The most significant visual feature of the card is its size; at 300mm (11.75″) in length, it is utterly massive. And it’s heavy, arguably the biggest Radeon 7950 we’ve come across. Thankfully it’s still a dual slot cooler, not a triple, so no worries about extra space needed on a motherboard.
The IceQ X2 cooler dominates the styling here, with a honeycomb design in a silver colour against the smooth black background of the shroud.
The dual 11-bladed fans have riffles on the trailing edge, which we’ve seen a few companies incorporate into fan designs, apparently helping to improve airflow while maintaining lower noise. We’ll make an anecdotal observation in our temperature and noise testing.
Nickel-plated heatpipe protrude out the top, and overall the silver and black aesthetic is stunning. Functionally speaking, the heatsink has copper heatpipes to help reduce the GPU temperatures, and is vented along the length of the shroud. Since the shroud doesn’t fully cover the PCB, not all warm air will exhaust out the rear of the case, so some internal case airflow will be necessary to accomplish that. As we’ve come to expect from HIS, however, they normally produce excellent cooling results with their custom heatsinks, so we’ll check the temperatures shortly in this review.
It’s interesting that HIS chose a blue PCB rather than the black often found on premium cards, though the blue does keep with the “cool” theme. We think black would look better inside a case, but PCB colour doesn’t give you better framerates, so we’ll leave the styling impression to personal preference.
The 7950 requires both an 8-pin and 6-pin power connectors which are thankfully are side-mounted on the card rather than end-mounted, so this avoid problems on what is already a very long card. As you can see below, the heatsink protrudes well beyond the edge of the PCB.
The 7950 IceQ X2 includes dual CrossFire bridges, so quad-CrossFire benching runs are available for the diehard enthusiasts out there.
The rear of the card is standard fare, with one DVI, one HDMI, and two mini DisplayPort outputs. Unfortunately no dual DVI outputs here, but if you’re running Eyefinity with a triple display setup then you should be ok with the included converter if your monitors don’t have the necessary ports.
Under the hood, the beauty of the IceQ X2 heatsink is the use of beefy heatpipes, copper base, and aluminum fins, not unlike many top CPU coolers we often see. This design helps quickly dissipate the heat and help control the GPU’s temperature. We’ll take a closer look at the temperatures shortly in this review. The base doesn’t have a mirror finish, but we’ve found that’s not necessary with heatpipe technology in order to be very efficient in controlling temperatures. Here’s a look at the cooler unmasked:
Beneath the heatsink lies a metal heatspreader across the PCB, helping to not only physically stabilize the card but more importantly act to help dissipate heat from other critical components that don’t actually touch the heatsink’s cooling areas, primarily the memory chips and VRMs.
Let’s move along to the test setup and take a look at the benchmark results.