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

Summary & Award

The HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ Turbo offers a useful factory overclock with a fantastic heatsink and fan design, overcoming all the deficiencies of AMD's reference design. It's unfazed by AMD's new Boost firmware, showing parity or a small performance lead in general. The cooler is wonderfully quiet and restrained, and the engineering effort gone into the little touches on the card are welcomed, like the combined VRM and stiffness bracket.

Any problems we have with this card, we also have with the AMD Radeon HD 7950 line-up in general, or can point to driver or game issues. As a representative of the AMD Radeon HD 7950 series, the HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ Turbo should definitely be on your short list at the ~$300 price point. The latest price reductions and incentives from AMD mean that this card is now dropping into the gamer's sweet spot, where it's a hoss that's hard to match for value, performance and features.

Speaking of features, we noticed that, with AMD Catalyst 12.8, owners of Radeon HD 7900 series cards can now utilize AMD Steady Video on any platform, not restricted to all AMD platforms anymore. This is a welcome move, and one that we asked for when we attended AMD's Fusion Developer Summit 2012 in Bellevue, WA., earlier this year. AMD Steady Video uses the GPU to remove shake and wobble from videos in real time, for both streaming and local playback content. When talking with AMD at AFDS '12, it just didn't make sense to use that users of a $50 APU could get that part but users of $500 GPU's couldn't, without an AMD processor. AMD appears to have taken that point on board and for the 7900 series at least, allowed Steady Video for all platforms.

The HIS IceQ's cooler design means it might be tough to fit two side-by-side in the normal double spaced PCI Express Graphics (PEG) slots, as the rear fan protrudes slightly. In our test fitting we found it was possible to slide two cards side by side but they are slightly slanted in their slots, which is non-optimal. However, we find most owners of dual GPU systems use triple spaced slots as the mainboards they use offer most bandwidth that way, so possibly only potential triple GPU owners will be really concerned, but it's worth noting nonetheless.

We award the HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ Turbo four and a half stars, held back from a five star rating only because there is no in-box game coupon and it's shortly to be replaced by a Boost clock variant. If you're in the market for a HD 7950, grab an IceQ Turbo if you can.