HIS 7970 X
OverviewHardware: Video Cards
WHAT WE LIKED:Excellent performance, Great overclocking, Low temperatures and noise, Included game and Active adapter, Eyefinity 5 and 6 capabilities
WHAT WE DISLIKED:Expensive
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Though AMD was first to market with the latest-gen graphics cards, the launch of the Nvidia GTX 680 signalled a powerhouse that put AMD on notice, as the flagship Radeon 7970 simply couldn’t compete against the Kepler juggernaut. But the enthusiasts out there knew the 7970s were woefully underclocked for the most part, waiting for custom PCB and cooler designs that could really push the cards’ full capabilities. That’s been achieved here with the HIS 7970 X, and indeed it does beat the GTX 680 in nearly every regard, with the exception of dynamic control and power consumption.
It can be argued by the fanboys and girls out there that the only reason this 7970 can beat the GTX 680 is because of the high overclock. And while that is technically true, most consumers looking to buy in this upper performance echelon probably don’t care as much about the possible potential of a card; they care about the actual performance. On the other hand, this doesn’t take into the potential overclocking capabilities of the GTX 680, but where does the argument end? Suffice it to say many consumers never have any intention of overclocking a GPU, since it’s far more touchy than a CPU overclock and it can be intimidating to find the right combination of speeds and voltages. This HIS 7970 X takes out the guesswork, offering a very aggressive overclock out of the box.
The accessory package here is second to none, with a free coupon for DiRT Showdown, as well as an active adapter for Eyefinity. In fact, as far as we can tell, the HIS 7970 X may be the only 7970 out there with a Dual Link DVI and Eyefinity 5 setup, but can also run Eyefinity 6 if needed. That’s thanks to the little blue button on the rear that allows either setup straightaway. If you love gaming in super high resolutions, the 3GB of VRAM will start to choke a bit if you crank up the antialiasing, though it’s still 1GB more than Nvidia’s GTX 680 offers. You may also consider pairing up at a couple of these 7970s in Crossfire if you want enough horsepower for five or six displays.
HIS continues to offer powerhouse cards that run cool and quiet. That’s quite a tall order, but the 7970 X is undoubtedly a success at achieving such a difficult task. This card is a behemoth, but it looks fabulous; sleek and edgy at the same time, while the IceQ X2 cooler keeps temperatures and noise levels impressively low.
There are actually very few choices, however, of uber-premium graphics cards, particularly if you want multi-display gaming. This HIS 7970 X is one of those rare options. So what does all this horsepower, cooling, overclocking, and accessory goodness cost? The HIS 7970 X retails for $600, which is a tough pill to swallow if you don’t want or need the Eyefinity gaming options. The GTX 680 can be found for considerably less, though if you factor in the free game and active display adapter included, those two items alone account for about $80 difference off the top. The reality is that premium products come with premium prices, and if you’re into Eyefinity 5 or 6 gaming, then budget savings obviously isn’t your primary concern at all, and the convenience and features here are worth it. If you’re not into Eyefinity gaming and only care about framerates, then look elsewhere.
Other than the price tag, the HIS 7970 X IceQ X2 is a very impressive card, and if you want top shelf performance and the ability to game across several displays, then it’s an outstanding option.
HIS 7970 X IceQ X2