HIS 7970 X GHz Edition Review
Today I will be taking a look at the HIS 7970 X GHz Edition, this will be the first HIS product that I have tested (all others so far have earned Gold awards!) and it’s also the first AMD based Graphics Card that I have tested too…
The GHz Edition of AMD’s Tahiti GPU is the same as found in the standard 7970 with a couple of basic exceptions. The first is that the clock speed of the new GHz Edition has been upped and is now 75MHz higher than a basic 7970 (925MHz), this has been achieved solely through chip binning (the GPU is identical!). In addition to this there’s AMD’s Power Tune technology with Boost allowing the card to Turbo up to 1050MHz (not dissimilar to the Boost Clock found on Nvidia Kepler cards such as the MSI GTX 680 TWIN FROZR (OC Edition)).
The HIS 7970 X GHz Edition features a Core Clock of 1000MHz with a Boost of 1050MHz while the memory is clocked at 1500MHz (6 GHz effective). It features 3GB of GDDR5 memory and supports PCIE Express 3.0 (and is also backward compatible). The card also has the ability to drive up to 6 displays via its outputs (x4 DisplayPort, x1 HDMI, x1 DVI).
The HIS 7970 X GHz Edition came in a smart black box with various features highlighted on both the front and the back. The front of the box highlights the inclusion of a free game, Dirt Showdown and also the inclusion of an Active Mini DisplayPort to Single-Link DVI Eyefinity Adapter, among other things. The left side of the box unusually lists the System Requirements for the card and of particular interest is the call for a 500W+ power supply!
The back of the box highlights many features of the card itself including the 1400+ awards that HIS has won from major media worldwide and also the following:
- More Voltage, More Overclocking The extra PWM phase for core voltage provides extra power stability, lower temperature for power components! Increased Power supplu output for more voltage for overclocking!
- Eyefinity 6 & Eyefinity 5 HIS 7970 X is the card that offers 4 Eyefinity selections! The card is equipped with 4 Mini Displayports and 1 DL-DVI or SL-DVI plus HDMI at your convenience.
- Show and Tell – GPU Voltage Indicator (3 colors) The card is equipped with GPU voltage indicator, making it convenient for you to adjust the voltage for overclocking!
- Fan Speed Indicator (5 colors) The card LED includes the special LED Fan Speed indicator. Gamers could see the actual fan speed represented by different colors!
- Overheat Indicator The card gives a warning signal to gamers, ensuring safety to the full extent. The single color LED indicator will turn on when the card’s temperature is abnormal, avoiding Critical Temperature Failure!
- IceQ X2 Cooling Technology With IceQ X2, the card is cooler and quieter than the reference cooler (17 degrees cooler & 28db quieter).
- iTurbo iTurbo is your software assistant to control your graphics card to be quiet, cool and experience overclocking by simply pressing the iTurbo button!
Within the box lies a single black inner box with an HIS logo; on opening the inner box you can see that the 7970 X GHz Edition was extremely well packaged with soft foam, which is always good to see. You also get to see that rather smart HIS IceQ X2 cooler for the first time.
Beneath the card itself is an additional tray, remove this and you will find a weight lifter (more on this later), a CrossFire Bridge, DisplayPort to DVI adapter, DVI-I to VGA adapter, Weight Lifter instructions, Dirt Showdown Offer, iTurbo CD and HIS Wallet.
Within the wallet you will find the HIS install CD, Multi-Language Quick Installation Guide and a HIS Power Up label.
At the time of this review the HIS 7970 X GHz Edition is retailing for approximately £460 and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of HIS
|Model Name||HIS 7970 X 3GB GDDR5 PCI-E DVI/HDMI/4xMini DP|
|Chipset||Radeon HD 7970 PCIe Series|
|ASIC||RadeonTM HD 7970 GPU|
|Manu. Process (Micron)||28nm|
|Memory Size (MB)||3072|
|Engine CLK (MHz)||1000MHz (Boost Clock 1050MHz)|
|Memory CLK (Gbps)||6Gbps|
|Memory Interface (bit)||384|
|Power Supply Requirement||500 Watt or greater power|
|Max. Resolution||4096×2160 per display (DisplayPort 1.2)
2560×1600 per display (Dual-link DVI)
2048×1536 per display (VGA)
|Bus Interface||PCI Express x16|
First impressions of the HIS 7970 X GHz Edition are good, in particular that cooler is work of art, it’s certainly one of the nicest looking coolers that I have seen in a while. The reason for this is down to the simple elegance of the whole thing; No crazy colours, no silly shapes just a cool (sorry!) looking cooler. I’m sure the images don’t really do it justice…
The cooler itself features x2 8.9cm dual axial fans, with x3 6mm heatpipes and a further x2 8mm heatpipes.
The cooler (inc shroud) is very large as you can see, at approximately 297mm long, certainly in comparison to my usual test card (MSI GTX 680 TWIN FROZR (OC Edition)) (256mm in length) it looks huge, so it’s definitely worth checking it fits in your case before buying.
Looking at the side of the card you can see 3 of the 5 heatpipes and the size of the underlying heatsink, this stretches all the way to the back of the card (and even beyond the PCB) in an attempt to soak up as much of the heat as possible. Obviously all of this metal adds to the weight of the card, weighing in at a whopping 951grams, that’s 162grams more than the MSI GTX 680. What you can’t see here (image below left) is that right where the 3 heatpipes meet there’s a large LED indicator. This is in fact the Fan Speed Indicator that cycles through (Green, Light Blue, Dark Blue, Purple & Red) in order to give you some idea of the fan speed, which I think is a really nice touch as it effectively allows you to keep an eye on the card’s temperature.
At the far end of the card are the 2 power connectors both 8 pin, which is also nice to see as you don’t end up with odd cable ends flapping around inside your case.
As you can see the card features a blue PCB, although I would have preferred this to be black, as this allows it to match any colour rig build that you may have (guess it’s OK if your rig’s blue!). There’s not much to talk about when it comes to the back of the card, but I have highlighted (see image below) 2 features that are of interest. The first (highlighted red ) is where you will find the card’s indicator LEDS. There are 3 Voltage Indicator LEDS (Yellow, Green, Red) and a single Red (I guess, as my card never overheated!) Overheat Indicator LED. Also highlighted (yellow) in the image below is that fact that you can clearly see that there’s some quality control going on here, always good to see…
On the opposite side of the card you can again see more of the heatpipes on display.
One of the major attractions and selling points of the HIS 7970 X GHz Edition must surely be the fact that it can drive up to 6 displays at the same time! As you can see from the outputs on the back plate the card features x4 DisplayPort outputs, x1 DVI and x1 HDMI. What’s really interesting (see why later) is what’s that strange button for, a BIOS reset/switch maybe, nope…
Looking at the far end of the card gives you a chance to see how big that heatsink is, big enough for you?
Hardware installation was predictably a straightforward affair and despite the card’s length it fitted fine within my test Corsair Vengeance C70 case.
That was until I installed Windows and the AMD Graphics Drivers, I was then confronted with a problem; according to the AMD Catalyst software my Dell U2711 (2560×1440) monitor now had a recommended (Maximum) resolution of 1920×1080, WTF!? Unfortunately Windows also confirmed this as did looking at the System Info…
Time passed, a lot of time passed…
After re-installing Windows, re-installing the Drivers and even re-installing the card (oh and I rang Dell, their support was excellent (thanks Nelson), but they also couldn’t help (they even suggested that they would send a new monitor!), I was about to give up, but then…
I remembered that button on the back of the card, now although I thought that this was a BIOS reset type switch , I thought what the hell, and pressed it. Guess what happened, Nothing, still a maximum resolution of 1920×1080. As a last ditch attempt I went for a re-boot. Voila, 2560×1440 was back, the button press had fixed it…
After doing some research, meaning I read the back of the box (embarrassed? yes!), I discovered that this switch actually switches the modes of the various outputs on the back of the card, obvious now! And, if the button is down the maximum resolution of the DVI port is 1920×180, but when the button is up 2560×1440! It would have helped if there was something in the box about this, even the CD only contains a duplicate PDF of the Installation Guide, that only shows you how to install a Graphics Card!
|Button Status||Outputs||# of Displays|
|Button up for DL-DVI-I||x3 MiniDP / DL-DVI-I / HDMI||5|
|Button down||4x MiniDP / SL-DVI-I||5|
|Button down||4x MiniDP / HDMI||5|
|Button down||4x MiniDP / SL-DVI-I / HDMI||6|