Card appearance and thoughts
HIS' Radeon X1650 XT features its full-card length IceQ cooling and the Turbo nomenclature indicates faster-than-stock speeds. This is the case here, with a 630MHz core speed and GDDR3 memory running at 1.46GHz. That's 9.5% and 8.1% faster than default's core/memory, respectively.
The off-centre HSF uses a larger-than-reference fan that pushes the absorbed heat through the aluminium fins and forces it out of the back of the card. However, with HIS' double-height IceQ cooling the one drawback is that the slot adjacent to the motherboard's PCIe x16's will be taken up. As usual, you need to bear this in mind, especially if considering it for a SFF system.
HIS concurrently cools the 256MiB GDDR memory chips with some natty, silver-coloured heatsinks, which is nice.
One of the key benefits associated with HIS' IceQ cooling is near-silent operation. However, during testing, we found the sample's fan to spin at a much faster rate than other IceQ-equipped models we've evaluated before, and it was significantly louder than the 20dB claimed on the box. HIS' iTurbo software wasn't bundled so we couldn't manually adjust the fan speed, though.
The Radeon X1650 XT is a midrange GPU in most respects, so there's no need for external power via the usual 6-pin PEG connector.
The rear aspect highlights the double-height cooler and a couple of DVI ports which are both dual-link and HDCP enabled, meaning that you can hook up the card to a HD screen with an inbuilt HDTV signal decoder and watch copyrighted video in all its high-definition glory.
The back of the card highlights just how large HIS' IceQ HSF is. Looking at the top-right of the picture, the two SLI-like connectors allow for internal CrossFire, with every RV560 core carrying an integrated compositing engine and thus removing the need for a special master card. At present, you need to hook up both connectors from each card for multi-GPU fun.