HIS Radeon HD 7850 4GB iPower IceQ Turbo review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 02/18/2013 09:03 AM [ 9 comment(s) ]
Final words and conclusion
We hardly have anything to complain when it comes to HIS graphics cards. Sure one might argue that the looks are a bit sub-par, but that is a matter of taste. Stability and performance wise you never anything to complain and when you opt an IceQ model, sound never is an issue either. That makes their graphics card above average and well respected.
Now we mentioned the looks already, granted ...the card might not be the taste of everybody. HIS really needs to let go of the blue PCB color. Mainstream and high-end graphics card should have a black PCB, period. The IceQ cooler again is a bit of a taste thing, some love it, others hate it, and again others don't care as the card is tucked away inside the PC anyways. But yeah we'll leave that up-to you to decide. That cooler does its job really well though.
Directly related to the cooling are the noise levels. With one card installed you are absolutely fine. In idle you can barely hear the cooling solution and under stress, well you can hardly hear airflow and that's it really. With two cards installed the temps rise a little due to more limited airflow, but both cards stay under 65 Degrees C with a measured noise level hovering at 41 DBa, these are downright respectable numbers, and with one card installed ... we doubt you'd ever hear the card.
The Radeon HD 7800 never has been a power hungry product, as such you may expect a power draw of 100 to 110 Watt per graphics card. So again that is not an issue. Obviously you need to add to that the processor, memory, motherboard and other peripheral devices but our recommendation stands at a 500 Watt power supply, even with a decent overclock.
Multi GPU modes
If you want to go a little bit more nuts then you can install two of these cards in Crossfire mode. Now with the recent ARES II tests we learned once again that when you pass 2 GPUs things get increasingly complicated. Two GPUs however are the sweet spot. All of our tested games and synthetic benchmarks kicked in nicely and showed impressive scaling. AMD is hard at work on solving a few latency issues though, so we hope that very soon that is a problem resting in the past as well. But as it stands, I can recommend this setup alright. Honestly I haven't been talking much in this review about the fact that the tested cards today have 4GB framebuffer. Realistically it is a very nice number, but the benefits stop there. 2GB is sufficient enough for a mainstream graphics card. You can't see any performance benefit unless you pass 2560x1600 combined with silly high AA levels ... and at such resolutions we doubt very much you'd be opting a Radeon HD 7850 based graphics solution. It is a cool feature though and we are certain that in the following year there will be a title that eats more than 2 GB (GTA anyone?). But realistically, overall you are going to see very little benefit from going from 2GB towards 4GB unless you'd be in the extreme resolution ranges.
Overclocking then, we notice okay results. The two 6-pin power headers indicate that the board is allowed to do a little then usual. Unfortunately there is a lock (maximum clock frequency) at 1050 MHz, which we feel is on the low side. We have no doubt that with the current power and PCB design this card could easily even do 1150~1200 MHz. We also know that AMD is very strict about this, so the problem might lie therein. Regardless combined with a memory overclock 5800 MHz (effective data-rate) and the power limiter upped with another 20% you can squeeze say another 10% performance out of these cards which at that state are still running cool and quiet.
These cards are going to sell in the 200 EUR / 225 USD range, for that money you will get a very decent mid-ranger that can play all the latest games at very acceptable image quality settings with very acceptable framerates, that all at a resolution of 1920x1080/1200. Whilst the 4 GB is not going to help you heaps in performance, it won't hurt either. You owever will benefit from the stock 1GHz clock which is far away from the default 860 Mhz core clock frequency. Combined with a cooler that keeps the product silent and chilled down to excellent temps you will not have anything to complain about really.
It's time to wrap it up, the product carries 4GB graphics memory but stays at the 200 EUR level which is good, remember that alongside the factory overclock anyone with a monitor up-to 1920x1080 will get 'okay enough' performance. Priced at 200 EUR we feel it's a fair deal we can recommend. AMD also has a promotion going, if you purchase a 7850 card you will receive free games. Read more about that here. Basically you'll receive BioShock Infinite and Tomb raider 2013 for free, that's just awesome value and as such the product definitely is recommended if it suits your budget and needs.
We test and review the a HIS Radeon HD 7950 HIS IceQ X, this 30 CM sized beast is one heck of a graphics card. Custom PCB, custom cooling, it's low noise and being a Boost edition card series, it clocks in at 950 MHz.
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