HIS Radeon X1950 Pro IceQ3 Turbo



ATI made quite a splash a few weeks ago, with the introduction of the Radeon X1950 Pro. The RV570 GPU at the heart of the X1950 card is manufactured on TSMC's 80nm node. It's equipped with 36 pixel shader processors, 8 vertex shader units and 12 texture units. ATI's reference design calls for a 575MHz GPU clock and with 1.38GHz memory, but the card we'll be featuring here today is clocked quite a bit higher than this. The most interesting feature of the Radeon X1950 Pro, however, is Native CrossFire support. ATI has done away with the "Master" and "Slave" cards, and has incorporated the discreet compositing engine previously found on their CrossFire Master cards right into the GPU die. The result is that the clunky, external dongle is a thing of the past.

Today, we will be looking at HIS' take on ATI's mid-range beast, the Radeon X1950 Pro IceQ3 Turbo.  This card comes with higher core and memory speeds than the original specs call for, and sports a large heatsink/fan designed by Arctic Cooling.  With their version of the X1950 Pro, HIS is hoping to make some noise in the $200-$300 video market.  Let's see if they succeeded.


HIS Radeon X1950 Pro
Features & Specifications
- 80nm fabrication process
- 36 pixel shader processors
- 8 vertex shader processors
- Up to 256-bit 8-channel memory interface
- Native PCI Express x16 bus interface

Ring Bus Memory Controller
- Internal ring bus for memory reads
- Fully associative texture, color, and Z/stencil cache designs
- Hierarchical Z-buffer with Early Z test
- Lossless Z Compression (up to 48:1)
- Fast Z-Buffer Clear
- Optimized for performance at high display resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions

Ultra-Threaded Shader Engine
- Support for Microsoft DirectX 9.0 Shader Model 3.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware
- Full speed 128-bit floating point processing for all shader operations
- Up to 512 simultaneous pixel threads
- Dedicated branch execution units for high performance dynamic branching and flow control
- Dedicated texture address units for improved efficiency
- 3Dc+ texture compression o High quality 4:1 compression for normal maps and two channel data formats
- High quality 2:1 compression for luminance maps and single-channel data formats
- Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL 2.0

Advanced Image Quality Features
- 64-bit floating point HDR rendering supported throughout the pipeline
o Includes support for blending and multi-sample anti-aliasing
- 32-bit integer HDR (10:10:10:2) format supported throughout the pipeline
o Includes support for blending and multi-sample anti-aliasing
- 2x/4x/6x Anti-Aliasing modes
o Multi-sample algorithm with gamma correction, programmable sparse sample
patterns, and centroid sampling
o New Adaptive Anti-Aliasing feature with Performance and Quality modes
o Temporal Anti-Aliasing mode
o Lossless Color Compression (up to 6:1) at all resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
- 2x/4x/8x/16x Anisotropic Filtering modes
o Up to 128-tap texture filtering
o Adaptive algorithm with Performance and Quality options
- High resolution texture support (up to 4k x 4k)
Avivo Video and Display Platform
- High performance programmable video processor
o Accelerated MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264 decoding and
o DXVA support
o De-blocking and noise reduction filtering
o Motion compensation, IDCT, DCT and color space conversion
o Vector adaptive per-pixel de-interlacing
o 3:2 pulldown (frame rate conversion)
- Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
- HDR tone mapping acceleration
o Maps any input format to 10 bit per channel output
- Flexible display support
o Dual integrated dual-link DVI transmitters
o Dual integrated 10 bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
o 16 bit per channel floating point HDR and 10 bit per channel DVI output
o Programmable piecewise linear gamma correction, color correction, and color space
conversion (10 bits per color)
o Complete, independent color controls and video overlays for each display
o High quality pre- and post-scaling engines, with underscan support for all outputs
o Content-adaptive de-flicker filtering for interlaced displays
o Xilleon TV encoder for high quality analog output
o YPrPb component output for direct drive of HDTV displays
o Spatial/temporal dithering enables 10-bit color quality on 8-bit and 6-bit displays
o Fast, glitch-free mode switching
o VGA mode support on all outputs
o Drive two displays simultaneously with independent resolutions and refresh rates
- Compatible with ATI TV/Video encoder products, including Theater 550

- Multi-GPU technology
- Four modes of operation:
o Alternate Frame Rendering (maximum performance)
o Supertiling (optimal load-balancing)
o Scissor (compatibility)
o Super AA 8x/10x/12x/14x (maximum image quality)




Atypical of most of the packaging we've seen lately, the HIS X1950 Pro IceQ3 Turbo ships in a relatively smaller sized box, black, and adorned with not much more than a large IceQ3 logo. A secondary sticker was applied in the upper right denoting this model is the Turbo Edition of the X1950 Pro, which comes pre-overclocked, rather than using a software-based utility.

Inside the box, HIS has included a mix of media and cables to cover most of the user's needs. To properly utilize some of the HD capabilities of the X1950 Pro, we found an S-video cable, an HDTV-out cable, a VIVO cable, and two VGA-to-DVI adapters. Additionally, what appears to be an SLI connector actually is an internal ribbon connector, used for CrossFire, but more on that later. In addition to these cables, HIS has packaged a user manual with driver CD, a HIS "goodies" disc with wallpaper and assorted other information, a copy of CyberLink's PowerDVD 7 along with PowerDirector 5 SE Plus and Medi@Show 3, and finally complete copies of a racing game called FlatOut as well as an RPG; the original Dungeon Siege.

Tags:  Radeon, HIS, Ice, turbo, x1, Q3, IceQ, pro

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