X800 XL quiet and low power
Specifications:

Graphics Processor
- ATI Radeon X800 XL VPU - 432MHz (Turbo), 400MHz (stock) - R430 0.11um process
- 16 parallel pixel pipelines
- 6 vertex shader process engines

Memory Configuration
-256MB GDDR3 memory -
1GHz (Turbo), 980MHz (stock)
-256-bit memory interface

RAMDAC
-Dual integrated 10-bit per channel palette DACs operating at up to 400MHz

Bus Interface
- PCI Express
(R) x16 lane native support

Connectors
- Integrated TV Output support up to 1024x768 resolution

- YPrPb component output for HDTV display connection
- Single and dual link external TMDS transmitter support for high resolution and/or multi-monitor DVI configurations
- Compatible with ATI's THEATER™ video decode and capture devices for VIVO (Video Input / Video Output)
- Dual DVI + VIVO

Cable / Adapter Bundle
- VIVO Cable
- HDTV Output cable
- DVI to VGA Adaptor

Features:

- Fast: HIS's intelligent Cooling technology automatically adjusts IceQII fan speed base on the X800's loading and temperature to achieve best performance
- Quiet: Less than 20dB
- Cool: -11oC cooler than original cooling fan
- All Cool: Outstanding IceQII cooling performance extends the card life with UV Sensitive effect
- HIS iTURBO: Overclock the graphic card safety, with the balance of the best performance and cooling effect
- Platinum packing with software bundle
- Professional customer service and technical support

Software Bundle:
- FlatOut Full
- Microsoft Dungeon Siege Full
- PowerDVD 6
- PowerDirector 3 SE Plus
- Power2Go 4
- 3D Album PicturePro


A couple of notables before we move on to a closer look at the cards.  First, the X850 XT we tested is not a Platinum Edition, it's a standard XT with a 520MHz GPU core speed and 1.08GHz Memory interface speed.  This puts the card on par with a Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition, in terms of its speeds and feeds.  However, with the single touch of HIS' iTurbo software (more later on this), the card cranks up to X850 XT Platinum Edition speeds with 540MHz Core and 1.18GHz Memory clocks.

The X800 XL operates similarly with HIS iTurbo but the card itself is clocked at "stock" X800 XL speeds out of the box.  Activating iTurbo essentially takes you further into overclocking territory with a 432MHz Core clock.  Beyond that, things are fairly straight forward.  With the exception of HIS' innovative IceQ II cooling design, these cards are stock ATi reference board layouts, with Dual DVI and VIVO connections for the high end X850 XT and DVI with standard D-Sub VGA connectors for the X800 XL.

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