Videoaccelerator HIS IceQ II Turbo RX850XT – the hero of last remote days
Progress is going on straight ahead and that what was yesterday most cutting-edge, today can be only used to hammer in nails. This given rule also typical for the hi-tech market of videocards. The main two industry-leaders - ATI and NVIDIA, combating as always for bank notes from customer's pocket, produce more and more extreme GPU offering an enhancement technology each year practically, incite us to think about upgrade.
Today the situation in the market of videocards resembles situation in the market of cars: there are models accessible to the broad audience of buyers, and aloof are elite super cars with more wide range of horsepowers. If you don't want to follow the extraordinary new technologies and use what you already have, that's ok, but when you'd like to make a purchase of the new one, believe, you'd prefer and desire to get more powerful one with a capacious boot. This analogy with car isn't casual, because we can easy compare the graphic processor with motor and a boot - with memory.
Today users fastidious to high FPS and more powerful processor can face with a necessity to change a motherboard and, as a consequence, a videocard after. It's because of the market refusing of the AGP lane for the sake of perspective one - PCI Express x16, which is used now on the majority of modern motherboards. So naturally, a question comes, which videocard to choose?
Basically, the choice of a videocard is conducted between of ATI and NVIDIA solutions. NVIDIA has already presented new generation of GPU and has provided manufacturers with necessary quantity of those, ATI can't demonstrate of such successes. Nowadays, NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX ranks as one of the top among of all videocards. But what should do the "rest one" from Canada? About a week remains to appearance of a new ATI R520, but we are not sure, that few months will be enough for ATI to satisfy the wide range of users and if "rest one" have started upgrade by this time, so ATI Radeon X850 will be their choice.
HIS Radeon X850XT IceQ II Turbo based on ATI Radeon X850 is the brightest videocard among all (in direct and figurative sense). The key advantage of a given model is a high-quality cooling system, at reduced cost of chip frequency and memory at ATI Radeon X850 XT PE level. Does this videocard worth that money you'll have to pay for it?
Videocard HIS Radeon X850 XT IceQ II Turbo is delivered in a small packing from thick cardboard. In front of packing there is a small oval notch to show customers a cooling system. Marks alike the knightly boards inform that IceQ II system provides cooling efficiency on -11 degrees in comparison with regular system. The noise level doesn't exceed of 20 dB during it's work, we suppose. Necessary to pay attention to the round label informing, that the given videocard on 540 and 1180 MHz works stable (chip and memory frequencies accordingly), that's similar to Radeon X850 XT PE. Don't forget that videocard's based on ATI Radeon X850 XT standard chip and memory frequencies are 520 and 1080 MHz (accordingly).
On reverse side of packing customers can find frequency characteristics of ATI Radeon X850 XT and Radeon X850 XT PE. Usually on packing there is no description of working frequencies, it has only the list of used technologies, but in this case it was made to specify the opportunity of HIS Radeon X850 XT IceQ II Turbo to work on frequencies of more productive model. Also on reverse side of packing is a description of HIS iTurbo software, which ensures of perfect work on the raised frequencies, without using of programs fromforeign developers.
Inside, besides a videocard:
- 6 disks;
- 2 adapters DVI-> D-Sub;
- S-Video cable;
- RCA cable;
- componental adapter YCbCr;
- adapter ViVo;
- an adapter-extension piece for 6-contact socket.
Complete includes of all necessary cables and adapters that will spare, for example, from a headache while searching of adapter for 6-contact socket. From game programs there is only Flatout on 2 disks. Rather modest complete and there is no even demos of other popular computer games. There is no instruction in Russian, but it is necessary to note, that's not demanded by Russian users, who in most cases don't pay attention to it.
Videocard HIS Radeon X850 XT IceQ II Turbo is executed on red color textolite. PCB design completely corresponds to reference.
Lets remove a cooling system off, we'll examine later it in details, and lets look to the basic elements of videocard.
GPU is a heart of ATI Radeon X850 XT (R480) videocard. PCI Express x16 lane support (made on 49 week 2004).
On front side of videocard there are four GDDRIII memory chips in BGA packing; also they are on the back side. Samsung's memory GDDRIII has access time 1,6 nanoseconds, corresponds to working frequency of 1250 MHz.
On the back you can find ATI Rage Theater chip responsible for AV signal (made on 16 week 2005).
There is an additional 6-contact socket in right corner, front side of videocard. Under it there is an additional video input which can be deduced, for example, on the obverse panel of the system block.
There are two DVI outputs on a dual slat of HIS Radeon X850 XT IceQ II Turbo, it became a standard for videocards of a highest level, and multipurpose ViVo socket. Due to the ATI Rage Theater chip, its capable of dual TV and monitor output, using S-Video or RCA by means of YCbCr adapter.
In given HIS videocard for GPU cooling used IceQ II system, the same as ATI Silencer 4 from Arctic Cooling. You can find such products in a free sale, but money you'll pay for videocard based on ATI Radeon X850 XT and ATI Silencer 4 cooling system, will be the same as for ATI Radeon X850 XT PE. Therefore Arctic Cooling prefers to sell its production by OEM-channels.
Cooling system: a copper slice about 2 mm thickness on with solded aluminium edges. Thickness of each edge is less then 0,3 mm, so the dispersion area is about 1300 sm2. Radiator is covered with a plastic case with a turbine heating the air. For turbine used the centrifugal fan with dimension 70x70x20 mm. Due to special form of the blades between them during rotation appear zones of redundant air pressure, that allows to banish the air at a noise level less than 20 dB. The bullet core's form, because of air from the fan's central part, allows to avoid whistle, which appear with change of air stream direction.
Aluminium slice with four deepenings cover memory chips on the back side, increase dispersion area,. But mainly it is for distribution of pressure, created by cooling system on maximal area of videocard. This slice helps to avoid of PCB warping and breaking of contact paths, as consequence.
Let's note, that Arctic Cooling recommends to use ATI Silencer 4 for cooling GPU and memory chips placed in front side. Chips are below the processor, so the contact to copper slice can be only by the heat-conducting linings about 2 mm thickness. Unfortunately, use of materials with low density doesn't allow to provide comprehensible heat removal from a cooled surface. Also it is necessary to note, that isn't good to use one radiator for cooling GPU and for memory chips - the copper basis during the short period of time distributes heat from the processor on all surface, that can make an additional heating of chips. As a result we'll get a decrease in cooling of memory in BGA packing and drops heat through contacts on PCB.
HIS Radeon X850 XT IceQ II Turbo borrows two slots, but as in most cases under PCI Express x16 slot on modern motherboards is PCI Express x1 slot, to use which is rather improper now, but that's not so critical. Small minus is that in cheap close cases the cooling system can turn on hard disk, which is on the same level as videocard.
Key plus of IceQ II - is a case cover, blue LED. This illuminated system looks excellent! Unfortunately, for this you need a case with a transparent window (as a variant - with removed case panel), or to place it on a table, or even, it is better to place it, on a bookcase, under the ceiling, to see this beauty.
Test results convinced us in IceQ II cooling system efficiency - even at increase of chip and memory working frequencies their temperature remained normal. In addition we noted - that we can hardly call this system noisy.
Complete with HIS Radeon X850 XT IceQ II Turbo comes iTurbo software, which allows to increase videocard's productivity. The program has a simple interface which allows to change GPU and memory working frequencies, to control speed of fan's rotation. You can change parameters by means of three scrolls in the main window. iTurbo displays GPU working temperature and speed of fan rotation in percentage from maximal.
Loading with operational system and automatic restoration of last adjustments - are among all advantages of this program.
Please look the configuration of all equipment and a list of software used in tests:
- Processor Intel Pentium of 4 3.4 GHz Extreme Edition Hyper-Threading;
- Motherboard Inlel D925XCV;
- Memory DDR2 533 MHz dual-channel 1 Gbyte;
- Hard disk Seagate Barracuda ATA IV 7200 rpm;
- Power supply PowerMan 420Wt
Tested by means of following software:
- 3D Mark 2001 SE Ver330 (DirectX 8.1) Nature;
- Codecreatures Benchmark Pro (DirectX 8.1);
- SeriousSam (OpenGL);
- Unreal 2: Awakening (DirectX 7.0);
- FarCry(DirectX 9.0c);
- Doom III (OpenGL);
- Quake III Arena;
- Half-Life 2 (DirectX 9.0c);
- Aquamark. (DirectX 9.0);
- 3D Mark 2005 (DirectX 9.0c);
- Unreal Tournament 2004 (DirectX 7.0) .
In tests we used reference drivers for both types of videocards. All adjustments, except for vertical synchronization, switched on automatically. Antialiasing and anisotropies modes switched on by drivers. For videocards based on NVIDIA GPU used ForceWare 77.72 version, as for videocards based on ATI -
used ATI Catalyst 5.4 driver.
HIS Radeon X850 XT IceQ II Turbo working in a standard mode is bright red, in mode Turbo - brown, here on diagrams.
According to our tradition we shall begin with reduction of Benchmark tests results.
In most cases we found rather small advantage of ATI Radeon X850 above videocards NVIDIA GeForce 6800, and significant lag from GeForce 7800 GTX. Advantage above GeForce 6800 - a high GPU working frequencies allow to increase the speed of vertex and pixel shaders. HIS Radeon X850 XT IceQ II in Turbo mode Turbo going ahead of ATI Radeon X850 XT PE.
Quake 3 Arena
Up to resolution 1024x768 videocards are on one level to CPU productivity, but, with resolution 1280x1024 NVIDIA solutions go far ahead. Work in OpenGL was and remains, unfortunately, a weak point of ATI processors, but in Quake 3 Arena all videocards provided excellent FPS.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
No changes were found.
The same situation as in previous test.
Unreal Tournament 2004
Unreal II: Awakening
Long before this game ATI company has begun close cooperation with developers. So now, thanks to that, provides a significant advantage to videocards based on ATI GPU above series NVIDIA GeForce 6800. But the question about NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX, starting from resolution 1024x768, is still open. HIS Radeon X850 XT IceQ II Turbo in mode Turbo couldn't reach ATI Radeon X850 XT PE, but we may say that's nonsense and can be hold as a test's error.
Game uses long shaders 2.0 b versions actively, and in this test we marked a victory of ATI products, because of optimization ATI Catalyst drivers to processing this version by shaders, and also high GPU working frequencies.
As we expected, all videocards based on ATI GPU remained behind of NVIDIA processors. But it is significant to note, that Doom III for NVIDIA is the same as Half-Life 2 for ATI.
HIS Radeon X850 XT IceQ II Turbo shows high efficiency and has a powerful cooling system, that allows to increase GPU and memory working. But we are not recommend you to purchase it.
Each year the cost of development of hit-game increases in a geometrical progression. Modern GPUs allow to use million vertices per second, stunning visual effects: subsurface scattering, providing depth and realistic translucence to skin and other surfaces; soft shadows for sophisticated lighting effects; accurately represented environmental and ground shadows; and global illumination for incredibly photorealistic lighting - all that demand qualitative and sophisticated intricate textures, realistic animation and so on. But even on creation of one hero in modern game need plenty of working hours of graphic painters, animators and designers, so as a result - huge financial expenses. Naturally, companies try to save their money by getting 3D graphics engines from foreign developers for their projects.
Now in the market there is one well known next-generation texture engine - Doom III Engine from NVIDIA. Doom III draws players into one of the most frightening and gripping 3D gaming experience ever created. But soon will Quake IV based on this 3D graphics engine appear and next Wolfenstein is expected also.
However, in close future next-generation texture engine Doom III will get a competitor - Unreal Engine 3.0. This new "unreal" 3D graphics engine uses physical model from Novodex, Swiss, besides of shaders 3.0 versions. Among all features of this technology it is necessary to mark:
- physical system of bodies approached to a reality;
- photorealistic system of interaction of objects;
- an opportunity of division of objects;
- cinematic and realistic animation;
- opportunity to realize real physical model for various vehicles depending on complex scenes and digital worlds.
Using of Unreal Engine 3.0 shaders allows to make loading on the CPU lower, focusing necessary resources to physical compound model. Of course, you could recall PhysX accelerators from AGEIA Technologies, but please understand they'll appear in free sale not earlier then at the end of a year and also these accelerators will not receive mass distribution till Unreal Engine 3.0 will get it first.
As a result we can resume, that the existing ruler of ATI GPU doesn't support of revolutionary technology, because to shaders 3.0 versions, and doesn't provide competitive productivity in API OpenGL. The most rational to Canadians will be "flooding" of series ATI Radeon X850, because of impossibility of its getting in an average price segment and "descent to water" a new leader. However, as to card from HIS everything is quite contrary. If you have decided to buy product based on X850 XT, so it would be rather better to choose a HIS motherboard, thereby to get a silent cooling system. It's a matter of short time!