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HIS X1600 Pro IceQ3 Turbo HIS X1600 Pro IceQ3 Turbo: Two cards are generally faster than one. Are they fast enough to make the added cost worthwhile though?
Date: June 9, 2006
Manufacturer:
Written By:
Price:

The X1600 series from ATI has positioned itself well as a mid tier performance solution. Pair that together with Crossfire ready out of the box, you have the makings of a serious contender in the mid range space. Why not add a little more fuel to the heat ATI has already provided by giving it a slant on how things should be done, now your talking prime time.

The utilizes their unique IceQ cooling technology to deliver a certified -11C cooling power and <20dB silence. There are many other features, and even though we have seen them with other X1600 variants, lets gander at the HIS.

Specifications

HIS X1600Pro IceQ Turbo
  • Powered by ATI Radeon X1600Pro - 587MHz
  • 128MB-128bit 4 channel GDDR3 memory - 1.38GHz
  • 12 Pixel shader processor
  • 5 Vertex shader processor
  • 8 Geometry Pipelines
  • Ultra-threaded SM 3.0 Engine
  • 256-bit Ring-bus
  • ATI Avivo
  • High Precision Architecture
  • CrossFire Support
  • PCI Express® x16 lane native support

For the complete specifications and updates on the , please check out the .

Although the specification for the ATI X1600Pro is clocked at 500MHz and the GDDR3 (well ok, its spec'd for GDDR2) at 1000MHZ, HIS Turbo version is at the above stated 587MHz and 1.38GHz. The cooling is done via HIS IceQ cooling technology, which in the enthusiasts arena, is synonymous with HIS Technologies.

Unpacking the box you find your graphics card, manual, cables and several CD's.

· DVI to VGA converter
· HDTV / S-Video / Composite connector's
· Software
· HIS Driver CD
· ATI's Bonus DVD
· Dungeon Siege Ver 1.1
· Power Director 3 SE Plus
· Power2Go
· 3D Album Picture pro
· PowerDVD Copy (Trial)
· Medi@show 3 (Trial)
· PowerBackup (Trial)
· Game Demo's
· RollerCoaster Tycoon 3
· Half-Life 2
· Act of War
· Tribes: Vengeance Single Player
· Axis & Allies
· FlatOut (2 – CD)

There are, of course, no DVI cables included, but most manufacturers of DVI capable monitors supply them. This is the “Platinum Pack” from HIS and as much as it is a nice package, there a few too many “trial” versions for my liking. However, as you can see there are 2 full games included; Dungeon Siege and FlatOut. With FlatOut 2 due in June of 06 one can only hope that HIS will migrate to that, as this is another game that should show very nicely what these cards are capable of.

Looking over the card itself, you can see some of the changes made from previous iterations of the IceQ cooling system. The corners are softer and things appear to fit nicely rather then be bolted on. Of course everything is UV sensitive so you will have a nice show when the proper lighting is added. Turning our attention to the back of the card we notice, well, not much at all. It appears all of the memory for X1600Pro is on the front of the PCB.

The HIS X1600Pro IceQ Turbo does take up 2 slots, like most of its IceQ predecessors, this particular model, however, appears shorter (depth) then previous, giving the user a little more room behind it. In some enclosures, this is going to be a godsend, as I ran into a few issues where the HIS X850XT IceQ would almost touch the Hard Drive mounted behind it, obviously causing issues.

Installation went without a hitch , as with most PCIe video cards, this one snapped in nicely and felt snug with little to no play. As previously mentioned, the HIS X1600Pro IceQ Turbo takes up 2 slots, most CF capable motherboards should already have plenty of space to allow for 2 cards taking up 4 slots.

Strangely HIS included the 2nd slot bracket, but it is not part of the graphics card, as previous solutions are. You must install it into the neighbor slot prior to installing the graphics card. Honestly not sure as to why this was done... Once installed, its time to boot up and install the drivers.

The driver CD contains the current (when boxed) ATI Catalyst Control Center drivers, which was several versions behind, Nicely, the driver CD does have a selection to go to ATI and grab the latest version, which is a nice feature. So the latest ATI CCC is downloaded (and of course .NET 1.1) and installed, lets get to seeing what she can do.

Testing

This is where the fun begins. The X1600Pro, though not the latest from ATI, is a midrange market focus graphics solution, to that end, the counterpart would be the nVidia 6600GT. Unfortunately, the only 6600GT I have is a 256MB version, so not exactly apples to apples, but it should be good enough for some comparisons.

We will be performing all tests at 16:9 resolution of 1280x768 where the game supports it.

Test System: AMD64 Opteron 148 (2.2 GHz Venice Core), Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe, 2GB Patriot PC-4000, WD WD800JD / 80GB SATA 7200RPM, Dell 2005FPW (1280x960 1152x864), Windows XP SP2, ATI CCC build 31959 (Catalyst 6.4)

The comparison card is the Asus 6600GT Silencer with nVidia Detonator 84.21

Half Life 2 - can be very forgiving on hardware, or at least more forgiving than other modern games with the right settings. However when the action gets going and there is a lot on screen, it does help to have a bit of horsepower pushing the graphics. We ran through part of 'Follow Freeman', specifically the part as you exit the Combine building to take on the 3 striders.

Call of Duty 2 - CoD2 is a stellar engine, with a lot of action happening all around you. Using Fraps I went through a demanding section of terrain and enemies, the Railroad Station #1 (it was difficult staying alive for the full 2 minutes :P) to showcase what these cards could do.

Quake4 - New to our test suite is the latest FPS shooter from iD. A demo of multiplayer deathmatch action was used in combination with FRAPS to ascertain game performance. We held our own (Ed – you got owned again didn't you) against our enemies on the q4dm1 multiplayer level.

Need For Speed:Most Wanted - A fast paced game that unfortunately has no WS resolutions available, so this one will be run at 1280x1024. This proved to be a strong test for the mid-range graphics cards, pushing them to deliver playable rates while driving at high speeds on the Speed Trap (Bond & Riverside) race.

3dMark 2006 - The Synthetic benchmark. Although Synthetic, it does allow for comparison in like systems.

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