1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

****HIS HD 7970 X Turbo IceQ X² 3GB GFX Review****

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by stulid, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. stulid

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: Jan 17, 2010

    Posts: 66,849

    Location: weston-super-mare

    [​IMG]


    Product homepage - http://www.hisdigital.com/gb/product2-730.shtml


    I have here a HIS 7970 X Turbo 3GB (with Boost) IceQ X² GFX card for show.

    A little bit about HIS,

    This particular card has a core speed of 1120MHz with a boost clock of 1180MHz which from a look around at competitor cards I think is the fastest clocked out of the box, the RAM is clocked at the same 1.5GHz (6GHz) as found on reference AMD GHz cards. Besides theses clock speeds the card also features a IceQ X2 cooling solution and even better, support for six screen Eyefinity. This is achieved by HIS fitting two extra mini-displayports and also a button on the rear of the card that will flip between five and six screen support by turning the dual link DVI port into a single link connection.


    The power circuitry of the card is also redesigned and now features 18+1+1 power phases, the card requires two 8pin PCI-E power cables to run.


    Box and accessories.

    [​IMG]

    Included in the box are,

    • Dirt Showdown voucher.
    • Crossfire bridge.
    • DVI-VGA adapter.
    • Installation disk and envelope.
    • Active mini-displayport to single link DVI adapter (an accessory worth £24 - http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX-058-HS&groupid=1929&catid=1757).
    • Weight lifter.


    The card.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    300mm in length.


    [​IMG]

    The display connectors, the blue button is the 5 to 6 screen Eyefinity switch, it achieves this by turning the dual link DVI port into a single link and then it can run the extra mini-displayport.


    [​IMG]

    This card requires two 8pin PCI-E connectors.


    [​IMG]

    Wish the PCB was black as black goes with everything.


    [​IMG]

    These are the power phase LED's, it changes from green-yellow-red depending on the load.


    [​IMG]

    Six voltage read points, but for a strange design reason they are not labelled on this side of the PCB.


    [​IMG]

    The IceQ X2 cooler fitted to this card uses two 89mm fans.


    [​IMG]

    Copper base and five heatpipes (3x 6mm and 2x 8mm).

    The card is nice and quiet with the fan control set to auto within the included software, the average RPM is around 1800RPM and increasing to approximately 2200RPM during benchmark runs when I overclocked the card.

    The maximum fan speed available is 3900RPM.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    The power circuitry.


    [​IMG]

    Tahiti XT core features 2,048 stream processors.


    [​IMG]



    Fan noise.

    Below is a video I have made of me manually adjusting the fan speed and hopefully giving some impression of what to expect. The card while gaming never gets loud at the stock clocks and remains in the lower speed range as shown by the green LED glow.

    The LED goes from green-Blue-Purple-Red as the speed increases.




    Temperatures.

    The temperatures below were the maximum reached while gathering the fps data by GPU-Z logging the sensors.

    [​IMG]


    Overclocking.

    I used the iTurbo utility to overclock this card, the latest is available to download here - http://www.hisdigital.com/gb/download.shtml

    This looks like a very easy to use and understand tweaking program with a good voltage range for the core and memory.

    [​IMG]

    Pressing the iTurbo button increases the speeds from 1180/1500MHz for the core and memory to 1191/1515Mhz respectively.

    The cooler and quiter mode just alters the fan speed settings.

    [​IMG]

    But for some reason the actual performance of the card decreased a little bit compared to when it is at the boosted speed of 1180/1500MHz, I tried raising the power limit, messing with the voltages wondering if that was causing this odd performance drop, but it had zero effect.


    Deciding to overclock the card myself I was able to get the card fully stable in all games and benchmarks with the following settings, but your own results may vary.

    Core clock = 1275MHz
    VDDC = 1312mV
    Memory clock = 1675MHz (6700MHz effective)
    MVDDC = 1531mV
    Board power limit = +20%


    Not too bad, but being braver and deciding to do a few suicide runs I was able to get the card to 1285MHz/1700MHz (6800MHz effective) with more VDDC/MVDDC and then run the new 3Dmark benchmark - http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/519337

    Then with the core at 1300MHz and the memory at 1740MHz (6960MHz) I ran Unigine Heaven Benchmark,

    [​IMG]

    And then I ran the 3Dmark11 benchmark - http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/6395431

    These tests completed without any artefacts visible on screen.

    Also please note that I certainly am not an "extreme" overclocker, but even so, I am more than happy with the above results.


    Performance.

    Fraps was used where an in-built benchmark was not available and this recorded the framerate for 60 seconds.

    The (OC) results below are at the 1275MHz core and 1675MHz memory settings used above.

    Alan Wake is maxed out.

    Unigen Heaven4.0 and Valley tests were run at the same setting as used in the GFX card forum, then ran again at a higher 1920X1200 resolution which is the max of my monitor.

    Bioshock Infinite is maxed out.

    Tomb Raider is maxed out.

    Dirt3 is maxed out but for 8xmsaa for the 7970 and 8xqcsaa for the GTX670 according to the results file.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Image quality.

    Below are some ingame screenshots captured by FRAPS in BMP format.

    The top one of each pair is from the 7970, the second is from the GTX670.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Final thoughts.

    I have been using this card for a month now and have played through some of the latest games on the market, the 7970 has absolutely eaten them up at very high if not maximum detail settings with a good dollop of AA+AF included for good measure and also at an above average resolution of 1920X1200 (1920X1080 being the most common screen size used today), the playing experience has been spot on. It is well reported that prior to the latest handful of drivers the ATI cards have been accused of frame lagging/spiking and not giving as good as experience compared to an equivalent Nvidia card. As I only ever used Catylst 13.3beta2 and then beta3 I never experienced this frame spiking in games.

    The HIS 7970 X Turbo IceQ is the fastest out-of-the-box 7970 avalible with excellent stock speeds yet with room enough to overclock even higher. The cooler is absolutely fantastic with strong performance and low noise during my testing and gaming.


    Pros.

    • Superb performance out of the box.
    • Excellent cooling solution.
    • Good overclocking/Voltage unlocked.


    Cons.

    • Not cheap.
    • Need a higher resolution monitor or Eyefinity setup to make the most of the card.
    • Blue PCB may not be to everyones taste.


    [​IMG]


    Thanks to Ethermaster for the graph design.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  2. arc@css

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 8, 2008

    Posts: 26,210

    I really enjoyed reading the review, Stulid. Good job. :cool:

    Imo, it's quite a nice looking card, with decent acoustics to match.

    Thanks.
     
  3. stulid

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: Jan 17, 2010

    Posts: 66,849

    Location: weston-super-mare

    It certainly is a quiet cooling solution in everyday use.

    The other HIS cards that use this cooler will also be nice and quiet too.
     
  4. tommybhoy

    Capodecina

    Joined: Mar 30, 2010

    Posts: 11,495

    Location: Under The Stairs!

    Well written review, great info for those interested, but, some Nvidia favoured titles would have made it a more fair head to head shootout.:)
     
  5. LtMatt

    Caporegime

    Joined: Jul 12, 2007

    Posts: 31,468

    Location: United Kingdom

    Great review Stulid.

    That is a really powerful 7970 it seems looking at those pictures and pcb. Its a shame that it doesn't have vrm temp monitoring, seems odd given the obvious quality of the card.

    Can't believe how far behind the 670 is.

    I have to say though that fan sounded so loud once ramped up. I must have got used to the accelero fans i guess as that probably makes any gpu fan sound loud when compared to them.

    So whats the future for this card Stulid? Are you keeping it or going back to your 670?
     
  6. Kaapstad

    Man of Honour

    Joined: May 21, 2012

    Posts: 27,749

    Location: Dalek flagship

    Nice Review.:)

    OCUK product page link ?
     
  7. arc@css

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 8, 2008

    Posts: 26,210

    'Stulid Award'

    :D
     
  8. stulid

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: Jan 17, 2010

    Posts: 66,849

    Location: weston-super-mare


    The 670 is my own personal card that I paid for, this 7970 will now go back. I have had Nvidia cards going way back,

    GTX570
    GTX290
    GTX260 (216 core)
    ATI 4870 (sent back after a week as it was awful and crap drivers at the time, replaced with the above GTX260)
    6800gt
    etc
     
  9. LtMatt

    Caporegime

    Joined: Jul 12, 2007

    Posts: 31,468

    Location: United Kingdom

    Pff they should let you keep it. A golden clocker that will be lost forever to who knows where. :(
     
  10. GoogalyMoogaly

    Soldato

    Joined: Aug 29, 2010

    Posts: 6,818

    Location: Cornwall

    Is it frametimes that is used to display the reported stuttering? (I say reported as I have no first hand experience)
    If so could you include graphs of this to compare with the 670?
    It's one of the things that makes me nervous about switching to AMD cards, so some graphs showing that the new drivers have 'fixed' it would be reassuring.

    Of course the other issue I have is that my 3 120Hz monitors don't have display ports so I have to buy the silly expensive mini-DP to Dual Link DVI adaptors.
     
  11. stulid

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: Jan 17, 2010

    Posts: 66,849

    Location: weston-super-mare

  12. Kaapstad

    Man of Honour

    Joined: May 21, 2012

    Posts: 27,749

    Location: Dalek flagship

    Sorry I did not realise the one in stock was a different version.:)

    At the moment I am not looking for any new GPUs, I have one or two that will keep me busy for a while.:D:)
     
  13. stulid

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: Jan 17, 2010

    Posts: 66,849

    Location: weston-super-mare


    I would do but the card is now in its box ready for collection.

    All I can do is assure you that for the 5 weeks I have had it I have played from start to finish some games and not noticed anything untoward onscreen.

    Also I think the frame spiking issue with included graphs has been covered before in other thrreads on this forum (maybe for the release of the Catylyst driver that solved it?).
     
  14. Gibbo

    Commissario

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 30,356

    Location: OcUK HQ

    Hi there

    We unfortunately already sold all the stock HIS made, we shall enquire if they can get more for us.