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HIS Radeon X700 128MB (AGP)
By Vincent Chang
Category : Graphics
Published by Vijay Anand on Wednesday, 28th September, 2005
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  

The HIS Radeon X700 128MB

The latest generation of graphics cards and most existing high-end cards are all primed for the PCI Express interface while the chipmakers have been playing their cards close by not revealing if there will be future support for AGP (though they do admit that it's easy to support the AGP user group if demand exists). This means that the HIS Radeon X700 is one of the few new mid-range cards that still support AGP, albeit it may be considered low-end by some. The Rialto bridging chip found at the back of the card is the ASIC that enables the native PCI Express Radeon X700 VPU to work with the older AGP interface. This square chip is usually slapped with only a thermal pad and its operating temperatures can reach almost 80 degrees Celsius, which is considered quite normal.

The HIS Radeon X700 128MB is equipped with the first version of the IceQ cooler.

The Rialto bridge chip is necessary for the HIS Radeon X700 as the R410 core is not a native AGP part.

The IceQ cooler is certainly quiet but its design could be further improved. The cooler itself is responsible only for cooling the graphics processor and in the case of the HIS Radeon X700, there are small aluminum heatsinks for the memory chips. Adding such heatsinks are usually commendable but they are inadequate here. The flaw of this arrangement is that the large size of the cooler hinders airflow to the memory heatsinks, hence the temperatures for the memory parts on the HIS Radeon X700 are actually higher than those that we recorded for the reference Radeon X700, which adopted an open cooler design. An integrated cooler design for both the memory and the core would have been the better choice for the HIS Radeon X700 such as the IceQ II. The cooler itself takes up an expansion slot and the warm air is vented through the exhaust vents at the back. HIS has included a special bracket with the vents for this purpose. For those easily bedazzled by sparking lights, the cooler fan is equipped with a blue LED and HIS claims that the cooler is sensitive to ultraviolet light.

The IceQ cooler is not as large as the IceQ II cooler but it is still quite substantial.

The memory chips are cooled passively by these small heatsinks hidden below the large cooler.

Another RAM heatsink for the memory chips.

Overall, discounting the temperatures of the memory chips, the IceQ performed on a par with the reference cooler. However, this is the first version of the IceQ cooler so achieving only half of its objectives (relatively silent) is not too shabby. As for the card's clock speeds, the HIS Radeon X700 keeps to the reference design and is clocked at 400MHz for the core and 700MHz DDR for the 128MB DDR3 frame buffer. A Molex power connector is needed for this AGP card and HIS has included the usual set of connectors required to get all the connections and card working in full order.

A DVI-I connector, an analog VGA output and a mini-DIN connector are found at the rear of the card and are more than sufficient for most users.

The motor for the cooler fan is exposed and here you can see the power cables leading to it.

The bundled software and accessories that HIS has included are mostly useful but the software selection is rather weak. Dungeon Siege is the only game included but with its sequel almost due to be released soon, it is not much of an attraction. In fact, it seems that the only games worth playing in the package are the demos, which are at least up to date. The applications are not the latest but they should have a longer 'shelf life'. The comprehensive selection of cables does alleviate the disappointment of the software bundle and we find it very adequate for our needs. The following list is the items we found in the box:

  • DVI-to-VGA adaptor
  • S-Video extension cable
  • 9-pin mini-DIN to Composite dongle
  • 9-pin mini-DIN to Component dongle
  • User Manual
  • Driver CD
  • Dungeon Siege 1.1
  • PowerDirector 3 SE Plus
  • Power2Go 4
  • 3D Album PicturePro
  • 5-in-1 Game Demos
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