Date: July 18th, 2005
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Head Editor / Hardware Reviewer)
Product was submitted by: Hightech
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL & WALKTHROUGH (cont'd)
The rear I/O plate is comprised of the exterior vent, a DVI and VGA connection along with the VIVO connection for Video input and output.
The IceQ X850XT uses the tried and true Samsung 1.6ns (8 x 32Meg) GDDR3 memory capable of far more than the conservative 540Mhz clock rate HIS has applied. This memory is theoretically capable of reaching 600Mhz if conditions are favorable. At the bottom of this page I will show you if it can reach that level and unlock some hidden pixel crunching power for no additional money.
One of the nice additions HIS made to the cooler was the ability to be UV reactive when exposed to a UV cold cathode or light bulb. Seeing a lot of computer users do indeed have windowed cases, adding a high performance videocard that looks as good as it performs will only bring you attention during your local LAN gaming nights.
Even the memory heatsink on the bottom is UV reactive and when you hit it with UV light, it glows extremely bright. It is nice to see that HIS is not cutting corners and is trying to make this card as complete as feasibly possible.
Overclocking a higher end card is usually touch and go seeing most videocard manufacturers want to have their premiere products as fast as possible right out of the box. Through testing and research they find these safe stock clock levels that will work with most of their manufactured enthusiast chips directly from the factory.
The ATI overclocking program I swear by is a small program called ATI Tool which can be picked up for free at TechPowerup HERE. This has to be one of the best videocard overclocking programs I have ever used. It can find you highest memory and core overclock automatically and even thoroughly tests the overclocking settings for artifacts as it goes. If it notices and artifacts, it backs the clock down again. Nothing better than letting this do the dirty work for you instead of the trial and error testing that can literally take hours. Just make sure you find the highest memory overclock BEFORE you progress to overclocking the core.
Now I understand that HIS has bundled a simple overclocking utility that will overclock the card to 540Mhz core and 590Mhz memory, but as you will see below, this card is capable of much more if you use the right tool.
With that being said, the overclocking result I was able to obtain using ATI Tool is as stated below:
Stock Clock Rates: 520Mhz Core / 540Mhz (1080 Mhz DDR) Memory
Overclocked Clock Rates: 576Mhz Core / 600Mhz (1200Mhz DDR) Memory
Net Overclock: 56Mhz Core / 60Mhz (120MHz DDR ) Memory
As you can see by the results above, this card was clocked rather high right from the start which will limit the overclocking potential (not a bad thing). With that being said, I was still able to still squeeze a respectable overclock and what was even more impressive is that I was able to hit the memory theoretical maximum 600Mhz which I was not able to do with any other card with the same memory thanks to the IceQ's memory cooling. The performance difference will be noted and shown in the benchmarking section.