Inspecting the Card
At first glance, the HIS Radeon X1900 XT IceQ3 looks nothing like an ATI built reference X1900 XT, but the two cards are actually quite similar. The only thing that differentiates the HIS Radeon X1900 XT from and ATI built product is the IceQ3 cooling apparatus.
The PCB that hides beneath the large IceQ3 cooler doesn't differ from ATI's reference design in any meaningful way. The HIS Radeon X1900 XT IceQ3 ships with its GPU clocked at 625MHz and its 512MB of frame buffer memory clocked at 1.45GHz (725MHz DDR), just like ATI's reference design. If you'd like more details about the GPU and memory controller, and other technologies at work in the Radeon X1900 we recommend reading our launch article from earlier in the year.
Other than the fact that the IceQ3 is a dual-slot solution though, the cooler is nothing like ATI's. The IceQ3 is superior to the stock solution in a couple of ways. The IceQ3 features heat-pipes and all copper heatsinks to absorb heat from the GPU and memory. And those heat-sinks are isolated, which means the memory and GPU heatsinks are completely separated, preventing any heat transfer from the GPU to memory, or vice versa. The all-copper heatsinks are also larger than ATI's reference design, which should help keep temperatures in check.
The fan and shroud used on the IceQ3 is also different than ATI's stock design. The IceQ3 features bi-directional air in-take channels, where cool air is drawn in from both sides of the fan, improving air flow. And the fan itself is also much quieter than the stock model at <20db. To top it off, the shroud is also UV reactive, so those of you with windowed cases can prominently highlight the HIS Radeon X1900 XT IceQ3 at your next LAN party.