HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Graphics Card Review
The HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Graphics Card (H785QT4G2M) will be the first 7850 that I have tested, although this is not the first 7850 we have seen here at pcGameware. The HIS 7850 IceQ X was reviewed by David back in July 2012.
This card is a little bit special due to the high factory core overclock of 1000MHz (stock 860MHz) and the colossal amount of GDDR5 VRAM. 4GB of VRAM makes this card not only special but one of the only 7850s in the world to support 4GB of memory! The memory runs at the stock speed of 1200MHz or 4800MHz effective.
As with all HIS cards that we have seen in the past the 7850 came very well packaged in the synonymous ice blue HIS box. The front of the box highlights the inclusion of the HIS iTURBO overclocking software, along with a raft of stickers (including a 4GB sticker!) highlighting the following:
- iPower – Increased Power supply input for more voltage for overclocking! The extra PWM phase for core voltage provides extra power…
- Cooler – The card is cooler than the reference cooler.
- Quieter – IceQ is one of the quietest coolers. The card is below 28dB when watching movies, surfing Facebook, working.
- Turbo – Benefit by a Factory, Pre-overclocked graphics card with the balance of gaming performance and cooling effect.
- Premium – Online Customer Support.
The back of the box goes on to highlight the following features as well as the fact that HIS has won over 1450 awards worldwide.
- Cooler HIS 7850 IceQ X² is cooler than the Reference Cooler.
- Quieter HIS 7850 IceQ X² quieter than the Reference Cooler.
- 4 Heatpipes Optimize cooling performance by removing heat from the core area, providing ultimate solution for professional gamers and HTCP users.
- IceQ Cooling Technology HIS innovative air-cooling technology that can dramatically decrease the GPU temperature together with your PC components.
- Black Hole Impeller Cool air is drawn from both sides of the fan to thereby enhance the cooling efficiency.
HIGH QUALITY COMPONENTS
- Dynamic Phase Control PWM IC The advanced energy saving technique not only makes HIS cards environmental friendly but also saves money on your electric bills!
- Full Solid State Capacitors These capacitors, of the highest quality and durability, extends the lifespan of the card. You can count on HIS cards to game hard for 24/7/365 for years!
- Solid State Choke Using only the finest material, HIS cards offer outstanding stability and power capacity – making the best out of power and unleashing clock speeds to the limit!
The left side of the box lists the system requirements (see image below), note the 500W+ power supply requirement. The right side of the box highlights where the product can be registered to gain the full level of support offered by HIS. There’s also an image showing what’s inside the box (Card, DVI to VGA Adapter, HIS Power Up Label, CrossFire Bridge & Install CD).
Once inside the outer box we find the all black (with HIS logo) inner box, and once inside the inner box we find the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Graphics Card nestling within. Worth noting is the high level of packaging that HIS are using with the use of lots of soft foam helping to ensure the card doesn’t get damaged during transportation.
In the base of the box there is also a DVI to VGA Adapter, CrossFire Bridge and HIS wallet. Within the wallet is an installation CD, Quick Installation Guide and an HIS Power Up Label!
At the time of this review the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB is retailing for approximately £200 and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of HIS
|Model Name||HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB GDDR5 PCI-E 2xDVI/HDMI/2xMini DP (UEFI Ready)|
|Chipset||Radeon HD 7850 PCIe Series|
|ASIC||RadeonTM HD 7850 GPU|
|Manu. Process (Micron)||28nm|
|Memory Size (MB)||4096|
|Engine CLK (MHz)||1000MHz|
|Memory CLK (Gbps)||4.8Gbps|
|Memory Interface (bit)||256bit|
|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 3.0 x16|
|Mini Display Port||Yes|
|DVI||Dual-link DVI-I + Single-link DVI-D|
The HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Graphics Card is a relatively large card with an overall length of 297mm and a weight of 838 grams, the card is dominated by the Black Hole Impeller at the rear of the card. I like the design; it seems somewhat purposeful if not elegant.
The cooler itself features a 115 x 94mm copper heat-sink with 4 heat-pipes (2x 8mm & 2x 6mm) and a single 57mm fan.
There’s not much to see at the back of the card; but somewhat evident on the blue PCB are the eight additional RAM chips, my only concern here is that these chips (there’s eight on the other side also) have no cooling! We will have to see whether this causes any heat related issues later. Also evident on the back of the card you can see a couple of stickers suggesting that some form of quality control is taking place, always good to see and common with HIS cards.
Looking at the side of the card we can see the x2 8mm heat-pipes and the x2 6mm heat-pipes with the central HIS logo. The far end of the card is dominated by the plastic shroud of the Black Hole Impeller. Above the shroud (see image) you can see the x2 6-pin power connectors. Running along the top edge of the PCB is a Special Metal Rib, this rib stops the card from flexing when inserting power cables and when the card is in the horizontal position.
Something I did discover when trying to remove the card, is that the power connections may be easy enough to plug in, but they’re damn awkward to get out as the Black Hole Impeller shroud is in the way. A pair of small pliers luckily came to the rescue!
Looking at the other side of the card there’s not much to see; but you can see a thin strip of blue thermal material, this is used to help cool the original 2GB of memory. As I mentioned before the additional 2GB of memory on the other side effectively has no cooling. At the far end you can see the fan power connection.
The HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB features x2 Mini DisplayPorts, x2 DVI-I port and x1 HDMI port and the card is (somewhat obviously) a dual-slot design. The card supports up to 4 displays.
Installation into My Test Rig was simple enough, although please note that for this review I had to revert back to my CM Storm Stryker case as our new AMD Test Rig has taken ownership of the Cooler Master HAF XB. Once the x2 6-pin power connectors were connected up we were good to go…
My Test Rig was treated to a fresh install of Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit (Service Pack 1) with all associated drivers also installed.
Although the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB does come with a Driver CD and HIS iTURBO Overclocking software, the latest version of the AMD Catalyst Control Center was sourced directly from AMD (here). Version 13.1 of the Catalyst Control software was downloaded and installed.
For consistency across reviews MSI’s Afterburner overclocking software was used and that can be downloaded here (version 2.3.1 was used). If you wish to have a closer look at the HIS iTURBO software take a look at the HIS 7970 IceQ X² GHz Edition Review.
Overclocking the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB was a simple case of playing with a few (three) sliders within the MSI Afterburner software, these can be found under Settings.
Power Limit – The first slider Power Limit is slid to the far right allowing the card to boost a further 20% before the card’s thermal throttling kicks in. READ: Allows the card to run faster…
Core Clock (MHz) – The next task was to up the Core Clock until we hit instability. Of course we mustn’t forget that HIS has already overclocked this card from its stock 860MHz to a whopping 1000MHz! Meaning that we’ve only got another 50MHz to play with, this 50Hz was added to the base overclock giving us a total overclock of 1050MHz. At this speed the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB card remained super stable, cool and quiet!
Memory Clock (MHz) – The final slider is the Memory Clock, this was taken up all the way to 1450MHz (maximum) in 50MHz increments and everything appeared to be fine. Unfortunately during the UNiGiNE tests the card crashed, so it was back down to 1400MHz (5600MHz effective). At this memory speed the card remained super stable.
So the final overclock for the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB sees the Core at 1050MHz and the RAM at 1400MHz. Now let’s take a look at the benchmarks and also see what difference having an additional 2GB of GDDR5 RAM makes…
- Mass Effect 3
- Ghost Recon Online
- Tomb Raider
- Bioshock Infinite
- Crysis 3
- Far Cry 3
|Benchmark||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temp||Delta Temp||Result|
|3DMark (Fire Strike)||22.50||50.00||27.50||4703|
|Tomb Raider||23.00||53.00||30.00||36.6 FPS (average)|
|Benchmark||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temp||Delta Temp||Result|
|3DMark (Fire Strike)||20.50||53.00||32.50||4966|
|Tomb Raider||21.00||53.00||32.00||39.1 FPS (average)|
As you can see from the benchmarks the factory overclocked HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB produces some pretty impressive results, as one would expect from a 7850 with a Core clock of 1000MHz, the highest factory overclock for a 7850 from any manufacturer!
Overclocking both the Core and the memory yielded a little more performance also, pushing the Tomb Raider benchmark up by almost 7%.
But we still haven’t looked at one of the main features of the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo and that’s the 4GB of VRAM. Let’s take a look at a couple of very GPU intensive Games (Crysis 3 and Far Cry 3) and see how much VRAM we could use if we push the Graphics Setting to the maximum.
|Benchmark (Maximum Detail / Maximum Anti-Aliasing / 2560×1440)||VRAM Used (MB)||Average FPS|
|Crysis 3||2703||<10 FPS|
|Far Cry 3||2272||<14 FPS|
|Bioshock Infinite||2250||29.70 FPS|
As you can see, even though both Crysis 3 and Far Cry 3 used more the 2GB of VRAM, the benefits of the additional 2GB of VRAM on-board the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo is overshadowed by the fact that the GPU just isn’t powerful enough for these high settings, with frame rates dropping below 10 FPS in Crysys 3. Only Bioshock Infinite make a decent argument for the additional VRAM and then the game only manages an average framerate of around 30 FPS, which is borderline playable.
Let’s really prove a point now by using x2 HIS 7850 cards; the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB and a HIS 7850 with 2GB of VRAM. For testing purposes the Core and Memory will be set at factory defaults for a 7850 (Core 860MHz/Mem 1200MHz). I have used the Bioshock Infinite benchmark as this is the Game that is most playable at these very high graphics settings.
|Card (Core 860MHz/Mem 1200MHz)||Average FPS|
|HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB||25.16 FPS|
|HIS 7850 2GB||25.05 FPS|
Well that’s not really the result that I was expecting, I would have thought that the performance of the 2GB would have suffered a little, but it hasn’t! This may be due to the fact the VRAM usage only surpasses the 2GB mark in the last few hundred frames of the test, meaning that the impact is negligible. But what cannot be debated though is the fact that even with one monitor at a resolution of 2560×1440, some of these Games do use more than 2GB of VRAM!
So what does all of this mean then; well let’s talk about the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Graphics Card first and it’s graphical, thermal and acoustic performance.
The graphical performance of the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Graphics Card is very good, of course one would expect this as the card sports the highest factory overclock for a 7850 based card at 1000MHz. Couple this with the fact that the card can be pushed a little further by way of some additional overclocking, resulting in an additional increase in performance of around 7%, means that this 7850 sure packs a punch! From a thermal standpoint I never saw the card over 60 degrees Celsius and neither did I ever hear it!
Let’s touch on the difficult subject of the inclusion of the additional 2GB of VRAM. A simple question is; do you need it? The simple answer is no, not on this card!
Now the question becomes what do I mean by that? Well I could ramble on for ages about this but the bottom line is; if you’re running at a high resolution 2560×1440+ (now this includes any form of multiple monitor setup too!), you need a powerful card to back it up! And although the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB is a damn fine 7850, its GPU performance isn’t really quite enough to push that number of pixels around the screen, certainly when coupled with high levels of Anti-Aliasing. Now you could argue and suggest that you turn down the AA, but if you do this the VRAM usage will drop below 2GB anyway! So really what happens is that you never get to see the benefit of the additional 2GB of VRAM as the performance of the GPU itself is holding it back. Hopefully that all makes sense… 😉
There’s no doubt the the HIS 7850 IPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Graphics Card (H785QT4G2M) is a damn fine 7850, that performs graphically, thermally and acoustically. The big question is whether that additional 2GB of VRAM is worth the extra cash!?
As is common with all HIS Graphics Cards the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB came extremely well packaged, with just a few extras in the box (DVI to VGA Adapter & CrossFire Bridge). The card’s not the best looking HIS card I have seen but its design sure looks purposeful, with the Black Hole Impeller dominating its design. The card is longer than the reference design at 297mm, so you may need to check that it will fit in your case of choice.
Performance of the HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB was excellent, with a great factory overclock of 1000MHz on the Core this card ensures that it’s one of the fastest 7850s out there. Add to this the fact that there’s still a little headroom for overclocking means that performance is really second to none. The card also performed extremely well both thermally and acoustically, with the card never reaching above 60 degrees Celsius in the CM Storm Stryker test case. In addition to this the fan on the card was also never heard above the fans in the case.
The final question/debate is over the additional 2GB of VRAM, which after a good deal of testing seems a little superfluous on a 7850 (please see main review for more detail). The bottom line is that Gaming at high resolutions (2560×1440+ inc multi monitor setups) with high levels of Anti-Aliasing you’ll run out of GPU power before you run out of VRAM even with this heavily overclocked 7850 from HIS. Additional VRAM on higher performing cards does indeed make sense, but what you’re paying (£200 at the time of review) for here seems to be bragging rights more than anything else…
Please don’t let that detract away from what is obviously a damn fine graphics card, that at the right price will make you very happy indeed.
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Many thanks to HIS for providing this sample for review