HIS Radeon HD 7850 2GB Video Card Overclocked Review

We overclock the HIS HD 7850 and see how much performance we can get out of the model.

Manufacturer: HIS
15 minutes & 32 seconds read time

Introduction and Package

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AMD's Radeon HD 7850 isn't a video card we've looked at massively since launch due to the fact we ran into some problems earlier on with it. Our plan was to go from the single standalone review into a CrossFire article with the second reference card we had on hand. Unfortunately for us the second card had an issue and by the time we got around to sorting it we had other launches and the model just didn't get the attention we would've liked to have given it.

While we managed to look at overclocking the model not that all long ago, it was in the form of the MSI HD 7850 Power Edition which is never the best representation of how a typical reference based video card will overclock due to the clear focus from MSI on overclocking. Because of that today we'll be looking at the HIS video card from an overclocking point of view.

As always there's a couple of things we need to do before we cover the overclocking side of things and the first is we need to check out the box along with the package to see just what exactly is going on. Once we've done that we'll move onto the card itself and see just what HIS are offering.

We'll then move onto the specification side of things, here we'll cover the default specifications along with how we went with the overclocking side of things. We'll then quickly cover our testbed and the cards that we'll be using in our graphs today before we finally get into the performance side of things.


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Looking at the box we can see nothing too out of the ordinary with a very typical HIS design present here. Turning over we get some of the main features that are related to the HD 7850 itself, but there's nothing too specific when it comes to the actual card we're looking at today. This isn't too much of a surprise since this isn't part of the IceQ or TurboX series.

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Moving inside the package you can see we've got the normal HIS packet which brings with it a driver CD, manual and sticker. Along with that we've got another CD which includes the iTurbo overclocking software, Crossfire bridge and DVI to VGA connector.

The Card and Specifications

The Card

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Having a look at the card you can see it features a very plain design. This doesn't come as much of a surprise as it's not part of the IceQ series. You can see we've got a fan in the middle and behind that a big aluminum heatsink with a shroud that covers majority of the card which ultimately hides almost everything.

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Looking around you can see at the back we've got a single 6-pin PCIe power connector while moving across the top you can see we've got a single CrossFire connector which gives us the ability to run up to two of these together for extra performance.

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Finishing off with the I/O side of things you can see we've got a single Dual-Link DVI connector, HDMI port and two Mini DisplayPort connectors. If you're going to make use of DisplayPort, you'll need to pick up a Mini DP to DP connector, as we saw on the last page, there isn't one included in the bundle.


Looking below you can see the default clock speeds follow the reference speeds. That means the core comes in at 860MHz while the 2GB of GDDR5 carries a clock speed of 4800MHz QDR. Using MSI Afterburner, we'll today be seeing what we're able to get out of the card.

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Looking above you can see the overclock is pretty weak. We've got 895MHz on the core and our 2GB of GDDR5 has been pushed up to 5060MHz QDR. One of the main reasons overclocking on this model isn't that great is because there's no voltage adjustment.

At first we thought that the lack of voltage adjustment was due to the fact that it wasn't ready in the software, but later we discovered the model was just missing the feature.

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.

Looking above you can see our X79 testbed that we've been using since launch of the Intel platform. With everything really covered in the above image let's quickly cover the cards that we'll be using in our graphs today.

Next to our overclocked HIS HD 7850 today we'll also have a reference clock card. This isn't a huge overclock so we're not sure how much difference we'll see, but we'll find out none the less.

We've also got a number of other HD 7000 series based cards to round out the collection with the HD 7870, HD 7950 and HD 7970. Along with these we've also included a couple of GTX 680s in the form of a 2GB and 4GB one. Of course with the price of those cards compared to the HD 7850, the relevance isn't as high.

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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Starting off with 3DMark 11 we can see a small bump in both our presets, but you can see we're a fair distance from the HD 7870 GHz Edition which is the next model up after the HD 7850.

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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Moving to Heaven we can see a slight boost in performance. We'll have to see if the overclock helps push our FPS up when we get into real-world gaming on the next pages.

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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You can see under H.A.W.X. 2 performance goes a little backwards. This isn't uncommon under this game when it comes to overclocking. The good news is the difference is extremely minor with only an FPS or two being seen. More importantly you can see we've got playable numbers across the board.

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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Across the board you can see we've got a little bump in performance and at 2560 x 1600 the overclock brings us up to 57 FPS. As always, though, that cut off number we look for is 60 FPS and we're just a few FPS away from that.

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 performance across the board sees a bump and you can see we manage to break the 60 FPS mark at 1680 x 1050. At 1920 x 1200 we're not far from it, but still below while 2560 x 1600 just isn't going to be an option.

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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We continue to see a small boost across the board and while the extra FPS at 1920 x 1200 are nice you can again see that we fall just a few FPS shy of that playable 60 FPS number we aim for to provide a solid gaming experience.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used:

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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Looking at Just Cause 2 we can see some nice FPS at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050. You can see at the highest resolution we move into the 50 FPS range, but we're still shy of that ideal 60 FPS number at the highest resolution.

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 really sees nothing when it comes to extra FPS. Across the board we've got only a single extra FPS which is disappointing as we needed just an extra 2 FPS at 1920 x 1200 to break the 60 FPS barrier for a smooth gaming experience.

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 strong at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050, but we can see at 2560 x 1600 the extra FPS still isn't enough to push us into that 60 FPS area.

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 across the board looks good and you can see playable FPS at every resolution.

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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You can see at 1920 x 1200 we do see a couple of extra FPS, but we again fall short of that 60 FPS number we constantly look for to provide a solid experience.

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While we see a gain in FPS, the intensity of the Aliens vs. Predator engine is just too much for the HD 7850 when AA and AF comes into play.

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Far Cry 2 doesn't really see much change, but you can see at 2560 x 1600 with AA and AF on we don't quite hit that 30 FPS minimum that we're looking for. 1920 x 1200 on the other hand isn't an issue.

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Like Aliens vs. Predator, Metro 2033 is just too intensive for the HD 7850 when it comes to turning AA and AF on.

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Just Cause also hits below that 60 FPS number we want at both resolutions when it comes to AA and AF performance.

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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On the heat side of things we can see the HIS HD 7850 runs pretty cool sitting towards the bottom end of our graph here. The latest HD 7000 series video cards from AMD have really done very well on the heat side of things.

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 also look pretty good which is exactly what we like to see on a mid-range model.

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 really low and most power supplies shouldn't run into a problem handling it.

Final Thoughts

HIS's Radeon HD 7850 and the HD 7850 in general is just an all-round good model that hits most of those target areas perfectly. On the performance side of things we can see that 1680 x 1050 isn't an issue and quite often we see that 1920 x 1200 continues to also be very strong. 2560 x 1600 isn't always an option, but looking through the graphs you can see that depending on the engine, you're able to still pull in some strong FPS at this resolution.

Moving onto the AA and AF high quality graphics side of things you can see we're close in some situations to hit what we consider a solid FPS. In something less intensive like Far Cry 2, we haven't got an issue at 1920 x 1200. 2560 x 1600, though, even under this older game, isn't an option, as you saw we couldn't hit that 30 FPS minimum that we want to see.

As for the video card itself, the cooler isn't anything too fancy, but it does a good job. Looking at the numbers today you can see it runs cool in both the idle and load department while we manage to also see it pull in pretty good noise levels that shouldn't really bother anyone.

The weakest area of the card is the same as most other cards as we see a bundle that doesn't offer a whole lot. For a while now we've seen companies move away from larger bundles, while they instead opt to push a more aggressive price point. I actually really can't remember the last time we got a video card which came with a game.

The strongest area of the card, though, is probably the price which sits at $239.99 after rebate. The power you're able to get out of this little card for under $250 is really quite amazing and you can see why the model would appeal to so many people. What makes it even more attractive, though, is the simple fact that NVIDIA continue to have this price bracket neglected. We know it won't be for much longer, but at the moment we see AMD continue to be the only company who has an almost complete top to bottom setup when it comes to the Radeon HD 7000 series.

If you're after a video card at a strong price point that manages to offer some strong FPS, this is a great option. The HIS HD 7850 2GB isn't all that fancy, but it does everything you'd want it to do at the $239.99 price point and possibly even a little bit more.

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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.

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