HIS Radeon X1950 XT IceQ3 Turbo

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Overclocking the HIS X1950 XT IceQ3

Before we concluded our testing, we spent a little time overclocking the HIS Radeon X1950 XT IceQ3 using the clock frequency slider available within ATI's Catalyst drivers, on the "Overdrive" tab. To find the card's peak core and memory frequencies, we slowly raised their respective sliders until we begun to see visual artifacts on-screen while running a game or benchmark, or until our test system was no longer stable.

Throughout overclocking, the IceQ3 cooling system was manually set to full power with the iTurbo software. This is a significant departure from the 27% power that the IceQ3 runs at while idle and the 38% power under stress. At 27%, the system is barely audible and at 38% its still whisper quiet. However, at full power the system is very loud, but temperatures were amazingly low; staying below 45 degrees Celsius under stress.

Overclocking the HIS Radeon X1950 XT IceQ 3
The Sliders Move But is Anything Happening?

HIS Radeon X1950 XT IceQ3 Overclocked: 690MHz GPU / 1.90GHzHz Memory
HIS Radeon X1950 XT IceQ3 Stock:
650MHz GPU / 1.80GHz Memory

 
HIS Radeon X1950 XT IceQ3 Overclocked: 690MHz GPU / 1.90GHzHz Memory
HIS Radeon X1950 XT IceQ3 Stock:
650MHz GPU / 1.80GHz Memory

With all this cooling, we quickly maxed out both the core and memory sliders at 690 MHz and 950 MHz respectively. The X1950 XT didn't appear to even break a sweet, not with that IceQ3 cooler blasting at full power at least. Unfortunately, with the sliders maxed out, we were forced to switch to a 3rd party utility. After trying out half a dozen utilities, including HIS' own iTurbo, we discovered that none of them could effect the X1950 XT's core and memory clocks in any way. While the sliders in the many utilities we tried moved back and forth, the benchmark numbers stayed the same, indicating that the utility wasn't actually working.

After much trial and hope, we finally resigned ourselves to the overclock achieved by the Catalyst driver's Overdrive capability. This resulted in a final overclock of 690 MHz for the core (up from 650 MHz) and 950 MHz for the memory (up from 900 MHz). We felt that the HIS Radeon X1950 XT IceQ3 Turbo still had a bit left in it. We wouldn't be surprised if it could manage another 5 MHz for the core and 50 MHz+ for the memory.

While we had the card overclocked, we re-ran a coupe of benchmarks to see how the higher clocks affected performance. Despite being disappointed with our inability to overclock the card any further than the Overdrive utility will allow, the achieved overclock is still fairly impressive. This translated into some big gains in our benchmarks, with a 4% gain in 3DMark06 and a 7% average frame rate increase in FEAR.

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

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