First of all, thanks a lot to HIS for giving us the opportunity to review this video card! About HIS HIS is a graphics card company that primarily builds ATI-based products. They are a Christian company as well. This is part of their company statement: HIS was established in 1987 with the mission to produce the highest quality graphic cards in the industry. Besides strong devotion to excellent products and services, HIS has been conducting business with the aim to "Glorifying God". Honesty and integrity are the two key principals of how HIS are conducted. Ethical business practice has been an everyday commitment to our clients, vendors, and investors. Most of us pick a video card based purely on chipset and price. It\'s good to see HIS is more than a typical ATI card manufacturer - they have a mission that CCGR can agree with. Even so, this review is based on the quality of the product reviewed; no unnecessary bias has gone into the review process. HIS X1300 Dual-DVI 512MB PCI-E With the HIS X1300 PCI-E, HIS took a standard ATI RADEON X1300 GPU with 512MB of RAM, and attached a completely silent passive cooling system to it. Not only that, but this is a CrossFire ready card, so another card just like this one can be added at any time to nearly double the performance. And being passively cooled, it would be absolutely silent doing so, not to mention use less power. Being Dual-DVI, it can also support a very nice dual LCD monitor setup perfectly.
Key ATI/HIS X1300 Specifications
- 450MHz GPU core clock
- 500MHz DDR2 RAM
- 4 Pixel Shader Processors (approx. equivalent to 4-pixel rendering pipelines)
- 2 Vertex Shader Processors
- 512MB of 128-bit wide DDR2 RAM (be careful, not all vendors or models use 128-bit RAM!)
- Pixel Shader Model 3.0 support
- ATI Avivo video playback technology
- Dual-DVI support (needed to support super-high resolution displays)
Dual-DVI allows you to use those nice 30" displays and HIS is not cutting any corners by using a 64-bit (or even 32-bit!) memory interface in this model, which can cut down performance dramatically. ATI chipsets are not the only ones to offer such features to board makers; NVIDIA does it as well for the lower end parts. Always pay attention, and get parts with the widest memory configuration available. This model also has 512MB of RAM, so if you like to try using the ultra-high texture settings on games like Quake 4, this video card will work without complaints. We had fairly decent luck overclocking this X1300, which speaks quite well to HIS\'s excellent cooling system. Even though it was passively cooled, we were able to get the GPU fairly stable at 640MHz, which is 190MHz over the stock GPU clock! We also were able to overclock the RAM a smaller amount, to approximately 594MHz, which is a fair overclock. We show the results on the benchmark graphs as \'ATI 1300 PCI-E OC\'d\'. As always, when overclocking, you cannot expect your results to be the same as this one, so your mileage may vary. Also, especially since this is a passively cooled GPU, ambient temperature of both the outsite air and inside the case can have a larger impact on overclocking than you might otherwise expect. Always be careful and watch both the temperatures and the system carefully for both lockups and graphical artifacts when attempting to overclock.
In this review, we are comparing this video card to the very popular NVIDIA 6600. The card we used was an PNY PCI-E 6600 with 256MB of DDR RAM. (Thanks, Chris!) The specs are as follows:
Key NVIDIA 6600 Specifications
- 300MHz GPU core clock
- 500MHz DDR RAM
- 8 pixel rendering pipelines)
- 3 Vertex Shader Processors
- 128MB or 256MB of 128-bit wide DDR RAM
- Pixel Shader Model 3.0 support
- NVIDIA PureVideo video playback technology
Unfortunately, most 6600 GPUs do not feature Dual-DVI, and are limited to 2048x1536 resolution displays.
Benchmark System Specifications
For our PCI-Express reviews, we have a fairly high-end system available, so direct comparisons to the AGP reviews of similar video cards are not fair. Nevertheless, it should make fairly clear where the GPU limitations are, since we are not CPU bound here.
- AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ CPU (2.2GHz)
- ASUS K8N-SLI Deluxe Motherboard, using the NVIDIA NForce 4 SLI Chipset
- 2GB of DDR400 RAM, Dual-Channel, CAS 2.5, 1T command rate
- 160GB Seagate 7200RPM Hard Drive with 8MB Cache
- Creative SoundBlaster Audigy
- Onboard ethernet
- Windows XP Pro
Windows XP was installed with Service Pack 2 slipstreamed in. No other Microsoft updates were installed. There was no anti-virus software or anything of that nature installed. The driver versions were as follows:
- NVIDIA NForce 4 AMD Edition drivers, ver. 6.70
- For the ATI cards: Catalyst 6.04
- For the NVIDIA 6600: ForceWare 84.43
Games Benchmarked and Setup
- AquaMark 3
- Far Cry 1.33
- Half-Life 2 (current Steam version)
- Quake 4 1.0
- Unreal Tournament 2004 ver. 3369
All games and benchmarks were run at the resolution of 1280x1024, except for Aquamark3 which is set to 1024x768 and cannot be changed. Far Cry, Half-Life 2, and Quake 4 were benchmarked using the HardwareOC BenchTools. UT2004 was benchmarked using UMark. Far Cry used the PC Games Hardware Demo, Half-Life 2 was benchmarked with the Anti-Citizen map, Quake 4 used the Guru3D demo, and UT2004 was tested with ONS-FrostBite. Benchmark Results 3DMark06 Though 3DMark06 is not a game, nor are any games written anything like this, it does help us understand the relative power of the pixel shaders on these cards. The X1300 is very close to the 6600 in this test. Overclocking offers a fairly significant improvement. AquaMark 3 On AquaMark, we see a much closer race between the GeForce 6600 and the overclocked X1300. The standard X1300 has a noticeably lower score here. Far Cry This is another case where overclocking helps the X1300 pull ahead. Even so, they all have playable frame rates here. Half-Life 2 The story is pretty similar here again, with the overclocked card having the largest advantage of the game benchmarks so far. Quake 4 Here, the NVIDIA really shows off it\'s good OpenGL implementation by surpassing even the overclocked X1300 in a benchmark. The standard X1300 should probably consider playing this game on a lower resolution if it sticks with high detail. Unreal Tournament 2004 All of the cards here play this game playably well. The mostly consistent pattern continues, and the overclocked X1300 surpasses the 6600, which surpasses the standard clocked X1300. The 6600 and overclocked X1300 are only within approximately 1 frame per second, so it\'s within reasonable error margin. They\'re basically equal.
So what did we learn from this article? Well, a few things. Video cards like these perform respectively well at 1280x1024, but would probably perform better at lower resolutions, where the performance delta between them would be more dramatic. Also, for gamers looking at any of the cards listed in this review should carefully consider the CPU they are using to drive it. A CPU around the speed of the benchmark machine (an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+) would do well with any of these, but could really stretch its legs with a top of the line card. The HIS X1300 512MB CrossFire Edition seems like a very good card for those who need either silent components or 2 Dual-DVI ports to drive 2 large displays. The overclocking really helps the card perform. The Dual-DVI models\' street price is significantly higher than the NVIDIA 6600, however very similar cards, including the IceQ Turbo edition is much closer to, and in some cases less expensive than the 6600. Depending on your needs, one of those cards might serve your budget better. Nevertheless, being CrossFire capable, there is no reason you cannot add in another card if the performance offered here is not quite enough.