HIS HD 6970 IceQ Turbo & HD 6950 IceQ X Turbo X Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: July 11, 2011
Product Name: HD 6970 IceQ Turbo & HD 6950 IceQ X Turbo X
Part Number: H697QT2G2M & H695QNX2G2M
Warranty: 2 Years
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A Closer Look at the HIS HD 6970 IceQ Turbo

The exterior packaging for this card is basic but the interior protection scheme of rigid plastic is one of the best we’ve seen. The accessory selection isn’t anything to write home either with the usual power, Crossfire and DVI adaptors. However, most new enthusiast-end AMD cards come with a free downloadable copy of Dirt 3 which does add a good $40 value if you don’t already own it.

This IceQ heatsink design on this card is unique to say the last. Instead of using the usual custom heatsink design with a centrally mounted fan, this one takes some of its direction from the reference cooler by using a rear mounted fan to exhaust hot air through the backplate. Unfortunately, the result of HIS’ approach resulted in a “love it or hate it” look for this particular card but this shouldn’t be of too much concern if it lives up our expectations.

Editor's Note: It has been brought to our attention that this card does indeed take up slightly more the two expansion slots. As such, it will eliminate Crossfire compatibility of certain motherboards which have closely placed PCI-E slots.

The heatsink itself lives and dies by the amount of airflow produced by the single intake fan or in this case what HIS calls their “Black Hole Impeller”. Despite its dubious marketing name the “impeller” is hooked up to some impressive hardware which consists of a pure copper core contact plate and a quartet of large heatpipes that meander into a dense fin assembly.

There are benefits to this intake / exhaust design like lower in-case temperatures but other heatsinks with centrally located fans blowing down onto the fins are known for quieter operation and better GPU cooling. The reason for this is quite simple: a design like the one we see above causes the fan to work at higher RPMs in order to push air through the UV sensitive shroud and over the internal aluminum fins.

Along with a custom designed PCB that includes an upgraded PWM HIS has also implemented several supplementary cooling enhancements for onboard components. The GDDR5 modules are connected to the heatsink’s main contact plate with thermal pads while the voltage regulators are cooled with a large –albeit unsteady- secondary fin assembly.

The power and video output connectors on the IceQ Turbo remain the same as on the reference card with a 6+8 pin setup along with a combination of dual DisplayPort 1.2, twin DVIs and a single HDMI 1.4 connector on the backplate.

In terms of actual length, HIS’ massive HD 6970 is only about ˝” longer than the reference design at around 11” in length. Take note those of you who use smaller ATX cases as this card may not fit without some modifications.

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