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Written by Steven Iglesias-Hearst   
Thursday, 02 June 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video Card
Closer Look: HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X
HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X Details
Features and Specifications
VGA Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Street Fighter IV
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Battlefield Bad Company 2
DX11: BattleForge
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: Tom Clancy's HAWX 2
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X Overclocking
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

IceQ X Turbo X Final Thoughts

If it wasn't for the issue with the card shutting down in two of our benchmarks then this would have been a great card to recommend, as it stands though HIS need to look into this issue and pre load this model with a more aggressive fan profile or provide a BIOS update with a more agressive fan profile embedded for cards that are already out. This issue could lead to a lot of unnecessary RMA's which wouldn't be good for HIS.

The IceQ X Cooler with its 92mm fan is more than capable of taming the HD6870 GPU even with its extreme overclock, but not with its default fan profile. The fan isn't even that loud when set to 100% so I don't understand why the HIS labs have is spinning so slow. When I gave the HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X a more performance related fan profile in Afterburner (v2.2.0 Beta 3) the problem had all but gone away, it wasn't until I started overclocking it that it reared its ugly head again. Thankfully setting the fan to 100% saw me through my overclocking run and showed what sort of performance the HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X is really capable of.

HIS HD6870 Conclusion

Important: In this section I am going to write a brief five point summary on the following categories; Performance, Appearance, Construction, Functionality and Value. These views are my own and help me to give the HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X a rating out of 10. A high or low score does not necessarily mean that it is better or worse than a similar video card that has been reviewed by another writer here at Benchmark Reviews, which may have got a higher or lower score. It is however a good indicator of whether the HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X is good or not. I would strongly urge you to read the entire review, if you have not already, so that you can make an educated decision for yourself.

HIS_HD6870_IceQ_X_Turbo_X_Angle_View_03.jpg

The graphics performance of the HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X is very good indeed, in four of our ten tests it was able to match the performance of the stock GTX 560Ti and then more so when it was overclocked. This card comes with a pretty high clock already and pushing it further requires the fan profile to be altered if you want it to remain active. Overclocking is always uncertain territory so we should be thankful that there is any headroom at all.

The appearance rating of the HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X is up for debate. The bright, in your face aqua/turquoise colored shroud and fan serve as a visual metaphor of ice (hence the name) and give this video card a very unique and individual look that is sure to appeal to some but to me it is a bit too much. The side view is its saving grace, the IceQ cooler looks nicer from the side and makes all the difference once you install the card into your system. There are some that will surely disagree but thanks to the graphic nature of this review you can easily make your mind up for yourself.

Construction is excellent as you would expect from a company with a good reputation like HIS, despite the use of plastic for the shroud the whole package feels quite solid. Taking the card to pieces and reconstructing it was a breeze and everything lined up perfectly, the IceQ heatsink is solid and really adds some weight and girth to the card which reassures you that it is no fragile piece of hardware.

Functionality is very good, I can't help but keep singing praise for the IceQ cooler, it really is so good, even though it was let down somewhat by a relaxed fan profile. There are some extra sensor readings in GPU-Z not seen on all other cards and help you keep track of things in real time when overclocking or load testing.

The HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X video card model H687QNX1G2M will cost you $229.99 at Newegg and Amazon retailers, and at this price point it sits directly between the much loved NVIDIA GTX460 and the GTX 560Ti and falls between them performance wise too. On average the HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X costs $5.61/FPS in our benchmark tests, and I believe this to be very reasonable for a performance card like this.

I have no problems recommending this card to anyone who is in the market for a mid/high end card. You will definitely want to run the fan speed a bit faster to stop the GPU heating up too fast under a heavy load but that's childsplay... Right?

Pros:silvertachaward.png

+ IceQ cooler is excellent
+ Fan at 100% is not too loud
+ Excellent build quality
+ Great performance
+ Good value for money
+ CrossFireX Support
+ Clocks over 1GHz
+ Variety of outputs: Display Port, DVI-I and HDMI

Cons:

- Hot air from GPU exhausted into case
- Fan profile is too relaxed for a real heavy load
- Looks are not its best feature

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.00
  • Appearance: 8.50
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 8.75
  • Value: 8.75

Final Score: 8.90 out of 10.

Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.

Questions? Comments? Benchmark Reviews really wants your feedback. We invite you to leave your remarks in our Discussion Forum.

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Comments 

 
# RE: HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardAthlonite 2011-06-03 00:52
Also don't look for the fan on this card to last much longer than a year they're cheap sh!t fans the fan on this card is the same as my HD5770's which is only six months old and is already noisy as hell I think if you remove it and try looking for a way to re-lube it you'll find it's an completely sealed unit
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# RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-06-04 11:45
I took a look at the HIS 5770 cards and I noticed that the cards that don't have radial fans have 9 blade fans, this card has an 11 blade fan which may be a better design, or I may live to eat my words...

All I know is that they are pretty damn good right now, noise and cooling wise.
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# COST EFFECTIVECHARLEY MACHICOTE 2011-06-03 11:19
looks like somebody did theie home work on this one .. More information than I need but Im sure other like . question what plugs into the mini dp ??? something new to me been out of the loop. acording to the stats this card is a great buy .. Fast and cool makes it very COST EFFECTIVE.
bore bang for the buck .The color blue very pleasing to the eye and a 90mm fan heat sinks for cooling really doing a job that others leave to water cooling .. overall I would purchace this card ..
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# RE: COST EFFECTIVEOlin Coles 2011-06-03 13:21
Hello Charley: those mini-DisplayPort connections fit some of the latest (and very rare) monitors which support it. DisplayPort enables you to chain monitors using other devices.
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# RE: HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardRobert17 2011-06-03 19:50
Thanks Steven. Good review. I hope HIS reads your post and addresses the fan control issue. Would probably push the card into "9" territory?

Just a note: had some pages of the review refused to load/display. Skipped ahead, or went back, restarted the browser. Didn't solve the problem. Couple of pages just plain missing?
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# Working at my end...Olin Coles 2011-06-03 21:21
Sorry for your problems, but I just went through the article page by page with IE, FF, and Chrom, and each page seems to load just fine.
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# RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-06-04 11:32
HIS are looking into the issue and we hope to have a resolution in good time, whether it's just this card or all of their 6870 IceQ X Turbo X cards will remain to be seen till then. If this card didn't have the fan issue it would have quite possibly got a gold award.

Thanks everyone for the positive remarks.
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# RE: HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardMACK 2011-06-04 09:43
Really great review.
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# RE: HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardKyle 2011-06-07 12:10
I really like the review. I must say that I am fairly new to computers. I am looking around at many different video cards in the $200 to $250 Range.

My real question is does the 6950 version of this card have the same Fan profile issue as this card, 6870? I also took out of the review that this issue it not much of an issue. If I raise the fan speed will everything be fine?

Thanks.
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# RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-06-07 13:21
Oki a little bit of info before the review is published, the 6850 and the 6950 HIS cards all have a very similar fan profile, the 6950 fan spins at 50% while the GPU is at 75C on it's embedded auto profile... And yes, if you raise the fan speed above 60% (preferably 70% for good temps) you won't have an issue.

Thanks.
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# RE: HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardDave Springs 2011-06-13 15:39
Is there anything out that would help me to "translate" the meaning of all the data that appears with the Benchmark Reviews --- especially relative to the Hackintosh effort?
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# RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardDavid Ramsey 2011-06-13 15:42
What, exactly, do you need to help you understand the meaning of the data? Tell us and we'll do our best to provide it.

The Hackintosh is stable...I'm still running the same hardware configuration I wrote about in the original article. I've been very happy with it and the only bump in the road was a system software update that killed the sound; a KEXT patch brought that back.

I plan to migrate the Hackintosh to the Sandy Bridge platform sometime this summer and will have a new article when that's ready.
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# Great CardGadgeteer 2011-06-27 11:16
Hello Steve!

Thank you for a deep review. The card looks neat, and it's pretty good performance-wise.
Lower temps not only give space for overclocking, but also helps hardware live longer.
Fan issue doesn't look good... oh well it's fixable.
But the main reason I want this card is that it's quiter than other models with similar performance.

54-56db instead of 69-74 of Nvidia 560Ti/480. Impressive.

I'm building a rig with the following configuration:
AM3 AMD Phenom II X6 1090T BOX BLACK EDITION (amd)
DDR3 4096M 1333 Mhz Kingston Original (KVR1333D3N9/4G/KVR1333D3N9/4G-SPBK) - 2 pieces
HDD:500.0g 7200 Serial ATA III WD 16MB Caviar Blue (WD5000AAK?)
S-AM3: Asus M4A88T-V EVO/USB3.
PCIeX: ATI HD6870 HIS IceQ X Turbo 1024MB/256bit/GDDR5/2xDVI/HDMI/2xMini DP (975/4600) (H687QNT1G2M)
CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Plus (RR-B10-212P-GP)
Sony Optiarc LightScribe, Black, SATA (AD-7261S-0B)
Cooler Master HAF 912 Plus (RC-912P-KKN1)
ANTEC High Current Gamer HCG-620EC 620W v.2.3,Fan135mm, aPFC, 80+Bronze, SLI, Retail

All for less than 800 dollars!

Way to go ATI!

Warm greetings from Russia.
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# 3 displays?Mathias 2011-07-17 04:30
Hi!
I have got 3 displays that I want to use with Eyefinity to play games like Bad Company 2 over 3 diplays to get a wider view. The problem is that my current graphics card does not support more than 2 displays. So my question is, does the IceQ X Turbo X support 3 displays? If it does, i'm probably going to buy one soon!

BTW very nice and thorough review!

Regards from Norway
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# 4 displays!Gadgeteer 2011-07-17 04:33
Actually it supports up to four displays :^)
Never tried to use more than 2, but I have no reason not to believe the specs from HIS site.

Don?t choose between play and work. Let up to 4 displays help you enjoy games, movies and the web at the same time.
##hisdigital.com/un/product2-593.shtml
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# 3 displays?Mathias 2011-07-17 08:16
I know it says that, but on the box belonging to my old graphics card it also said something about up to four displays, but it turned out it only supported two :(
Because of that I would like to know for sure that it supports three or four displays...
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# RE: 3 displays?Olin Coles 2011-07-17 08:52
It will support four displays using DisplayPort only, not DVI. You will need two cards to support more than two DVI displays.
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# RE: RE: 3 displays?Gadgeteer 2011-07-17 09:28
MOBO integrated graphics will do for third?
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# found smthGadgeteer 2011-07-17 09:32
the setup for a triple monitor setup should be:
1x DVI or HDMI monitor connected to the DVI or HDMI port
1x DVI monitor connected to a DVI port
1x ACTIVE displayport to DVI adaptered monitor.
source: ##overclock.net/amd-ati/869715-radeon-6870-multiple-monitor-issues.html
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# Fan issueEgil 2011-08-24 12:57
Hi,

I've just installed this card and found that it shuts down as mentioned.

I have tried the fix using afterburner that was suggested and F12010 crashes very quickly. The game runs on my computer with a previous graphics card installed

Has there been a permanent resolution to the fan issue?

Thanks in advance,

Egil
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# RE: Fan issueSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-08-24 13:07
This issue was forwarded to HIS before the review was published and to my knowledge there has been no resolution. You may want to check the HIS website to see if there is a BIOS update available.
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# 3D and HD 2DBrad 2011-09-18 06:36
I've heard alot about this card and 3D , i finally set my eyes on this for christmas but in some of the reviews they've been saying its good for 3D , will this work just as good on normal 1920x1080 HD games like Men of war , and stuff like that, 'cos im not bothered about 3D. Thanks
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# RE: 3D and HD 2DOlin Coles 2011-09-18 08:44
I think you've been confused with some of the marketing hype. Almost all games are 3D, at least in the sense that they generate 3D-like graphics with poloygons and shadows. Additionally, some of the new cards actually offer true 3D functionality with the use of special glasses or screens. 2D games still exist, but you'll only see them with parlor games like Solitaire or Minesweeper.
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# 3D and HD 2DBrad 2011-09-18 08:54
I probably have lol but when people talk about 3D its normally when 'graphics come out ' of screens. So yeah im looking for a 150$ graphics card to play minesweeper :)
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# RE: HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-09-18 08:38
The benchmarks tell the story buddy. But yeah, it will work just as well if not better in non 3d games.
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# ThanksBrad 2011-09-18 08:44
Ok cool im definatly got a graphics card out of weeks of hopping to other cards.
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# New plus model betterStu 2011-09-26 00:05
HIS have now released a special edition of this as a 'plus' model. It now included there hd6970 fan on it. This makes the card run very cool and is superb for overclocking.
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