Today we're focusing on two cards from HIS, a company we're very familiar with, having seen many of their products in the past couple of generations in AMD cards. HIS typically produces cards with custom coolers and aggressive factory overclocks, but these two are a bit different. The R7 260X and R7 250X are budget-oriented cards for those with modest budgets and looking for some affordable gaming, and perhaps even something suitable for an HTPC setup.
Today we're looking at the HIS R9 280 IceQ X2, a mid-range performance graphics card that retails for around $260. We've been impressed with cards from HIS in the past, particularly those with the vaunted IceQ cooler, which has proven to be very impressive with low temperatures and noise levels. Can this card continue the trend? Lt's take a closer look at the HIS R9 280 IceQ X2 to find out.
Today's high demanding games can cause serious heat issues with improperly cooled graphic cards, so what do we do when they start to overheat? Look into water cooling? Not if your graphics card uses a non-referenced PCB. I'm in that boat; I picked up a few video cards without realizing they were non-referenced. The question is, what other options do we have in order to better cool the GPU and memory? Arctic has came up with a solution with the Accelero Xtreme IV 280(X), which is an upgraded air cooling solution that cools the GPU and memory utilizing 5 heatpipes and a custom rear heatsink.
In this ever-blossoming technology industry there are smaller companies that are often overshadowed by their behemoth competitors. There are many reasons why this occurs but one of the most common assumptions is that the smaller company is lower quality. The thinking has been that the smaller guy can’t make a product as well as the bigger guy. Diamond has been striving to prove that assumption to be false. They believe they can be a smaller company yet still offer quality and value. Diamond sent us an AMD based GPU: their R7 250 with Boost. Let's see how well their promise holds up.
We recently had the opportunity to have some hands on time with the feature packed MSI Z87i Gaming AC board. It had a small size but a large feature set and gaming potential. Today we wanted to look at the partner tech for the Z87i Gaming AC. That is the GTX 760 OC Gaming ITX GPU. We have seen the GTX 760 from various manufacturers with different cooling solutions but MSI claims to have made one which will fit perfectly inside a cramped HTPC or LAN PC case. This will leave the MSI GTX 760 Gaming Mini-ITX in a tight space to battle temps and fan noise, all while keeping FPS up. That is a tall order for any GPU, so lets not waste anymore time, and jump right into the review.
It has been several months since AMD shook up the GPU market a bit with its R9 series of GPUs. Now that the dust has settled there has been time for AMD partners to design better cooling solutions for the Hawaii based GPUs at the top end of the R9 lineup. When the 290 and 290x first released there was a firestorm of complaints surrounding the massive amounts of heat generated and the lack of significant cooling solutions. Basically the reference design cooler was a major flop that actually caused performance loses. The 290 and 290x GPUs were known to throttle down to lower core speeds to stay within the thermal envelope. In some cases, this resulted in a 290 outperforming a 290x in benches or other counter intuitive results... OUCH! AMD partners proved to be up to the challenge though, releasing GPUs with their custom cooling solutions that offered better heat dissipation without adding to the noise penalty suffered by the reference cooler. This is all fine and dandy, but where does any of this leave the hardcore water cooling enthusiast? It leaves many researching to see which GPU from each manufacturer is and is not compatible with certain water blocks and adding additional cost to an already costly product. One of those OEMs, VisionTek, wanted to lend a hand in this process by taking away all guess work, and even the installation. They are now offering a GPU which comes ready to be incorporated into a custom waco system out of the box. I am happy to introduce the Cry...