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Written by Steven Iglesias-Hearst   
Thursday, 09 June 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video Card
Closer Look: HIS HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X
HIS HD6950 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 HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
HIS HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X Overclocking
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

HIS HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X Overclocking

Before I start overclocking I like to get a little bit of information, firstly I like to establish operating temperatures and since we know these are nice we can quickly move on. Next I like to know what the voltage and clock limits are, so I fired up MSI's Afterburner utility. I established that vCore was adjustable between 0.800v and 1.299v and clock speeds were limited to 950MHz max on the GPU and 1350MHz (5.4GHz effective) maximum frequency for the memory. This is not a lot of range to move forward with but I'm sure I can squeeze every last drop of performance out of the HIS HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X. My preferred weapons are MSI Afterburner (v2.2.0 Beta 3) for fine tuning while using FurMark (v1.9.0) to heat the GPU.

HIS_HD6950_IceQ_X_Turbo_X_GPU-Z_Sensors_Load.jpg *-

Without needing to raise the vCore I was able to push the GPU to its 950MHz limit. Increasing the memory speed to 1350MHz (5.4GHz effective) also required very little effort at all. I am really impressed by the capabilities of the already overclocked HIS HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X video card, I'm sure there is still some overclock headroom but 950MHz/1350MHz is the highest Afterburner will allow.

Test Item Standard GPU/RAM Overclocked GPU/RAM Improvement
HIS HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X 880/1300 MHz 950/1350 MHz 70/50 MHz
DX10: Street Fighter IV 142.13 152.76 10.63 FPS (7.47%)
DX10: 3dMark Jane Nash 36.38 38.97

2.59 FPS (7.11%)

DX10: 3dMark Calico 26.71 28.78 2.06 FPS (7.73%)
DX11: HAWX 2 80 85 5 FPS (6.25%)
DX11: Aliens vs Predator 43.56 46.36

2.79 FPS (6.41%)

DX11: Battlefield BC2 69.37 73.86 4.48 FPS (6.45%)
DX11: Metro 2033 30.76 32.69 1.93 FPS (6.27%)
DX11: Heaven 2.1 41.46 44.30 2.83 FPS (6.83%)
DX11: Battle Forge 43.83 46.80

2.96 FPS (6.76%)

DX11: Lost Planet 2 36 38.30 2.30 FPS (6.38%)

Armed with a 70MHz GPU overclock (150MHz over reference design) and a 50MHz memory overclock (100MHz over reference design), we went back to the bench and ran through the entire test suite. Overall we saw an average 6.77% increase in scores (at 1920x1080 resolution. We ran the fan speed at 75% to ensure the card stayed nice and cool during the overclocked benchmarking run as this card can get very hot if the fan speed is not adjusted accordingly.

We also re ran temperature tests at the overclocked speeds at a slightly higher ambient temperature of 26°C. The IceQ X cooler on the HIS HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X once again did not fail to please, at idle the GPU sat at 44°C (29% fan speed). Pushing the temperature up with FurMark saw the GPU load temperature rise to 78°C (51% fan speed). The auto fan speed is quite relaxed so next I tested at 75% fan speed and the temperature dropped to 68°C. Cranking the fan on manual to 100% saw the temperature drop to 63°C

That's all of the testing over, in the next section I will deliver my final thoughts and conclusion.



 

Comments 

 
# looks aren't everything,....realneil 2011-06-10 09:12
I like the card's color just fine. It performs pretty well considering the price it sells for. As for the looks, I don't place a whole lot of value on looks if the product being considered functions properly. I know that it makes a difference to some, but not to me. Good review.
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# RE: looks aren't everything,....Steven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-06-10 10:49
It's human nature.... If in doubt buy the one that looks the best, or the one you see on the TV every day lol.
I'm glad to be different from the masses, I do a lot of research before I buy things and I like to get the best deals possible.
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# Looks are usually wastedBruce Bruce 2011-06-10 11:39
I don't like the fact that once a video card is installed in a typical PC, you can't see the face of it, or at least you can't see much of it. Few manufacturers have taken advantage of the top surface as the primary "gallery space" for visual design. The GTX285 MATRIX card I reviewed was an exception...
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# RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardRobert17 2011-06-12 06:55
Thanks for doing the heavy lifting Steven. Nice review. You've been quite busy lately.

Your comparison charts spoke of something, to me at least. All the cards in the comparison would be pleasing to own. Not a real "dog" amongst them. I'm keeping in mind that gaming performance is a primary consideration. But even without games, these cards are all excellent to have in an HTPC or demanding video environment.
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# RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardWade 2011-06-12 11:15
This review contains hard to find information I can use: the power (in Watts) usage and the clear summary honestly comparing this card to its nearest competitor. I prefer the Radeon cards, but I now have reason to do a bit of critical analysis and re-examine NVidia's offerings. I can base my decisions on which games I like to play and how well each of these cards perform on them (the HIS HD6950 and the NVidia GTX 560Ti). Thanks for the great review.
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# RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-06-12 13:04
Thanks for all of the positive comments guys. It makes all the hard work much more rewarding.
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# DVI>VGA DongleAthlonite 2011-07-05 16:34
Really!! why is it that card makers keep supplying these instead of something useful like DVI>HDMI or DP>DVI or DP>HDMI dongles it's as if they expect you to buy this balls out graphics card and connect it to some shonky old CRT monitor

Oh and one more thing to watch when buying HIS graphics cards is the Fan wont last long if it's anything like the one on my HIS HD5770 (which it looks to be) not even 6 months old and it's already noisy as on start-up takes about 10~15mins of running before it gets to some semblance of quiet.. You all know the sound that grinding labored sound a fan starts to make when it's just about to fail
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# RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video Cardadam 2011-08-27 16:49
I ran metro 2033 on the 1 gb version of this card and overclocked it to 900 mhz and 1325 mhz for memory and ran an even 45-40 fps with graphics maxed and the card was 63 c at 85 percent fan speed and it was very quiet this card is amazing. My screen resolution was 1600x900 so that's a big reason for the better performance I benchmarked dues ex at 60 fps and the witcher 2 ran an impressive 50-60 fps. The card never exceded 70 c which is amazing I highly recommend this card to anyone it runs $240 off newegg right now for the 1 gb. I can't wait for bf3 I'm expecting in between 40-50 fps on ultra. Good hunting everyone.
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# RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardAthlonite 2011-08-27 17:19
this card should be able to run those games at 1920x1080 without OCing the snot out of it and still get those sorts of FPS

try it at 1920x1080 with lower AA and see how it goes
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# manufacturersJoćo Delgado 2011-09-16 16:36
I'm getting a 6950 2GB now, and this HIS card is priced about the same as the MSI TF3 PE/OC, which is betting looking, better cooled, runs better, better OC, lasts a lot longer, etc etc.
For the benchs I seen of one of those cards fully unlocked and with some good extra OC put in, its performance is way better than 570.

Unfortunately, these low-profile manufacturers are so for a reason, they don't have any feature to stand themselves ought of several sharks like PowerColor, Sapphire, XFX, ASUS and of course MSI.
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# RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-09-17 03:02
The MSI TF3 PE/OC is also a lot louder than the HIS card when under load.
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# RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardJoćo Delgado 2011-09-17 07:57
I think that the fans in 50% speed or so probably cool better than that single HIS cooler at 75% or so. I bet it makes less db per watt of heat spread than that HIS cooler. Basically, it makes more noise than that HIS cooler when they're both on their top fan speed, but you're forgetting the fact that TF3 cools a lot better. You would need a lower speed to match the top HIS watt of heat spread, and at that lower fan speed, it would make less noise than the top HIS heat spread.

In the end you only need that super high speed fan on TF3 if you're OCing it close or beyond a 1ghz core frequency.


But please note this are just suppositions I've made base on looking at both coolers and reading testimonies. For example, notice that HIS cooler, unlike TF3, hasn't got the back opened, allowing to suck in the air coming from front fans.

P.S.: For instance, because of that feature alone, I'm thinking on making a mod to my case so I can mount a Noctua P12 fan close to HD bays, to pressure air into the Graphics card cooler through the back of the cooler (the 6 pin connectors are above, so the intake from that position is very optimized)
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# RE: RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-09-17 08:55
I have personally reviewed both cards, you can make your own mind up based on my findings. Mine wouldn't unlock even with a custom written BIOS from MSI themselves. I would prefer the quiter card and that's the HIS.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardJoćo Delgado 2011-09-17 10:14
If the card unlocks or not is pure luck, and this applies for all cards. However, even if you can't unlock the shaders because of the chip being laser-cut, with the MSI modded BIOS you can OC the card even further and get a higher voltage.

And you completely ignored what I said about the noise per watt of heat spread. Without keeping this in mind you're just comparing apples with oranges...
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardSchopenhauerian 2012-01-25 04:34
~~~"I BET... [MSI?s Twin Frozr 3] cools a lot better... please note this are just SUPPOSITIONS I've made base on LOOKING at both coolers and reading TESTIMONIES. For example, notice that [HIS IceQ X] cooler? hasn't got the back opened... [and] you completely ignored what I said about the noise per watt of heat spread..."~~~

Your guesses and suppositions might be plausible in the absence of any concrete data, but reviewer Steven Iglesias-Hearst did in fact point you to the concrete data that informed his assessment, data that he derived from (1) Full Reviews of the two cards that (2) He conducted personally, 17 days apart, using (3) A single Temperature Testing methodology (FurMark 1.9.0 Torture Test) and using (4) The exact same 'Lancool PC-K63'/'Intel P55'/'i5 760' System for each Review.

It?s rare that so many variables (Reviewer, Methodology, Case and System Cooling Config) are kept constant when comparing two cards, so his assessment of the relative merits of the two Cards should probably carry more weight than random testimonials. His results:

HIS 6950 IceQ X - Ambient Temp: 24 / Fan: 100% / FurMark Load Temp: 61 / Sound: ?Quite Bearable? Noise is a non-issue?
MSI 6950 Twin Frozr III -- Ambient Temp: 28 / Fan: 100% / FurMark Load Temp: 59 / Sound: ?Noise level is too much??

Granted, (5) Ambient temperatures are different (24 versus 28 degrees), but if (6) the Twin Frozr Fan is creating significantly more noise than the IceQ X, while (7) achieving approximately the same Load Temperature in FurMark (59 versus 61 degrees), then (8) your speculation -- ?You would need a lower speed [on the Twin Frozr 3] to match the [HIS IceQ X], and at that lower fan speed, it would make less noise than the top HIS heat spread? ? is not really consistent with the data.

Note also that in the test, the HIS Card was running at a higher default clock speed (880 MHz, versus 850 MHz for the MSI Card).

To be sure, we could ask Steven Iglesias-Hearst to (9) quantify (in decibels) ?quite bearable? and ?too much?, and also to (10) demonstrate the effect of a 4 degree difference on Ambient Temperature on FurMark Load Temps, but I think the data he has already provided is more than enough to support his assessment that the HIS Cooler is ?better? overall.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardSchopenhauerian 2012-01-25 04:38
And with respect to determining 'unlocking' potential, we'd have to do some surveys to find out the success rate for the two cards, as I've read reports of successes and failures for both.

In the absence of such survey data, the overclocking results in Hearst?s review -- Street Fight IV 152.76 FPS @ 950/1350 (max OC) for the HIS IceQ X, versus Street Fighter IV 143.30 FPS for the MSI Twin Frozr III @ 900/1325 (max OC) -- give us the most helpful picture of the relative power/performance of the two cards.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardJoao Delgado 2012-01-25 07:56
In the time I wrote those comments I mustn't have paid due attention do this HIS version, reason why I underestimated its cooling/silence.

Those OC numbers (900/1325) aren't the mirror of that MSI's true potential, since I've read dozens of high OCing numbers, being 975mhz on the core what most got, and a few lucky individuals got 1000mhz+ (cant remember memory speed). With such numbers I believe MSI's card would get similar results as HIS', and but with more durable and stable OC with its well-known military class components.

Here's win or win situation in which specific personal requirements make a difference (OC roof, silence, durability), but overall they seem to be in same level (opposite of my previous statements)


I end up loosing the right time for purchase with HD6xxx, so for HD7xxx I'll keep an open mind about this 2 coolers.



Offtopic: Does anyone think the thermal paste that comes with the card (with all brands) is as good as Arctic Silver 5 or a similar one? Never got the chance to compare then and now results with same ambient temperature, reason why I'm asking.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2012-01-25 12:26
RE: Thermal paste question.

It's very hard to say without doing actual testing, but in my honest opinion you will not gain more that 2-3 degrees Celsius if you are lucky.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardAthlonite 2012-01-25 16:52
OH really so that'll be why I got a 10 deg c drop in idle and load temps after using AS5 on my two HD5770's

idle temps before AS5 were 36~37c after AS5 and curing time 27c
load temps before AS5 63c after AS5 52c (using F@H to load GPU's)
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardJoao Delgado 2012-01-25 17:03
You're comparing fresh applied thermal paste with some already dry? Or you changed it right after you got the card?

Because over time thermal paste gets dry and loses some of their heat transference capabilities, reason why if you already used the card for some time it's an unfair comparison.

I got the same results back then, after changing the 2 year old thermal paste of my HD4850, reason why I guess you did the same.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardOlin Coles 2012-01-25 18:55
Athlonite: to properly measure temperatures of anything, you need correctly measured baseline ambient temperature readings. Having tested hundreds of items using as close to scientific method as possible, it doesn't sound like you've done this (or you haven't mentioned it). So claiming a 10C improvement doesn't hold much weight when for all we know you're ambient room temp was different.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardAthlonite 2012-01-27 00:14
@ Olin My ambient temps I Like to keep as close to 22c as possible via an Heat/cold pump
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video CardOlin Coles 2012-01-27 08:48
I'm not sure I understand. The ambient temperature is the room and internal case temperature. It's very difficult to achieve a normalized room temp with heating or air conditioning, which is why tests must be conducted at approximately the same time every day and measured for consistency (if it is to be done correctly).
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# help me!reggaemaster 2011-12-16 23:06
Hi, you could give me the original BIOS file on your card,
to flash my card is one that is the 840mhz version
thanks before hand
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# RE: help me!Steven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-12-17 04:02
I think you would do better to look at the GPU BIOS database over at TechPowerUp.
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# RE: HIS Radeon HD6950 IceQ-X Turbo-X Video Cardreggaemaster 2011-12-17 14:26
Thank you. and look at ##techpowerup.com and not on the list,
I need this card is at 880MHz core gpu bios
can use this bios
my original bios is the 840mhz version?
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