HIS Radeon HD 3850 IceQ 3 TurboX 512MB graphics card

Manufacturer: HIS
UK Price (as reviewed): £137.01 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): $189.99 (ex. Tax)

It's been a while since we last looked at a graphics card from HIS – in fact, it was back in August last year when ATI's mid-range was filled with cards that didn't really deserve to be described as mid-range products. With that said though, HIS did manage to do a pretty good job with its Radeon HD 2600 XT and made the best out of a less-than-ideal situation.

By swapping out the GDDR4 memory in favour of cheaper GDDR3 memory, it was able to reduce the card's cost quite significantly. The reduction in cost was significant enough for HIS to include a custom cooling solution and a factory overclock while undercutting the cheapest Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR4 cards.

This isn't the first time that HIS has done that though – innovation is something that is in the company's blood. Time after time, we've seen the company churn out innovative design after innovative design, turning poor products into respectable products and good products into great ones.

HIS Radeon HD 3850 IceQ 3 TurboX 512MB HIS Radeon HD 3850 IceQ 3 TurboX 512MB
Click to enlarge

Today, we're looking at the HIS Radeon HD 3850 IceQ 3 TurboX 512MB graphics card and, being a Radeon HD 3850, it's a great starting point. The question is though, can HIS turn an already great product into a truly excellent one? Let's find out...

Box and Bundle:

HIS packs its Radeon HD 3850 IceQ 3 TurboX 512MB graphics card securely inside a vacuum-formed plastic camshell that is then housed inside two cardboard boxes – a flimsy outer box with all of the marketing material on it, and then a plain box inside that's a little more secure. This should be sufficient enough to prevent the card from being damaged during a rather rough trip from the factory to your doorstep.

Inside the box, HIS includes a pretty standard bundle – there are no games included, but the company does include the Steam Free Games offer that shouldn't be confused with The Black Box coupon found in many retail Radeon HD 3000-series graphics card boxes. There is a driver/utility CD though and most of the software included is freely available on the web – there are some HIS wallpapers included on the CD though if you're into pictures of big swords.

HIS Radeon HD 3850 IceQ 3 TurboX 512MB HIS Radeon HD 3850 IceQ 3 TurboX 512MB
Click to enlarge

On top of this, there is a CrossFire connector, a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a DVI-to-HDMI adapter and a TV-out to composite converter. There aren't any component cables, or composite/S-video extension cables included in the bundle, but it's rounded off with a multi-language paper quick installation guide and a case sticker – as I said, it's pretty bare and I believe that the mindset is that most TVs have HDMI and components, so you're more than likely going to connect your PC to your HDTV using HDMI.
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