HIS Radeon X1950 XT IceQ3 Turbo

Introduction and Specifications

A few weeks ago, we looked at the HIS Radeon X1950 Pro IceQ3 Turbo, a mainstream graphics card set to do battle with the GeForce 7900GS in the $200 price segment. Based on the RV570 GPU, the X1950 Pro brought a host of features to the table including native CrossFire. While X1950 Pro is a good performer for a great price, some of us were left wishing for more. For a short while, those of us willing to spend an additional $50-$100 for a bit more power than the X1950 Pro could offer had to turn to NVIDIA. That is, until the Radeon X1950 XT was released.

Today, we will be checking out HIS' take on the Radeon X1950 XT, the HIS X1950XT IceQ3 Turbo. As the name implies, the HIS X1950 XT uses the company's IceQ3 cooling apparatus which performs better than the "stock" model and is much quieter to boot. The Turbo in the name also means that the card is guaranteed to overclock to a certain speed, in this case a guaranteed core overclock to the stock XTX speed of 650 MHz. The HIS X1950 XT also has ViVo capability and comes with the HIS "Platinum Pack" bundle. All this for a palatable $290. HIS also offers a much more mundane version of the X1950 XT, sans overclock guarantee and IceQ3 cooler, for about $30 less.


ATI Radeon X1950 XT
Features & Specifications
Features - Radeon X1950 XT
- 90nm fabrication process
- 48 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)

The HIS Platinum Bundle that's included with the X1950 XT IceQ3 Turbo is fairly complete. In the box, you get the card itself, an HIS case badge, user's manual, two DVI-to-DB15 monitor adapters, a HD component output adapter, and an S-Video / Composite Video Input & Video Output Dongle so you can take advantage of the card's ViVo capability. Unfortunately, S-Video and Composite Video cables were not included.

The bundle of cables and adapters isn't especially impressive, but that's not what makes the Platinum Pack special. The bundled software is where the Platinum Pack really shines. Included in the bundle are three CDs, a DVD and a slip of paper (more on this later). The first CD contains a full retail version of CyberLink's PowerDVD. The next CD, titled "Power Up Gamers" includes the display drivers, ATI's HYDRAVISION multi-monitor management utility, and a slew of wallpapers and calendars in a wide range of resolutions. The last CD contains HIS' proprietary overclocking utility, iTURBO. With the click of a button, the iTURBO utility will overclock the video card to the speed advertised on the shiny "iTURBO" sticker stuck to the front of the box. In this case, a core overclock from 625 MHz to 650 MHz, which is the stock X1950 XTX speed.

The DVD, titled "HIS Bonus DVD Ver.3", contains a large bundle of software, including the full versions of Dungeon Siege, the GameShadow patching utility, CyberLink PowerDirector 5 SE Plus, CyberLink Power2Go 5, and CyberLink Medi@Show 3. Also included on the DVD are trial versions of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, Half-Life 2, Act of War: Direct Action, Tribes: Vengeance Single Player, Axis & Allies, CyberLink PowerDVD Copy, CyberLink PowerBackup, CyberLink LabelPrint, and Cyberlink JukeBox. That is a lot of free software and we're still not done.

Remember that mysterious slip of paper? Printed on it is a "Unique Code" and instructions on how to use that code to choose three full, retail games of your choice from the HIS GamersPortal to be shipped to your door. Just navigate to the GamersPortal, select your game, validate the unique code, enter your address and your games will be on their way. You need to pay $5.99 for shipping though. There are currently nine games and three utilities to choose from. They are: Conflict Desert Storm, FarCry, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, LEGO Star Wars, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Colin McRae Rally 2005, Dues Ex: Invisible War, XIII, McAfee VirusScan 2006, Nero 7 Essentials Suite 1, and Roxio Easy Media Creator 7.

There is no doubt that the HIS Platinum Pack is one of the best software bundles included with a graphics card. With the addition of the ability to choose part of your bundle, everyone should be able to find something they like. Bravo, HIS.

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

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