The HIS X850XT's Up Close and Image Quality
As the pictures below show, the HIS X850XT IceQII Turbo VIVO 256MB AGP and the Platinum Edition IceQII VIVO 256MB AGP physically appear to be the same cards. Both models sport the R481 core with 16 Pixel Pipelines and 6 Vertex Shaders. The VPU on each card is supported by 256MB of GDDR3 memory. Each model comes with a DVI and VGA output, while Dual-DVI models are also available.
Where the two cards differ is with their respective clock speeds. The Platinum Edition core is clocked at 540MHz, while the Turbo edition come clocked at 520MHz and ramps up to 540MHz in turbo mode. The memory also varies by 100MHz, with the Platinum Edition being clocked at 590MHz DDR (1180MHz) while the Turbo sports 540MHz DDR (1080MHz) and clocks up to Platinum speeds in Turbo mode.
Both cards sport the same IceQII cooler that is virtually dead silent. While it is a two slot solution, we tend to like this design since the cooler also doubles as an exhaust fan rather than circulating air within the case. The VPU has thermal paste to help conduct heat to the copper base of the IceQII, while thermal pads bridge the gap between the cooler and the GDDR3 RAM.
Ultimately, the two cards only differ in the BIOS they are flashed with and nothing more. They are physically identical in every way. As we move to the benchmarking phase and later assess the price point for each model, we hope to have a much clearer picture of which model is the best overall value. But first, speaking of pictures, let's take a quick look at Image Quality.
Since the two cards are identical, we used the Platinum Edition to take a few screenshots to demonstrate image quality. For this, we used one of our recent favorites, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. Additionally, we included reference shots from an ASUS V9999 GeForce 6800 Gamer Edition, which we also used in the benchmarking segment as a reference point.
|X850XT - No AA / No Aniso||X850XT - 4X AA / 8X Aniso||X850XT - 6X AA / 16X Aniso|
|6800 - No AA / No Aniso||6800 - 4X AA / 8X Aniso||6800 - 8X AA / 16X Aniso|
When comparing image quality, it's getting tougher and tougher to tell which card has the upper hand these days. When we lined up the No AA images for each card, we found the jagged edges to be slightly harsher with the X850XTs compared to the 6800. When we increased the quality to 4X AA with 8X Anisotropic Filtering, both images sharpened up nicely, although, when you compare the grid at the top part of the image, the 6800 seemed a bit sharper. In all fairness, though, we are being exceptionally critical here, lining up the two images side-by-side. Lastly, we maxed the setting out for both cards, setting Anisotropic Filtering to 16X. At the highest settings it was anyone's game, with both cards looking sharp and detailed, giving no discernable advantage to either model.