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HIS 7850 IceQ Turbo CrossFire

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Posted November 20, 2012 by Jake in Video Cards

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Overview

Hardware:
 
Manufacturer:
 
Price at time of Review: $230
 

WHAT WE LIKED:

Great value, good performance, strong CrossFire scaling, low temperatures and noise, excellent audio bundle (limited time)
 

WHAT WE DISLIKED:

Very large cards, VRAM buffer a bit handcuffed at high resolutions
 
BOTTOM LINE:
Great CrossFire pairing, particularly if you already own a 7850, while HIS ups the ante with an excellent audio bundle.
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by Jake
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Summary

When looking at the Radeon 7870, this card could be viewed as the successor to the 6870, though the reality is that it’s such a vast improvement over its predecessory that the two cards really don’t share much in common except nomenclature. In fact, the 7870 is so good that it manages to beat Nvidia’s GTX 580 in most instances. And AMD calls this a mid-range card; it’s really quite a juggernaut in the middle performance class. Granted, the GTX 580 is the last-gen flagship, but framerates are still framerates, and this card delivers nonetheless.

While the 7850 targets the mid-range in AMD’s lineup, it is indeed a capable workhorse, able to run most modern games at medium resolutions with the image quality maximized. There are some instances where performance would benefit from dialing back those IQ settings a bit, but for the most part, the 7850 can handle medium-duty gaming very well.

In terms of performance, the 7850 competes against the GTX 660. They trade blows in most games, but it does depend on the engine; they were close in most regards, but a couple games created significant differences in framerate results for engines that appear to have been optimized for Nvidia cards. What’s particularly interesting is that this HIS 7850 IceQ Turbo comes very close to a stock Radeon 7870 card in terms of performance, while running cooler and quieter, and costing less money.

And when a second card is added in a CrossFire setup, then the cards really start to flex their muscle. Managing to beat a single 7970 pretty much across the board, the two HIS cards in CrossFire posted impressive results, scaling rather well across the board. Though the CrossFire will struggle a bit at higher resolutions with image quality settings maximized due to only 2GB of VRAM, the fact remains that two of these cards offer excellent performance-to-price for consumers.

At a price of $230 each, these HIS cards come factory overclocked, and run cool and quiet. For two in CrossFire, $460 is only about $30 more than a 7970 (with custom cooler), and the CrossFire performance is convincingly better. Add in the audio headphones and mobile speaker system offered here by HIS for the holidays (it won’t last, so hurry!), and that’s a killer deal no matter how you slice it. There is, of course, the potential issues that come with CrossFire, though the micro-stuttering is rarely encountered these days, and game profiles are updated rather quickly by AMD. There are some pros and cons to CrossFire, but the value can’t be overlooked IF you already own a 7850.

The HIS 7850 IceQ Turbo is a big card in several regards, not only in physical size but particularly in gaming value. It’s an excellent product, and with an innovative and class-leading accessory audio bundle, this one’s a winner, both as a single card and in CrossFire.

HIS 7850 IceQ Turbo CrossFire

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