I said it before .. you honestly would not expect this kind of performance for 200 bucks; luckily for you this however is the case. As long as the price is right, this card can outsell a lot of other cards and it will. For roughly 229-249 EUR/USD this Turbo model can be bought; and that's not bad at all isn't it ? I do have to mention that the regular version from HiS (without the ICeQ3 cooler) sells roughly 40 USD cheaper .. and quite a bit for a cooler. Being a silence freak in my humble opinion I'd still go for the IceQ3 version though, slap some UV lighting in the PC and as demonstrated you'll have one wicked looking PC next to a nice gaming experience.
Although not included into the benchmarks we can tell you that the X1950 Pro manages to position itself above a GeForce 7900 GS and even is darn close and sometimes faster than the GeForce 7950 GT. The difference can be explained by the 36 Pixel shader cores on the Radeon card, obviously the more shader intensive games will profit from it significantly; which is the case with most games these days. So that is very impressive performance as far as I'm concerned. Unfortunately I have no overclocking results included into this test as I ran into an issue with the latest Catalyst driver, and cliché as it is I ran out of time; yet you can expect to get another 30-40 MHz out of the core and likely another 50-75 MHz out of the memory.
Now then the reality of the card ... playing games at 1600x1200 with high IQ settings enabled is simply not at all an issue, most modern games will play smooth in terms of way above average framerates. You just do not need to compromise on image quality which is great. If you plan to get Microsoft Windows Vista on your PC, you might want to be on the lookout for a DirectX 10 compatible graphics adapter though, bare in mind that all games will play perfectly fine with a DX9 card as tested today yet I can't ignore the fact that DX10 games will launch over the upcoming months and they surely can bring some additional eye-candy and performance over a DX9 card.
Also I always advise you guys to look a little outside the box though and realize the card is more than just an item to play games with. It's also a media encoder and accelerator as well. This means your CPU does not have to decode a HD movie, nope your graphics card will do that for you and with the new AVIVO functionality you can bet it's at very high quality. The card is H.264 at 1080P ready. Fantastic stuff if you decide to hook up the card to a HD screen for example, that's magic on your screen man. Also good to know is that this card is HDCP ready/
Stability then... okay this might be a refresh product, but not once did we experience a hiccup in the form of a crash or even freeze, again impressive. And hey... if eventually you run out of performance you might want to consider a Crossfire solution, as this X1950 Pro has the all new "bridged" Crossfire connectors which are very easy to setup.
Aesthetics... the inclusion of the ICeQ3 fan is something I personally like very much. You'll get excellent cooling combined with an in-audible environment... so how could that even remotely be eh ? Yeah ... the new 80nm fabrication process shows off some good result with the X1950 Pro, power consumption is at an all-time low (for a graphics card) and that's why temperatures are good as well, as likely the internal voltage of the core is lower than previous generation products.
So my friends, there you have it. I am very pleased with the performance and quality of this card considering it's pricing level. It obviously has all the Series X1000 features one can mention, yet offers a fantastic gaming experience for a reasonable amount of money. I can recommend the HiS Radeon X1950 Pro 256 MB IceQ3 Turbo card greatly.
Thanks go out to HiS for supplying this sample of the card.
Product type: 256 MB (GDDR3) high-end graphics card
Website: www.HISdigital.comEstimated MSRP: 219/249 EUR/USD