HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far

Our third AMD Radeon R9 390X video card is from HIS, where we can confidently say it's the most unique looking 390X we've seen so far. Let's take a look.

@anthony256
Published Fri, Jul 17 2015 3:22 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:33 PM CDT
Rating: 85%Manufacturer: HIS

Introduction, Quick Specs and Availability & Price

After our review of the SAPPHIRE Tri-X R9 390X 8GB and MSI Radeon R9 390X Gaming 8G cards, we now have the new HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 card in our lab to play with. I haven't used a HIS card in forever, so it was quite the reunion for me. I used to sell countless HIS products when I worked in a small computer retailer, where I used to love their interesting takes on cooling designs and packaging.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 09 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 55 IMAGES

Fast forward to today, where we have their Hawaii-based Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 card. HIS has used a different style cooler that is one of the most original I've seen, with the color scheme definitely something that will catch consumers' eyes.

Quick Specs

The Radeon R9 390X is virtually identical to the Radeon R9 290X that it is essentially a rebranding of the old product. AMD has pushed the VRAM up to 8GB on the 390X however, as well as tweaking the GPU and RAM clocks.

The Radeon R9 390X still features the same 2816 stream processors, 76 TMUs, 64 ROPs and 28nm process carried over from the R9 290X. The card is ready for DirectX 12, has support for AMD's FreeSync, EyeFinity and LiquidVR technologies.

Note that the Radeon R9 390X, while it is a brand new card, only supports DirectX 12. NVIDIA has support for DirectX 12.1 in all of its 900 series, including the GeForce GTX 980, GTX 980 Ti, and Titan X .

Availability & Price

AMD is pricing the Radeon R9 390X with 8GB of VRAM at around $399-$429 depending on the brand. You'll find some retailers pricing them higher than $429, but be sure to shop around before clicking the buy button. This means you're paying around a $100 premium for the 390X with 8GB of RAM, compared to the 290X with 4GB of RAM, which you can find for $329 or so.

Packaging & Detailed Look

The Packaging

HIS has used some truly awesome box art on the Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2, with a tall box instead of the usual boxes we see our video cards arrive in. The entire box is splashed in a beautiful ice-theme, with shards of ice that remind me of the Fortress of Solitude, where Superman hangs his cape.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 01 | TweakTown.comHIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 02 | TweakTown.com

As you can see, the front of the package looks awesome with the crystals coming out of the ice with a huge 'IceQ X2' branding under it. Underneath that, we see that the HIS card is compatible with DirectX 12, uses the PCIe 3.0 standard, has 8GB of GDDR5, and supports 4K x 2K.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 03 | TweakTown.com

Another look at the card from an angle.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 04 | TweakTown.com

The box that the card comes in.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 05 | TweakTown.com

Inside, your video card is nice and secure with a layer of Styrofoam that will keep your card safe.

Detailed Look

I did say that HIS has one of the most unique Radeon R9 390X cards we've had the pleasure of using so far, and with our pictures below, we're sure you'll agree.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 06 | TweakTown.com

From the front, some people could be mistaken that this is a custom card created by a modder. But it's not, it's HIS and its unique take on the Radeon R9 390X, which I actually really dig.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 07 | TweakTown.com

The back of the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 is also quite nice, with a black and white and very uniquely shaped back plate to keep the rear of the card cool.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 08 | TweakTown.com

HIS stayed on track with the usual display output configuration: DisplayPort, HDMI and two DVI ports.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 13 | TweakTown.com

HIS has used a single 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connector combo to power their Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2.

Card Specifications & Cooling Setup

Card Specifications

The AMD Radeon R9 390X is nothing really new, it's a rebranding of the Radeon R9 290X with the same Hawaii-based GPU that was released in October 2013. What AMD has done with it, is a couple of tweaks here and there, which we've compared an R9 290X 8GB card in our benchmarks specifically.

We have a 28nm-based Hawaii GPU with 2816 stream processors, 64 ROPs, and 176 TMUs. AMD has kept the 512-bit wide memory bus, and SAPPHIRE has set the 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM clocked at 6GHz. This provides a performance benefit of around 5-10% on average when compared to the older R9 290X.

Cooling Setup

We've used the word 'unique' a few times now to explain the look and style of the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2, so now we'll talk in detail about the cooling system that HIS has deployed onto this card.

Another look at the front of the card, where HIS has used some larger 89mm axial fans, keeping in line with the dual-slot design. The cooler has a single gigantic heat sink that has five heat pipes pumping into it, with three of them being 6mm, and two of them being 8mm.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 14 | TweakTown.com

That big aluminum heat sink, in much greater detail - this is the tail end of the card.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 11 | TweakTown.com

Here we can see the bottom of the card, with a tease of some of the heat pipes running through the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 12 | TweakTown.com

You can see that the backplate extends up and over the card, and while most people probably won't know what this is for, I think HIS have put this in place so that when you reach for the card inside of your PC, you're not going to burn yourself on some seriously hot heat pipes; especially after a huge benchmarking or gaming session.

Testing Method & Test System Configuration

Testing Method

I've played Battlefield 4 on a 64-player server to provide some real-world performance numbers. I've found this is one of the best ways to provide the most realistic performance numbers, as it involves actual gameplay in a large server that really strains most setups.

For now, I'm going to be using the same suite of benchmarks I've been using on my Tweakipedia articles, which uses a mix of synthetic benchmarks with Futuremark's 3DMark and Unigine Heaven. After that, we have a bunch of titles with built-in benchmarks (which does not represent actual in-game performance) but they are repeatable for you at home to gauge the performance of your PC or GPU.

Over time, I will be adding in new benchmarks and a new section that will concentrate solely on real-time gaming benchmarks. This will take more time per review, as I'll have to invest time into actually physically playing the games, but it'll be worth it in the long run. For now, let's get right into the synthetic benchmarks and see how this ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum performs.

Test System Configuration

We only recently built our new X99-powered system, something you can read about here. As for the detailed specifications, this is what we're running:

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 555 | TweakTown.com
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 5820K processor w/Corsair H110 cooler
  • Motherboard: GIGABYTE X99 Gaming G1 Wi-Fi
  • RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance 2666MHz DDR4
  • Storage: 240GB SanDisk Extreme II and 480GB SanDisk Extreme II
  • Chassis: Lian Li T60 Pit Stop
  • PSU: Corsair AX1200i digital PSU
  • Software: Windows 7 Ultimate x64
HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 666 | TweakTown.com

We're running the system at stock CPU speeds, which will provide more of a 'real-world' feel to our benchmarks. Sure, this isn't an i7-5960X at 5GHz, but what person is going to team up an incredibly expensive CPU with a mid-range GPU? Not many.

Our GPU tests are changing, shifting toward more of a real-world feel. But don't worry, we will be doing some crazy balls-to-the-wall tests that will see serious overclocks, Extreme Edition processors, and much more in the coming months. For the most part, we will be doing more real-world testing by teaming up the right processor with the right GPU in its price category.

Benchmarks - Synthetic

3DMark Fire Strike - 1080p

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 50 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike Extreme - 1440p

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 51 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra - 4K

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 71 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1080p

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 52 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1440p

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 53 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 4K

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 72 | TweakTown.com

The Hawaii-powered HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 beats out the SAPPHIRE Tri-X R9 290X 8GB in 3DMark in all resolutions, by around 10%. This is to be expected, as it falls in line with the other two Radeon R9 390X cards that we've reviewed.

Moving over to Heaven, the HIS card is neck and neck with the 290X at all resolutions. At 1080p, it equals the 75FPS average that the 290X is capable of, while at 1440p it's 2FPS faster. Finishing at 4K, the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 beats the SAPPHIRE Tri-X R9 290X 8GB by 1FPS.

Benchmarks - 1080p

Battlefield 4

This is one game that we did differently, as it does not feature a built-in benchmarking feature. When it comes to Battlefield 4, there are countless ways you can benchmark it. Some find a spot in the single player campaign which is easily repeatable, and use that. For our testing, we've chosen to use a 64-player online multiplayer server for real-time performance statistics.

We joined a 64-player map and played for five minutes using FRAPS, pulling our minimum/average and maximum FPS. We did this for each test, we run the game for 5 minutes at 1080p/1440p and 4K two times each. One time with Medium settings, and another with a custom Ultra preset (disabling AA). It's time consuming, but it gives us a perfect look into true real-world performance.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 60 | TweakTown.com

And again, this time with the Ultra preset.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 61 | TweakTown.com

Grand Theft Auto V

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 600 | TweakTown.com
HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 69 | TweakTown.com

GRID Autosport

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 62 | TweakTown.com

Metro: Last Light

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 63 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 64 | TweakTown.com

Thief

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 65 | TweakTown.com

Tomb Raider

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 67 | TweakTown.com

BioShock Infinite

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 68 | TweakTown.com

You can find our performance summary of all of our gaming tests later in the review.

Benchmarks - 1440p

Battlefield 4

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 80 | TweakTown.com
HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 89 | TweakTown.com

Grand Theft Auto V

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 600 | TweakTown.com
HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 87 | TweakTown.com

GRID Autosport

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 81 | TweakTown.com

Metro: Last Light

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 82 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 83 | TweakTown.com

Thief

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 84 | TweakTown.com

Tomb Raider

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 85 | TweakTown.com

BioShock Infinite

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 86 | TweakTown.com

You can find our performance summary of all of our gaming tests later in the review.

Benchmarks - 4K

Battlefield 4

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 40 | TweakTown.com
HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 41 | TweakTown.com

Grand Theft Auto V

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 600 | TweakTown.com
HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 49 | TweakTown.com

GRID Autosport

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 42 | TweakTown.com

Metro: Last Light

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 43 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 44 | TweakTown.com

Thief

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 45 | TweakTown.com

Tomb Raider

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 47 | TweakTown.com

BioShock Infinite

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 48 | TweakTown.com

You can find our performance summary of all of our gaming tests later in the review.

Performance Summary

How Does the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Stack Up?

The performance of the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 was actually pretty good. If you are looking at getting a card that is slightly faster than the 290X, but not as expensive as the HBM-based R9 Fury X, then this could be a very viable option. Let's take a deeper look at the card, comparing it to the R9 290X at 1080p, 1440p and 4K.

Performance at 1080p

Starting with Battlefield 4, the HIS card is a few frames per second faster than SAPPHIRE's 290X offering. We're looking at 136FPS average at 1080p on the Ultra preset (minus AA) which is just stellar. In a GPU heavy title like Metro: Last Light, the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 beats out the SAPPHIRE card by 4FPS with 83FPS average.

Shadow of Mordor stresses out all of our video cards, with the HIS standing up against the 290X by 7FPS, close to 10% additional performance. There's an additional 9% performance in Thief, and an additional 11% in Tomb Raider over the 290X.

Performance at 1440p

I thought there would be more performance from the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 when it comes to Battlefield 4, but you're only looking at a couple more frames per second - but still, 108FPS average on the Ultra preset (minus AA) beats out the Fury X by 3FPS.

GRID: Autosport and Metro: Last Light enjoy a few more FPS over the 290X, but nothing worth writing home about. Shadow of Mordor enjoys an additional 8% performance over SAPPHIRE's Tri-X R9 290X 8GB, while Thief and Tomb Raider are 5% and 15% faster on the HIS card, respectively.

Performance at 4K

If you were expecting more performance from the R9 390X in Battlefield 4 at 4K, you'd be wrong - we have 1FPS more compared to the 290X 8GB. Both GRID: Autosport and Metro: Last Light have 3FPS more performance, which again is nothing worth upgrading for.

Shadow of Mordor is 3FPS faster, representing a 7% increase in performance. Thief has an additional 11% performance over the 290X 8GB, while Tomb Raider performance at 4K on the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 is actually quite impressive, with 26% more performance.

Overclocking, Power Consumption and Sound Testing

Overclocking - Let's See How Far We Can Go

I played around with overclocking on the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 for a while, and every time I tried to crank up the voltages on the card, I was hit with black screens and huge artifacts. Scaling down the voltages back to stock, and increasing the clocks - I thought I was alright, but nope.

Double checking everything, I tried again. This time, just slightly increasing the GPU clock by 50MHz worked - but there was no change in frame rates with an overclock that small. The RAM I couldn't touch without glitching all over the place. If you were looking to overclock a Radeon R9 390X, this is about as good as you're going to get - the Hawaii architecture is being pushed to its limits right now.

Power Consumption

Power consumption on the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 is about in line from other 390X cards that we've been testing.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 777 | TweakTown.com

As you can see, we have 380W for our full system, which is the same power consumption as the much faster EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ ACX 2.0+.

Sound Testing

Apart from our sound testing, the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 was completely silent. We put it under some pretty heavy Battlefield 4 loads, benchmarking loads, and so much more, without a problem.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 888 | TweakTown.com

With the fans spinning at 100%, it's one of the loudest cards we've tested. But, not many people will be throwing the fan speed up to 100%, so you should have a whisper quiet experience with the card.

What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts

This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2.

What's Hot

The Most Unique Looking Radeon R9 390X Yet: In a style that won't be for everyone, HIS has adopted quite the unique look for the Hawaii GPU with its Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 video card.

Strong Performance: For a high-end video card, the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 had some decent performance. You're not going to have a problem playing at 1080p or 1440p, with 4K gaming hitting 60FPS with a few tweaks to the in-game visual settings.

The Handle Above the Heat pipes: This little piece of metal that HIS has placed above its heat pipes allows you to grab the card out of your system after it has been used, and not burn your hands on the very hot headpipes. It's a little touch, but something that makes HIS stand out with its R9 390X offering.

What's Not

The following 'What's Not' points below are our feeling on the Radeon R9 390X in general, so the same applies to the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2. Other than the issues with its architecture, HIS themselves haven't done anything wrong with the card. It's a great card for what it is, it's just not much new has happened since the release of the R9 290X.

AMD Has Essentially Rebranded The Radeon R9 290X: We don't get much more performance than the Radeon R9 290X, and this is a hard thing. It's not bad, but it's not great. It lets consumers decide to leave upgrading their 290X, and grab the Fury or Fury X instead.

No Overclocking Headroom: While HIS has a factory overclock applied to its card, I was hoping to squeeze out some additional performance. But our card was not capable of anything more, unfortunately.

$100+ Premium Over 290X 4GB: This is something you have to decide for yourself, but I don't think a $100+ premium over the Radeon R9 290X with 4GB is worth paying for. 8GB is only used in a handful of games, something we addressed in a VRAM consumption article last week.

Nothing Really New: The Radeon R9 390X doesn't offer anything new, apart from the 8GB framebuffer. We have support for LiquidVR, FreeSync and all of that jazz, but the Fiji-based Fury cards is where the excitement is.

Final Thoughts

HIS has crafted quite the card with the Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2, with it being the most unique looking card that we've seen in quite some time. It has great performance, good thermals and noise levels, and strikes quite the pose when installed into your system. However, we didn't have much luck at all with overclocking, which was a shame.

HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 Video Card Review - Most Unique 390X So Far 10 | TweakTown.com

But, the problem is that AMD has just reused the R9 290X core with some tweaks here and there and added 4GB of VRAM to the Hawaii-based 290X that was released nearly two years ago now. This means that the performance we're looking at here with the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 is not much different (10-15%) from the Radeon R9 290X.

290X owners have no reason to upgrade, but if you skipped over the 290X and waited for the 390X, then this is a great card to buy for AMD fans. HIS has done the best it can with the situation, offering up a good card in the HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2.

Performance (overclocking, power)80%
Quality (build, design, cooling)95%
General Features (display outputs, etc)80%
Bundle, Packaging & Software90%
Value for Money80%
Overall85%

The Bottom Line: HIS has a good video card with its Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2, but not a great card. For loyal AMD fans who can't afford the Fury or Fury X, this is definitely a great option. Just don't expect much more than what the 290X was capable of doing.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription

Latest News

View More News

Latest Reviews

View More Reviews

Latest Articles

View More Articles