HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM

Today we are checking out the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition and 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock graphics cards, which have been designed to get the most out of AMDs 7900 series. Both cards boast a seriously upgraded cooling solution that is designed to reduce operating temperatures and improve overclocking potential...

The Radeon HD 7900 series was first introduced in January 2012 when AMD unveiled the Radeon HD 7970 on Jan 9th followed by the 7950 on Jan 31st. These flagship graphics cards were the first from the Southern Islands GPU family and they launched with a retail value of $549 and $449.

When we first tested the Radeon HD 7970 we found that it was on average 42% faster than the old Radeon HD 6970 and 22% faster than the GeForce GTX 580 based on a dozen games that we tested with. The Radeon HD 7950 on the other hand was 32% faster than the 6970 and 14% faster than the GeForce GTX 580.

Since the initial launch of the Radeon HD 7900 series graphics cards quite a lot has changed. The pricing and performance has changed which has to do with a change in competition. Nvidia released their first GeForce GTX 600 series graphics card two months after the arrival of the new Radeon HD 7900 series when they debuted the GTX 680.

Another two months down the track and we had the GTX 670 and at $400 it was not only cheaper than the Radeon HD 7950 but it was also some 15% faster based on our findings. For this reason alone AMD reduced the pricing of their entire Radeon HD 7000 series range and have continued to reduce pricing throughout the course of 2012.

However recently with the release of the Catalyst 12.11 Beta drivers AMD has been able to drastically improve the performance of the Radeon HD 7000 series graphics cards in a number of popular games, many of which we test with. Games such as Battlefield 3 are claimed to have up to 10 - 15% more performance, while in certain cases performance can be boosted as much as 20%. Other popular games such as StarCraft II, Sleeping Dogs, Dirt and Metro 2033 all claim to receive huge performance gains when using the latest beta drivers.

With pricing of the Radeon HD 7900 series currently at an all-time low, while performance has never been better, it seems like the perfect time for HIS to create their most impressive 7970 and 7950 graphics cards yet, as they launch the 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition and 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock.


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HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition
HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM

The HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition (H797QMC3G2M) measures 29.5cm long, which is slightly longer than a standard 7970 card. Still previous generation graphics cards such as the Radeon HD 5870, 6970 and GeForce GTX 580 have measured 28cm long, so this latest HIS card isnt overly large.

When first released the Radeon HD 7970 came clocked at 925MHz, 5% higher than the HD 6970, and the GDDR5 memory operated at the same frequency of 1375MHz (5.5GHz DDR). Pairing that frequency with a 384-bit memory bus gave the HD 7970 264GB/s of theoretical bandwidth, a 50% advantage over the HD 6970.

However with the arrival of the slightly faster GeForce GTX 680 it seemed that AMD was desperate to reclaim the performance crown and they attempted to do so with the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition. This new version featured a standard core clock frequency of 1GHz with a boost frequency of 50MHz taking the core to 1.05GHz.

The GDDR5 memory frequency was also increased from 1375MHz up to 1500MHz which boosted the memory bandwidth from 264GB/s to 288GB/s. Frequencies aside the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition core configuration remained the same featuring 2048 SPUs, 128 TAUs and 32 ROPs.

As the name suggests the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition features the new IceQ X cooling solution. Designed with two super large dual 89mm dual axial fans this dual-slot cooler features a massive heatsink.

Helping to improve the efficiency of the massive heatsink are three 6mm and two 8mm heatpipes. These heatpipes are directly linked to an extra-large 40 x 47.5mm copper base where they help to improve heat extraction from the GPU.

Connected to the large copper base of the heatsink is a unique RAM heat spreader, which is designed to cool the GDDR5 modules. HIS claims that this cooler is not only much more efficient than AMDs reference design but it is also much quieter.

To feed the card enough juice, HIS has upgraded the 6-pin/8-pin PCI Express power connector configuration with a pair of 8-pin connectors. This will help improve overclocking and HIS claims that the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition with its 6+1+1 power phase can deliver more core voltage.

Naturally, the HD 7970 supports Crossfire and so there are a pair of connectors for bridging two or more cards together. The only other connectors are on the I/O panel. Our AMD reference sample has a dual DL-DVI connector, a single HDMI 1.4a port and two mini-DisplayPort 1.2 sockets.

All HD 7970s can support a max resolution of 2560x1600 on up to three monitors. With a multi-stream hub using the mini-DisplayPort 1.2 sockets, the card can power up to six screens.


Printed from Legion Hardware (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/his_7970_iceq_xsup2_ghz_edition_7950_iceq_xsup2_boost_clock,2.html)


HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM

Whereas the AMD reference designed Radeon HD 7950 measures 27cm, the HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock (H795QMC3G2M) is slightly longer at 29.5cm long. Although this is not a huge difference it will make it difficult for gamers to fit this graphics card in most mid-sized ATX computer cases.

As we mentioned earlier the original Radeon HD 7950 was released in January of this year. It is fabricated on a 28nm process, making it possible for AMD to squeeze 4313 million transistors into a 352mm2 die.

By default the 7950 core runs at 800MHz, 14% lower than the HD 7970, and the GDDR5 memory operates 9% slower at 1250MHz. However in August AMD announced a special 7950 Boost edition which like the 7970 GHz Edition is essentially just an overclocked version.

The core was increased from 800MHz to 850MHz while a boost clock feature was added which could raise the core frequency to 925MHz. This meant that the core clock was now anywhere from 6% to 16% higher than the standard 7950. The GDDR5 memory frequency has remained the same at 1250MHz (5GHz DDR).

HIS has included a little factory overclocking with their 7950, though we do stress little, as only the boost clock has been increased and that increase is just 25MHz from 925MHz up to 950MHz.

Whereas the HD 6950 utilized a 256-bit bus, the HD 7950's is 384-bit, boosting the available memory bandwidth from 160GB/s to a considerably healthier 240GB/s.

As you'd expect, the HD 7950's core configuration is cut down from the HD 7970. The speedier card has 2048 SPUs, 128 TAUs and 32 ROPs, while the HD 7950 packs 1792 SPUs, 112 TAUs, and the same 32 ROPs (13% less SPUs and TAUs).

What makes this HIS iteration unique is its IceQ X solution with super large dual 89mm dual axial fans. The large fans are connected to a custom shroud which directs air over a massive heatsink. Helping to improve the efficiency of the massive heatsink are three 6mm and two 8mm heatpipes. These heatpipes are directly linked to an extra-large 40 x 47.5mm copper base where they help to improve heat extraction from the GPU.

Connected to the large copper base of the heatsink is a unique RAM heat spreader, which is designed to cool the GDDR5 modules. HIS claims that this cooler is not only much more efficient than AMDs reference design but it is also much quieter.

To feed the card enough juice, HIS has upgraded the dual 6-pin PCI Express power connector to an 8-pin plus 6-pin configuration. This will help improve overclocking and HIS claims that the 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock with its 4+1+1 power phase can deliver more core voltage.


Printed from Legion Hardware (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/his_7970_iceq_xsup2_ghz_edition_7950_iceq_xsup2_boost_clock,3.html)


Test System Specs & 3Dmark 11
HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM

Test System Specs
Hardware
- Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition (3.30GHz)

- x4 4GB G.Skill DDR3-1600(CAS 8-8-8-20)

- Crucial m4 512GB (SATA 6Gb/s)

- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 (2048MB)
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 (2048MB)
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 Ti (2048MB)
- HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition (3072MB)
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition (3072MB)
- HIS Radeon HD 7970 (3072MB)
- HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock (3072MB)
- HIS Radeon HD 7950 Boost (3072MB)
- HIS Radeon HD 7950 (3072MB)
- HIS Radeon HD 7870 (2048MB)

- Asrock X79 Extreme11 (Intel X79)

- OCZ ZX Series (1250w)

Software
- Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
- Nvidia Forceware 310.33 Beta
- AMD Catalyst 12.11 Beta


The HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition scored 3440pts, making it the fastest single-GPU graphics card we have tested in the 3Dmark 11 Pro extreme test. The HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock was considerably slower scoring just 2896pts.


Printed from Legion Hardware (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/his_7970_iceq_xsup2_ghz_edition_7950_iceq_xsup2_boost_clock,4.html)


Benchmarks: Aliens vs. Predator, Alan Wake
HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM


The HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition averaged 43fps at 2560x1600 in the Aliens vs. Predator game, which is the same frame rate reported by our standard 7970 graphics card. The HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock averaged 36fps, which was the same frame rate produced by the standard 7950 Boost card while it was 3fps faster than a standard 7950.


When testing with Alan Wake we found that the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition was able to average 48fps while the HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock was slightly slower with 40fps. While the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition matched the standard 7970 in terms of performance, the HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock was 1fps faster than a standard 7950 Boost graphics card.


Printed from Legion Hardware (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/his_7970_iceq_xsup2_ghz_edition_7950_iceq_xsup2_boost_clock,5.html)


Benchmarks: Battlefield 3, Borderlands 2
HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM


Armed with the new Catalyst 12.11 Beta drivers the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series is much faster in Battlefield 3 when compared to what we have seen previously. As a result the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition was able to sustain a frame rate of 52fps, making it considerably faster than the GeForce GTX 680 which averaged just 46fps.

Meanwhile the HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock which was 1fps faster than a standard 7950 Boost card and was just 3fps slower than the much more expensive GeForce GTX 680.


The HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition was slower than the GeForce GTX 680 when testing with Borderlands 2 at 2560x1600 with an average of 65fps, opposed to the 69fps rendered by the Nvidia card. The HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock was quite a bit slower averaging 56fps, though it was again 1fps faster than the standard 7950 Boost card and 3fps faster than a standard 7950.


Printed from Legion Hardware (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/his_7970_iceq_xsup2_ghz_edition_7950_iceq_xsup2_boost_clock,6.html)


Benchmarks: Crysis 2, Dragon Age II
HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM


The HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition managed 34fps at 2560x1600 in Crysis 2, making it the fastest single-GPU graphics card tested along with the standard 7970 GHz Edition card. The HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock was slightly slower averaging 31fps, which was the same result recorded by the Radeon HD 7950 Boost and GeForce GTX 680.


Testing with Dragon Age II at 2560x1600 saw the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition average 42fps, making it just 2fps slower than the GeForce GTX 680. The HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock was less impressive as it was 3fps slower than the GeForce GTX 660 Ti, as it averaged just 35fps.


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Benchmarks: Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Dirt 3
HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM


Deus Ex: Human Revolution was little trouble for the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition which managed a very comfortable 69fps at 2560x1600. The HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock was also able to easily deliver playable performance with an average of 60fps, making it just 2fps slower than the GeForce GTX 680.


The HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition found Dirt 3 to be a breeze as well, averaging 83fps at 2560x1600 while the HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock managed 71fps making it just 1fps slower than the GeForce GTX 680.


Printed from Legion Hardware (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/his_7970_iceq_xsup2_ghz_edition_7950_iceq_xsup2_boost_clock,8.html)


Benchmarks: Hard Reset, Just Cause 2
HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM


Hard Reset in-game benchmark revealed that the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition was capable of 54fps, while the HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock was slightly slower managing 47fps. The HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition was just able to beat the GeForce GTX 680 which averaged 53fps.


Again we used the in-game benchmark to gauge the performance of these new graphics cards, this time using Just Cause 2. Here we found that HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition was capable of 50fps making it 2fps faster than the GeForce GTX 680 at 2560x1600. The HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock on the other hand rendered 43fps, which was 3fps slower than the GeForce GTX 670.


Printed from Legion Hardware (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/his_7970_iceq_xsup2_ghz_edition_7950_iceq_xsup2_boost_clock,9.html)


Benchmarks: Max Payne 3, Sleeping Dogs
HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM


The HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition averaged 53fps when testing with Max Payne 3 at 2560x1600, while the HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock averaged 47fps. This meant that the 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition was 4fps faster than the GeForce GTX 680, while the 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock was 1fps faster than the GTX 670.


Running the Sleeping Dogs in-game benchmark saw the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition average 28fps, making it 8fps faster than the GeForce GTX 680 while the HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock was 3fps faster than the GTX 680.


Printed from Legion Hardware (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/his_7970_iceq_xsup2_ghz_edition_7950_iceq_xsup2_boost_clock,10.html)


Benchmarks: The Elder Scrolls V, The Witcher 2
HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM


The HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition averaged an impressive 78fps at 2560x1600 when playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim which was 8fps faster than a standard 7970 graphics card. Meanwhile the HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock managed 67fps, making it not only faster than the GeForce GTX 670 but also the GTX 680.


Finally we finish up with The Witcher 2 and here we see that the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition was able to average 60fps, while the HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock averaged 51fps, both were again much faster than their Nvidia counterparts.


Printed from Legion Hardware (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/his_7970_iceq_xsup2_ghz_edition_7950_iceq_xsup2_boost_clock,11.html)


Power Consumption & Temperatures
HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM

Unsurprisingly the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition consumed the same amount of power as a standard 7970 GHz Edition when both at idle and under load. That said, it was also unsurprising to find that the slightly overclocked HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock consumed virtually the same amount of power as a standard 7950 Boost card.

The operating temperatures of the IceQ X Boost graphics cards were impressive, with both the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition and HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock maxing out at just 60 degrees when under full load.

When compared to the standard 7970 GHz Edition graphics card using the AMD reference design the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition was 26% cooler. The Radeon HD 7950 and 7950 Boost cards that we used for testing are both based on HIS IceQ designs so the 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock wasnt able to provide a huge temperature drop as we were not comparing it to reference cards.


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Overclocking Performance
HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM

Using the HIS iTurbo software it is possible to overclock both the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition and 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock with ease. Along with its various overclocking orientated options the iTurbo software also provides the user with a great deal of information about their graphics card as well as the ability to monitor and control the fan speed.

When overclocking the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition we were able to push the core frequency from 1000MHz right up to 1250MHz, while the memory also reached 1600MHz (6.4GHz DDR). The HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock was also an impressive overclocker reaching 1190MHz from 850MHz.

Overclocking these HIS graphics cards paid off as both the 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition and 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock are now the fastest single-GPU graphics cards in Crysis 2 at 1290x1200. The HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition averaged 51fps with our overclock, making it 6% faster, while the 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock became 16% faster.

Again we saw huge performance gains when overclocking these HIS graphics cards using the iTurbo software. This time when testing with Deus Ex: Human Revolution the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition became 8% faster hitting 118fps, while the 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock managed 110fps making it 20% faster!

The HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition became 16% faster at 1920x1200 in Max Payne 3 once overclocked, allowing it to average 86fps. The 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock on the other hand became a whopping 21% faster once overclocked.


Printed from Legion Hardware (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/his_7970_iceq_xsup2_ghz_edition_7950_iceq_xsup2_boost_clock,13.html)


Conclusion
HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock
Posted on: 11/06/2012 04:10 AM

Although pricing isnt entirely clear at the moment, as availability of both the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition and 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock is poor, we believe they will meet the AMD MSRP despite the heavy cooling upgrades.

This means we expect that the 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition will retail for roughly $450, while the 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock should cost $340. When compared to the cards released in January of this year these overclocked versions are fetching a slight price premium. For example a standard 7950 can be had for $300, while the 7970 costs as little as $400.

While on the subject of value we should point out that both the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition and 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock are eligible for the AMD Never Settle gaming bundle. The holiday bundle includes up to three AAA games instead of most past bundles with just one AAA title.

Flexing its partnership muscle, Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs appear in AMD's Never Settle bundle deal. It would be remiss to leave out the 20 percent discount voucher for Medal of Honor Warfighter as well, which takes the bundle value to at least $170.

Those willing to dabble with overclocking will be best of with the vanilla versions of the Radeon HD 7970 and 7950, as we have found they are both capable of reaching the frequencies used by the GHz Edition and Boost Clock cards.

Still the AMD overclocked versions do offer nice performance gains and we consistently found that the 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition was much faster than the standard 7970. When compared to other 7970 GHz Edition cards you can expect the same level of performance from the 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition as HIS has not carried out any factory overclocking of their own.

For the most part the same can be said about the HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock, as its meager 25MHz factory overclock to the boost clock had at best a 1fps increase on performance.

Obviously where these new IceQ X graphics cards come into their own is cooling and both graphics cards demonstrated an incredibly low load temperature of just 60 degrees. This surely helped when it came to overclocking, as both cards were exceptional here reaching new heights.

With the recent release of the AMD Catalyst 12.11 beta drivers which have dramatically boosted performance in a number of popular games, and the never before seen games bundle, it has never been a better time to buy an AMD graphics card. HIS has timed the release of the HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition and 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock graphics cards very well, making them exceptional buys for this Christmas.


HIS 7970 IceQ X GHz Edition

HIS 7950 IceQ X Boost Clock



Printed from Legion Hardware (http://www.legionhardware.com/articles_pages/his_7970_iceq_xsup2_ghz_edition_7950_iceq_xsup2_boost_clock,14.html)