HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ Turbo Video Card Review



Product: HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ Turbo Video Card
Company: HIS
Author: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: September 26th, 2012

Power, Temperature, Noise

We measured power for the whole system using a Kill-a-Watt P3 meter, recording desktop idle (zero core power mode) and gaming load. Our gaming load is a 10 iteration loop of 3DMark 11 GPU test 2, run at extreme settings. The highest value seen in the last run is recorded (10 run used to get everything good and hot like a gaming session). We used CPUID's HWMonitor to record minimum and maximum GPU temperature values.

Power and Temps

The Boost firmware uses an extra 22W but increases GPU temperature only 2C; PowerTune Boost appears to allow the card to do more work at the same thermal design point. The IceQ Turbo splits the difference between the two, running 11W more than the reference card and 11W less than the Boosted 7950, while staying nearly 20C cooler and being much, much quieter at the same time.

The increase in clock speed and voltage of the HIS IceQ Turbo shows up as a 34W difference in gaming power, quite low compared to the 78W increase the Boost card demonstrates with 1200Mhz/1.262v and +20% powertune, against default Boost settings.

Crossfire Power and Temps

All Crossfire results were performed with both cards at the same speeds: using Ref 7950 speeds [800e/1250m]; HIS IceQ Turbo speeds [900e/1250m] and HIS Overclock speeds [1085e/1775m].

Adding a second card only increases idle power by 2W, reinforcing AMD's ZeroCore Power claims of a sub 3W idle for both additional cards and primary cards in display blank mode. CrossFireX increases stock power draw by 70%, an increase of 154W. CrossFireX IceQ clocks increases power by 73% over the IceQ, and 82% over reference single card. At 532W, the dual overclocked system is using 100% more power than with a single overclocked IceQ GPU.

Noise

The HIS IceQ design is very good at quiet and effective cooling, with one draw back - size. The card is only slightly longer than a reference design but taller thanks to the heatpipes and more bulky because of the raised blower fan design at the rear.

HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ Turbo vs. Reference 7950

In operation at idle the cooler is all but silent, and you can tweak the fan profile to your heart's content with the included software. Full speed fan operation is noticeable but never required even when overclocking, thanks to the excellent design of the cooler. It's not silent at gaming temperatures but definitely a tremendous improvement over the stock design while still never being intrusive or annoying. To maintain mid-80C temperatures at the overclocked setting, the stock fan is very intrusive and loud. Even overclocked and overvolted, the HIS IceQ Turbo is quieter and cooler than a reference HD 7950 card.