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HIS HD7950 Review

We are confident that the HD7950 is going to be a strong seller for AMD. The price to performance ratio is more attractive than the HD7970, especially when we factor in the incredible headroom available on the core. Obviously, the £350+ sector will never be a huge money maker for either AMD or Nvidia but the HD7950 makes for a very tempting enthusiast proposition.

The HIS card isn’t as impressive as the other HD7950’s we received for review on launch day … to say the least. HIS have opted for a single fan cooler, which was always going to struggle trying to compete against the dual fan Sapphire and XFX solutions.

Our main problem however is that the HIS cooler is rather half-hearted. We immediately noticed how light the card felt when compared to the XFX or Sapphire solutions, and after disassembly I was shocked to see that they had basically placed a fan on top of an undersized heatsink in the middle of the (empty) plastic shroud. The heatsink only takes a third of the available physical space. Why no heatpipes? Why only one fan? The fan on this card also makes an irritating whine, which annoyed me constantly under load.

Instead of working to improve on the shoddy cooling solution, HIS decided to bundle a ‘weight lifter’ accessory which ultimately makes little sense for their HD7950, as it is so light! To make matters worse, their IceQ cooler is a proven solution which I rate highly. So why not adapt it for the new HD7950 card?

You can be guaranteed that an IceQ version will be released in the next couple of months, making this launch card absolutely redundant.

We managed to push the core on the HIS card to 1,100mhz, which in itself is a great result. If you read our other reviews however you will notice that it is actually the worst result today. There is no doubt that the blame falls on the tiny cooler HIS have used.

Spot the difference? Above left: Sapphire's HD7950 Cooler. Above right: HIS HD7950 cooler.

When coming to a final conclusion today, I have no option but to remove two full points for the cooler HIS are using. The cooler on the AMD reference card that we received is just as good, and doesn’t create the annoying whine I encountered during testing. HIS are more than capable of releasing a better version of this card, by simply including their excellent ICeQ cooler.

HIS have simply cut a different shaped hole in the reference AMD shroud and placed a tiny little heatsink in the center of the card, leaving two thirds of the space around the PCB ‘open air’. It is really unforgivable, and the attention today deserves to go to Sapphire and XFX for their excellent cooling solutions.

The AMD HD7950 is a fantastic card, and our score doesn’t reflect on the performance. If you want an HIS HD7950, then wait until they release the ICeQ model which will assuredly be much better than this review sample. We were informed by HIS that this launch version of the HD7950 will retail for £355 inc vat, which is around £5 less than the Sapphire HD7950 Overclock Edition.

Pros:

  • AMD HD7950 is a great performer.
  • Amazing overclocking headroom on the core.

Cons:

  • This cooler is an embarrassment when compared against the Sapphire and XFX solutions.

Kitguru says: We have no concerns with the AMD HD7950, but HIS should be ashamed to release this half assed card on launch day.

You can buy various HD 7950’s from Aria in the United Kingdom

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Rating: 6.5.

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