There are no shortage of custom cooled HD7870 cards available today as manufacturers fight to get market share. Despite some confusing naming conventions, both of the IceQ cards deliver fantastic value for money when compared against the somewhat listless reference solution.
It would be easy to assume that the IceQ Turbo and IceQ X Turbo X cards would be almost identical, but HIS have dramatically opted for a completely different cooler for both.
Surprisingly, the slower IceQ Turbo has the more substantial cooler design, although it overhangs the PCB by several centimeters near the power plugs. If we are being completely honest, this seems a little inelegant as it takes up a lot of physical space inside a case and can make the removal of the PCI E power headers slightly difficult.
The actual performance of the cooler is without reproach however, dropping core temperatures and maintaining an impressive 57c variable when gaming. Noise levels are not intrusive, although it is audible when dealing with the synthetic Furmark stress test.
The more expensive IceQ X Turbo X (note the ‘X’s) is based around a more compact cooler with HIS deciding to adopt a larger, centrally mounted fan for this particular design. The cooler isn’t actually as effective as the plain Turbo version, running 2-3c hotter under the same conditions. That said, the larger fan emits less noise under load, meaning this version is ideal for those gamers who want to reduce the noise emissions as far as possible.
Both cards are supplied with a hefty 100mhz core clock boost, and the Turbo X version also receives a 50mhz GDDR5 memory increase (200mhz effective). Obviously the Turbo X is slightly faster, although the differences would not be noticeable in the real world.
They both respond well to manual overclocking, with the IceQ and IceQ X hitting a 1,210mhz and 1,240mhz core clock respectively. This pushes performance close to the reference clocked HD7970 in 3DMark 11. The IceQ X Turbo X for instance only scores around 100 points less than the AMD single GPU flagship. A heck of an achievement, considering the HD7970 is still retailing for around £360+ inc vat.
Finding these cards in the United Kingdom now is quite difficult however, with only the non turbo HD7870 Ice Q available at OCUK for £269.99 inc vat. We would expect the Turbo version to cost £10 more, and the Turbo X with larger fan to be just shy of £300 inc vat. These are not confirmed, but just educated guesses on our behalf.
We think both of these cards are great, but I would opt for the IceQ X Turbo X version as it ships with a quieter, more compact cooler.
- Run cooler than the reference design.
- Fantastic performance.
- Good ‘out of the box’ clock speeds.
- Manually overclock to over 1,200mhz core.
- A lot of competition in the market.
- HD7950 doesn’t cost much more.
- IceQ Turbo cooler is a little unwieldy.
Kitguru says: Two great cards from HIS which run quiet and cool.