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Written by Steven Iglesias-Hearst   
Friday, 10 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 2GB Final Thoughts

The IceQ X Cooler with its 92mm fan is more than capable of taming the HD6850 GPU even with its extreme overclock, but not its default fan profile leaves some area for improvement. 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 overclocked the GPU and put it through its paces the fan was happily spinning away at 53% while the GPU was heating up at 79°C, this was a little worrying and it would be more reassuring if HIS would be a little more aggressive with the fan profile or have a switch for users to select from silence/performance etc.

This video card overclocked very easily and the performance gained was much appreciated, the overclock limit was reached without needing to increase the voltage so there is more to be had if you want to be more adventurous. The 950MHz GPU limit was the same in AMD Overdrive and Afterburner but I'm sure this card will do more.

HIS HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X 2GB 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 HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X Video Card 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 HD6950 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.


The graphics performance of the HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X is very good indeed, in five of our ten tests it was able to beat the performance of the NVIDIA GTX 560Ti and then even more so when it was overclocked further. This card comes with a pretty high clock already and pushing it further didn't require any extra voltage or effort. Overclocking is always uncertain territory so we should be thankful that there is any headroom at all

The appearance rating of the HIS HD6950 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 HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X video card model H695QNX2G2M will cost you $299.99 at Newegg. At this price point it is on par with other factory overclocked HD6950 video cards but costs a lot more than the NVIDIA GTX 560Ti, while only beating it in half of our tests. On average the HIS HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X costs $6.35/FPS in our benchmark tests, and I believe this to be very reasonable for a high performance card like this. Add to this the benefit of 2GB memory and multi monitor Eyefinity support, and you have a good deal all in all.

I have no problems recommending this card to anyone who is in the market for a great performing video card. You certainly could do much worse.


+ IceQ cooler is excellent
+ Fan at 100% is not too loud
+ Excellent build quality
+ Excellent performance
+ Tri/Quad CrossFireX Support
+ Overclocks without additional voltage
+ Variety of outputs: Display Port, DVI-I and HDMI


- Hot air from GPU exhausted into case
- Fan profile is too relaxed
- Looks are not its best feature
- 26cm long could be an issue for some


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

Final Score: 9.05 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

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# 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 [email protected] 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 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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