Since this card is designed for the gamer on a budget I'm testing it a little differently. I'm not going to stick it in the fastest PC I have, or load the PC up with a couple GB of RAM. The test system will be:
1GB Corsair PC3200
2 x 60GB Maxtor HDD
Lite On DVDRW
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The above system should be about average and something similar to what all but the most hardcore of enthusiast is running. Three synthetic benchmarks and three real world gaming benchmarks will be used. 3DMark01, 03 and 05 for the synthetic benches and Doom 3, Far Cry and UT2K4 for the gaming benches. The competition will be an ASUS N6600. A fresh install of Windows XP pro fully patched w/SP2 was used as well as the most current driver releases for each card.
First up is the 3DMark series, all of these will be shown as a side by side comparison on a single graph. Synthetic benchmarks do not provide an accurate view of real world performance, but they do give you an idea of how a card will run THAT benchmark, and the data is still useful when comparing to another card. Keep in mind though, that regardless of how good or bad a card performs in a synthetic benchmark, real world results may differ.
Across the board the HIS outperforms the competition in our synthetic benchmarks. So far so good for HIS, but the real test is in the gaming.
Unreal Tournament 2004 is starting to show it's age as far as games go, but it is still one of the best games I own. The fast pace of the game and the amount of on screen activity going on all of the time makes it a good real world test. I loaded up a map with 20 bots and myself and went to town.
Again the HIS comes out on top, I found this kind of amusing considering the giant NVIDIA "The way it's meant to be played" ad you get to watch when UT2K4 starts up.
Doom 3 (AKA the vid card crusher)
If there is one single game that really punishes a video card it is Doom 3. Texture sizes can reach 500MB when graphics settings are set to maximum, on top of that this game will chew through CPU cycles like they are nothing.
Well we finally see the NVIDIA card edge out the X700, however with D3 this is really no surprise. Since D3's release ATI cards have been just a little bit behind their ATI counterparts.
Visually FarCry is still one of my favorite games, the graphics are amazing and that makes for an excellent real world performance benchmark.
Back on top with the HIS X700. Although it isn't by a huge margin if you are planning to buy a new video card you want the most performance you can get for the money you are going to spend.
If your looking to squeeze even more performance out of your budget video card, then overclocking just might allow you to do that. I used ATI tool to overclock the X700 and although I didn't send a lot of time looking for the "sweet spot" I ran through 3DMark 01 several times at 440/400 (up from 400/350) which resulted in an average increase in score of over 300 points
It's obvious AGP isn't dead, and that you don't need a $500 graphics card to play today's games. Not everyone can afford to dish out that much money every time a new card is released, and at a suggested retail price of $125 the X700 should be able to breathe some new life into your PC, especially if your current graphics solution is preventing you from playing any of today's games.
Pros: Price, performance, silent, overclockable
Cons: Takes up 2 slots (not really a con, but needs to be considered)
For the cost involved the X700 from HIS turned out to be quite a performer. When compared to a similar classed card from NVIDIA it outperformed at almost every task put before it. AGP is still a VERY viable option, and HIS has proven with the X700 that they haven't forgotten about those of us that can't shell out a couple weeks pay every time a new card is released. If your still riding the AGP wagon and looking for a card that will allow you to play all of the latest games without emptying your wallet, take a look at the HIS X700, priced around $125 it's tough to beat.
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