When Nvidia’s Kepler lineup showed up on the graphics card scene to challenge AMD’s offerings, the enthusiasts out there knew the Radeon 7950s at the time were woefully underclocked for the most part, which would have explained the less-than-impressive showing. True to form, many AMD disciples waited for custom PCB and cooler designs that could really push the cards’ full capabilities. That’s been achieved here with the HIS 7950 IceQ X2, for the most part, with plenty of gas left in the tank for overclocking, pushing the performance ahead of the GTX 670 in an OC state.
If you choose to keep the card running at the factory overclock speeds already established by HIS, then the results are a bit more sobering, and a mixed bag, depending on the game engine. There were a few instances where the GTX 660 Ti won, also a few ties, and a couple instances where the 7950 IceQ X2 shone and beat even the GTX 670 without overclocking. So the performance expectations here entirely depend on your intended games, and ones that are AMD-optimized will obviously do very well, while engines tweaked for Nvidia will suffer a bit. That said, the overarching conclusion here is that the 7950 IceQ X2 performance is very good.
Framerates are only part of the equation, however, and where HIS has really put together a killer card is with the new IceQ X2 heatsink. This design is stunning in terms of keeping temperatures and noise levels impressively low. It’s a massive cooler, though svelte, but will take up considerable length inside a case, so make sure you have at least 12″ of clear space behind the drive cage.
Lastly is the question of value. Retailing for about $320, this 7950 IceQ X2 is costs the same as AMD competitors’ custom cards, but also slightly less than custom GTX 660 Ti cards. That bodes well if you’re a penny-pincher, but chances you’re not when it comes to graphics card in this price range. The pricing scheme here unfortunately doesn’t give us any clear knockout winner, as there are tossups between performance, temperatures, and price. However, that does leave us with a very compelling option for a strong gaming card, as the HIS 7950 IceQ X2 Boost Clock is a great overall choice.
HIS 7950 IceQ X2 Boost Clock