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HIS HD 4670 IceQ Native HDMI 1GB (128bit) DDR3 AGP
Written by Scott Harness   
Friday, 02 October 2009 00:00

thumbHIS HD 4670 IceQ Native HDMI 1GB DDR3 AGP

No, that's not a typo. HIS have sent over an AGP card, which being based on the 4670, should give a good boost in gaming and video playback duties to older systems without breaking the bank.

Price: Check

I would imagine that more than a few of you have clicked on this link just out of curiosity. No, it's not a typo, this is an AGP card. It may seem strange that we have just seen the launch of ATI's 58xx cards with DX11 and Eyefinity, and yet here we are looking at a card that is not only the previous generation, but based on an ageing interface that no motherboard manufacturer makes boards for anymore.

But the fact of the matter is, many folks do still use AGP motherboard based setups. And why not? If the system is running fine, and the games you play are not overly intensive, for many there is little reason to upgrade. It would be a significant (read expensive) upgrade too. If you're still using an AGP system, it's likely you'd need to replace pretty much all the main parts just to make use of a new graphics card. And then there is the old parts for second systems argument to think about.

are helping you stretch your AGP system just that little further with their card. This card is aimed to be a relatively cheap but powerful upgrade for your AGP system, and it's based on a pretty good GPU too. Let's check it out.


Model Name
HIS HD 4670 IceQ Native HDMI 1GB (128bit) DDR3 AGP
Radeon HD 4600 Series
Pixel Pipelines
320 stream processing units* (Unified)
Vertex Engines
320 stream processing units* (Unified)
Memory Size
Memory Type
Engine CLK
Memory CLK
Memory Interface
Bus Interface
AGP 8X/ 4X
1x VGA, 1x DVI, 1x (Native) HDMI


box_box1 box_box2

The box for the is actually pretty big. This is despite the fact that the card itself isn't. There is a clear window on the front of the box showing off the IceQ cooler and the card is little bigger than that. As is usual for HIS, all the pertinent information is easily seen at a quick glance, with some more extensive features and specifications on the rear.


box_in1 box_in2 box_contents1 box_disk1

That said, I do have to question the wasted space once you get inside. The box could be half the size and still have plenty of room for the contents. With everyone thinking more 'green' and trying to keep waste to a minimum, this does seem a little 'wrong' and I admit to not being the most green minded person. What you actually get is the card itself and a pamphlet/folder with the driver disk, manual and HIS badge.


card_card1 card_fan1 card_agp1

If you've seen a PCIe 4670, you will see that the is no bigger. HIS have of course added their IceQ cooler, making this a double slot device, but it does keeps things very cool and quiet; something that will be of interest to anyone wanting to create an HTPC from older parts.


card_cable1 card_power1

As always, HIS have carefully cabled the coolers fan connector, and it's kept neat and tidy. At the rear of the card we find a 4 pin female Molex connector. The 4670 PCIe doesn't require extra power, because the PCIe slot is capable of 75w, but AGP's maximum is 40w. The 4670 GPU requires 59w according to ATI and therefore, this AGP version needs a little extra help.


card_back1 card_io1

The back of the card is pretty uneventful but the IO ports give us something to talk about. There are a total of 3 outputs on the which cover pretty much all the common connections used today. There is a DVI-I port, a standard 15pin VGA D-Sub port and a Native HDMI. Yes, this card is capable of 7.1 sound output just like it's PCIe counterpart.

Overall this is a compact and nicely specified card. The cooler is certainly attractive but do keep in mind this is a double slot cooling setup. I don't think the 4 Pin Molex will pose many problems; I'm sure that everyone will have a spare Molex to use with this card in their AGP system.


Testing the consists of putting it through it's paces in a few games and testing during HD Video playback. Being an AGP card, obviously the system used is going to be based on older parts. The system in question is actually my 10yr old daughters system, and the motherboard in it is the Gigabyte GA-8VT880P Combo which has both an 8x AGP slot and a 16x (4x electrically) PCIe slot.

For comparison, I'm using an HIS X1800GTO IceQ3 256MB PCIe Card and a MSI 4670 512MB PCIe Card. Obviously the 4670's are going to be the faster cards here, but the X1800GTO will give us a reference to compare how much of a difference there is between (very) old and new. Also we can hopefully see what sort of a difference there is between a PCIe and an AGP 4670 card. There are however a few caveats here; the first being that the MSI card only has 512MB of ram compared to the HIS cards 1GB, and that the PCIe interface on the Gigabyte board is only 4x. Also, the HIS card is running with memory clocks lower than that of the PCIe based MSI card. Still, this is a relatively low end card so the extra ram shouldn't make all that big a difference. Also, the Gigabyte board's 4x PCIe interface brings the bus bandwidth closer to that of the 8x AGP interface (4x = 4,000MB/s, AGP 8x = 2,128MB/s). Should be a pretty interesting comparison.

Test Setup : Intel P4 3.2Ghz, 1GB of Ultra DDR Ram, Gigabyte GA-8VT880P Combo, Maxtor Diamondmax 10 7200 250GB HDD, Tagan 480w PSU, All latest drivers as of September 2009; Catalyst 9.9 AGP and PCIe was used for the 4670 cards and the 9.3's* used for the X1800GTO, Windows Vista 32bit.

*Support for older cards such as the X1800GTO stopped at version 9.3.


Left 4 Dead – Recording a custom demo on the No Mercy – Sewers level (outside in the rain), we used FRAPS to record frame rates as we played back the demo on highest possible settings for each card.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars – ETQW gives us our OpenGL test results as we run through a recorded demo on the Slipgate level. Settings for all cards were the same.

Devil May Cry 4 (Benchmark) – DMC4's benchmark provides a nice way of testing that anyone can do. Results are all from the benchmark itself, and include average framerates as well as 4 graphs for each level tested. Settings for all cards were the same.

Left 4 Dead (DX9)


Left 4 Dead
HIS 4670 AGP
4670 PCIe

Left 4 Dead can scale quite nicely at first glance, but due to the nature of the game, it's a game you certainly don't won't to have low average frame rates with. With the X1800GTO, even with lowest settings at 1024x768, if you're rushed by a horde it's "Strobe lights at the disco". If you're not the sort to run around screaming when attacked, then the motion blur helps but it does make targetting difficult. Cranking up the settings to high (but low detail effects) and run at 1440x900 and you get the same sort of frame rates but without the strobing hordes. And of course the picture quality is much better too. Bottom line; you can see what you're missing with the 4670's. Both cards here perform similarly.




HIS 4670 AGP
4670 PCIe

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars can rely a lot on a good CPU and subsystem, but improving the graphics card still makes for quite a jump. Settings here were low for the X1800GTO (the game chose it) and the X1800GTO had to be run at 1024x768 compared to the 1440x900 of the 4670's. It's pretty much unplayable on the X1800GTO unless you play with your settings and put them very low indeed. Hell, it was faster to play back the demo than it was to do a timedemo, as the timedemo naturally scaled to the fastest possible playback ... which was slower than actual game play speed!

The 4670's on the other hand made it pretty playable pretty full stop; the game chose to play at high settings. As with Left 4 Dead, the 4670 PCIe puts in slightly higher numbers, but during play the difference is not noticeable.


Devil May Cry 4 (DX10)



HIS 4670 AGP (DX10)


4670 PCIe (DX10)


X1800GTO PCIe (DX9)

This test shows something else to think about; DirectX. An X1800GTO doesn't give you DX10, so we ran the test as DX9. As you can see, it's pretty unplayable even at 1024x768 and medium settings. The benchmark gave the X1800GTO a 'D' scoring, told us to upgrade our hardware and that Stylish Action was an Impossibility. Both the 4670 cards on the other hand scored an 'A' at 1360x768 (Battle foes with Sick Style, some low level performance but game play will be unaffected) at pretty much highest settings. Once again our 4670 PCIe put in slightly higher scores but without a frame counter you wouldn't notice a difference in gameplay between the two 4670 cards.

Video Playback

The HIS HD 4670 IceQ Native HDMI 1GB (128bit) DDR3 AGP is capable of 7.1 sound output via it's HDMI interface making this a prime candidate for HD Video playback using older hardware. I used the usual tests of I, Robot at 1080i (MPEG2), a 1080p Batman Begins trailer (MP4) and Monsters Inc at 1080i. One of the things I've always liked about the HD ATI cards is the Vector Deinterlacing and I still like it on this HIS card. I should point out that (despite trepidations I must admit) I had no issues with Video or Audio drivers with everything installing just as it should. The one issue I did have was caused by my own stupidity (I overloaded one of the rails on the PSU causing the odd BSOD in Vista) and easily fixed. There was no difference in installation between this AGP card and a PCIe version. Likewise the Video playback has performed just the same as it's PCIe counterpart. If you've got an old AGP system and you're thinking of a Blu Ray setup, then this could be a very cheap way to do it. Of course you won't get the full audio experience that comes with Blu Ray as unlike the new 5xxx series, the 4xxx series card don't support the HD Audio formats, but you will get up to 7.1 AC3/Dolby Digital output. If you're just outputting to a HDTV or monitor, then this will be plenty for you.

During Video Playback, CPU usage was (as expected) at a bare minimum. The system idles at around the 5-10% mark (average used Vista installation with sidebar running), and during HD Video Playback this jumped to about 15%. Bottom line is though that those same video files were unwatchable with the X1800GTO in the system.

Final Words

New lease of life. That's pretty much what your AGP system is looking at here (assuming you've not got a 3xxx series AGP card). Of course, their are caveats. You will need as high end a CPU as you can get, and you'll likely want to have around a 450-500w PSU just to be sure. But the lets you play more modern games (looking at console ports performance basically) at a respectable frame rate on a 720p/1440x900 resolution area.

It's cool, cool looking, and quiet. It has audio output via its native HDMI interface, and it can output to the traditional DVI-I and VGA outputs as well (Dual monitor output supported). And yes that audio output works without any fuss. Infact installing the was done with no fuss at all; driver installation was exactly the same as with a PCIe 4670.

Not only does it let you play newer games, but it will also let you watch HD video as well. Both PowerDVD and Media Player Classic (Home Cinema) used it for DXVA playback without any issues.

I have to say that while the boxing is up to the usual HIS high standards, with all the information you could need, the fact that the box is half empty and has minimal contents just seems a waste of space, plastic and cardboard. Make sure you have a free Molex connector too. And I do mean free; we had a few BSOD's at first because we never bothered to check what else was being powered on the same cable.

So is their a catch? Well, it is priced higher than your average PCIe 4670. About half as much again infact. However, you have to weigh this against the cost of a new motherboard ... and most likely DDR2 Ram ... possibly a new PSU (24pin power, does your AGP system have that?) ... and of course a new PCIe graphics card. When you look at it that way, it's not a bad investment at all. We're all feeling the pinch these days, and you may have been holding on to your AGP system for as long as possible, but with the you don't have to spend too much to give your ageing system a rather nice boost. With similar system specs, you're not missing out on much either (of course, these days a PCIe setup, even at the low end is usually higher specced). If you were looking for a way to make use of your older AGP setup as an HD HTPC, then this could be just what you're looking for.

If you've got an old AGP card in your system, then the is certainly worth updating too. If you've updated to a 3xxx series AGP card at some point, then things are a little muddier for you. If you're looking to create an HD HTPC then the won't dissapoint, but you will have to pay slightly over the PCIe prices for it. The cost is really the only downside to all this, and that can be outweighed by the cost of parts for a new setup all together.

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