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Written by Steve Hearst   
Wednesday, 09 November 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
HIS Radeon HD 6870 IceQ Video Card
Closer Look: HIS Radeon HD 6870 IceQ 1GB
HIS Radeon HD 6870 IceQ 1GB Detailed Features
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 Radeon HD6870 IceQ 1GB Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ 1GB Overclocking
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

HIS HD6870 IceQ 1GB Final Thoughts

In the benchmark tests the HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ 1GB was compared along side the faster HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X reviewed earlier this year by us, which currently sells at the same price. In our review of the X Turbo X variant we noted that there were some issues with the GPU crashing due to a very relaxed fan profile. I am glad to say that these issues are not present with the HD6870 IceQ 1GB and the fan spins at the most optimal level possible, even under overclocking conditions.

The PCB design of the two HIS HD6870's are identical with a few minor variances in IC's, as such the overclocks are the extremely close between the two. There is 20MHz between core speeds and 10MHz between memory speeds, this means that for those who aren't afraid to venture then the choice only comes down to looks as both perform the same as each other when overclocked.


HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ 1GB 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 Radeon HD6870 IceQ 1GB 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 received a higher or lower score. It is however a good indicator of whether the HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ 1GB 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 Radeon HD6870 1GB is good but it's real potential is only realised when you overclock it. In some of our tests it was able to match or come very close to the performance of the stock GTX 560Ti and then more so when it was overclocked. This card comes with reference card clock speeds but pushing it further requires little effort and the gains are plenty. Overclocking is always uncertain territory so we should be thankful that there is any headroom at all.

The HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ 1GB looks like something from the past. As soon as I saw it I remembered my old ATI X1950 XTX. Thankfully though, it's not all for looks this time round (the X1950 XTX was a proper cooker) and the IceQ cooler works really well. I have long since thrown my UV lights in the trash so I couldn't tell you if this modern day shroud is UV reactive like the ones of yesteryear but being white will have an effect in itself anyway (if UV is your thing).

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-wise the HIS HD6870 IceQ 1GB acts as you would expect. The fan speed follows temperature changes promptly and delivers good and quiet cooling performance. The other great thing is that this model clocks up nicely too; +100MHz GPU core and +200MHz Memory is a very good overclock and the HIS HD6870 IceQ 1GB produced an excellent 14% average increase in benchmark scores becausee of this.

The HIS Radeon HD6870 IceQ 1GB video card model H687Q1G2M will cost you $199.99 at NewEgg and Amazon retailers. At this price point it sits directly between the good old NVIDIA GTX460 and the GTX 560Ti and falls between them performance-wise too. On average the HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X costs $5.69/FPS in our benchmark tests, and I believe this to be a reasonable price to pay 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. For those that are worried about overclocking there is always the factory overclocked HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X available at the same price.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval

+ IceQ cooler is very good
+ Fan at 100% is not too loud
+ Excellent build quality
+ Exhausts out the PCI bracket not inside the case
+ Good value for money
+ CrossFireX Support
+ Clocks to 1GHz with ease
+ Variety of outputs: Display Port, DVI-I and HDMI


- Very long for a HD6870 (287mm)
- Old school looking video card
- Bare copper heatpipes look out of place
- No factory overclock


  • Performance: 8.50
  • Appearance: 7.75
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.50
  • Value: 8.25

Final Score: 8.70 out of 10.

Recommended: Benchmark Reviews Seal of Approval.

Benchmark Reviews invites you to leave constructive feedback below, or ask questions in our Discussion Forum.

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# RE: HIS Radeon HD 6870 IceQ Video CardSun Down 2011-11-09 22:31
Great review of the card. Honestly, the name already gives away on how much it could be overclocked, you could use an air conditioner to push the card further. On your first point, saying the PC gaming is dead is like saying that every scientist in the world is dead. We're the pioneers of interactive graphics.
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# RE: RE: HIS Radeon HD 6870 IceQ Video CardWhyNotV2 2011-11-17 03:37
Sun Down, he wasn't saying he believed PC gaming was dead, read the whole statement...

"A lot of people are speculating that the PC and PC gaming industry is dying but I beg to differ. I think the Tablet/Smartphone era is just a novelty phase. One problem lies with power delivery, and we all know that today's batteries just don't cut it when we want to use our devices for extended periods..."

Nowhere did he say that he himself agreed and actually said he disagreeed.
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# InfoChris 2012-01-17 11:13
I have this motherboard:

I wanted to put this graphics card on my system with full 4gb of RAM. I already updated the bios system to hande 2.1 PCIe. Would it work on my motherboard? How would it run if so?

Thank you
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# RE: InfoSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2012-01-17 11:28
Your motherboard is fine and this card will run as it is intended to on it. Just make sure your PC case has enough room and that your power supply can handle the extra load.
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# RE: RE: InfoChris 2012-01-17 16:08
Thanks Steven. Yeah I want to build a new pc but don't have the cash at the moment so I was looking into a new graphics card for now.
I was thinking about this HIS ice 6870 or this:
Which would you prefer? Or what other card would you consider?
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# RE: RE: RE: InfoSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2012-01-18 16:32
The Sapphire card is OK buddy although it is $10 more. Maybe consider looking at some NVIDIA cards too - GTX 560, GTX 560Ti or GTX 560Ti 448
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# okChris 2012-01-18 17:11
Thanks. I took your advice and looked into the Nvidia cards.
This is what I found that I think would go well:
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# not a bad time...Pinakio 2011-11-10 14:41
Great review from BMR as usual, keep'em coming! Despite what most people say, this is good time for upgrading GPUs. The price has reached a level of tranquility and is quite reasonable than ever and we've a pretty good idea of the performance that we can expect from both camps. Surely one can wait for GCN (SI/Kepler) but that ain't happening before 2012 as we all now know. But what we have in the market is proven GPUs with custom designs like this one and MSI TwinFrozr II/III, which are great for OCing and bang for $$. These AIBs are doing a great job of making innovative and effective designs and they should not be afraid of dishing out some significant amount of factory OC. Also considering the number of big tittles that are to be released like BF3, MW3 and Skyrim- we shall see a surge in the sells of discrete GPUs!
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# Voltage ControlChris 2011-11-17 12:32
That is an awesome overclock for not bumping the voltage. I'd love to see if you have control over this and see if you can get an even higher overclock. You can use ATI Tray Tools to get past the 1Ghz limit and you can punch in your own voltage. I have a pair of Vision#s and they will not allow you over mess with the voltage at all. Not even at the Bios level.
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# RE: Voltage ControlSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-11-17 13:23
I bumped the voltage to 1.3V to get that overclock and I was able to get past the 1GHz barrier by using the unofficial overclocking method whereby you modify the MSIafterburner.cfg to give more headroom. For all my efforts I couldn't get it stable beyond 1GHz. This was written in black and white in the overclocking chapter of this article.

"More overclocking headroom could be unlocked for the GPU Core and Memory speeds using the unofficial overclocking method in MSI Afterburner, but I wasn't able to keep this card stable during testing when I went past the previous limits. I bumped the vCore to the max 1.30V and was able to push the clock speeds to 1000MHz GPU and 1250MHz (5GHz effective) Memory and still remain stable during the benchmarking run."
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# This card awesomeTrevor 2011-12-01 21:28
This card is awesome... I don't need to overclock it at all... everything is good excepted it is big for my mid tower
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# InfoHurricane 2012-09-12 04:47
I have this motherboard

and wanted to know whether this graphics card would work on it .So will it work ?
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# YesBruce 2012-09-12 06:57
Why would you think that it wouldn't? Just curious....
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# RE: InfoAthlonite 2012-09-12 17:27
as long as your Mother board has an x16 slot it will work even if that slot only runs at x4 speeds it'll still work
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