Performance Analysis and Conclusion
Performance Summary: In all of our benchmarks, the HIS Radeon X1950 XT IceQ3 Turbo performed admirably, cranking out high scores throughout. The 25MHz core clock overclock the X1950 XT enjoys thanks to HIS' iTurbo overclocking utility allowed it to outpace the older 256MB X1900 XT and the GeForce 7950 GT in our tests.
We really liked the HIS Radeon X1950 XT IceQ3 Turbo. Its based on the same core GPU technology and possesses the same feature set as the Radeon X1950 XTX. Considering the 25MHz iTurbo guaranteed overclock, the HIS X1950 XT differs from the X1950 XTX only in memory clock speed; lagging behind by 50 MHz (100 MHz effective).
We've said it before in previous reviews, but we're compelled to say it again; we really like HIS' IceQ3 cooler. It is noticeably quieter than the ATI reference cooler during regular operation, although it was equally loud when cranked to 100% power. However, the improved design of the IceQ3 allows it to keep the card cool under stress at considerably lower RPMs than the reference cooler. Except when we manually cranked it up to full power, our IceQ3 never went above 38% power, resulting in wonderfully quiet operation. We also appreciated the IceQ3 shell's UV reactivity, which produces a pleasing blue glow in the presence of a UV light source.
The HIS Platinum Pack bundle included with the X1950 XT contains arguably the best selection of software we've ever taken out of a graphics card box. HIS' decision to allow the customer to choose three pieces of full-version software to complete the bundle is a great idea. However, the bundle lacked when it came to accessories, and we wished S-video and composite video cables had been included.
The HIS X1950 XT costs about $100 less than a XTX and the only sacrifices your making are settling for are a smaller frame buffer and slightly slower onboard memory. We found that our X1950 XT was also a great overclocker, although your mileage may vary. We did have trouble finding compatible overclocking tool however, which limited how much we could overclock the card. ATI fans looking for XTX performance without the price should take a good, hard look at the HIS Radeon X1950 XT IceQ3 Turbo.