Performance Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: The two X1650 XTs that we received from HIS performed well against the main competition from NVIDIA, which at this time should be considered the 7600 GT. In much of our testing, the stock speeds of the iSilence II were more than up to the challenge, beating or matching the 7600 GT in head-to-head comparisons, and performing even better when anti-aliasing techniques were enabled. Of course, the higher default speeds of the IceQ Turbo model provide a bit of a boost in the benchmarks.
HIS Radeon X1650 XT iSilence II - We will start with the iSilence II, if only because it comes at the same core and memory speeds that were set by ATI. Performance, as we spoke about above, is solid for this price range as it was able to handle much of our high-resolution testing with playable frame rates. The real selling points of this card come down to the purely passive cooling methodology and thus its silent noise output. True, it will take up two slots to accommodate the cooling apparatus, but many cards nowadays come with this size requirement. Finding this card might be the real challenge, however, as we weren't able to find many resellers carrying this product currently. When you can, expect to pay about $150 U.S., which is a good value for this kind of performance.
. Excellent price/performance ratio
. Silent operation
. CrossFire made easy
. Hard to find out in the "wild"
. Larger heatsink could cause space issues
. Slower than the IceQ Turbo model
HIS Radeon X1650 XT IceQ Turbo - Which brings us to the IceQ Turbo. Although the same basic structure as the iSilence II, the core and memory speeds have both been tweaked, realizing some extra performance along the way. To accomplish this feat, HIS has added the oversized Arctic Cooler HSF, but it begs the question - how did we go from passive cooling to this huge setup? Still, we won't deny that the card runs faster and probably looks cooler while doing it. Expect to pay an extra 33% or so more for the X1650 XT IceQ Turbo. It retails for about $190-200. Running two of these cards in CrossFire with the internal connection could be a great path to follow, but the pricing might get you in the end. The X1950 Pro is already nearly double as fast, and a single card costs as little as $220 on some sites.
. Comes pre-overclocked
. Runs and looks great
. Can also be used in CrossFire
. Not the quietest cooler around
. Price nears the more powerful X1950 Pro
. Won't run DX10 games when Vista arrives