HIS has put together a really nice video card here with the Radeon HD 7970 3GB IceQ X2. We're a huge fan of the cooler that HIS are using on its new high-end models and while this is of course not the first time we've seen the IceQ X2 cooler, it continues to impress us. The fan noise levels sit in the upper half, but cooling numbers sit directly in the middle of the pack. What's probably really impressive is the idle number that sees the video card sitting at just 28c.
The main thing to remember is while this video card does run a little louder than other options we're dealing with a card that was overclocked to over 1200MHz on the core. With the increased voltage that's of course going to bring with it added heat which in turn makes the fan work a bit harder making it a little louder.
Moving away from the cooling side of things and looking at the "iPower" side, we think this is a good feature. Anything that improves the quality of the card and can help give it better overclocking is always a good thing. The issue we have with iPower at the moment is the lack of promotion. While the IceQ X2 cooler is of course an extremely strong feature, the new iPower feature that HIS has bought to the table is also a very strong one that needs to be highlighted better.
This is one of the main features that HIS want to promote on the latest crop of AMD based video cards, but the problem is they're not even promoting it on the box in any form. We've expressed this with HIS and we're pretty sure we'll see the company do something about it in the near future. For now, though, the only way people really know they're getting a card that is more than just a reference based one with a new cooler is via these reviews or closer inspection on the HIS website.
As for performance it performs as you'd expect. Out of the box you're going to see it perform like a normal GHz Edition HD 7970 due to the simple fact it carries with it the reference clock speeds. Where it really shines, though, is in the overclocking side of things as we push the core over 1200MHz. We see some great numbers in our benchmarks and we manage to get some extra breathing room when compared to the reference GHz Edition as we move into the higher end of the 60 FPS realm or break into the 70 FPS area.
As for the bundle side of things it's as you'd expect, fairly light. Apart from the Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort connector included in the package, there's not much else outside the standard happenings. This is fairly standard these days as we continue to see companies offer less and less in video card bundles as they let the actual product do all the talking.
If you're a little worried that the HD 7900 series is going to be replaced soon with something higher end form AMD (i.e. HD 8000 series models), like we said earlier, you shouldn't be worried. We continue to hear from partners that the roadmap shows nothing on the high-end front coming in the first half of this year. So, if you're looking for a high-end single GPU solution, this is an extremely strong option. At $609.99 it's not a cheap option, but it's a strong option due to the great custom design that HIS is offering.