HIS Radeon X1650 XT iSilence II
The X1650 XT is obviously a much smaller card lengthwise than the ones we're used to seeing. Compared side by side, the iSilence II and the IceQ Turbo have very different profiles. The iSilence II is all about being as silent as you can get, with the box advertising 0db. To accomplish this feat, HIS needed to remove all active cooling methods. Instead of the standard fan/channel duo that almost all graphics cards are equipped with, the iSilence II utilizes an open set of aluminum fins that allow the heat to radiate out into the case. Two copper heatpipes quickly pull the heat away from the core to the furthest ends of the card. The fins are a bit longer than expected, doubling the width of the card so that it winds up taking two slots.
The cooler eventually covers the entire surface of the front of the card. The back is left untouched, save for the retention mechanism for the heatsink. As you can see, it's a straightforward method of keeping the components cooler, but it also relies on some forethought by the user. The heatpipes running away from the core are cooled by the passage of cooler air over the surrounding fins and it is expected that much heat will escape out the vented exit plate at the end of the card. To achieve this goal, proper airflow must be maintained within the case itself, otherwise it is conceivable that the air within could allow significant heat build-up.
The heatpipes jut out alongside the bottom of the card, shouldn't pose an issue other than the fact that they are pinned in closer to the board than we would have liked. It might have been a better idea to run them along the top where they might have been more accessible to fans and airflow. The main reason this was not done, however, is that it probably would have interfered with the CrossFire connectors, of which there are two. ATI's current crop of revisions support CrossFire natively, handling the connection internally in the way NVIDIA's GeForce cards do, as opposed to the ugly external dongles of their predecessors. Finally, along the top edge, we can see that the RAM is covered by mini heat sinks for an extra cooling touch.
The bundle that came with the iSilence II is labeled as the "Platinum Pack" and we feel it's a bit hard to stand behind that statement. At most, it's a collection of software and cables that should be considered the basics. An installation manual with driver CD will get you started, and there is a DVD chock full of game demos and some older software including the original Dungeon Siege, but these are expected. "Platinum" typically brings to mind the best of the best, and we're really not getting anything here that is a surprise or an unexpected add-on to the bundle. Even the assortment of cables is spartan at best, with an S-Video cable, a component output, DVI-to-VGA converter, and component-to-S-Video connector bringing us up to speed. The only real notable input was the new CrossFire bridge, which all new cards will ship with.