First of all, thanks a lot to HIS for giving us the opportunity to review this video card.
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 X1950XT IceQ Turbo 256MB PCIe
The HIS X1950XT IceQ3 is HIS & ATI\'s answer to the serious gamer who has a nice system to handle its power. HIS encourages over clocking with this card and they include a nice over clocking utility that cannot be downloaded, so don’t lose the CD! In order to achieve the 650MHz core clock speed on the box you HAVE to use the software. You can take the card beyond that, but it’s discouraged. As always your mileage may vary. One disappointment was that I could not get a driver to install like it should; I tried three different versions including one from HIS’ site. I used a core 6.10 Catalyst without the ATI control panel for this review.
Key ATI/HIS X1950XT Specifications
· 625MHz GPU core clock · 1.8GHz memory clock · 48 Pixel Shader Processors · 8 Vertex Shader Processors · 256MB of 256-bit wide GDDR3 RAM · Pixel Shader Model 3.0 support · VIVO Video Capture · Dual-DVI support (needed to support super-high resolution displays) Of particular note is the Dual-DVI, which allows you to use those nice 30" displays, and the very high GPU and Mem clock.
Key NVIDIA 6800GS Specifications
· 485MHz GPU core clock (factory overclocked by XFX) · 1100MHz memory clock (factory overclocked by XFX) · 12 Pixel Shader Processors · 5 Vertex Shader Processors · 256 with 256-bit wide GDDR3 RAM · Pixel Shader Model 3.0 support · DVI and VGA connections
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. This card is the first to demonstrate the need for more CPU power so some of the benchmarks have the CPU over clocked to 2.53GHz. · 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 · 120GB Seagate 7200RPM Hard Drive with 8MB Cache · onboard Realtek 7.1 sound · 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 6.10 For the NVIDIA 6800GS: ForceWare 84.43 Games Benchmarked and Setup · 3DMark06 · 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.
Here you can see that the X1950XT blows the 6800GS out of the water since it has double the amount of pixel shaders. The 6800GS didn’t benefit nearly as much as the HIS X1950XT when it came to speeding up the CPU. Running the overclocking tool helps but this is a good demonstration of the cards need for fast processing.
Again the 6800GS is beaten hands down. Running the over clocking tool alone did not benefit the X1950 at all, but the CPU over clock added 10,000 points when the Nvidia only gained about 5,000.
Surprisingly the Nvidia card takes the lead here. The CPU boost granted both cards a 10FPS increase. The software over clocking didn’t benefit the HIS X1950 here.
Half Life 2
The ATI card loves the Source engine, and the Nvidia card can\'t compete here. Software over clock didn’t make any difference, but the CPU over clocking added 14FPS, quite the difference compared to the 6800’s 5FPS gain.
Nvidia cards have dramatically better OpenGL support. The ATI card does better here because it\'s faster. Only a couple FPS are gained with software over clocking. The HIS X1950 loves the extra CPU speed and gains 12FPS, more than double the 6800GS gain.
This game is not graphically bound, but CPU bound since both cards are plenty fast enough for a game that old. Software over clocking on gains it only one Umark. Both cards reap the same benefits from over clocking the CPU.
There is no doubt that is a great card, but with a great card comes hefty system requirements. This is the first review that I have done that has made my system feel inferior since I’ve upgraded it last November. Unlike the X1650 we reviewed last time, this card requires a power supply connection. With the massive cooling it does still require 2 slots. The over clocking ability is great and the software seems to work well. With it you can even control the fan speed! HIS did a superb job on the card and I wouldn’t mind upgrading to it. My only complaint is the driver support isn’t completely there yet.