HIS Radeon HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Video Card in CrossFire

HIS Radeon HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Video Card in CrossFire

We throw another 4GB HD 7850 into the mix and see how CrossFire performance is with these new bad boys from HIS.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, Mar 19 2013 1:17 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT

Introduction

HIS Radeon HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Video Card in CrossFire 02 | TweakTown.com
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The other day we got the chance to check out the HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB video card and found ourselves impressed with what HIS was able to offer. We were a little skeptical when it came to doubling the memory on a mid-range card. That's no surprise as we find ourselves skeptical on the need to double the memory on the HD 7970 GHz Edition from 3GB to 6GB, as well. The performance difference between both video cards has always been minimal.

We haven't looked a at a ton of CrossFire since we updated our games line up towards the end of last year, so we're looking forward to adding another set of data to our graphs here today. At $279.99 the HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB comes in at a pretty strong price. For a total of $559.98 you should be able to get yourself some strong performance when running two of these HIS cards together.

AMD continue to improve CrossFire performance as the months go on and we're looking forward to seeing how performance looks with the latest Catalyst 13.1 WHQL drivers. Normally there are a few things we need to do before we get into the performance side of things. Because we've already had a look at the HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB in detail, though, we'll simply just be taking the time to have a quick look at GPU-Z to make sure everything looks okay before moving on to our testbed, which will then be followed by us getting stuck into the performance side of things.

If you do want to take a closer look at the card and the bundle then we recommend that you check out our original review of the HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB video card. If you've already looked at it, though, or simply just want to get into the CrossFire performance of this card then let's move onto the testbed now.

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As the title suggests we're dealing with Turbo cards here today which means that they come overclocked out of the box. As we mentioned in our original review, while the 4GB of GDDR5 stays at the default 4800MHz QDR, you can see that the core has been bumped up to an even 1000MHz. The main thing we want to check here is that CrossFire is enabled and as you can see across the bottom it is in the form of two GPUs.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS and Corsair.

Being an X79 based board means that both HIS video cards are both running at x16 / x16.

When it comes to our graphs today one of the main areas we're going to be looking at is the performance difference between the single HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB and the CrossFire setup we're testing today.

Along with that we've got a couple of higher end single GPU solutions including the new Tahiti LE based HD 7870 from both PowerColor and Sapphire with the latter overclocked. We've also got the PowerColor HD 7950 PCS overclocked and the AMD HD 7970 GHz Edition to round out the collection.

The FPS Numbers Explained

When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks.

30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS making sure that you can continue to aim easily or turn the corner with no dramas.

60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.

120 FPS - The new number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.

Benchmarks - 3DMark 11

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Always one of our favorite benchmarks for testing CrossFire setups - not only do we always see quite strong performance gains in both the Performance and Extreme preset, but we also know that CrossFire is indeed working.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3

Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com

Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//

New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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Heaven is another benchmark that makes great use of mutli GPU setups. You can see some strong gains again. We'll get a better idea with what's going on from the next page as we work through our game benchmarks.

Benchmarks - Phantasy Star Online 2

Phantasy Star Online 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.sega.com/?t=EnglishUSA

Product Homepage: http://www.pso2.com/us/html/index.html

Play Phantasy Star Online 2 and experience revolutionary combat in an action-driven, free-to-play multiplayer online RPG from SEGA. Take a journey into an immersive sci-fi fantasy narrative and explore mysterious worlds to unravel their secrets. Join fellow adventurers and fight against the legions of darkness to banish them from the galaxy.

Score explanation: Less than 2000: Please adjust your game settings because the processing load is quite heavy.

2000 through 5000: The game runs fine at the setting, if you have room, you can adjust some settings.

5001+: The game works wonderfully at this setting.

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Checking out PSO performance we see a very strong gain in performance and we get into that 5001+ territory which represents perfect performance.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1

Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/

Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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Lost Planet 2 seems some fantastic gains which nearly doubles performance at all resolutions. We go from just scraping in 60 FPS at 1920 x 1200 by nearly doubling that performance, which gives us a load of headroom.

We also go from unplayable at 2560 x 1600 to very playable with a solid 85 FPS.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Dark Tower

Developer Homepage: http://www.eidos.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.justcause.com/

Just Cause 2 employs the Avalanche Engine 2.0, an updated version of the engine used in Just Cause. The game is set on the other side of the world from the original Just Cause, on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. Panau has varied terrain, from desert to alpine to rainforest. Rico Rodriguez returns as the protagonist, aiming to overthrow the evil dictator Pandak "Baby" Panay and confront his former mentor, Tom Sheldon.

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Just Cause 2 follows the trends of excellent performance gains that equate to nearly 100%. While not all that necessary at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050 with the single card setup performing quite well, at 2560 x 1600, we see a massive leap in performance which makes for some ultra-smooth gameplay.

Benchmarks - F1 2012

F1 2012

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com

In F1 2012 players will feel the unparalleled thrill of becoming a FORMULA ONE driver with a host of new features, wide-ranging technical and gameplay advancements and extensive competitive and co-operative multiplayer components. F1 2012 will feature all of the official teams, drivers and circuits from the 2012 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, including the debut of the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX at Austin, Texas and the return of Germany's famous Hockenheim circuit to the calendar.

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Under F1 2012 you can see we hit a bit of a wall on our setup here. While normally we wouldn't be all that happy about it, a 115 FPS wall is nothing to be worried about. This means that while the lower resolutions don't see much boost, the higher 2560 x 1600 one does indeed see a nice increase.

Benchmarks - Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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Metro 2033 continues the trend of extremely strong gains. We end up with a heap of breathing room at the lower resolutions and moving to 2560 x 1600 sees almost a 100% increase, which means we've got some extremely playable numbers.

Benchmarks - Dirt Showdown

Dirt Showdown

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/dirtshowdown/360/

DiRT Showdown is the new arcade racing game from the team that brought you the award-winning DiRT series, uncaged in 2012. Pick up and play controls combine with electrifying events, frenzied crowds and stunning graphics to deliver high octane, dive in and drive thrills from event one.

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Dirt Showdown also manages to see some fantastic gains across the board. The most appreciated one as usual comes at the highest resolution which sees us move from what we consider an unplayable 44 FPS to a solid 86 FPS resulting in some fantastic game play.

Benchmarks - Nexuiz

Nexuiz

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.alientrap.org/

Product Homepage: http://www.nexuiz.com/

Nexuiz is an Arena First Person shooter coming soon to consoles. Nexuiz is fast paced with extremely competitive game play. IllFonic brings Alientrap Software's Nexuiz to next-gen gaming consoles around the world while staying true to the game play refined over the years through development. IllFonic introduces a new Victorian influenced art style that is simultaneously futuristic and sophisticated. Nexuiz for consoles is powered by CryENGINE 3.

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Probably the one game we truly need the boost in performance and we unfortunately don't get it. Instead performance falls back slightly. Hopefully this is something we see fixed in time as it would be great to see gains of nearly 100% under Nexuiz like the other games.

Benchmarks - Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/

Product Homepage: http://sniperelitev2.com/us/age.html

Sniper Elite V2 features detailed sniping simulation with advanced ballistics, taking into account gravity, wind, velocity, bullet penetration, aim stability and more. Guaranteed to provide players with the most realistic simulation of military sharpshooting yet available.

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Massive gains again across the board resulting in playable numbers now at 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600. That most appreciated gain comes at 2560 x 1600 where we see the single card score 37 FPS to the CrossFire setup getting an extremely solid 74 FPS.

Benchmarks - Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://eu.square-enix.com/en

Product Homepage: http://www.sleepingdogs.net/

The core gameplay of Sleeping Dogs consists of giving the player an open world environment in which to move around freely. Sleeping Dogs is played as an over-the-shoulder, third-person perspective action-adventure game with role-playing elements. The player controls Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer, as he goes undercover to infiltrate the Sun On Yee Triad organization. On foot, the player character has the ability to walk, run, jump, climb over obstacles and swim, as well as use weapons and martial arts in combat. Players also drive a variety of vehicles including cars, boats, and motorcycles.

HIS Radeon HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Video Card in CrossFire 30 | TweakTown.com

You can see our single card setup fell short of the 60 FPS we need at 2560 x 1600. With gains of almost 100%, though, at the highest resolution, we get an extremely solid 105 FPS, which is just awesome.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01

Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long

Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/

Buy It Here

The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

HIS Radeon HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Video Card in CrossFire 31 | TweakTown.com

Far Cry 2 manages to see some extremely strong gains, but on a whole, single GPU performance was already strong, so the extra card doesn't make the game anymore "playable" in this case.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

While we test all our games with maximum in-game settings, turning on Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Antistrophic Filtering (AF) helps take the intensity of our testing to another level.

Here we see video cards go from playable FPS to an unplayable FPS and the real power houses continue to help break that 60 FPS mark we always aim for to provide a smooth gaming experience.

HIS Radeon HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Video Card in CrossFire 32 | TweakTown.com

You can see we had no issue at 1920 x 1200 when we had just the one card installed. Moving to 2560 x 1600, though, we were below where we wanted to be. Throw a second card into the mix and we get a strong gain in performance and just overall very playable numbers.

HIS Radeon HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Video Card in CrossFire 33 | TweakTown.com

Metro 2033 with AA and AF on also sees some strong gains. We manage to move from non-playable numbers to playable ones at 1920 x 1200. At 54 FPS when running at 2560 x 1600, though, you can see we just fall short of that 60 FPS number we're on the hunt for, but a slight graphics detail drop will get us there.

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Just like our non AA / AF tests Just Cause 2 again sees excellent gains. In this case it's enough performance to bring us to very playable numbers at 2560 x 1600 with AA and AF turned on.

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With AA and AF turned on we see gains of pretty much 100% at both resolutions which is fantastic. Unfortunately even 100% gains at 1920 x 1200 mean we still fall shy 5 FPS of that 60 FPS number, but at least we're pretty close.

Temperature Test

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

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Throwing a second card into the mix has a very small effect on the heat of our hottest core. It's a real testament to the quality of the IceQ cooler that HIS use here.

Sound Test

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

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Those low temperatures continue to come at low noise levels. We can't really ask for much more from a cooler.

Power Consumption Test

Using our PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

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Throwing a second card into the mix of course causes our power draw to jump a decent chunk to the mid-400 range under load. If you're buying a setup like this, though, you should have a quality power supply that is more than capable of handling it.

Final Thoughts

CrossFire continues to be an excellent option. You can see that most the time we see massive gains, especially when we need it. The only time we don't see anything is under Nexuiz, which has never played nice with dual GPU setups. We hope that this is something that is fixed in the near future as it's really one game that could benefit a lot from a good increase in performance under CrossFire.

Coming in at $559.98 the HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB CrossFire setup is really quite attractive. We really thought extremely highly of the card when we tested it in single form and we continue to have the same high opinion of the model when we throw a second card into the mix.

The cooler design that HIS opted for with the fan at the back of the card pushing the air directly across the GPU and straight out the back of the case continues to be one of the best solutions when it comes to multi GPU setups. This compares to the standard fan in the middle solution. When it comes to installing two cards, the top card or first card tends to be drawing air from the back of the second card around the GPU area, which is of course the hottest area of the card.

While we see many cards still perform extremely well in this situation due to the fact that a lot of effort has gone into the cooler design, you can't deny that the option that HIS offer with the IceQ card is superior. Along with that it just looks rather good.

CrossFire isn't for everyone and we know that. If you're after a setup though that isn't going to break the bank and going to be fun at the same time, the HD 7850 in CrossFire is an excellent starting point. The jump from the HD 7700 series is nice and you don't need to quite spend HD 7900 series level money times two.

Outside all this the low temperature and noise numbers we're dealing with mean that there's room for overclocking if you want even more performance. If you also want to save a few dollars you can go ahead and pick up the 2GB version of the cards which is going to bring with it similar performance.

We recommended this HIS video card in its single form and we have no issue recommending it in CrossFire form either. If you're looking for a fun, efficient and powerful CrossFire setup that isn't going to break the bank, this continues to be an attractive option.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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