HIS Radeon X1950 Pro IceQ3 512Mb AGP Video Card Review

Videocards/VGA Reviews by jmke @ 2007-03-28

HIS brings us a highly overclocked X1950 Pro based video card with custom cooling for the AGP platform. Can it turn an aging system into a full blown gaming rig? Let´s find out.

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Introduction and AGP


The AGP platform was declared dead quite some time ago now, but we all know that the majority of PC users still have a motherboard with AGP slot. Only a small minority keeps up with the hectic PC upgrade cycle and so it makes sense that companies are releasing new products for AGP.

Madshrimps (c)

For quite some time NVIDIA dominated the AGP scene with their 7800GS based AGP video card, originally available at a discouraging €300+; luckily this price has gone down to a more acceptable ~€200. ATI’s latest AGP action was with their X800 series, and while the X850XT delivered impressive performance at the time of release, it's an aging video card by today’s standards, not supporting the latest technologies needed to display all the coolest effects (HDR anyone?) in recent games.

Enter the ATI X1950 Pro chipset, HIS is one of only few manufacturers who decided to release and AGP card based on the popular mid-range chipset from ATI. We did some in-depth performance tests of the PCI Express version some time ago. Today we test the card on the older AGP platform to see if it can boost gaming performance to acceptable levels.

HIS does AGP

HIS has been known for years now to provide custom cooled video cards based on ATI GPUs, their X1950 Pro is no different, their IceQ3 keeps the GPU cool and quiet, and even allows them enough headroom to ship the card with the highest out of the box clocks speed. Let’s compare:

Currently 4 manufacturers have a product based on X1950 Pro for AGP, they differ in GPU clock speeds, memory clockspeed, memory amount and cooling:

- Gecube 575/690 256Mb - Stock Cooling (single slot)
- Sapphire 580/700 512Mb - Custom Cooling (single slot)
- Powercolor 575/690 256/512Mb - Custom Arctic Cooling (dual slot)
- HIS 620/740 512Mb - Custom Cooling (dual slot)

Madshrimps (c)

The IceQ3 version from HIS is running at overclocked speeds only reached by a select amount of X1950 Pro cards; they must be hand picked. With 512Mb the card has head room to run games at higher resolutions with AA/AF enabled.

What can make you buy a new €200 video card for your aging system? Performance of course; whether you will see benefit from a video card upgrade depends a lot on the other components in your system, a minimum of 1Gb of system memory is highly recommended, CPU wise we have been quite lucky (?) these past several years, while for certain applications CPU performance has been doubled, the dependence on raw CPU power in games has diminished quite a bit, making it less important to have the latest and greatest to enjoy today’s games. This in turn makes it possible to use this AGP video card upgrade with older Pentium 4 and Athlon 64 systems, sorry if you still have Athlon XP, you really should consider a motherboard/cpu upgrade.

A Pentium 4 clocked over 3ghz or Athlon 64 at 2ghz+ are sufficient for a mid-range gaming system, the ideal partner for mid-range video cards like the HIS X1950 Pro, let’s take a closer look at the card ->
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Comment from jmke @ 2007/03/29
NVIDIA's 7800GS is no match for the X1950 Pro, the 7900GS was already behind the X1950 Pro, the 7800GS stands no chance, at this point in time, the X1950 Pro of ATI is king of the AGP hill
Comment from MENINBLK @ 2007/08/06
In your testing, did you note the power consumption of this card ?

I'm only asking because the product requirement states:

"HIS X1950 series requires a 6-pin standard graphic power supply
connection direct from your PC's internal power supply for operation.
A 450 watt power supply or greater with 30 AMPS current on 12V rail
is recommended to ensure normal system operation where a number
of other internal devices are installed."

This bothers me because most power supplies I've seen
only have 18 Amps on each of the 12V rails.
They do not state if they can be combined.

I am using an Antec TruePower Trio TP3-550 550 Watt PS
on a system with an Intel D875PBZ motherboard, 2GB Corsair TWINXMS Pro,
3.20GHz P4 Prescott, enough fans to create a small tornado, 2 DVD writers,
2 WD 250GB hard drives, and a Creative SB X-Fi Fatil1ty PRO audio card.

When I crank up the graphics in game, I get display errors when the board gets hot.
This usually only happens at 16x12 or higher. At 10x7 it is fine.
It takes a while to get to this point but I think it is because of the power supply.
I previously had a 450 watt Thermaltake power supply and it would happen almost immediately.
I think that I may need to upgrade to a 1000 watt supply to be safe.
Comment from jmke @ 2007/08/06
The AGP test setup has a 450W Coolermaster PSU (34A@12v line peak), it has no 6-pin adapter, so I used a converter to hook the card up. Found no issues with power, had a couple of hard drives, dvdwriter, 1gb of ram and bunch of case fans hooked up.
Comment from Robbo @ 2007/08/09
I bought this card and I have the same Problems with it. The graphics Corrupt after a short time even before the card gets hot and i have a 580W Power Supply with a Nominal 25A + & - (38 Peak) Bars on the 12V which is higher than what he tested it on.

I contacted HIS Tech Support and they just said Try the Driver on the CD> Of corse it Didn't work. I still have same Problems Even on the lowest settings in games and on low res.

I'm takeing mine back to replace it I feel I have a lemon card. I hope this don't Happen on the new card because it's a good looking Card and I don't want to change it.
Comment from MENINBLK @ 2007/08/13
Originally Posted by jmke View Post
The AGP test setup has a 450W Coolermaster PSU (34A@12v line peak), it has no 6-pin adapter, so I used a converter to hook the card up. Found no issues with power, had a couple of hard drives, dvdwriter, 1gb of ram and bunch of case fans hooked up.
According to this picture :
it is only 18A peak on +12V1 and 16A peak on +12V2.
I've never read anyting that states you can add the rails together.

Comment from jmke @ 2007/08/13
I used a 6-pin adapter which converts two 4-pin plugs to one 6-pin plug, I made sure to connect each 4-pin connector to a different rail