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New HIS Radeon 200 Series Cards
As we prepared to benchmark Watch Dogs, a herd of new HIS Radeon 200 series graphics cards arrived with updated coolers. What better way to show them off than with one of this year's most anticipated games?
HIS R9 290X iPower IceQ X² Turbo 4GB
Although the R9 290X was released roughly six months ago now, HIS has held off from releasing custom versions using their IceQ technology, instead pushing reference cards all this time. That's unusual, but given the limited supply of Hawaii XT GPUs and the absurd pricing of 290X cards due to crypto mining, there has been limited demand from gamers.
As pricing nears the original MSRP of $550, gamers are once again interested in the mighty R9 290X and HIS plans to capitalize on that with its special iPower IceQ X² Turbo version.
Designed to operate the core at up to 1040MHz with 4GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 5400MHz, the HIS R9 290X iPower IceQ X² Turbo 4GB sounds much like any other 290X graphics card. Although the AMD spec calls for a GPU clock speed of up to 1000MHz, many custom built versions do operate at around 1040 ~ 1050MHz, such as the Gigabyte R9 290X OC WindForce 3X version we check out earlier this year.
However, like the Gigabyte version, this new HIS card features a completely unique cooling solution that is considerably more efficient than AMD's reference design.
As the name suggests, the IceQ X² cooling solution has been employed, though it's a slightly modified version from what we have seen previously. Built with two super large dual 89mm dual axial fans, this dual-slot cooler features a massive heatsink along with three 6mm and two 8mm heatpipes linked directly to an extra-large 40 x 47.5mm copper base where they help to improve heat extraction from the GPU.
Connected to the large copper base of the heatsink is a unique RAM heat spreader, which is designed to cool the GDDR5 modules. HIS claims that this cooler is quieter and more efficient than AMD's reference design.
HIS has modified the original IceQ X² design to include a rear back plate that cools the memory chips on the backside of the PCB. Also attached to the heat spreader on the front is an aluminum plate that extends up and over the heatpipes. Apart from looking nice, we're not sure what this does. HIS describe it as an easy means of carrying the graphics card which seems strange.
To feed the card enough juice, HIS has upgraded the 6-pin/8-pin PCI Express power connector configuration to a pair of 8-pin connectors. This will help improve overclocking and HIS claims that the R9 290X iPower IceQ X² Turbo 4GB with its 9 power phases can deliver more power than the AMD reference design.
HIS R9 290 iPower IceQ X² OC 4GB
The HIS R9 290 iPower IceQ X² OC 4GB features the exact same cooler and design as the 290X that we just looked at. It is also mildly overclocked from the standard 947MHz to 967MHz, while the memory remains at 5000MHz with the same 4GB buffer.
HIS R9 280 IceQ X² OC 3GB
HIS offers quite a few different R9 280s (the rebadged HD 7970 GHz Edition). The initial cards were released using the original IceQ cooler which were then followed by the HIS R9 280X iPower IceQ X² Boost Clock. The new HIS R9 280 IceQ X² OC features essentially the same cooler, though like the R9 290 iPower IceQ X² OC and R9 290X iPower IceQ X² it has been given a special gold paint job.
Unlike the R9 290X and 290 version, the R9 280 IceQ X² OC doesn't receive the backplate or the odd carry handle. How it differs from the HIS R9 280X iPower IceQ X² Boost Clock is in its clock speeds or the core and memory which have been downgraded. The core operates 3MHz slower, while the memory is 1000MHz slower.
This is basically a base model 280X with a new cooler from HIS, yet it costs the same amount as the heavily overclocked HIS iPower IceQ X² Turbo Boost Clock version.
HIS R7 260X iCooler 2GB
As is the case with the R9 280X, HIS has already come up with a number of R7 260X cards, there are now seven in total with three different cooler options. The latest iCooler version comes in 1GB and 2GB capacities.
Clocked at up to 1100MHz for the core with a GDDR5 memory clock of 6000MHz, this mid-range card costs just $130.
The iCooler is a cost effective design that is much smaller than the IceQ X² used by other R7 260X cards in the HIS line-up.
HIS R7 250X iCooler 1GB
Finally we have the new R7 250X, formerly known as the HD 7770 GHz Edition, which is the first rebadged 'Cape Verde XT' card HIS has produced. The AMD spec calls for a core clock speed of 1000MHz with a memory clock of 4500MHz, the exact specs of the HD 7770 GHz Edition.
HIS has followed those specs completely, offering a 1GB version using their iCooler solution. The iCooler used on the R7 250X does differ to the version used on the more expensive R7 260X. The R7 250X features a more traditional heatsink whereas the R7 260X uses an elaborate looking spiral heatsink. The fan is also much more basic featuring standard fins whereas the HIS R7 260X iCooler uses wavy fins.