HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock Graphics Card Review
This is the HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock (H795QMC3G2M) a factory overclocked AMD 7950 with a Base Clock of 850MHz and a Boost Clock of 950MHz, despite the front of the box claiming a Boost Clock of 925MHz! It features 3GB of GDDR5 memory running at 1250MHz (5000MHz effective) and is PCI-E 3.0 ready.
This is the first AMD 7950 that we have tested here at pcGameware but it’s certainly not the first HIS card. We have already seen the HIS 7970 X GHz Edition and the HIS 7970 IceQ X² GHz Edition both of which feature the same custom cooler and both walked away with well deserved awards. So the fact that this 7950 features the same cooler should mean that we’re in for some serious overclocking, we shall see…
The HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock Graphics Card 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, with images depicting that the card is both Cooler and Quieter than the reference design. There’s also a sticker showing the clock speeds (which are incorrect) as the sticker shows a Boost Clock of 925MHz yet the cards boosts to 950MHz (I guess we shouldn’t complain!). There’s also another sticker highlighting the card’s 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 1480 awards worldwide. There is also a sticker showing the support for up to 6 displays, but this (as noted on the box) is via the use of third party DisplayPort hubs, out of the box the HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock supports 4 displays.
- Cooler HIS 7950 IceQ X² is cooler than the reference Cooler.
- Quieter HIS 7970 IceQ X² quieter than the reference Cooler.
- 5 Heatpipes Optimize cooling performance by removing heat from the core area, providing ultimate solution for professional gamers and HTCP users.
- IceQ Cooling Technology The super large 29.5 x 11.2 cm dual axis fans draw massive amounts of cool air to cool the GPU directly.
HIGH QUALITY COMPONENTS
- 6 Dynamic Phase Control PWM IC HIS cards are something more! The 6 Dynamic Control PWM IC phases provide extra power, stability and overclocking capability to the card!
- 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 HI. 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 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock Graphics Card in all its glory. Worth noting here 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 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock (H795QMC3G2M) is retailing for approximately £270 and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of HIS
|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|
|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||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|
Well I have to admit to seeing this card (Cooler) a couple of times before and on both of those occasions I have been impressed with the design. So again I find myself impressed with the design of this custom cooler with its two large fans and central HIS X logo. Of course the real first impression of the HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock is left by its size, being one of the biggest (longest at 297mm) cards that we have seen here at pcGameware. But there’s no doubt about it, it is a thing of beauty!
The cooler itself features x2 8.9cm dual axial fans, with x3 6mm heat-pipes and a further x2 8mm heat-pipes.
The back of the card’s not really that exciting, but looking more closely at that blue PCB reveals that there’s definitely some quality control going on somewhere, which is always good to see. From this angle you can also see how much bigger the custom cooler is than the PCB.
Looking at the side of the card you can see 3 of the 5 heat-pipes (x1 8mm & x2 6mm) 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.
At the far end of the card are the 2 power connectors one 8-pin and one 6-pin, which means that you’re likely to have a couple of cables flapping around next to the card!
Looking at the other side of the card you can see the other two 8mm heat-pipes and not much else!
The HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock features x2 Mini DisplayPorts, x1 DVI-I port and x1 HDMI port and the card is (somewhat obviously) a dual-slot design. The card therefore supports up to 4 displays and 6 display via the use of additional DisplayPort adapters (not supplied).
Installation into My Test Rig was relatively easy and although the card fits within the Cooler Master HAF XB case, it only just fits, there’s around 15mm of room between the end of the card and the radiator. Cabling was relatively simple with x1 8-pin and x1 6-pin power connectors required.
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 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock 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 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock was 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. I was absolutely amazed when I got to the end of the slider and ran my final test (using UNiGiNE Heaven). Amazingly the card still ran at a whopping 1200MHz, unfortunately there were signs of artefacting at this speed and the Core Clock was dialed back to 1150MHz. At this speed the card was completely stable with no artefacting, an amazing 20%+ overclock!
Memory Clock (MHz) – The final slider is the Memory Clock this was also slid all the way to the right (1575MHz) with no issues, and the UNiGiNE benchmarks ran fine. Unfortunately the 3DMark benchmark failed between tests. I finally ended up with a Memory Clock of 1500MHz at which point the card was super stable.
Wow! That’s some of the biggest overclocks (1150MHz Core / 1500MHz Memory) I’ve ever dialed into a card, let’s see how the card performs in the benchmarks…
- Tomb Raider
- Crysis 3
|Benchmark||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temp||Delta Temp||Result|
|3DMark (Fire Strike)||19.50||56.00||36.50||6380|
|Tomb Raider||22.00||56.00||34.00||46.9 FPS (average)|
|Benchmark||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temp||Delta Temp||Result|
|3DMark (Fire Strike)||21.50||56.00||34.50||7465|
|Tomb Raider||21.50||56.00||34.50||54.4 FPS (average)|
Well that’s some pretty impressive numbers; the factory clock setting give some decent results but when the card is overclocked it really begins to fly. That’s some pretty big overclocks too, 1150MHz on the core, up from a factory clock of 950MHz and the memory is up from 1250MHz to an impressive 1500MHz.
As the scores began to come in, I began to think that this card must be close to the performance of a stock AMD 7970 GHz Edition card. So to prove a point I ran some further tests with a 7970 at GHz Edition speeds (1050MHz/1500MHz), the results are most interesting…
|Benchmark||HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock||AMD 7970 GHz Edition|
|3DMark (Fire Strike)||7465||7431|
|Tomb Raider FPS (average)||54.4||54.6|
Well there you have it; the HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock has outperformed a stock AMD 7970 GHz Edition card in every test! Words almost fail; I have checked and re-checked the results and the same drivers etc were used for all tests. It would appear that the HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock is a damn fast card!
On top of these rather remarkable benchmark results I should also add that during testing I never heard the card’s fans spin up above the ambient noise of my HAF XB case fans. And the final icing on the cake comes from the fact that the impressive custom cooler also managed to keep temperature at or below 61 degrees Celsius throughout testing.
During normal gaming with the HIS 7950 HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock at a resolution of 1920×1080, I found that I could just about run Crysis 3 at it’s heavily demanding Very High preset, which is impressive. With frame rates just dipping below 30 FPS at times means that it’s close to playable. I’m sure a further tweak here and there would make it fully playable. Dishonored at a resolution of 2560×1440 ran at around 60 FPS throughout my playing (actually I’ve just finished it, really good game too, you should give it a try!). Tomb Raider was also played at it’s highest setting (Ultimate) and a resolution of 1920×1080 with frame rates varying from 60FPS down to the high thirties, means that this game was fully playable.
My Test Rig was also monitoring power consumption throughout the test period and the maximum power drawn, at the wall with the HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock Graphics Card installed was 308 watts, that’s almost 100 watts less than the 7970 GHz Edition!
I now think I should go away and sit down and recover from the shock, before I write the Final Thoughts! Back in a bit…
If you’re reading this then you can already see the scores, so maybe I don’t need to write too much here, or maybe I do; but to be fair I can’t find any reason not to give the HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock our very first Platinum award. Of course to do that you have to get tens across the board and that’s no easy feat, but the HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock has pulled it off. Does this mean the card’s perfect, not necessarily, but to be honest I just can’t fault it, the only possible drawback is if the card’s too long for your case!
The card came really well packaged with soft foam ensuring that the card within was well protected. The card, while long at 297mm, is a thing of beauty, with the x2 89mm dual axial fans and the HIS X logo dominating the design. There’s a fair number of heat-pipes too with x3 6mm and x2 8mmm pipes ensuring that temperatures are kept to a minimum, as proven during testing. In fact what we have here is a cooler that was really designed for a 7970 on a 7950 (seems like a good idea to me!).
Where the HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock really shines though is in its performance. While its out of the box stock (950MHz Boost Clock/1250MHz Mem Clock) performance is good, the overclocked (1150MHz Boost Clock/1500MHz Mem Clock) performance is just amazing, out performing an AMD 7970 GHz Edition card in all of our benchmarks! I don’t feel I need to say any more on the subject…
Add to this good thermals, with the card peaking out at just 61 degrees Celsius and low power consumption during the test period plus noise levels that could hardly be heard above the fans within the Cooler Master HAF XB case, means that HIS have a sure fire winner here. Especially when you consider that any 7970 GHz card is going to cost well in excess of £300 and at the time of writing you can get a HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock for closer to £270.
Therefore the HIS 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock is the winner of our very first Platinum award! Nice, very nice indeed!
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Many thanks to HIS for providing this sample for review