Authour: Mark 'Ratchet' Thorne
Date: November 3rd, 2005
HIS' X800GTO IceQII is a surprisingly fast card. I was honestly expecting the race between it and the GeForce 6800 to be much closer than it turned out to be. While it certainly was close in some cases, even with the 6800 winning in cases where NVIDIA's architecture is traditionally favorer, the X800GTO IceQII managed to outpace the GeForce 6800 far more often than not.
While the slight 10MHz memory clockrate improvement using iTurbo is extremely under-whelming, HIS has done a fine job by boosting the core clockrate by an aggressive 100MHz. And you get that speeds at the simple push of a button without voiding your warranty.
Automatic overclocking is all good, particularly for the novice users, but the real power of the X800GTO IceQII comes when you start manually overclocking. Our final overclocked results were an extremely impressive 560MHz core and 625MHz memory. At this speed the card does an extremely impressive job on powering through even the most demanding games. Keep in mind that overclocking results can vary from card to card, even within the same SKU, so you may or may not reach these speeds if you go for the X800GTO IceQII.
Overclocking performance aside, probably the biggest draw for the GTO is the modding potential. Built on the R480 core, it's not really surprising to see how much success a lot of people are having turning these cards into bargain high-performance parts. In many cases people have turned their sub $200 GTOs into fully functioning X850XT cards that still go for well over $400. While I haven't tried to mod HIS' X800GTO IceQII, the overclocking performance certainly makes a strong case for success.
The biggest thing you have to ask yourself when looking at any GTO is whether or not you're going to want Shader Model 3.0 support. In this price range (around $200 online for the this particular card) you probably won't be too put off if you have to upgrade again within a year or so to get a SM3.0 capable card, but then again there are SM3.0 capable alternatives here right now. I guess it all comes down to the games you want to play and what level of detail you are willing to accept. One thing is for sure, at this price range the GTO has little competition.
The R480 core is on it's way out, and about time too, but it still has some get up and go left in it yet. The X800GTO IceQII Turbo would make a very nice upgrade for anyone not concerned about Shader Model 3.0 support.
- Suprisingly Fast
- The Overclocking Goddess is Very Pleased
- Kick ass glowy blue cooler
- Aggressive Turbo mode
- Nice retail bundle
- Gets all the juice it needs from the PEG slot
- Cheap enough where it won't get you in trouble with the wife
- High mod potential
- Doesn't support Shader Model 3.0
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