HIS Radeon HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Video Card Review

HIS Radeon HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB Video Card Review

HIS double the memory on the HD 7850 and release a 4GB version of the popular model.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Tue, Mar 12 2013 12:20 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: HIS

Introduction and Package

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VIEW GALLERY - 30 IMAGES

While NVIDIA has recently released the new single GPU Titan at a massive price point, the bread and butter for most companies continues to be the mid-range market. With AMD not doing a whole lot over the past few months, it's safe to say that one partner has refused to just sit back and relax.

HIS has released an absolute wealth of video cards lately and today we're looking at yet another new one. The HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB brings with it twice as much memory as the standard HD 7850. They've also brought the iPower name into the product name, which is something (the lack of promotion) that had been bugging us since its introduction recently.

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot more that needs to be said for the most part. The HD 7850 is a model we well and truly know, instead we really just want to get in and take a closer look at what we're dealing with here today.

As always there are a few things we need to do before we get into the performance side of things. The first is we'll take the time to have a look at the package along with the bundle HIS is offering. Once we've done that we'll move onto the card itself and quickly cover the main specifications. From there we'll take a quick look at our testbed, talk about the card you'll see in our graphs today and then head straight into the performance side of things.

Package

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As someone who has seen dozens of HIS boxes over the years, I have to say the first thing that stood out for us was the new iPower logo at the top of the box. The iPower feature was introduced recently and brought with it some improvements in the power delivery. In this case the HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB brings a 5+1+1+1 PWM phase setup instead of the standard 4+1+1+1 setup. We've also got a 2 Oz copper layer instead of a 1 Oz one and a Dr. Mos Mosfet setup. The problem was that while a number of the new cards we've looked at featured iPower, none of them actually made mention that the feature was included. That's why it's nice to see HIS add it to the box of this new card.

Apart from that you can see a number of the standard logos and names we're used to see including IceQ and Turbo. Across the bottom we've got the model and you can also see some of the main features are highlighted. In this case one of the major ones is of course the 4GB of GDDR5 memory that is included.

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If we turn over and look at the back of the box you can see some of the main features are explained in a bit of detail including what the IceQ name brings to the table along with the iPower benefits. You can see we've also got a bunch of logos and awards across the bottom of the box.

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Moving inside the box we've got a very typical HIS bundle. We've got a driver CD, manual and case sticker along with a DVI to VGA connector and CrossFire bridge to round out the bundle. It's not only a fairly standard bundle from HIS, but just a fairly standard bundle period, as we see most companies offer a similar kind of deal these days.

The Card and Specifications

The Card

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Looking at the card for the first time we're not really greeted with any surprises apart from again the inclusion if the new iPower tag on the card. Apart from that this is a fairly typical IceQ card. We've got that large heatsink with four heatpipes coming out the back. The fan sits on the right and helps push the hot air straight out the back of the case.

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You can see two 6-pin PCIe power connectors instead of the single 6-pin PCIe power connector we see on most HD 7850 cards. Closer to the front but staying across the top we've got a single CrossFire connector that allows us to run up to two of these cards in CrossFire.

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Finishing up with the I/O side of things you can see starting from the left we've got two Mini DisplayPort connectors. Next to that we've got a HDMI and on the far right hand side we've got two DVI ports. These are in the form of a Single Link DVI-D port and a Dual Link DVI-I port.

Specifications

Before we move onto the testbed we'll quickly cover the specifications of the card we're dealing with. As we mentioned earlier this is a Turbo card which means that out of the box we're overclocked. Your typical HD 7850 comes with 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 HIS has boosted the core clock to an even 1000MHz. As for the memory that's the same at 4800MHz QDR, but remember we're dealing with twice as much with 4GB present, instead of the standard 2GB.

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.

Alongside the new HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB we've also got the Sapphire HD 7870 OC along with two of the newer HD 7870s - the Myst Edition from PowerColor and the XT version from Sapphire.

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 you can see fairly typical numbers here with the HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB sitting about where you'd expect with just over 7000 points in the Performance preset and a little over 2000 points in the Extreme preset.

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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Getting into Heaven we can again see some strong performance. We'll get a better idea of what's going on, though, when we get into our game benchmarks on the next page.

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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Looking at PSO we can see some good performance which puts us in that 2000 - 5000 range.

The main thing to remember here is that we're benching at 2560 x 1600. Anything below that and you're going to be in the 5001+ range, which means the game is going to run perfectly fine with this HIS video card.

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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Firing up Lost Planet 2 we continue to see some good numbers. Out of the HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB you can see we've got playable numbers at 1680 x 1050 and manage to sneak an even 60 FPS in at 1920 x 1200. Moving to 2560 x 1600, though, you can see we're below that 60 FPS number we aim for.

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 numbers like Lost Planet 2 look good. You can see again we've got playable numbers at both 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200.

Moving to 2560 x 1600 you can see we're close to that 60 FPS number we want, but we fall behind by just a few FPS. A small detail drop would get us the extra FPS.

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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F1 2012 numbers across the board look great. You can see we've got really playable numbers at both 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050 while 2560 x 1600 manages to just sneak in to the playable area with an even 60 FPS being seen.

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 follows the trend of Just Cause 2 and Lost Planet 2 with playable numbers being seen at the lower resolutions. It's only when we move to 2560 x 1600 that we see the numbers drop below the 60 FPS mark that we aim for to provide a solid gaming experience.

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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Firing up Dirt Showdown we continue the trend of strong performance being seen at the lower two resolutions. It's only when we again move to 2560 x 1600 that we see the numbers drop below the 60 FPS goal.

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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Firing up Nexuiz you can see across the board our performance is way too low. Even at 1680 x 1050 we've got only an average FPS of 34 FPS. You'd need some serious detail drop to bring us up to the 60 FPS number.

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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Looking at Sniper Elite V2 you can see 1680 x 1050 isn't an issue for the HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB. Moving to 1920 x 1200 we've got a solid 57 FPS - unfortunately this is shy of that typical 60 FPS number we aim for. Of course falling short at 1920 x 1200 means that 2560 x 1600 really isn't an option.

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.

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Looking at the Sleeping Dog numbers you can again see some strong numbers at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200, and 2560 x 1600 really doesn't look that bad either with 54 FPS. We're still a little short of 60 FPS, but a slight play around with the detail would lift that 2560 x 1600 number up to where we need it to be.

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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It comes as no surprise that looking at Far Cry 2 we've got both strong performance and playable numbers at all resolutions. Let's see what happens when we crank up the AA and AF in some of our games on the next page.

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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Far Cry 2 AA and AF numbers look good. We're just shy of where we want to be at the higher 2560 x 1600 resolution; but overall performance is very strong with the graphics detail settings cranked right up.

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Looking at Metro 2033 you can see that the numbers are below where we need them to be at both resolutions for a smooth gaming experience.

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Just Cause 2 manages to sneak out 61 FPS at 1920 x 1200 making for a playable experience. Just sneaking that number out, though, means that 2560 x 1600 isn't am option.

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Finally we finish up with Sleeping Dogs and you can see the numbers aren't where they need to be at both resolutions like we saw under Metro 2033.

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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Checking out the temperature numbers you can see some excellent performance coming from the HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB. As always the IceQ cooler doesn't disappoint with strong idle and load numbers.

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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What's really fantastic about the IceQ cooler isn't just the temperature numbers, but also the fact that it's able to achieve these numbers at such low noise volumes, which can be seen above.

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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Finally we finish up our graphs with power numbers and you can see the new iPower feature is clearly doing its job as the card sits towards the bottom of the pack when it comes to both idle and load power draw.

Final Thoughts

At $279.99 the HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB is the most expensive HD 7850 card available at Newegg. At the same time it's also the only card to offer 4GB of GDDR5 - all the others offer 2GB. We're not the biggest fan of huge amounts of memory on video cards. Previous testing has shown that 6GB versions of the higher end HD 7970 really offer nothing over the standard 3GB versions.

With that being said we won't ever deny that there's no market for larger memory versions of video card models. Double the amount of memory on the HIS HD 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB is a nice addition. If you're happy to spend the extra money and like to know that you're packing a massive 4GB of GDDR5 on your HD 7850, then go for it.

The 4GB GDDR5 makes this an attractive card and something that will grab your attention. Everything else involved makes it a fantastic card, too. The 1000MHz core clock means that out of the box we've got some fantastic performance. That overclock helps push our numbers up to 60 FPS a number of times - a number that wouldn't be reached on a stock clocked card.

The cooler is awesome. We'd expect nothing less from a card sporting the IceQ name. Not only does it manage to keep the core running at an extremely good temperature at both idle and load, but it also manages to do that with some awesome noise levels that put the card towards the bottom of the pack, an area you want to be in, when it comes to noise and temperature.

iPower clearly works as well. Looking at the power graphs you can see some great numbers again with idle and load numbers looking extremely impressive on the HIS video card here today.

In typical HIS fashion they've managed to put together a really strong card that performs in all the right areas. The 4GB of GDDR5 is a nice addition, but it doesn't do a whole lot extra for performance as games continue to struggle hitting 2GB of memory usage. In the end, though, this is a card that we'd recommend to someone in a heartbeat if it falls within their budget.

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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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