HIS Radeon HD 7850 2GB IceQ Turbo Video Card Review

HIS sent over some new video cards and the first one we look at is the Radeon HD 7850 IceQ 2GB.
| Dec 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm CST
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: HIS

Introduction and Package

VIEW GALLERY - 30 IMAGES

Just as it felt like we wouldn't really see any new video cards for the remainder of the year, we got a nice box from HIS with a couple of new variations from the company with the first one being the Radeon HD 7850 IceQ 2GB.

We've always been a fan of the AMD models after the HD 7800 series since they've brought some excellent performance at a strong price point. The HD 7700 series on the other hand got off to a bit of a rocky start due to the high price tag it launched with. We always felt that the HD 7700 series was going to struggle to really gain momentum as it wasn't just us who felt this way. With just about every review saying it was a good product, but just priced too high. It was a stigma that stuck with the model and has never been shaken.

The HD 7800 series alongside the higher end HD 7900 series hasn't been plagued with such issues. Instead the HD 7850 came in only a little more expensive than the HD 7770, but did an excellent job of separating itself enough to make it look a lot more desirable.

As always there's a few things we've got to do before we get into the performance side of things today and the first is see what's going on with the bundle. Once we've done that we'll move onto the video card itself where we'll check out the IceQ cooler before looking at the specification side of things. Once we've done that we'll move straight into the performance side of things and see just what the HIS HD 7870 IceQ 2GB is able to do.

Package

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We've got clear labeling of the model here and you can see some of the main features on the front of the box. Turning over the box you can see more of the features that are on offer with a description with what they bring to the table.

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Getting into the package you can see it's a fairly typical HIS bundle with a driver CD and a second CD which includes the iTurbo software. Alongside that we've got a manual, HIS case sticker, DVI to VGA connector and a CrossFire connector.

The Card and Specifications

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We can straight away see the massive IceQ cooler that we're used to seeing when it comes to HIS IceQ designed models. We can see a couple of heatpipes coming out the top while that fan on the right side helps push cool air straight across the GPU and out the back of the case. This has always been a fantastic design for HIS and while it's not the prettiest of designs in my opinion, it's always been extremely effective.

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Taking a look around you can see we've got two 6-pin PCIe power connectors at the back. Staying across the top, but moving towards the front, you can see we've got a single CrossFire connector. While we won't be making use of that connector today, HIS sent us a second, and it will be used at a later date.

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Finishing off with the I/O side of things we've got a Dual-Link DVI connector along with a full size HDMI port and two mini DisplayPort connectors. Across the top you can see the air vents which help make sure hot air exhausts straight out of the case.

Specifications

Being a Turbo based card means that out of the box the HIS HD 7850 IceQ is of course overclocked. A stock HD 7850 carries with it a core clock of 860MHz while the 2GB of GDDR5 comes in at 4800MHz QDR.

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Looking above you can see that the core has been bumped to an impressive 1000MHz, which is quite an overclock. Like most companies, though, we can see that they've chosen to leave the memory at the stock 4800MHz QDR.

The core clock increase is what brings the biggest performance gains so it's not unusual for companies to concentrate on that over the memory.

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.

As you may have read we updated our benchmark line up recently and we're slowly rebuilding the video cards that we have in our database.

We've got Sapphire HD 7870 OC Edition video card here alongside the newer GHz Edition of the HD 7970. From the NVIDIA side of things we've also got the GTX 660 HAWK we recently looked at from MSI.

Let's get started!

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

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 don't see anything too out of the ordinary when it comes to performance. You can see we sit behind the GTX 660 HAWK here along with the other AMD models.

Benchmarks - 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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Looking at Heaven performance you can see that at both resolutions we manage to sneak ahead of the GTX 660 HAWK in this instance. Considering the strength that NVIDIA has always shown in Tessellation based benchmarks, this is a good win.

Benchmarks - 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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Looking at Phantasy Star Online 2 performance you can see we're again behind the GTX 660 HAWK in this instance. Our high 3,000 score, though, does put us a good spot with the ability to do a little bit of detail adjustment if you want.

Benchmarks - 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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Looking at Lost Planet 2 performance we can see some good numbers with that 60 FPS number we always aim for being hit at 1920 x 1200. This of course means that 1680 x 1050 is also playable.

Just hitting 60 FPS at 1920 x 1200, though, means that we're a decent way behind that number at the higher 2560 x 1600 resolution.

Benchmarks - 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 shows some strong performance across the board, but at the highest resolution you can see, just like the GTX 660 HAWK, we fall ever so shy of that 60 FPS number we want for solid gameplay.

The smallest detail drop will bring that number up to a level that we would say is playable.

Benchmarks - 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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F1 2012 performance is strong across the board and you can see that while we're trailing the GTX 660 HAWK across all resolutions. The important thing is that we've got playable FPS at all resolutions including 2560 x 1600, which is just able to sneak in that 60 FPS number.

Benchmarks - 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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Moving into Metro 2033 we can see playable numbers at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200 just like the GTX 660 HAWK. Moving to 2560 x 1600, though, we see both cards move into the 40 FPS area, which is just too low to offer a solid gaming experience.

Benchmarks - 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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Across the board you can see that the HD 7850 is ahead of the GTX 660 HAWK here with playable numbers at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050 while the GTX 660 HAWK only pulls in playable numbers at the latter resolution.

Moving to 2560 x 1600, though, we again see both cards fall under the 60 FPS number even though we've got a 10 FPS difference between both cards.

Benchmarks - 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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Checking out Nexuiz which is one of our most intensive new games you can see across the board we don't hit anywhere near the 60 FPS number that we need.

Benchmarks - 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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Looking at our Sniper Elite numbers you can see good number at 1680 x 1050. Moving to 1920 x 1200, though, you can see we fall just a few FPS behind that 60 FPS number we're always looking for.

You should be able to get those few extra FPS without too much effort (detail drop), fortunately.

Benchmarks - 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.

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Sleeping Dogs performance is very strong at the lower resolutions and you can see little separating the GTX 660 HAWK and HD 7850 IceQ Turbo. Moving to 2560 x 1600 we can see that both cards fall behind that 60 FPS number with both scoring 53 FPS.

Benchmarks - 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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As you'd expect we've got strong performance across the board with playable numbers being seen.

Benchmarks - 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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Turning on AA and AF you can see we've got pretty good numbers at both resolutions. Saying that though we'd like a few more FPS at 2560 x 1600, so we break into the 30 FPS barrier, in the minimum department.

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Metro 2033 is just way too intensive as soon as we turn on AA and AF for most video cards here with the HD 7970 GHz Edition being the only one that is able to get a break the 60 FPS barrier at 1920 x 1200.

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Looking at Just Cause 2 you can see we're able to sneak a playable number out at 1920 x 1200, but as soon as we move to 2560 x 1600, we drop into the 30 FPS region which is just way too low for solid gameplay.

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Sleeping Dogs is super intensive when we throw AA and AF into the mix and across the board you can see that all cards struggle to hit that 60 FPS number that we want and need.

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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Just as you'd hope the IceQ cooler does an excellent job from HIS and you can see it's one of the cooler cards here sitting towards the bottom of the pack.

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 2cm 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 are also pretty good and you can see we're clearly sitting in the bottom half of the graph. Considering the temperature numbers we've got the IceQ cooler on the HD 7850 is clearly efficient giving us strong numbers in both key areas.

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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Like most video cards these days power numbers are pretty strong coming in a good way below 400 watts at load.

Final Thoughts

It comes as no surprise to us that HIS has put together a strong video card here. The IceQ series has always been strong and this iteration is no different with the IceQ cooler doing its job perfectly. You can see even with the core bumped up to 1000MHz, we manage to still see very strong numbers in both the temperature area while this isn't coming at the cost of noise.

When it comes to comparing the HIS HD 7850 IceQ Turbo, the GTX 660 HAWK is a good comparison. With this HIS offering coming in at $219.99, and the MSI one carrying a slightly higher price tag of around $239.99, deciding which one to buy can be a tough decision. However, saying that, it becomes a little easier as there isn't stock of the MSI HAWK in every country.

If your budget was really tight you also have the option to save yourselves $10 and pick up the non-Turbo version of this video card which carries the default HD 7850 clocks. You can then do the overclocking yourself using the included iTurbo software. Outside of hitting the 1000MHz core, with a bit of time and a voltage bump, you should be able to run at an even higher speed with a little time and effort.

This video card really is all about the cooler and the out of the box core clock. When it comes to the bundle there's not a whole lot that can be said about it. We've ultimately got everything we need to get up and running, but like most video cards these days, there's not a massive bundle on offer.

If you're looking at spending around the $200 mark and want a video card that is kind on the ears, this is a really good option thanks to that IceQ cooler that impresses. Performance is strong and for the most part you can see that gaming up to 1920 x 1200 isn't an issue. 2560 x 1600 at times is also an option for certain games, but make sure you check first. If you're using a screen like that, though, you'll probably find yourself with a larger budget when it comes to the video card.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

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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