- Clock Speeds
The best place to start when talking about the card itself is the clock speeds. Take a look at the chart below and then read on.
As you can see from the numbers above, the HIS X700 Pro is clocked by default about the same as the reference X700 Pro from ATI. The core clock speed is 5MHz higher but the memory is 2MHz (or 4MHz DDR) slower than the reference so it evens out pretty well the same. Both versions of the X700 series come with your choice of 128MB or 256MB - the HIS X700 Pro we are looking at today comes with 256MB of Samsung GDDR3 memory.
When we pay attention to the older Radeon X600XT specs it makes you wonder how we survived with such a product which (on paper) looks like it will get totally crushed by the X700 series. Most notably are the increased pixel pipelines and vertex engines which should help the X700 annihilate the X600XT in our benchmarks here today.
Where this product really starts to shine is when we take a look at the iTURBO clock speeds - the overclocked speeds which HIS will warrant and promise every card to come out of their factory will reach and also run stable. Once we've installed the included HIS iTURBO software (we'll take a close look into this and overclocking more on the next page) you click one button and the clock speeds are increased as you can see in the chart above along with the fan speed to keep everything under control.
When we hit the iTURBO clock speeds, the HIS X700 Pro is transformed into a monster only a little slower than the X700XT which ATI has now cancelled since its launch back a couple months ago - just 15MHz slower on the core and 45MHz (or 90MHz DDR) slower with the memory.
When pulling the card to pieces we discovered something very interesting. The core used on the card sent to us from HIS for evaluation is in fact an actual X700XT core instead of the slower Pro version. We asked HIS if all of their X700 Pro parts would be shipped with the more capable XT core and they skipped the question and commented that every card shipped from their factory would reach the warranted iTURBO clock speeds listed above.
While we find the whole disappearing act of the X700XT from ATI strange, we find it even stranger that HIS is using some XT cores for a Pro part. It should be said that we think that HIS must have excess XT cores left over and are using them for some of their Pro products. Keeping that in mind, it should be considered luck if you buy the HIS X700 Pro and find an XT core under the heatsink which is going to yield impressive overclocked speeds like it did for us as you'll see on the next page.
With the iTURBO clock speed promises from HIS, they couldn't just rely on a decent core and memory. When a company produces a product like this for the overclocker it needs decent cooling and HIS haven't failed in this area.
The cooler you can see pictured below is what HIS has decided to use which promises to offer 11 degrees Celsius lower temperatures than the reference design from ATI. The entire cooler is constructed from steel and is very solid, so solid in fact that I'd be surprised if it weighed much less than half a kilogram. As well as being UV reactive, the fan includes several bright blue LEDs which light up differently depending on the speed of the fan. The fan speed is automatically adjusted depending on the core temperature which is handy if you don't like too much noise while you are just typing away in Windows.
The cooler works by spreading cool air over the many fins inside the cooler which are hot from natural heat properties of the core and memory, and then the air is exhausted out through the back of your case. The only problem with this large design is that it takes up an extra expansion slot (PCI or PCI Express depending on your motherboard). Despite that, the cooler works very well and at idle as well as overclocked the core was only reading a temperate of 30c. Under load the temperature hovered around the 45c mark which is also quite good.
More good news, instead of using a simple heat pad or cheap white thermal paste, it looks as if HIS have spent a little more money and opted for higher grade thermal paste which looks just like the impressive stuff from the folks at Artic Silver. This is just one of the areas which tells us HIS are listening and reading what you guys want to see.
In the shot above you can see the heatsink which sits on top of the Samsung GDDR3 memory on both the front and back of the card which is again good news. In the past we've seen some companies only apply heat sinks to the memory on the front of the card which really defeats the purpose since you are doing the whole job of cooling the memory. The heatsinks used by HIS seem quite good but do take note that they are tightly secured to the memory so they won't be coming off easy anytime soon, unless you want to try the freezer trick which can be risky if not done properly.
You can also see the device which holds the cooler to the card. It's just a simple screw design which works quite well. Because the X700 series of cores don't include a heat spreader like the latest Pentium 4 and Athlon 64 processors, HIS has included small rubber pads around the core to stop any unfortunate crushing accidents like many will remember with Athlon XP processors.
As far as we are concerned, HIS couldn't have done the whole cooling setup any better - Again top marks. It looks great in a case, works well and doesn't sound like a jet taking off.
- Naked Shots
Below you can see a couple naked shots of the front and back side of the card which doesn't reveal anything else exciting.
In the shot below you can see the connector panel which includes a regular VGA port along with the VIVO connector and DVI.
Now we've finished taking a look at the package and the card let's continue on and see how this card overclocks.
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