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HIS X850XT IceQ II Turbo Dual DVI VIVO 256MB
By Vincent Chang
Category : Graphics
Published by Vijay Anand on Thursday, 28th April, 2005
Rating : 5 out of 5 stars  

ATI's Latest Salvo – the X850 series

2004 was the year NVIDIA started its comeback. This may seem like hyperbole; after all there are only two major players in the PC graphics industry. Yet, NVIDIA had been saddled ever since its ill-fated GeForce FX series of graphics cards, which lost to the superior architecture of ATI's R300 core and its variants (RADEON 9x00 series). The reversal of fortunes coincided with the release of NVIDIA's GeForce 6 series. Following on the heels of that was their update to the idea of harnessing two graphics cards together – Scalable Link Interface (SLI), which pushes the performance limits even further. NVIDIA was now grabbing the major headlines.

ATI could only respond with their R400 architecture, which was incremental rather than groundbreaking. Facing supply issues with its high-end RADEON X800 series, consumers found it almost impossible to buy them in the retail market. Instead of cementing their position, these 'phantom' cards hurt ATI's market share and credibility. Not surprisingly, ATI had to do something and they finally remedied that late last year with the release of the X850 series of graphics cards.

Based on the R480 core, the X850 series have similar features to its X800 predecessors. It uses a more refined manufacturing process but what matters is that for the X850 series, ATI's partners are finally able to produce the cards in sufficient quantities. The major manufacturers are coming out with their retail versions of the different members of the X850 series which consists of the RADEON X850 PRO, RADEON X850 XT and the RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition. The X850 series represents the highest performing cards in the ATI stable, and consequently, these are the most powerful single graphics card solutions now. We have had the opportunity to test out the limits of the X850 XT VPU (visual processing unit) recently, with a retail card from Hightech Information Systems (HIS) that integrates an unusual cooling solution. It's a card with a suitably long and impressively sounding name: HIS X850XT IceQ II Turbo Dual DVI VIVO 256MB.

The HIS X850XT IceQ II Turbo Dual DVI VIVO 256MB.

Before we start explaining all the features that account for the card's long name, here are its technical specifications:

HIS RADEON X850XT IceQ II Turbo Dual DVI VIVO 256MB Technical Specifications
Graphics Engine
  • ATI RADEON X850 XT Visual Processing Unit (VPU)
  • 520 MHz Default VPU clock
  • 540 MHz VPU clock (Turbo Mode)
  • 16 parallel rendering pipelines
  • 6 parallel geometry engines
  • 256-bit memory interface
    • Full support for Microsoft® DirectX® 9.0 programmable vertex and pixel shaders in hardware
    • 2.0 Vertex Shaders
      • Supports vertex programs up to 65,280 instructions with flow control
      • Single cycle trigonometric operations (SIN & COS)
    • 2.0 Extended Pixel Shaders
      • Supports up to 1,536 instructions and 16 textures per rendering pass
      • 2nd Generation F-buffer technology accelerates multi-pass pixel shader programs with unlimited instructions
      • 32 temporary and constant registers
      • Facing register for two-sided lighting
      • 128-bit, 64-bit & 32-bit per pixel floating point color formats
      • Multiple Render Target (MRT) support
    • Complete feature set also supported in OpenGL® via extensions
    • 2x/4x/6x full scene anti-aliasing modes
      • Sparse multi-sample algorithm with gamma correction, programmable sample patterns, and centroid sampling
      • Lossless Color Compression (up to6: 1) at all resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
      • Temporal Anti-Aliasing
    • 2x/4x/8x/16x anisotropic filtering modes
      • Up to 128-tap texture filtering
      • (Adaptive algorithm with bi-linear (performance) and tri-linear (quality) options)
  • 3Dc™
    • High quality 4:1 Normal Map Compression
    • Works with any two-channel data format
    • 3-level Hierarchical Z-Buffer with early Z test
    • Lossless Z-Buffer compression (up to 48:1)
    • Fast Z-Buffer Clear
    • Z cache optimized for real-time shadow rendering
    • Optimized for performance at high display resolutions, including widescreen HDTV resolutions
    • Seamless integration of pixel shaders with video in real time
    • FULLSTREAM™ video de-blocking technology for Real, DivX, and WMV9 formats
    • VIDEOSOAP™ noise removal filtering for captured video
    • All-format DTV/HDTV decoding
    • Adaptive Per-Pixel De-Interlacing and Frame Rate Conversion (temporal filtering)
  • Dual integrated display controllers
  • Single and dual link external TMDS transmitter support for high resolution and/or multi-monitor DVI configurations
Graphics Memory
  • 256MB DDR3 SDRAM (Samsung GC-16, 1.67ns)
  • Default Memory clock = 1.08 GHz (540 MHz DDR)
  • Turbo Mode Memory clock = 1.18 GHz (590 MHz DDR)
  • Dual integrated 10-bit per channel 400 MHz DACs
  • Integrated 165 MHz TMDS transmitter (DVI 1.0 compliant and HDCP ready)
I/O Faceplate Connectors
  • 2 x DVI-I connectors
  • 1 x 9-pin mini-DIN connector
Drivers & Software
  • Driver support for Windows 98SE / Me / 2000 / XP
  • iTurbo Overclocking Tool
  • CyberLink PowerDVD 5.0
  • CyberLink PowerDirector 3.0 SE Plus
  • CyberLink Power2Go 4
  • 3D Album Picture Pro
  • Dungeon Siege
  • Flat Out
Other Information
  • 2 free PCI Express slots required

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