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HIS Radeon R7 260X iCooler 2GB Video Card Review

We take a look at a video card a little cheaper today, the HIS Radeon R7 270X iCooler 2GB. Come and see how it performs in Shawn's full review right now.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Fri, Sep 5 2014 8:10 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:59 PM CST
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: HIS Digital

Introduction and Package

Introduction of the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB

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Recently you've seen a heavy focus on the higher-end of the market as the new Intel X99 platform has launched. You're seeing a bunch of high-end motherboards, along with expensive CPUs, and of course, a ton of DDR4 memory kits.

While we all love this kind of stuff, the fact remains that it's simply out of reach for so many people due to the cost associated with it. Today, we're kicking everything down a notch, and looking at a video card that falls into the R7 series from AMD. I must admit, it's been a while since we've had a chance to look at a R7 based card. More than likely, this will be before the last two updates to our benchmark line up.

Today, we're taking the time to check out the HIS R7 260X 2GB from HIS. At just over $100, it's a card that AMD moves in quantity. With a bunch of driver updates since the last time we looked at a R7 card, and a whole lot of new benchmarks, it will be interesting to see just how the card performs these days.

Is a bit over $100 enough to get a smooth gaming experience? Well, that's exactly what we intend to find out today. Outside of this particular card, we've got a few other R7 based cards that we've planned to knock over in the next few weeks. So, if this one isn't for you, maybe we have something that is. Anyway, let's leave it at that, and see just what we've got going on today with the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB.

Package - What comes inside the box

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The HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB falls well and truly into the mid-range category when it comes to video cards, and as usual, that means that we're dealing with a smaller box designed to make shipping the models throughout the world more cost-effective.

Looking at the front of the box, you can see the HIS logo across the top, while the bottom gives us the model, and gives mention that the card carries 2GB of GDDR5. Just above the middle of the box, on the right hand side, you can see the iCooler logo.

Turning the box over, you can see we've got a bit of a blurb across the top of the card, along with some of the main features below, including the connectivity options that are offered. Apart from a bit more information on the main AMD features and the system requirements, we don't have a whole lot going on here.

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After opening up the box and diving inside the package, you won't find much at all. In our little HIS folder, you can see a driver CD, Quick Install Guide, and a case sticker. Considering the price point of the bundle, this is a pretty standard offering.

PRICING: You can find the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB retails for $124.32 at Amazon.

Video Card Details and Specifications

Close up with the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB

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Looking at the card, you can see it's a lot smaller than the cards we've recently looked at. Although, being a mid-range card doesn't mean it can't have a serious looking cooler. While the iCooler may not be as large as the IceQ versions from HIS, you can see it takes up a large portion of the card, with the large fan sitting on top of a chunky aluminum heat sink.

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Looking around the card, you can see that while the R7 260X 2GB is a mid-range offering, it still carries a single six-pin PCIe power connector. Closer to the front, you can see that the model also supports CrossFire with a single CrossFire connector found at the top of the card.

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Finishing up our look at the card, you can see the model looks quite healthy in the I/O department. There are two Dual-Link DVI ports; one is DVI-D, and the other is DVI-I. Alongside those two ports, we've got a HDMI and DisplayPort connector to round things off.

Specifications

While looking at the model name, you may notice that HIS doesn't mention anything about the card being a Turbo model. So, with that said, you can see that the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB carries standard clock rates, which means the core clock comes in at 1100MHz, while the 2GB of GDDR5 comes in at 6000MHz QDR.

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Normally, we would take the time to overclock a model like this since it carries reference clocks speeds. However, it's been so long since we've seen an R7 based card, we thought it would be better to just leave the card at its standard clock rates to see how it performs in our benchmark line up as is.

Test System Setup & FPS Numbers Explained

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.

Today we've got a couple of mid-range cards sitting alongside our HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB. From AMD, we've included the model that sits two levels above it, the R9 270X 2GB. Sitting between those two models is the R7 265 2GB, which we'll be looking at soon.

Along with that, we've got a pair of NVIDIA cards, which includes the ASUS GTX 750 Ti 2GB OC we recently looked at, along with the MSI GTX 760 MINI-ITX Gaming we checked out a while ago. The main thing we want to do today, though, is see just where the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB is playable in our gaming line up.

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 Second (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 - This is the newest 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.

Why are some graphs incomplete?

Adding new game benchmarks is a long, tedious, and time consuming task, as every video card has to be re-tested in those new benchmarks. For that reason, we have always just reevaluated our benchmark line up every six months. To stay up-to-date and current with the latest benchmarks and games available, we've changed our approach to adding new benchmarks.

Our benchmark line up will progress and be updated as newer, more intensive games with benchmarks comes to light. While this will mean that initially you may only see a single video card in those particular graphs, as the weeks go on and we test more and more video cards, the results will quickly grow. This will help keep our benchmark line up as up-to-date as possible as we introduce and remove games on a constant basis.

Benchmarks - 3DMark

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

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Starting off with 3DMark 11, we can see that the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB comes out about 10% ahead of the ASUS GTX 750 Ti 2GB OC at the lower resolution Performance preset. Although, kicking it up a notch to the Extreme preset sees the AMD offering fall slightly behind.

3DMark Fire Strike

Version and / or Patch Used: 1

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Getting into something a bit more intensive here, we can see that the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB falls behind the GTX 750 Ti 2GB OC at both presets. Of course, it's worth noting that the price point of the GTX 750 Ti 2GB is higher than the AMD offering here.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Sky Diver & Catzilla

3DMark Sky Diver

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

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Looking at a benchmark that is focused on mid-range offerings, we can see that the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB and the ASUS GTX 750 Ti 2GB OC come in quite close to each other. Considering that the HIS offering comes in at a cheaper price point, this is definitely a win for the AMD based card.

Catzilla

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.3

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Looking at one of our newer benchmarks, the intensive Catzilla shows the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB lagging behind the rest of the pack here at both resolutions. We're looking forward to seeing just how the model performs when we get into some real-world gaming.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven & Phantasy Star Online 2

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3

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Heaven performance sits back a fair bit again, and it's quite interesting to see the increase in performance you get when moving to the entry-level R9 card from HIS. Let's get away from the synthetic benchmarks, though, and see what's going on when we get into some real games.

Phantasy Star Online 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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Looking at Phantasy Star Online 2 performance, you can see we sit back a fair bit, with performance being less than half that of the R9 270X 2GB. Still, we're not sure you're going to be playing any games with this card at 2560 x 1600. Move the resolution back a bit, and you're going to get playable numbers under Phantasy Star Online 2.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2 & Just Cause 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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You can see above that mid-range offerings continue to struggle with Lost Planet 2; especially at the higher resolutions. Unfortunately for our AMD offering, here you can see we fall short of that 60 FPS average we want at all resolutions. The good news is that we're not all that far away from it at 1680 x 1050, and with in-game detail maxed out, we've got plenty of room to move to bring those frames up to where they need to be.

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Just Cause 2 is one of the older games, but you can see that these mid-range cards aren't exactly screaming under the game. Looking above, you can see that our HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB sits quite close to the more expensive ASUS GTX 750 Ti 2GB OC, with playable FPS at 1680 x 1050, and also at 1920 x 1200.

Benchmarks -Metro: Last Light & Nexuiz

Metro: Last Light

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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While the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB may not be all that far behind the GTX 750 Ti 2GB OC here, the AMD offerings like the other three cards fall short of that 60 FPS average we want at any resolution. Even at the lowest resolution, you're going to have to drop that detail down to bring us to a number that is near playable.

Nexuiz

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Just like we saw above, you can see all of our cards' numbers are below that playable level we need at any resolution. You're going to have to seriously drop the detail, or even the FPS, to get something that resembles smooth, playable performance.

Benchmarks - Sniper Elite V2 & Sleeping Dogs

Sniper Elite V2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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Looking above, we can see that Sniper Elite V2 performance just isn't where it needs to be on the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB across the board. Fortunately, you can see the 51 FPS average at 1680 x 1050 isn't too. Since we do benchmark with in-game settings so high, we've got a ton of room to move around; getting those extra nine FPS won't be too hard with a bit of a detail drop.

Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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While Sleeping Dogs is quite new, the performance of it on many cards is extremely strong. Looking above, you can see that the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB has no problem giving us playable FPS at both 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200. It's only at the higher 2560 x 1600 resolution that we see the card fall short.

Benchmarks - Hitman: Absolution & Tomb Raider

Hitman: Absolution

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Looking at Hitman: Absolution numbers, you can see our averages fall short of where we need them to be at all resolutions. The good news is that we do manage some strong minimums at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200. With a bit of a detail drop, we'd be able to increase those average numbers to a higher level, and give ourselves a nice, smooth gaming experience.

Tomb Raider

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Tomb Raider is one of the more intensive games out on the market, and you can see across the board that we don't get the FPS we need at any resolution. The same can be said for the other three cards sitting alongside our HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB. With a detail drop, you'd be able to get a decent experience at 1680 x 1050, but moving past that is going to be tough.

Benchmarks - BioShock Infinite & Battlefield 4

BioShock Infinite

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Just like the GTX 750 Ti 2GB, the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB falls just short of that 60 FPS average we want at all resolutions. While the NVIDIA offering does sit closer to the 60 FPS mark than the AMD offering, with a bit of a detail drop we'd be able to get our 1680 x 1050 numbers up to a point where we'd achieve a smooth gaming experience. Moving past that resolution is going to be tough, though, as you see the starting point for our averages sits in the range of 30's and lower.

Battlefield 4

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Origin Update

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As you can see, Battlefield 4 numbers are not too bad at the lower resolution. Before you move into dropping the detail, though, you could opt to use the Mantle API that is supported in order to bring those FPS numbers up. Gaming at 1680 x 1050 isn't going to be a problem at all. Although, 1920 x 1200 might want a detail drop if you're into playing on those 64 player servers.

Benchmarks - GRID Autosport

Grid Autosport

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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Taking a look at one of our newer games, we can see that we manage a strong minimum from the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB at both 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200. Unfortunately, the averages sit a bit too low at both resolutions. However, with a strong starting point, we could easily get those averages up to where we want them to be, so a smooth gaming experience can be had, just at lesser detail.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF Testing

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 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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It comes as no surprise that turning on AA and AF isn't an option. At the highest resolution, we see the FPS plummet into the single digit category.

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While not as bad as Metro: Last Light, you can see that even under GRID Autosport, the numbers aren't where they need to be.

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Finishing up with Sleeping Dogs, you can again see that the FPS just aren't where they need to be when AA and AF are turned on. None of these results are surprising on a card that comes in at a little over $100.

Benchmarks - 4K - 3840 x 2160 Testing

4K - 3840 x 2160 Testing

4K monitors are the next step for gamers demanding the best in image quality. With 4x the pixels of a standard 1920 x 1080 monitor (meaning 4x the intensity), 3840 x 2160 brings a new level of intensity to video cards.

To make sure that you're buying the right video card for a monitor that offers such a large resolution, we test the latest and greatest video cards in a couple of benchmarks to give you an idea of just what kind of setup you require.

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While we don't have much to compare against the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB here, you can see the kind of performance increase the entry R9 card gets.

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With Sleeping Dogs struggling at 2560 x 1600, it comes as no surprise that the FPS plummets when we move up to the intensive 4K resolution.

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These unplayable results under Hitman: Absolution are no surprise at all, as we see so often that even our higher-end setups struggle at this intensive resolution.

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Tomb Raider is super intensive, and the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB struggles at the lower resolutions. In this case, you can see our mid-range R7 260X 2GB plummets, with single digit numbers in both the minimum and average.

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We finish our gaming testing with GRID Autosport at 4K, and just like the other 4K results, the overall performance is just too low as you'd expect. 4K is not an option for a card like this, which is something that should come as a surprise to no one.

Temperature & Sound Testing

Temperature Test

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

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For a mid-range card, the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB actually runs quite warm. It's not at a dangerous level by any means, but we can't deny that we would like to see it running a bit cooler.

Sound Test

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter, we quickly find ourselves 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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It seems one of the main reasons the card runs a little warm is because it has quite an aggressive fan profile that keeps noise levels down. Overall, the cooler does a pretty good job of keeping the card at a safe temperature and a good noise level.

Power Consumption Testing

Power Consumption Test

Using our PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 -or "Power Thingy" as it has quickly become 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 video cards installed. Keep in mind that 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 the power being drawn as much as ten percent more in particular tests. We test at the exact same stage every time, so tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum -only a SSD 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 will result in a higher draw.

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Power draw on the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB comes in at around the mid 300 watt mark. This is pretty easy going number when it comes to power draw. We'd recommend something along the lines of a quality 500 watt power supply to deal with a setup like this.

Pricing, Availability, and Final Thoughts

At under $150, the HIS Radeon R7 260X iCooler 2GB is well and truly a video card aimed at people looking to game on a budget. When we say under $150, we don't mean $149.99; instead, we're talking $10 - $15 below that price point. Paired with the right components, there's no denying that you're able to get a decent little gaming system up and running for a good price point.

The main question that needs to be answered here is: What kind of settings are you going to be running your games at to get a playable experience out of this card? 1920 x 1200 isn't out in certain areas, but it would be difficult to say with confidence that even with detail drops you're going to be able to consistently get playable FPS at this resolution.

Instead, we'd say 1680 x 1050 is going to be the standard kind of resolution for the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB and other R7 260X 2GB cards alike. With that said, you're going to run into trouble with the in-game settings maxed out. Not all the time, but more often than not, you're going to fall short of that smooth 60 FPS number that we're always-on the hunt for.

For the most part, the card would be best paired at 1680 x 1050 with games running medium to high in-game settings. At this level, you should find yourself with a solid gaming experience that will be nice and smooth. For the price point, this is a decent level to be gaming at.

If this is where your budget is, the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB is a great option if you're happy to be gaming at the resolutions and settings we've just mentioned. You could throw some overclocking into the mix to boost the performance a bit, but the best gains are going to be seen by dropping the detail back. It's hard to get really excited about a card that comes in at under $150, but this does a great job for the price. We can't ask for much more than that.

PRICING: You can find the HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB retails for $124.32 at Amazon.

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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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