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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 Details

In this section we shall take an in-depth look at the HIS HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X video card and see what makes it tick.

HIS_HD6950_IceQ_X_Turbo_X_PCB_Front.jpg

With the cooler assembly and other heatsinks fully removed we can get a better look at the board, The overall layout of all the components is a little different with the 6000 series, the standard layout has moved the power phase/VRM section to the left hand side of the GPU, into an area that is normally left somewhat unoccupied. All in all the PCB looks good with no real waste of space and the soldering quality is of a very high standard as you will see in the close-up shots further down the page.

HIS_HD6950_IceQ_X_Turbo_X_PCB_Rear.jpg

The back of the PCB is utilised mainly for resistors and the soldering quality is excellent for such tiny components, man loses the war to the machine when it comes to detailed work like this. These days you don't generally see RAM on the reverse side of a 2GB video card design thanks to the smaller manufacturing process that allows a higher density in a smaller package. There are a few points of interest that we will look at in more detail in this section.

HIS_HD6950_IceQ_X_Turbo_X_Hynix_H5GQ2H24MFR_TC2.jpg

The HIS HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X uses 2GB of Hynix H5GQ2H24MFR-T2C GDDR5 Memory rated 1250MHz (5GHz effective) at 1.5V. On this model they are already running over spec (at H5GQ2H24MFR-R0C speeds).

HIS_HD6950_IceQ_X_Turbo_X_CHiL_CHL8214-05.jpg

For voltage control HIS have utilized a CHiL CHL82414-05 Dual output 4+1 phase PWM Controller. Below is a snippet from the product description.

The CHL8212/13/14 are dual-loop digital multi-phase buck controllers and the CHL8203 is a single-loop digital multiphase buck controller designed for GPU voltage regulation. Dynamic voltage control is provided by registers which are programmed through I2C and then selected using a 3-bit parallel bus for fast access.

The CHL8203/12/13/14 include CHiL Efficiency Shaping Technology to deliver exceptional efficiency at minimum cost across the entire load range. CHiL Dynamic Phase Control adds/drops active phases based upon load current and can be configured to enter 1-phase operation and diode emulation mode automatically or by command.

SOURCE: chilsemi.com.

HIS_HD6950_IceQ_X_Turbo_X_uP6101BU8.jpg

A uP6101BU8 is somewhat of an older chip seen on much earlier 4000 series AMD Radeon video cards, provides voltage control for the memory.

HIS_HD6950_IceQ_X_Turbo_X_uP7701U8.jpg

Two uP7701U8 (above and below) voltage control chips are present, one on the front and one on the reverse of the PCB. Specifications for these chips are not readily available but there is a good chance that they are an improvement on an older design. They provide voltage control for the GPU.

HIS_HD6950_IceQ_X_Turbo_X_uP7701U8_Front.jpg

One can only speculate as to why there are two controllers but they may not be both performing the same task. When we look at the vital statistics of this video card in GPU-Z we see lots of extra info not normally seen on this level of card. For instance, instead of just a regular vCore reading we get readings for 12V line quality, VDDC usage in volts and VDDC current usage in amps.

HIS_HD6950_IceQ_X_Turbo_X_PI3HDMI4.jpg

The Pericom PI3HDMI4 chip controls the HDMI and DVI interfaces. Seen on a lot of Radeon video cards, this is likely to be the main reason why AMD video cards can support more than two monitors whereas NVIDIA cards can only support two max.



 

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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