HIS Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card Overclocked Review

We overclock the HIS Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and see how much performance we can get out of it.
@TweakTown
Published Wed, Jul 18 2012 11:23 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 89%Manufacturer: HIS

Introduction and Package

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It's not uncommon for companies to offer multiple variants of models and HIS is no different to others. Alongside the IceQ and IceQ X models we've seen from the company, we also have a cheaper variant of the model that moves away from the well-known IceQ and IceQ X names we've known about for a long time from HIS.

If you want to get in on an AMD Radeon HD 7870 and don't want to spend the extra money associated with those fancier coolers, then the version we have on our hands today could be an option as it's cheaper than the other options that HIS offer while also cheaper than what we see from some other companies.

Before we look at the performance there's a few things we need to look at starting off with the package and bundle HIS has put together. Once we've done that we'll move onto the video card itself and check out the specifications. Because we've looked at a few HD 7870 GHz cards already as well we'll be overclocking the card today to see how much extra performance we're able to get out of it.

We'll move onto the testbed side of things, cover the cards we'll be using in our graphs today and start getting into the performance side of things to see what the overclock did for performance before we finally wrap everything up in our final thoughts. As we just said, though, let's get into the package.

Package

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Having a look at the box there's nothing too much out of the ordinary going on with the fact we're not dealing with an IceQ card. You can see HIS is promoting their iTurbo software while the back simply goes into the specific features that are on offer from the HD 7870 GHz Edition.

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Moving inside we've got a driver CD along with another CD that includes the iTurbo overclocking software. Along with that we've also got a quick install guide, HIS sticker, CrossFire bridge and DVI to VGA connector to round out the bundle.

The Card and Specifications

The Card

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Having a look at the video card we can see HIS has gone for a design which moves the fan to the middle instead of to the right hand side like we see out of the IceQ cooler. If we look a little closer we can see a pair of copper heatpipes that come out the middle where a large aluminum heatsink sits.

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Taking a quick spin around you can see towards the back we've got two 6-pin PCIe power connectors while closer to the front you can see we've got a single CrossFire connector that allows us to run up to two of these cards together for added performance.

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The I/O department finds a Dual-Link DVI port along with a full size HDMI port and two Mini DisplayPort connectors to round out the connectivity side of things. With the two Mini DP connectors it would've been nice to see at least one Mini DP to DP connector in the bundle, but there isn't. So in the event you want to make use of DisplayPort connectivity straight away, you'll no doubt want to look into buying an adapter.

Specifications

Out of the box the HIS HD 7870 GHz Edition card we've got on hand follows the reference clock speeds. That means the core comes in at 1000MHz as the "GHz Edition" name would suggest while the 2GB of GDDR5 carries a clock speed of 4800MHz QDR.

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Because we've already looked at quite a few HD 7870s we figured today we'd look at the overclocking side of things on this model to see just what kind of performance we're able to get out of the card.

Looking above you can see we pushed the core up to 1170MHz while the 2GB of GDDR5 was pushed to 5400MHz QDR. This is a nice boost in clocks and we should see some nice performance gains.

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.

We'll be including a bunch of cards as always in out graphs today to see just what kind of performance we're able to get out of the overclocked HIS HD 7870 GHz Edition video card. We've got the older HD 6950 along with the HD 7770, HD 7850 and HD 7870 of course to let us know a direct comparison between a stock clocked version and our overclocked one here today.

We've also got the HD 7950 and HD 7970 to see how close we can get to the higher end models that AMD offer. We've also got a couple of video cards from NVIDIA including the GTX 560 Ti, GTX 570 and GTX 580 to round off our collection of video cards here today.

Let's get started!

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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Straight away we can see the kind of performance boost the overclock offers us with numbers that sit ahead of everything, but the top end HD 7970. You can see we've even got a nice performance boost over the higher end HD 7950.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.5

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 paints a similar picture with some excellent gains again seen. You can see, though, that we're behind the HD 7950 in this case. The main reason for that tends to be the smaller 256-bit memory bus that's on offer with the HD 7800 series card verse the 384-bit that's seen on the HD 7900 series.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo

Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test

Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx

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

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. The game is the sequel to Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., released in 2009.

The game begins with Colonel David Crenshaw participating in a routine patrol mission in the Middle East. After halting an insurgent attack, a volley of missiles is fired at the Air Force base that Crenshaw was stationed at, with one of the missiles disabling Crenshaw's aircraft, resulting Crenshaw being in enemy captivity. A joint strike force composed of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and a Ghost Recon squad executes an operation to rescue Crenshaw. In Scotland, Royal Navy Pilot Colin Munro encounters an unidentified passenger aircraft that explodes from an on-board bomb when undergoing training exercise. In Russia, an air force squadron led by Colonel Denisov and Captain Dmitri Sokov engages separatist aircraft but is ordered to retreat from the region after numerous Russian military installations have been attacked.

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Looking at H.A.W.X. 2 numbers we can see some great performance that puts us almost on top of the HD 7970. We're a little behind it, but barely by anything as you can see from the above graph.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/

Buy It Here

Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

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Mafia II performance is extremely strong and we can see that we're again ahead of the HD 7950 in this case. You can see at the highest resolution we manage to move further away from that 60 FPS mark we always aim for which makes sure gameplay is super smooth.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo

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 sees some really strong gains and you can see we're sitting around the same level as the HD 7950. At the highest resolution we also see a gain of around 15% over the reference clocked card. Looking above, though, you can see we're still unfortunately under that 60 FPS mark we aim for. Fortunately the numbers below that look great and you can see at 1920 x 1200 we moved from 62 FPS to 71 FPS.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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

Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/

Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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A lot like Lost Planet 2 we see some excellent performance that puts us in line with the HD 7950. Again, though, you can see while we've got a nice 15% boost at the highest resolution, it's not enough to bring that number above 60 meaning that we would consider the game unplayable.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.2

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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Continuing the strong gains that we've seen all along this one is quite a significant one as we look at Just Cause 2 2560 x 1600 performance. Looking above you can see the reference card pulled an average of 56 FPS while the HD 7950 does 59 FPS. Overclocked you can see our HIS HD 7870 GHz Edition pulls off an impressive and very playable 67 FPS.

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 performance sits around the same level as the HD 7950 again. Unfortunately that means our 2560 x 1600 numbers are too low. The good news is the overclocked HIS HD 7870 GHz Edition card has no trouble with resolutions below that.

Benchmarks - Dirt 3

Dirt 3

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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

Product Homepage: http://www.dirt3game.com/

DiRT 3 boasts more cars, more locations, more routes and more events than any other game in the series, including over 50 rally cars representing the very best from five decades of the sport. With more than double the track content of 2009's hit, DiRT 3 will see players start at the top as a professional driver, with a top-flight career in competitive off-road racing complimented by the opportunity to express themselves in Gymkhana-style showpiece driving events.

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Dirt 3 performance is very strong and you can see playable FPS across the board with just some great numbers being seen.

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.

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Far Cry 2 performance is really strong across the board and you can see some awesome gains from the overclocked card here.

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.

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While we have no issues under Mafia II and Far Cry 2 you can see that performance is still behind that 60 FPS number we aim for under the ever intensive Aliens vs. Predator benchmark.

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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Overclocked you can see the HIS HD 7870 GHz Edition video card gets pretty warm climbing nearly to the top of the chart. Of course this model isn't using the same high-end cooler that we see on the IceQ and IceQ X models from HIS.

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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Noise levels aren't too bad. You can see we're sitting in the top half of the graph, but they're still pretty good.

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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Power draw is good and most people should find themselves with a power supply that is capable of handling these kinds of numbers. Anything in the 600 Watt+ region isn't going to have an issue.

Final Thoughts

This version of the HD 7870 GHz Edition from HIS might not be as fancy as the IceQ and IceQ X version we've looked at in the past and it also might not carry the overclock that we've seen out of the Turbo and Turbo X models, but the biggest advantage to this model, though, comes in the form of the price.

Listed at $299.99 it's the cheapest HIS HD 7870 on offer and with a current rebate being offered you can get the price down to $269.99 making it look even more attractive. Combined with the performance you're able to get when it comes to overclocking, this looks to be a really good buy.

The area that the HIS HD 7870 GHz Edition is the weakest in is the same area we see most companies weak in; the bundle. There's not a whole lot going on in the package and since we've got two Mini DisplayPort ports included on the card, it would've been nice to see at least one MiniDP to DP connector included in the bundle.

Outside of the bundle, though, the HIS HD 7870 GHz Edition does a good job of ticking all the right boxes. Out of the box performance is what you'd expect with a reference clocked card, but when overclocked we see performance that sits between a stock clocked HD 7950 and HD 7970 for again a really good price.

The cooler also does a good job and while it does run warm when overclocked so high, it manages to still be quiet at the same time. If you're happy for a bit of extras noise you could always adjust the fan profile to run a bit louder. The new HIS iTurbo software is also really good and we look forward to more revisions of it as time goes on.

There's not much more that really needs to be said, if you're looking for a HD 7870 GHz Edition that comes in at a strong price point and carries with it a good quality cooler, this variant from HIS is one that you should be looking at.

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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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