What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

HIS HD 6970 IceQ Turbo & HD 6950 IceQ X Turbo X Review

Status
Not open for further replies.

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Lost Planet 2 (DX11)

Lost Planet 2 (DX11)


Lost Planet is a game that was originally released on consoles but in its port over to the PC, it gained some highly impressive DX11 features. For this benchmark, we forgo the two built-in tools and instead use a 2 minute gameplay sequence from the second level in the first chapter. The reason we use this level is because it makes use of three elements that are seen throughout the game world: jungles, water and open terrain.



1680 x 1050





1920 x 1200





2560 x 1600



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Metro 2033 (DX11)

Metro 2033 (DX11)


There has been a lot of buzz about Metro 2033 which has mostly centered on its amazing graphics coupled with absolutely brutal framerates on even the best GPUs on the market. For this test we use a walkthrough and combat scene from The Bridge level which starts at the beginning of the level and lasts for about 3 minutes of walking, running and combat. Famerates are measured with FRAPS and Advanced PhysX is turned off.


1680 x 1050



1920 x 1200



2560 x 1600

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Unigine: Heaven v2.0 (DX11)

Unigine: Heaven v2.0 (DX11)


Unigine’s Heaven benchmark is currently the de-facto standard when it comes to simple, straightforward DX11 performance estimates. While it is considered a synthetic benchmark by many, it is important to remember that no less than four games based on this engine will be released within the next year or so. In this test we will be using a standard benchmark run with and without tessellation enabled at three resolutions,


1680 x 1050





1920 x 1200





2560 x 1600



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
8xMSAA Testing

8xMSAA Testing


In this section we take a number of games we have tested previously in this review and bring things to the next level by pushing the in-game MSAA up to 8x. All other methodologies remain the same.

BattleField: Bad Company 2 (DX11)
Note that 8x MSAA is enabled via the game’s config file for the NVIDIA cards since it is not a selectable option within the game menu



Dirt 2 (DX11)



F1 2010 (DX11)



Just Cause 2 (DX10)

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Temperature & Acoustics / Power Consumption

Temperature Analysis


For all temperature testing, the cards were placed on an open test bench with a single 120mm 1200RPM fan placed ~8” away from the heatsink. The ambient temperature was kept at a constant 22°C (+/- 0.5°C). If the ambient temperatures rose above 23°C at any time throughout the test, all benchmarking was stopped. For this test we use the 3DMark Batch Size test at its highest triangle count with 4xAA and 16xAF enabled and looped it for one hour to determine the peak load temperature as measured by GPU-Z.

For Idle tests, we let the system idle at the Windows 7 desktop for 15 minutes and recorded the peak temperature.



The temperature results shown by these two cards weren’t surprising in the least considering their high end heatsink designs. Unfortunately, neither achieved their stated goal of 20 degrees cooler than the reference heatsink but the IceQ design looks to be paying dividends here.


Acoustical Testing


Yes, we have finally added decibel testing to our repertoire and this section will expand in future reviews. What you see below are the baseline idle dB(A) results attained for a relatively quiet open-case system (specs are in the Methodology section) sans GPU along with the attained results for each individual card in idle and load scenarios. The meter we use has been calibrated and is placed at seated ear-level exactly 12” away from the GPU’s fan. For the load scenarios, a loop of Unigine Heave 2.5 is used in order to generate a constant load on the GPU(s) over the course of 20 minutes.


Let’s start this section off with the star of the show: the HD 6950 IceQ X Turbo X. Regardless of its overclocked core and memory this was actually one of the quietest cards we have ever tested which is certainly impressive when you consider the temperatures it achieves. Some serious respect has to be given to HIS’ engineers on this one.

The HD 6970 IceQ Turbo on the other hand was a bit of a disappointment since it wasn’t as quiet as HIS had promised. That’s not to say it is loud either but if you are using 1200RPM fans in your case, be prepared for this card to make itself heard.


System Power Consumption


For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we once again use the Batch Render test in 3DMark06 and let it run for 30 minutes to determine the peak power consumption while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 30 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption. We have also included several other tests as well.

Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.


The power consumption numbers were as expected with two custom cooled GPUs using lower temperatures to stabilize efficiency.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Overclocking Results

Overclocking Results


Overclocking these two cards wasn’t all that hard and as we said in the introduction: AMD’s board partners seem to be overly cautious when increasing clock speeds on their flagship products. With that being said, the additional performance granted by our overclocks did go a long way towards closing the gap between the HIS Turbo cards and their competition.

HIS HD 6970 IceQ Turbo

Core Clock: 969Mhz
Memory Clock: 5844Mhz (QDR)


HIS HD 6950 IceQ X Turbo X

Core Clock: 955Mhz
Memory Clock: 5492Mhz (QDR)


 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Conclusion

Conclusion


Since we haven’t reviewed all that many overclocked AMD GPUs, it is a bit hard to determine where these two HIS cards fall in terms of overall performance against the competition. But that doesn’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. Why? Because for whatever reason, we feel that AMD’s board partners have been overly conservative when it comes to pre-overclocking their higher end products. Take for example the HIS HD 6970 IceQ Turbo: a 20 MHz core speed bump and memory that’s only 100 MHz faster than reference actually make it one of the fastest HD 6970 cards on the market barring the impossible to find MSI Lightning. The same can be said of the HD 6950 IceQ X Turbo X since it sports minimal overclocks yet boasts the highest clock speeds of any readily available HD 6950.

So now that performance against their immediate competition has been not so firmly established, let’s break these two cards apart and discuss their viability in the current market. The HIS HD 6970 IceQ promises lower temperatures and a quieter computing experience than the reference card and for the most part it achieves these goals. We weren’t expecting all that much from its oddball heatsink design and yet it succeeded in knocking a good 11 degrees off the temperature of the stock HD 6970. Unfortunately, this is a far cry from HIS’ claimed 23 degree improvement and the IceQ fan is anything but silent (yet still quieter than the stock version’s). Unfortunately, the main issue with this card may be its price. It may not be the highest priced HD 6970 on the market but the IceQ Turbo runs quite close to the less expensive and quieter GTX 570. Granted, at higher resolutions this HD 6970 has a substantial edge, but for anyone gaming on a 24” or smaller monitor it is a bit hard to recommend, especially with its relatively short 2 year warranty.

We may not be all that high on HIS’ HD 6970 IceQ Turbo but the HD 6950 IceQ X Turbo X is another matter altogether. A price that allows it to brush up against HD 6970 and GTX 570 territory could give many potential consumers the justification to look elsewhere but in our opinion that would be a huge mistake. Granted, this HIS card’s name may be a mouthful and its performance isn’t particularly earth shattering but this is one of the quietest cards we have ever tested. What makes this achievement all the more impressive is the fact that temperatures were impressively low as well. For a sub-$300 graphics card, the IceQ X Turbo X provides an excellent all-round gaming experience without breaking the bank.

While both of these HIS products can be considered excellent choices if you are in the market for an AMD card, we feel that the HD 6950 IceQ X Turbo X stole the show. It may have lost out in performance to its bigger brother yet the near silence, compact design and very low temperatures this card brings to the table has allowed it to win our Dam Good Award.



 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Latest posts

Twitter

Top