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Appeared on: Monday, July 08, 2013
HIS Radeon HD 7850 4GB iPower IceQ Turbo, Radeon HD 7950 IceQ X2


1. Specifications
Today we put under benchmark two graphics cards based on AMD's GPUs: The HIS Radeon HD 7850 IceQ Turbo and the HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ X2.

The HIS Radeon HD 7850 IceQ Turbo retails for about $250, and based on that price it is positioned to compete with the Nvidia Geforce GTX760. The HIS Radeon HD7950 IceQX2 will cost you about $40 more and is headed against the Geforce GTX 660 Ti:

NVIDIA
Average online price
AMD
GeForce GTX 770 $400  
  $360 Radeon HD 7970
GeForce GTX 670 $350  
GeForce GTX 660 Ti $290 HIS Radeon HD 7950 3GB
GeForce GTX 760 $250 HIS Radeon HD 7850 4GB
GeForce GTX 660 $200 Radeon HD 7870

The HIS Radeon HD 7850 4GB IceQ Turbo is actually a mainstream GPU armed with 4GB graphics memory. It comes with a custom PCB and cooler and it is factory overclocked.

The card is based on AMD's Pitcairn Pro GPU, which features 16 Compute Units, 1024 Stream (shader) Processors, 64 texture units and 32 ROPs. HIS has pushed the GPU clock at 1 GHz, compared to the 860 MHz of the AMD reference card. Its memory is clocked at a 4800 MHz reference clock frequency and the card retains the 256-bit interface.

The HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock 3GB also features a custom PCB and cooling, and it is also factory overclocked at 950 MHz, meaning that its performance could be close to a Radeon HD 7970.

The HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock 3GB is based on the 28nm AMD Tahiti PRO GPU, which features 1792 shader processors. The reference Radeon HD 7950 is clocked at a 800 MHz. The Boost functionality allows the core to be clocked at 950 MHz. This could give a performance bump of 5 to 10% over the reference 7950, which is close to what you could expect from a reference Radeon HD 7970 card.

AMD GPU Specification Comparison
  AMD Radeon HD 7850 HIS Radeon HD 7850 IceQ Turbo AMD Radeon HD 7950 HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ X2
Stream Processors 1024 1024 1792 1792
Texture Units 64 64 112 112
ROPs 32 32 32 32
Core Clock 860MHz 1000 GHz 800MHz 950MHz
Memory Clock 4.8GHz GDDR5 4.8GHz GDDR5 5GHz GDDR5 5GHz GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 384-bit 384-bit
Frame Buffer 2GB 4GB 3GB 3GB
Transistor Count 2.8B 2.8B 4.31B 4.31B
PowerTune Limit 150W 150W 200W 200W
Manufacturing Process TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm
Architecture GCN GCN GCN GCN

2. Meet the HIS Radeon HD 7850 4GB iPower IceQ Turbo
Model Name HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB GDDR5 PCI-E 2xDVI/HDMI/2xMini DP (UEFI Ready)
Chipset Radeon HD 7850 PCIe Series
ASIC Radeon HD 7850 GPU
Manu. Process (Micron) 28nm
Memory Size (MB) 4096
Memory Type GDDR5
Engine CLK (MHz) 1000MHz
Memory CLK (Gbps) 4.8Gbps
Memory Interface (bit) 256bit
Power Supply Requirement 500 Watt or greater power
Max. Resolution 4096x2160 per display (DisplayPort 1.2)
2560x1600 per display (Dual-link DVI)
2048x1536 per display (VGA)
Bus Interface PCI Express 3.0 x16
Mini Display Port Yes
HDMI Yes
DVI Dual-link DVI-I  + Single-link DVI-D
VGA No

Below you can see the HIS Radeon HD 7850 4GB iPower IceQ Turbo edition:

Included with the card is a CrossFireX Bridge, a DVI-VGA Adapter, an install CD with multilingual user guide, a quick installation guide and the 'HIS Power Up' label:

 

The big IceQ cooler along with some with side panel windows are responsible for keeping the card at low temperatures and noise levels. It comes with a large 57mm single blower fan with a life span of up to 42,000 hours, according to HIS. 2x 6mm plus 2x 8mm wide heatpipes optimize cooling performance by removing heat from the core area. An extra large 115 x 94mm copper heatbase provides a 140 x 125mm heat dissipation area.

The custom cooler also promises to offer effective cooling even when there is another card in front blocking the fan inlet, such as in CrossFire setup.The card also features fan control and fan monitoring, you are able to read fan speed & Asic temperature from CCC or software.

Through the Crossfire connector you can get 2-way Crossfire configurations.

The extra PWM phase for core voltage provides extra power stability, lower temperature for power components:

  HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo AMD 7850 Ref Board
Power Input 6+6 6
PWM Phase 5+1+1+1=8 4+1+1+1=7
Copper Layer 2 Oz 1 Oz
Mosfet Dr. Mos Original Mos

Connectivity options include a four-fold of connectors supporting all high-resolution monitors. We get a display port connectors, HDMI (1.4) and two DVI connectors.

The 7850 utilizes two 6-pin power connector. There are a total of 16 high-density Hynix memory ICs located on the board, each offering 256MB of GDDR3.

PCB might easily warped due to prolonged hanging on motherboard & casing, potentially causing cracks on BGA solder joints and resulting in malfunctioning of the card. For this reason, HIS has applied a special metal rib to provide extra strength to the PCBs to avoid warpage.

That's all for the packaging and the card's looks. We installed the card and fired up the GPU-Z utility, which confirms the card's basic specifications:


3. Meet the HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ X2
Model Name HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock 3GB GDDR5 PCI-E DVI/HDMI/2xMini DP
Chipset Radeon HD 7950 PCIe Series
ASIC RadeonTM HD 7950 GPU
Manu. Process (Micron) 28nm
Memory Size (MB) 3072
Memory Type GDDR5
Engine CLK (MHz) 850MHz (Boost Clock 950MHz)
Memory CLK (Gbps) 5Gbps
Memory Interface (bit) 384bit
Power Supply Requirement 500 Watt or greater power
Max. Resolution 4096x2160 per display (DisplayPort 1.2)
2560x1600 per display (Dual-link DVI)
2048x1536 per display (VGA)
Bus Interface PCI Express 3.0 x16
Mini Display Port Yes
HDMI Yes
DVI Dual-link DVI-I
VGA No

Below you see the HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock edition, a graphics card with a nice 3GB graphics memory.

 

Besides the graphics card, the bundle includes a manual a demo and driver CD, a CrossFireX bridge, power converters and monitor connector converters.

The card is long, due to the extended PCB but mostly due to the cooler. As a result you will need 31CM of free space, that's 12.2 Inches.

 

This card features the big IceQ X² cooler, which has been designed to keep the card at excellent temperatures versus low noise levels. The card is below 28dB when watching movies or surfing on the web.

The large 2x 89mm dual axial fans draws massive amount of cool air to cool the GPU directly. The Q&C fan blade increases air velocity make cooling more efficient. The fan has a life span of up to 50,000 hours.

3x 6mm and 2x 8mm wide heatpipes optimize cooling performance by removing heat from the core area. A 40x47.5mm copper heatsink provides a large area to dissipate heat. The card also carries memory and mosfet heat sinks to provide extra heat dissipation from these areas.

The card also features fan control and monitoring, you are able to read fan speed & Asic temperature from iTurbo or other softwares.

Two Crossfire connectors are available, meaning that up-to 4-way Crossfire would be your maximum. This 7950 utilizes one 6-pin and a 8-pin power connector, a 550W PSU will be sufficient.

Finally a metal rib provides extra strength to the PCBs to avoid warpage, making the cards extra stable and durable.

  HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock AMD 7950 Ref Board
Power Input 6+8 6+6
PWM Phase 4+1+1 2+1+1

Connectivity includes two mini display port connectors, HDMI (1.4) and one DVI connector.

We installed the card and fired up the GPU-Z utility, which confirms the card's basic specifications:


4. Test setup

Here is our test PC setup:

Many games and applications were used in order to measure the performance (FPS) of each card. Below you see the settings we used for each benchmark:

 

 


5. DirectX 11: 3D Mark 11, 3DMark 2013

DirectX 11: 3D Mark 11

3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.

The HIS 7850 IceQ got a lower score than the HD 7950 Boost version, and its performance is in par with the GTX 760. The HIS 7950 IceQ X2 managed to leave behind the GeForce GTX 660 Ti and the GeForce GTX 670, approaching the HD 7970.

DirectX 11: 3DMark 2013

3DMark is the 2013 release of a benchmark designed to measure the performance of computer hardware. 3DMark works by running intensive graphical and computational tests on your hardware.  Each test gives a score, which you can use to compare similar devices and systems.The software features three tests. ' Cloud Gate' is a mainstream performance test for the more 'normal' PCs, whilst the 'Fire Strike' test is an enthusiast test for the latest enthusiast hardware.


6. DirectX 11: Crysis 3, Hitman Absolution

DX11 - Crysis 3

 

Hitman Absolution


7. DirectX 11: Far Cry 3, Final Fantasy

DirectX11: Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3 has four quality modes: LOW, MEDIUM, HIGH and ULTRA.

Our settings:

The HIS 7850 card manages well at 1920x1200, while the HIS 7950 was also impressively strong despite the demanding settings of this benchmark and the high resoluton.

Final Fantasy


8. DirectX 11: Alien Vs Predator, Sleeping Dogs

DX11: Alien Vs Predator

The Aliens VS. Predator DirectX 11 benchmark leverages provide an impressive game play experience through the use of DirectX 11 Tessellation and DirectX 11 Advanced Shadow features. We measured with 4xAA and 16X anisotropic filtering and all image quality settings have been set to the highest possible.

DX11: Sleeping Dogs

The game can be used to benchmark with as it comes with DirectX11 Specific Features like contact hardening shadows, HD-AO and Use of Direct Compute. Below are our settings:

The HIS HD 7950 card delivered a solid performance for its category even under the demanding full HD settings.HIS HD 7850 was also powerful enough to compete with the GeForce GTX 660 Ti .

9. DirectX 11: Tomb Rider, Sniper Elite V2

Tomb Rider

Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2 is a third-person shooter game and a DX11 benchmark suite. Below we test at 1920x1200 and apply a very high level of image quality:

Resident Evli 6


10. Overclocking

Overclocking the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo

For our overclocking tests we used the latest MSI AfterBurner utility which also allows you to unlock the card's voltages for further tweaking. Here are the results:

Original clock Overclocked
Core Clock: 1000MHz Core Clock: 1050MHz
Memory Clock: 1200MHz Memory Clock: 1400MHz

 

The HIS Radeon HD 7850 4GB iPower IceQ Turbo has been BIOS locked at a maximum of 1050 MHz so it's hard to take it any further. By increasing the power limit by
20% and applying 1450 MHz on the memory clock, you may get a little higher. But have in mind that you do it at your own risk.

Below you see the actual in-game performance you may experience after overclocking the card with the 3D Mark 2013 benchmark:

- Overclocking the HIS 7950 iPower IceQ Turbo

Again, we used the MSI AfterBurner utility. Here are the results:

Original clock Overclocked
Core Clock: 950 MHz Core Clock: 1150MHz
Memory Clock: 1250 MHz Memory Clock: 1350MHz

The HIS R7950 is easy to tweak and you will not be disappointed by the results. Coming from a 950 MHz factory overclocked, we had the card running stable at 1150MHz by increasing the power limiter and setting the fan RPM at 40%:

 

Above, 3DMark 11. There is an additional bump in this GPU limited software.

Below you see the average FPS you get after overclocking both the HIS 7850 and 7950 cards. It is obvious that the 7950 offers more overclocking headroom and it make more sense to tweak it:

 


11. Final words

The HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB graphics comes armed with 4GB graphics memory, a custom PCB and cooler and it is factory overclocked.

Starting with the extra memory, the 4GB sound great in theory although we are not sure this huge framebuffer will actually offer you any significant benefits, at least for a mid-range graphics card that will not be part of a high-end gaming system. Of course, if you are planning to go beyond the 2560x1600 resolutions and very high AA levels, the extra memory would help.

The custom cooler onboard seems to be efficient enough to keep your card running smoothly even in Crossfire configurations. Temperatures under idle are low and the airflow coming through the card's fan is barely audible. UNder more stressful conditions or a Crossfire configuration, the cards stay under 68 Degrees C while the noise level is less than 40 dBA.

Regarding performance, the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB delivers exactly what it is supposed to, with decent FPS in most games and in full-HD resolutions, and a general performance on average in par with what you might expect from a an Nvidia GeForce GTX 760. Installing two HIS 7850 cards in Crossfire mode is also a good option for more demanding users.

The cards is factory overclocked so do not expect any further tweaks. Powered by two 6-pin power headers and a GPU frequency lock at 1050 MHz, there is not much headroom for impressive gains.

To sum up, the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB graphics card is priced at $250 mainly due to its 2GB extra memory onboard, compared to a $200 2GB version. We are not sure the deal is great, unless you desperately need to play your games in very high resolutions. Other wise, the HD 7850 2GB version or the HD 7870 2GB will cost you $50 less.


The HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock 3GB features a custom PCB and cooling, and it is factory overclocked at 950 MHz.

At a first glance, this card is lengthy, so be sure to check out that it'll fit inside your chassis with its 31cm / 12.2 inches length.

It's dual-fan IceQ X² cooler is performing pretty well, with the idle levels to be in the 30 Degrees C range and and at 60 Degrees C under stress. Noise levels are also very acceptable.

Performance figures are also impressive, with the 7950 IceQ X² Boost edition to deliver FPS that sometimes reach the levels of more expensive cards. For instance, we measured more than 35 average FPS at Crysis 3 in 1920x1200 at Very High Quality and FXAA.

Overclocking also returned some good results. The card reached the 1150 MHz with just a few tweaks and great stability. All we did was to
increase power limiter, voltage and the fan speed. The result was a great
10~15% in performance.

For around $310-320 you get a very good graphics card that can play all the latest games at acceptable image quality settings at a resolution of 1920x1080/1200.




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