Fewer companies seem to have as many flavours to their graphics card ranges as HIS. The iSilence products such as the HIS 6670 iSilence 5 1GB are amongst the many variations we’ve seen from the standard 6670 graphics chip. Read more budget graphics card reviews.
The AMD Radeon HD 6670 is itself a low-cost product that, in its rawest form, offers very capable power relative to its price tag. With its iSilence 4 launch, HIS bolted on a tweaked and refined cooling system in order to produce a card that was quieter and that generated less heat. And, just to make sure that the card was as discreet and efficient as possible, the GDDR5 standard from many a 6670 was replaced by DDR3 memory, also cutting the speed.
The iSilence 4 wasn't the only 6670 card that punished the user with inferior memory and performance, but it is still a questionable move in a product that, even in its GDDR5 form, isn't overly endowed with speed.
Following hot (or should that be cold?) on the heels of the iSilence 4 comes the logically entitled iSilence 5. Read more graphics card reviews.
This enhanced version has a rather larger cooling system (manufactured by Zalman) that spreads over much of the card and ensures that the heat radiating from every inch of the HIS is dissipated.
Like the iSilence 4 it's passive, so there are no extra fans or pumps there to generate added noise. And because the amount of power consumed is so low, no power connectors are needed.
In many respects this is perfect for HTPC or media-centre PC use. It will occupy two slots, and it does require a certain amount of room, so it won't be of use where space is at a strict premium. However, for a typical HTPC setup, the size will pose no problems.
It is undoubtedly quiet, and our test system generated no extra noise with the card fitted. Neither did much heat seem come from it, the air around the card remaining cool at all times.
Apart from the cooler, the iSilence 5 is essentially identical to its predecessor, and it suffers from the same defect that marred version 4 - the memory is DDR3 rather than the more advanced GDDR5.
This shows up particularly in the memory bandwidth. The standard memory speed of 800MHz is itself rather slow - the typical uncut GDDR5 HIS rendition of the 6670 offers a figure of 1GHz. So the iSilence 5 is 20% down on the GDDR5 versions to begin with.
And because GDDR5 memory effectively quadruples the memory speed, whereas DDR3 merely doubles it, the iSilence 5's effective memory clock speed of 1.6GHz is rather dwarfed by the 4GHz boasted by the GDDR5 versions.
Due partly to the meagre 128-bit memory interface, even the GDDR5 versions have a memory bandwidth of just 64GBps, and the iSilence 5's figure of 25.6GBps, brought down yet further by the DDR3 RAM, seems particularly desultory.
The original 6670 was never very powerful, so it seems strange to cut its capabilities further still with the use of DDR3 memory. After all, how much use is the enhanced cooling system if the manufacturer needs to significantly dampen the performance in order to produce low power and noise levels?
HIS 6670 iSilence 5 1GB: Performance
In gaming, it proves itself to be a rather inferior take on the GDDR5 version. In Crysis, the DDR3 version scored just 15.8fps at 1280x720 as opposed to 24.6fps in the case of the GDDR5 card.
At 1680x1050 the figure of 14.1 was some 5.4fps behind the GDDR5 version’s.
In Stalker, 17fps at 1680x1050 didn’t compare favourably with the 23.8fps notched up by the GDDR5 version.
In Battleforge it scored 23.7 and 14.1fps (at 1280x800 and 1680x1050 respectively) to the 31.5 and 17.9fps scored by the GDDR5 version.