HIS Radeon X1300 Pro Review
By Gabriel Torres on May 31, 2006


Introduction

Hardware Secrets Golden Award

Radeon X1300 Pro is the top graphics chip inside the latest low-end graphics chip family from ATI. We’ve got a 256 MB sample for this model from HIS and in this review we will be comparing its performance to other low-end graphic chips, especially Radeon X300 and GeForce 6200, and also with some mid-range chips (GeForce 6600 and GeForce 6600 GT) to see how is the performance of this HIS video card.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro
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Figure 1: HIS Radeon X1300 Pro.

We’ve posted a complete article explaining what’s new on Radeon X1000 series, so we won’t be repeating here everything we have already explained there. The big news is that all chips from this series are finally supporting Shader 3.0 model (DirectX 9.0c).

ATI has three chips on Radeon X1300 family: X1300 Pro, X1300 and X1300 HyperMemory. X1300 Pro, the model that we reviewed, runs at 600 MHz and accesses its memory at 800 MHz (12.8 GB/s transfer rate) and has a suggested price of USD 149 for the 256 MB model. X1300 runs at 450 MHz and accesses its memory at 500 MHz, with a suggested price of USD 99 for the 128 MB version and USD 129 for the 256 MB version. And X1300 HyperMemory, which runs at 450 MHz and accesses its memory at 1 GHz, with a suggested price of USD 79.

HyperMemory simulates a 128 MB video card by using 96 MB of the system’s RAM memory as video memory. Read our tutorial on HyperMemory for more information on this subject. Even tough Radeon X1300 HyperMemory has only 32 MB on-board, it accesses its memory at 1 GHz, double the speed of the plain Radeon X1300, in order to compensate the difference in video memory size.

You can see in our tutorial “ATI Chips Comparison Table” the difference between this chip and the other chips from ATI, while on our tutorial “NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table” you can compare it to its competitors from NVIDIA.

We ran PowerStrip and the graphics chip was really running at 600 MHz and the memory was really running at 800 MHz.

You can see the Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB from HIS on Figures 2 and 3. As you can see, it uses the traditional cooler system from HIS, dubbed IceQ, which removes hot air from inside the PC, helping a lot on preventing overheating your PC.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro
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Figure 2: HIS Radeon X1300 Pro IceQ 256 MB.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro
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Figure 3: HIS Radeon X1300 Pro IceQ 256 MB, back view.

Let’s now take a closer look at the HIS Radeon X1300 Pro IceQ.

The Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB IceQ from HIS

We disassembled the video card cooler to take a look, see Figures 4 and 5. As you can see, the heatsink is made of aluminum and manufactured by Arctic Cooling.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro
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Figure 4: IceQ cooler detached from the video card.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro
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Figure 5: Video card without its cooler.

In Figure 6 you can take a closer look at ATI’s Radeon X1300 Pro chip.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro
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Figure 6: Radeon X1300 Pro graphics chip.

The heatsink used on this video card doesn’t touch the memory chips, as you can see in Figure 7.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro
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Figure 7: The video card heatsink doesn’t touch the memory chips.

Talking about memory, this video card uses eight GDDR2 256-Mbit 2.5 ns chips from Infineon (HYB18T256161AF-25), making its 256 MB video memory (256 Mbits x 8 = 256 MB). These are exactly the same memory chips used by ATI on their reference model.

These chips can run up to 800 MHz. Since this video card accesses the memory at 800 MHz there is no room for memory overclocking inside the memory’s specifications. But of course you can try overclock it over its specs.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro
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Figure 8: 2.5 ns GDDR2 memory chip used by HIS Radeon X1300 Pro.

This board also comes with one S-Video cable, one Composite Video to S-Video adapter, one Component Video adapter and one DVI-to-VGA adapter.

Main Specifications

* Researched at Shopping.com on the day we published this review.

How We Tested

During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions the only variable was the video card being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

Used Software

We adopted a 3% error margin; thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

3DMark2001 SE

3DMark2001 SE measures video card performance simulating DirectX 8.1 games. It is a very good software to evaluate the performance of games from previous generation, programmed using DirectX 8. In this software we ran two tests, both at 1024x768x32. Since we were evaluating low-end video cards, we decided to not run our tests in higher resolutions, since rarely a user that buys a video card from this level will push resolutions above 1024x768 in 3D games.

We ran this software first without antialising and with no frame buffer, and then we put the antialising at 4 samples and triple frame buffer. This improves the video quality but lowers the performance. We were willing to see how much performance we lost by putting the VGA to run at the maximum possible image quality. It is important to note that ATI chips can run at 6x antialising. Since NVIDIA chips cannot run at this configuration, we had to use 4x antialising to use a configuration that is valid to all video cards included in our benchmark, allowing direct comparison between them. Also, some very low-end video chips (Volari 8300 and Intel i915G) don’t have antialising feature, so we were not able to benchmark them using this configuration.

You may be asking yourself why we added an old program in a review of a latest generation video card. To us, as important to know the performance of a video card with the latest games is to know its performance in an older game. That’s why we kept this software in our methodology.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro

At the default 3DMark2001 SE configuration, HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit achieved a similar performance to ATI Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit and it was 14.35% faster than Albatron GeForce 6600 128 MB, 17.77% faster than NVidia GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB, 22.65% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 128 MB 128-bit, 66.07% faster than XFX GeForce 6200 TC 64 MB 64-bit, 106.49% faster than PowerColor Radeon X300 SE HM 128 MB 64-bit, 106.62% faster than ATI Radeon X300 128 MB 128-bit, 115.40% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 TC 16 MB 64-bit, 153.58% faster than Intel i915G (Intel D915GEV) and 173.42% faster than XGI Volari 8300 128 MB.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro

Enabling video quality enhancements, HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit achieved a similar performance to ATI Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit and it was 40.52% faster than Albatron GeForce 6600 128 MB, 53.73% faster than NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB, 111.59% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 128 MB 128-bit, 187.16% faster than PowerColor Radeon X300 SE HM 128 MB 64-bit, 188.43% faster than ATI Radeon X300 128 MB 128-bit, 347.03% faster than XFX GeForce 6200 TC 64 MB 64-bit and 1.562.75% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 TC 16 MB 64-bit.

3DMark03

3DMark03 measures performance by simulating games written to DirectX 9, which are contemporary games. In this software we ran two tests, both at 1024x768x32. Since we were evaluating low-end video cards, we decided to not run our tests in higher resolutions, since rarely a user that buys a video card from this level will push resolutions above 1024x768 in 3D games.

We ran this software first without antialising and with no anisotropic filtering, and then we put the antialising at 4 samples and anisotropic filtering at 4 samples. This improves the video quality but lowers the performance. We were willing to see how much performance we lost by putting the VGA to run at the maximum possible image quality. It is important to note that ATI chips can run at 6x antialising. Since NVIDIA chips cannot run at this configuration, we had to use 4x antialising to use a configuration that is valid to all video cards included in our benchmark, allowing direct comparison between them. Also, some very low-end video chips (Volari 8300 and Intel i915G) don’t have antialising feature, so we were not able to benchmark them using this configuration.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro

At the default 3DMark03 configuration, HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit achieved a similar performance to ATI Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit, but it was beaten by NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB, which was 44.88% faster.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit was 12.00% faster than Albatron GeForce 6600 128 MB, 45.51% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 128 MB 128-bit, 127.06% faster than XFX GeForce 6200 TC 64 MB 64-bit, 157.50% faster than XGI Volari 8300 128 MB, 180.13% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 TC 16 MB 64-bit, 208.87% faster than PowerColor Radeon X300 SE HM 128 MB 64-bit, 208.87% faster than ATI Radeon X300 128 MB 128-bit and 296.82% faster than Intel i915G (Intel D915GEV).

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro

Enabling video quality enhancements, HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit achieved a similar performance to ATI Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit, but it was beaten by NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB, which was 43.14% faster.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit was 26.00% faster than Albatron GeForce 6600 128 MB, 81.35% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 128 MB 128-bit, 276.53% faster than XFX GeForce 6200 TC 64 MB 64-bit, 283.18% faster than ATI Radeon X300 128 MB 128-bit, 284.08% faster than PowerColor Radeon X300 SE HM 128 MB 64-bit and 574.33% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 TC 16 MB 64-bit.

3DMark05

3DMark05 measures performance by simulating DirectX 9.0c games, i.e., using the new Shader 3.0 model. This programming model is used by Far Cry game and other games to be launched in the future. This new programming model is used by GeForce 6 and 7 series from NVIDIA and Radeon X1000 series from ATI.

In this software we ran two tests, both at 1024x768x32. Since we were evaluating low-end video cards, we decided to not run our tests in higher resolutions, since rarely a user that buys a video card from this level will push resolutions above 1024x768 in 3D games.

We ran this software first without antialising and with no anisotropic filtering, and then we put the antialising at 4 samples and anisotropic filtering at 4 samples. This improves the video quality but lowers the performance. We were willing to see how much performance we lost by putting the VGA to run at the maximum possible image quality. It is important to note that ATI chips can run at 6x antialising. Since NVIDIA chips cannot run at this configuration, we had to use 4x antialising to use a configuration that is valid to all video cards included in our benchmark, allowing direct comparison between them. Also, some very low-end video chips (Volari 8300 and Intel i915G) don’t have antialising feature, so we were not able to benchmark them using this configuration.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro

At the default 3DMark05 configuration, HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit was beaten by NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB, which was 22.40% faster, but it was faster than its rival, ATI Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit, being 4.35% faster.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit was 39.10% faster than Albatron GeForce 6600 128 MB, 89.88% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 128 MB 128-bit, 119.98% faster than XFX GeForce 6200 TC 64 MB 64-bit, 162.84% faster than ATI Radeon X300 128 MB 128-bit, 163.78% faster than PowerColor Radeon X300 SE HM 128 MB 64-bit, 189.90% faster than XGI Volari 8300 128 MB, 200.62% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 TC 16 MB 64-bit and 746.24% faster than Intel i915G (Intel D915GEV).

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro

Enabling video quality enhancements, HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit was beaten by NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB, which was 4.18% faster and it was faster than its rival, ATI Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit, being 3.80% faster.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit was 57.50% faster than Albatron GeForce 6600 128 MB, 114.03% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 128 MB 128-bit, 214.02% faster than XFX GeForce 6200 TC 64 MB 64-bit, 242.56% faster than PowerColor Radeon X300 SE HM 128 MB 64-bit, 244.46% faster than ATI Radeon X300 128 MB 128-bit and 358.01% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 TC 16 MB 64-bit.

Doom 3

Doom 3 is one of the heaviest games available today. As we’ve done on other programs, we ran this game at three resolutions: 1024x768x32, 1280x1024x32 and 1600x1200x32. This game allows several image quality levels and we’ve done our benchmarking on two levels, low and high. We ran demo1 four times and wrote the obtained number of frames per second. The first result we discarded at once, since it is far inferior than the other results. This happens because at the first time we run the demo the game must load all textures to video memory, fact that doesn’t happen from the second time we run the demo on. From the three results left, we consider as our official result the middle result, i.e., we discard the highest and the lowest values. Curiously almost all times the values obtained at the second round on were the same.

A very important detail that we must mention is that Doom 3 has an internal FPS lock: it is only capable of generating 60 frames per second, even if your board is able to produce more frames per second than that. This is done in order to make the game to have the same "playability" sensation independently from the video card installed on the PC. This lock, however, is disabled in the game benchmarking mode.

For further details on how to measure 3D performance with Doom 3, read our tutorial on this subject.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro

Running this game in its low video quality mode, HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit was beaten by NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB, which was 56.84% faster and Albatron GeForce 6600 128 MB, which was 19.44% faster.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit was 3.54% faster than ATI Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit, 8.33% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 128 MB 128-bit, 135.18% faster than XFX GeForce 6200 TC 64 MB 64-bit, 216.22% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 TC 16 MB 64-bit, 234.29% faster than PowerColor Radeon X300 SE HM 128 MB 64-bit, 234.29% faster than ATI Radeon X300 128 MB 128-bit and 420.00% faster than XGI Volari 8300 128 MB.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro

Enabling video quality enhancements, HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit was beaten by NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB, which was 65.29% faster and Albatron GeForce 6600 128 MB, which was 20.46% faster.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit was 3.33% faster than ATI Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit, 7.67% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 128 MB 128-bit, 135.14% faster than XFX GeForce 6200 TC 64 MB 64-bit, 208.51% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 TC 16 MB 64-bit, 224.63% faster than PowerColor Radeon X300 SE HM 128 MB 64-bit, 224.63% faster than ATI Radeon X300 128 MB 128-bit and 472.37% faster than XGI Volari 8300 128 MB.

Far Cry

Far Cry is a game based on the new Shader 3.0 (DirectX 9.0c) model, which is used by GeForce 6 and 7 series from NVIDIA and Radeon X1000 series from ATI.
 
As we’ve done on other programs, we ran this game only at 1024x768. Since we were evaluating low-end video cards, we decided to not run our tests in higher resolutions, since rarely a user that buys a video card from this level will push resolutions above 1024x768 in 3D games.

This game allows several image quality levels and we’ve done our benchmarking on two levels: low and very high. To measure the performance we used the demo created by German magazine PC Games Hardware (PCGH), available at http://www.3dcenter.org/downloads/farcry-pcgh-vga.php. We ran this demo four times and made an arithmetical average with the obtained results. This average is the result presented in our graphs.

This game has a very important detail in its image quality configuration. Antialising, instead of being configured by numbers (1x. 2x. 4x or 6x), is configured as low, medium or high. The problem is that on NVIDIA chips both medium and high mean 4x, while on ATI chips medium means 2x and high means 6x, making the comparison between ATI and NVIDIA chips completely unfair. Because of that we configured antialising at 4x and anisotropic filtering at 8x manually at the video driver control panel. Some very low-end video chips (Volari 8300 and Intel i915G) don’t have antialising feature, so we were not able to benchmark them using this configuration.

For further details on how to measure 3D performance with Far Cry, read our tutorial on this subject.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro

Running this game in its low video quality mode, HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit achieved a similar performance to ATI Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit was 7.50% faster than NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB, 10.69% faster than Albatron GeForce 6600 128 MB, 39.79% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 128 MB 128-bit, 118.26% faster than XFX GeForce 6200 TC 64 MB 64-bit, 133.01% faster than PowerColor Radeon X300 SE HM 128 MB 64-bit, 134.67% faster than ATI Radeon X300 128 MB 128-bit, 183.77% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 TC 16 MB 64-bit and 244.85% faster than XGI Volari 8300 128 MB.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro

Enabling video quality enhancements, HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit was beaten by NVidia GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB, which was 37.43% faster.

HIS Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit was 3.24% faster than ATI Radeon X1300 Pro 256 MB 128-bit, 34.38% faster than Albatron GeForce 6600 128 MB, 85.28% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 128 MB 128-bit, 255.84% faster than PowerColor Radeon X300 SE HM 128 MB 64-bit, 256.91% faster than ATI Radeon X300 128 MB 128-bit, 281.97% faster than XFX GeForce 6200 TC 64 MB 64-bit and 978.35% faster than Leadtek GeForce 6200 TC 16 MB 64-bit.

Conclusions

We were really impressed by Radeon X1300 Pro performance, far greater than the performance obtained by GeForce 6200 and Radeon X300 models we included in our comparison.

In fact, Radeon X1300 Pro was faster than GeForce 6600 in all tests but Doom 3. So if you are thinking of buying a “plain” GeForce 6600, consider changing your mind into buying a Radeon X1300 Pro instead.

So, calling Radeon X1300 Pro as an entry-level chip isn’t fair. It is clearly a low mid-range chip for users that want an entry-level VGA but can’t stand the low performance of a GeForce 6200 or of a Radeon X300.

As for HIS model, it has as great advantage its IceQ cooling system, which pulls hot air from inside the PC to the outside, preventing your PC from overheating. That is really great.

The only bad thing about this product is its price, around USD 120 in the USA – definitely not we can call an entry-level price. However, if you think that you can find a “plain” GeForce 6600 between USD 120 and USD 140, choosing Radeon X1300 Pro is a no-brainer: it is cheaper and faster than a GeForce 6600!

In our opinion ATI hit bull’s eye with this new product and HIS implementation of it is a terrific choice. So we are giving our "Golden Award" seal to this product for the low-end VGA category.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/HIS-Radeon-X1300-Pro-Review/333


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