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HIS's budget dual-link DVI card

HIS PCIe/AGP hybrid concept

The AGP bridge chip

Dual dual-link DVI and HDMI
x1 PCIe, HDMI and AGP/PCIe hybrids

Hightech Information Systems, also known as HIS, had a couple of interesting new products at its Computex suite this year. The first of three new products is a new graphics card based on the ATI X1300 Pro GPU. It features 512MB of HyperMemory which in reality is only 256MB of physical memory -- the other 256MB are utilized from the system memory. While the specifications of the X1300 Pro card are nothing special, it sports a PCI Express x1 interface with one dual-link DVI connector. If priced similarly to other X1300 Pro based cards, expect the dual-link DVI equipped X1300 Pro to cost south of $100. Board manufacturers only offered X1600 based cards as the lowest model with dual-link DVI, with the HIS X1300 Pro HIS may have a product for an untapped market for users that want a 30” display but don't care about 3D performance.

Users that want an AGP graphics upgrade but fear incompatibility when building a new PCI Express based system may be interested in another new HIS product. The new HIS X1600 Pro Dual DVI Dual Interface card offers compatibility with PCI Express and AGP equipped systems. The ATI Rialto bridge chip provides AGP compatibility while a couple of internal switches allow the switching between PCI Express and AGP interfaces. Samples shown at the show required a few jumpers changed to switch between PCI Express and AGP but HIS stated shipping models will have an auto switching system. Aside from the dual interfaces the X1600 Pro based card has the usual 500MHz core clock and 800MHz DDR2 memory with a 128-bit interface. CrossFire compatibility is retained in PCI Express mode while a single dual-link DVI port is added into the mix.

Home theater PC aficionados will be interested in the last of three new HIS products. Packing support for dual dual-link DVI, HDMI, component video, S-Video, and composite video outputs the X1600 based card has the output capabilities of a perfect HTPC graphics card. The low profile form factor makes it ideal for low profile HTPC cases. Because of the low profile size and video outputs it occupies two expansion slots. There is one minor detail with the video output capabilities though -- users have to pick between having dual DVI outputs or one DVI and one HDMI since the rightmost DVI and HDMI output are shared.

HIS employees stated the card will be HDCP compliant and have audio output capabilities. The card will have a S/PDIF audio pass-through for those that prefer to use an external sound card. It is unknown which audio codec will be used, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see the same Sigmatel audio codec used in the Sony VAIO XL2 Media Center. Typical X1600 features such as AVIVO with H.264 hardware acceleration is supported. 

Pricing and availability information is unknown at the time.

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By Athlex on 6/8/2006 5:03:48 AM , Rating: 2
Full marks for creativity. The AGP/PCI-E graphics card is really cool- it'd be great for hardware troubleshooting. Reminds me a little of Asus' PhysX concept card from a while back which had PCI-E x1 and PCI connectors.

RE: Nice!
By phaxmohdem on 6/8/2006 7:38:21 AM , Rating: 2
Now if they could only incorporate that flexible technology into an x1900XT/XTX card... Some users such as myself are stuck with higher end AGP cards like an x800XL and would love that upgrade path... If they can AGP a x1600 GPU, why not a x1900??

RE: Nice!
By Trisped on 6/8/2006 3:01:08 PM , Rating: 2
x1900 is a little to big to do that with. Besides, if you are staying with AGP you would be better off with the 1600 or waiting for the 1700 which should have an AGP option. (according to the 2006 road map posted yesterday)

RE: Nice!
By rupaniii on 6/8/2006 8:29:40 AM , Rating: 2
Brings me back to the old Verite' based cards with PCI and that new fangled AGP 1x interface :)

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