Introduction and Specifications
A few weeks ago, we looked at the HIS Radeon X1950 Pro IceQ3 Turbo, a mainstream graphics card set to do battle with the GeForce 7900GS in the $200 price segment. Based on the RV570 GPU, the X1950 Pro brought a host of features to the table including native CrossFire. While X1950 Pro is a good performer for a great price, some of us were left wishing for more. For a short while, those of us willing to spend an additional $50-$100 for a bit more power than the X1950 Pro could offer had to turn to NVIDIA. That is, until the Radeon X1950 XT was released.
Today, we will be checking out HIS' take on the Radeon X1950 XT, the HIS X1950XT IceQ3 Turbo. As the name implies, the HIS X1950 XT uses the company's IceQ3 cooling apparatus which performs better than the "stock" model and is much quieter to boot. The Turbo in the name also means that the card is guaranteed to overclock to a certain speed, in this case a guaranteed core overclock to the stock XTX speed of 650 MHz. The HIS X1950 XT also has ViVo capability and comes with the HIS "Platinum Pack" bundle. All this for a palatable $290. HIS also offers a much more mundane version of the X1950 XT, sans overclock guarantee and IceQ3 cooler, for about $30 less.
|ATI Radeon X1950 XT|
|Features & Specifications|
The HIS Platinum Bundle that's included with the X1950 XT IceQ3 Turbo is fairly complete. In the box, you get the card itself, an HIS case badge, user's manual, two DVI-to-DB15 monitor adapters, a HD component output adapter, and an S-Video / Composite Video Input & Video Output Dongle so you can take advantage of the card's ViVo capability. Unfortunately, S-Video and Composite Video cables were not included.
The bundle of cables and adapters isn't especially impressive, but that's not what makes the Platinum Pack special. The bundled software is where the Platinum Pack really shines. Included in the bundle are three CDs, a DVD and a slip of paper (more on this later). The first CD contains a full retail version of CyberLink's PowerDVD. The next CD, titled "Power Up Gamers" includes the display drivers, ATI's HYDRAVISION multi-monitor management utility, and a slew of wallpapers and calendars in a wide range of resolutions. The last CD contains HIS' proprietary overclocking utility, iTURBO. With the click of a button, the iTURBO utility will overclock the video card to the speed advertised on the shiny "iTURBO" sticker stuck to the front of the box. In this case, a core overclock from 625 MHz to 650 MHz, which is the stock X1950 XTX speed.
The DVD, titled "HIS Bonus DVD Ver.3", contains a large bundle of software, including the full versions of Dungeon Siege, the GameShadow patching utility, CyberLink PowerDirector 5 SE Plus, CyberLink Power2Go 5, and CyberLink Medi@Show 3. Also included on the DVD are trial versions of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, Half-Life 2, Act of War: Direct Action, Tribes: Vengeance Single Player, Axis & Allies, CyberLink PowerDVD Copy, CyberLink PowerBackup, CyberLink LabelPrint, and Cyberlink JukeBox. That is a lot of free software and we're still not done.
Remember that mysterious slip of paper? Printed on it is a "Unique Code" and instructions on how to use that code to choose three full, retail games of your choice from the HIS GamersPortal to be shipped to your door. Just navigate to the GamersPortal, select your game, validate the unique code, enter your address and your games will be on their way. You need to pay $5.99 for shipping though. There are currently nine games and three utilities to choose from. They are: Conflict Desert Storm, FarCry, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, LEGO Star Wars, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Colin McRae Rally 2005, Dues Ex: Invisible War, XIII, McAfee VirusScan 2006, Nero 7 Essentials Suite 1, and Roxio Easy Media Creator 7.
There is no doubt that the HIS Platinum Pack is one of the best software bundles included with a graphics card. With the addition of the ability to choose part of your bundle, everyone should be able to find something they like. Bravo, HIS.