Performance Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: The HIS X1650 Pro IceQ Turbo performed as we expected it would. When compared to the ATI Radeon X1600 Pro, the HIS X1650 Pro showed measurable performance gains thanks to its higher-clocked GPU and faster GDDR3 memory. Higher clock speeds and increased memory bandwidth helped to narrow the lead of the GeForce 7600 GT as well, most notably at higher resolutions, but the GeForce 7600 GT was still the top performer in all tests.
We found the HIS X1650 Pro IceQ Turbo to be a decent step up when compared to the X1600 Pro, offering measurable performance gains in all tests. In fact, the card should be a slight improvement over the X1600 XT as well, which is virtually identical except for its lower 590MHz GPU clock. Another factor to consider it the HIS Radeon X1650 Pro's inability to overtake the GeForce 7600 GT in any test we threw at it. Using current street prices as a metric, the 7600 GT is the closest competitor to the HIS X1650 Pro, yet performance clearly leaned in favor of the GeForce 7600 GT, especially at lower resolutions. Once the resolution was increased, however, the HIS X1650 Pro scaled well. It took less of a performance hit than the GeForce 7600 GT, which helped it to narrow the NVIDIA card's lead significantly in most tests.
Once we factor in cost, the MSI GeForce 7600GT, which also comes with an oversized cooler, weighs in at about $165 at a major online reseller. And many other 7600 GTs are available in the $150-160 range. The HIS X1650 Pro IceQ Turbo, on the other hand, came in slightly cheaper at about $145. We think the additional investment is worthwhile considering the 7600 GT's higher performance, however.
If you can muster a few more dollars though, for roughly $199, you can get a CrossFire ready X1950 Pro graphics card with triple the number of Pixel Shaders and 8 Vertex shaders, which would bring with it a serious performance boost. Granted we've only seen one X1950 Pro offered for a price this low, but if you can afford to raise your budget, the added cost should pay handsome dividends in the end. And don't forget the GeForce 7600 GT is available for only a few more dollars. If you are on a strict budget without a penny to spare, and high resolution gaming is not a major priority, then the HIS X1650 Pro is a quality product that functions as advertised. But if you plan on gaming and want to run at higher resolutions, we strongly urge you to step up to something a bit more powerful. We give the HIS X1650Pro IceQ Turbo Dual DL-DVI 256MB GDDR3 PCIe a Hot Hardware Heat Meter rating of 7.