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

Inside the box, under the cooler

As noted in our introduction, the HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ Turbo is significantly different in appearance from the reference design card, mainly thanks to its new cooler. Before we delve into the physical aspects of the card, we'll look at the package and see what you get out of the box.

HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ Turbo

Tucked away under the card is the accessories pack, consisting of two CDs, a case sticker, multi-lingual install guide, long crossfire bridge, and DVI to VGA adapter. The two CDs include the HIS driver, wallpaper, manual, and the HIS iTurbo software for overclocking. The CD package is identical to that of the HD 7870 IceQ X Turbo - outdated. The combination driver/manual/wallpaper CD (labeled version 1122) appears to be from December 2011, before the AMD Radeon HD 7950 launched, and the CD label indicates XP/Vista/7 drivers are included. Additionally, the calendar images on the disc are from 2010, and the backgrounds are generic box art used for the R520, X550, X1300 and X1500 cards. Hopefully any prospective buyers or users of this card know enough to throw out the CD and go searching for drivers from AMD directly, or check the Rage3D Catalyst driver forums.

HIS HD 7950 IceQ Turbo

The design is a tweaked PCB of the original reference design, some extra components and adjusted locations giving away the attention paid to the power delivery circuitry. The card features dual BIOS, so if you're a tinkerer who doesn't care about warranty but still wants a get out of jail card you can indeed make your own BIOS or flash another. If it doesn't work simply move to position 2 and reboot, then flash that BIOS back to position 1 again and you're where you were when you got it.

HIS HD 7950 IceQ Turbo
HIS HD 7950 IceQ Turbo

The cooler uses large diameter heat pipes to move heat away from the nickel plated copper base, and dumps into a large aluminum fin array. The rear mounted blower style fan sucks in air from both sides of it, pushing air across the whole PCB and venting out of the rear of the card and your case, a full slot exhaust like the reference design. The black and silver contasting design looks classy and svelte, offering a bit of bling without being too outlandish.

HIS HD 7950 IceQ Turbo
HIS HD 7950 IceQ Turbo

The memory is cooled by the main cooler as well, and the VRMs get their own heat sinks to help radiate heat away in the air path of the main fain. A stability bracket, part of the VRM cooler, helps keep the card from drooping by bracing it from the backplane to the rear of the card - a welcome touch more AIBs should implement. The default position of the required dual 6-pin PCI-E power inputs is unchanged, remaining side mounted at the back of the card. Physically the card is the same length but a little taller than the reference design, at the rear.

HIS HD 7950 IceQ Turbo
HIS HD 7950 IceQ Turbo

HIS products sold in North America are covered by a 2-year warranty, although this does not cover 'operation of the product outside HIS recommended parameters' which presumably means shipping specifications. However, overclocking is an out-of-the box feature for the IceQ X Turbo, featuring HIS' new iTurbo software, included on a CD (version 1.1.0; we grabbed v1.2.1 from the HIS website). iTurbo starts in a mini mode for simple preset use, with two fan profiles, one for 'cooler' and one for 'quieter' operation. There is an iTurbo button quickly jumping into a preset overclock. Switching to advanced mode unlocks all the options, such as fan control can be set to automatic (managed by the card firmware), manual fixed speed or from custom fan profile. A single click activates either profile, allowing simple and easy switching from media consumption or web surfing in quietude to full on gaming. iTurbo also offers four overclocking profiles, covering GPU clock, memory clock and voltage adjustment, and the option for auto starting with Windows and loading an OC profile with a single click.

HIS iTurbo Mini
HIS iTurbo Home
HIS iTurbo Advanced
HIS iTurbo Fan Profile