Overclocking and Final Thoughts
With its IceQ II cooling package, the HIS Excalibur X800 Pro all but begged to be overclocked from the start. After giving it a good workout with a wide range of benchmarks, we thought it was time to see what extra potential there was in this card. As it turned out, we found a good amount, indeed. Using the latest version of Powerstrip, we were able to increase the VPU speed from 475MHz to an impressive 555MHz, which equates to a 16.8% gain. We also faired well with the GDDR3 memory speeds, increasing from 900MHz to 1180MHz, resulting in an even more impressive 31% increase. While we did not do a direct comparison with stock cooling, it does appear that the IceQ II does a good job at stock speeds while aiding the overclocker in squeezing out a good amount of added power. After reaching the peak overclock for this card, we put it to work to see what kind of real gains we could expect to see. For this, we used UT 2004 at 1600 x 1200 resolution.
In the end, it looks like the added VPU performance had the biggest effect, boosting the FPS output slightly over 12% compared to the stock results. This is a solid gain and the card was perfectly stable with repeated runs of the test. The HIS Excalibur X800 Pro exceeded the clock speeds of even the fastest retail X800, that being the 16 pixel pipe Radeon X800 XT, which has a VPU clocked at 520MHz and memory at 575MHz (1150 effective).
While the bundled software and lack of overclocking utility was a disappointment, the performance and overclocking potential of the Excalibur X800 Pro was the complete opposite. The HIS Excalibur X800 Pro overclocked past the more expensive XT models, while staying cool, stable and quiet, thanks to the IceQ II cooler. Although we didn't conduct independent temperature tests, we think the overclocking results alone speak volumes.
It is not always a positive to have a bulky video card that takes up an extra slot in a case. But in this case, the IceQ II seems to be worth the additional real estate. The fan is definitely quiet, as promised, and we've already established that it does a good job at keeping the card cool. The additional hardware provided with the card was also good, including all of the necessary cabling and adapters to take full advantage of the card's various capabilities.
To our surprise, we couldn't find any pricing for this particular card here in the States. However, with the average X800 Pro ranging from $418 - $480, depending on brand and packaging, we can safely assume the Excalibur will fall into this price range. Even if it is on the high end of the scale, the Excalibur X800 Pro - VIVO Edition would be in the ballpark of $100 less than a comparable XT model.
We give the HIS Excalibur X800 Pro - VIVO Edition a Hot Hardware Heat Meter Rating of 8.5. With an improved bundle and lower pricing, this card could have gone even higher.