HIS supply the IceQ Mix in a rather forgettable box. Much like the rest of their range, if we were being completely honest.
Inside is an HDMI cable, a Crossfire cable and various video and power converter cables. There is also a software disc which includes the Lucid Hydra driver. The retail release will also include a copy of Dirt 3, a worthy addition to the bundle.
The IceQ cooler is a talking point, but not always for the right reason. Our previous experiences have been great, but there is no doubt that the appearance isn’t going to appeal to everyone. It is built on an aqua coloured PCB.
The heatpipe design is very attractive however, with four thick copper heatpipes emerging from the top of the cooler and into several racks of aluminum fins. HIS brand this fan implementation the ‘Black Hole Impeller’ as cool air is drawn in from both sides of the fan to enhance the cooling efficiency.
The card demands two power connectors – a 6 pin and an 8 pin.
The card is also Crossfire capable, if you have extra money burning a hole in your pocket.
Connectivity is good. Two mini displayport connectors, a full sized HDMI port, and two DVI ports (top DVI-D (single), bottom DVI-I (dual)).
The cooler is removed easily enough, by detaching four screws.
The Lucid Hydra chip rests to the left of the GPU core. We have looked at this before on some motherboards and we have never had good experiences. It did work with 3DMark and a very small portion of games, but it would cause more problems than performance increases.
Our review today won’t feature testing with Lucid Hydra because we simply couldn’t get it to work well at all. Using a GTX580 as a partner card caused hard locks, dropped performance with some games, and general stability problems. On paper it looks like a great idea, but the problem is that for the price of a GTX580, you could buy another HD6970 and run native Crossfire. If you already had a GTX580, why would you want a HD6970 in the first place?
An overview of the hardware in GPUz. Core clock running at 880mhz, 2GB of GDDR5 memory at 1375mhz connected to a 256 bit memory interface. The card has 32 ROPs and 1536 unified shaders.