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HIS X1650Pro IceQ Turbo Dual DL-DVI 256MB GDDR3 PCIe HIS X1650Pro IceQ Turbo Dual DL-DVI 256MB GDDR3 PCIe: With perhaps the most descriptive product name in the market, HIS' latest mainstream offering leaves no question on what you're getting in the box. Will the performance be what we are expecting, or more?
Date: September 27, 2006
Manufacturer:
Written By: David Pankhurst
Price:

The past year has been a fairly 'slow' one in the computer industry, as there hasn't been too many new products introduced.  There has been the odd CPU, with the recent release of the Core 2 Duo being the highlight of many people's product launch year.  Video cards have been somewhat stagnant, with dual cards being where the performance increase has started to come from.

    ATi has just released their fall refresh of video cards in the form of the x1950XT, the x1650 Pro, and the x1300XT.  The only card here that can be considered 'newer' is the x1950, as ATi has started to use GDDR4 memory on this card.  The x1650 Pro is basically the x1600XT and the x1300XT is the x1600.

    has been known as a partner for ATi cards for quite a while.  In fact we here at Viperlair have reviewed quite a few of their cards, from the lower end to the high end cards.  One thing that comes into your mind when you mention an HIS card is the quite and efficient coolers that they put on their video cards.  So lets see what they sent us today.

HIS X1650Pro IceQ Turbo Dual DL-DVI 256MB GDDR3 PCIe

    HIS has never shied away from long product names and this card carries on this tradition with an eight 'word' description of the product.  Lets look at some pictures and try to break down the name into realistic chunks.  Original specifications from HIS are .

    The package gives quite a bit of genera information about the video card that is inside.  In fact the front has a small window to show off the cooler that is included on this card.  The basic information is included on the front, such as the IceQ cooler, the 256MB of GDDR3 memory and the fact that it is a PCIe video card.  The back gives more of the same information with a little more detail of the actual x1650 core specifications.  Opening the inner box we see that the card is in a plastic tray that fits it well.  The other accessories are more or less scattered around the top of the box as they don't have any specific place to remain stationary during transport.

    So what comes inside that box?  We've already seen most of the parts but lets get an itemized list:

  • Manual
  • 2 DVI-VGA adaptors
  • SVHS - composite convertor
  • Component cable
  • Backplate for ICeQ exhaust
  • SVHS cable
  • Driver CD
  • Software CD

    Moving on to the card itself we can see it is dominated by the IceQ cooler, which takes up the entire length of the card.  This cooler is of the two slot variety, though most people seem to be used to the fact that they lose one of their other slots for most video cards these days.  If this cooler keeps the fan quiet it would be worth it for most HTPC users.  The back of the card is basically empty of any components apart from the four screws that hold the cooler to the card.  The profile of this card is shown in the third picture, especially the use of the second slot for cooling, but there is also the two dual-link DVI connections as well as the output for SVHS/component/composite.

    The GPU was made on the 29th week of this year, and is a standard RV530 core.  The core was built on a 90nm process and has 157 million transistors on a 150mm2 die.  The main additions to this midrange GPU is the PS/VS 3.0 support, AVIVO video support, and Crossfire support.  A more detailed listing of the specifications can be found on the HIS page listed previously.

    The software included has two CyberLink programs MediaShow 3 and PowerDirector 5 SE Plus, both are the currently released versions.  PowerDirector is your standard video editing program, that allows you to capture from the video-in this card provides and create home videos, and does so fairly well.  MediaShow or as they call it Medi@Show is a album and slideshow creation program which works well at what it is supposed to do.  This program is rather bad, as it requires a resolution of 1024*768 or 800*600, which I would assume no one using this card would have their monitor set at.  Also included on the CD is Power2Go 5 which is a very basic burning program.  Only one full game is included in the form of Dungeon Siege 1.1, an older game which doesn't show off the card well.

Quality Tests

    First we will look at the 2D quality of the video card.  This is one of if not the most important aspect of the video card, though many people do not take the time to look closely at the quality of display that they are constantly looking at.  So lets take a look at how well the x1650 Pro does with 2D quality.  The test is the same as we've been using for a while, with the reference display being a Matrox G400 video card attached to a 21" Dell badged Trinitron monitor.  The screen resolution was 1600*1200, with a color depth of 32bpp and a refresh rate of 85Hz.  So lets see how it did in comparison.

Test
Matrox G400
Matrox Parhelia
Asus AX800XL-2DTV
HIS x1650 Pro IceQ Turbo Dual DL-DVI
Intel 915G IGP
Albatron FX5750
Black Text / White Back:
5
7.5
7.25
7.25
4.5
5.5
White Text / Black Back:
5
8
7.5
7.5
5
7
Bitmap Test:
5
9
8
8
6
6.5
Overall Rating
5
8.25
7.75
7.75
5.25
6.25

    We can see that this ATi based card does pretty well in our subjective test.  Compared to the Matrox Parhelia it was somewhat brighter in all three tests, with this washing out the color slightly in the image test, but still making it better than most of the rest of the cards we have tested.  Text was still good but the higher brightness, which most likely could be changed somewhat, caused the text to be a bit harder to read.  Overall however this card has very good 2D quality.  This is very much like the previous ATi based card I tested which means that ATi has done very well in quality of their 2D images which bodes well for those of you using this card for normal web browsing, etc.  Considering that this card has two Dual-link DVI ports running this on a couple of 30" 2560*1600 monitors would be a treat.

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