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HIS HD 7970 IceQ X & HD 7950 IceQ X Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: January 21, 2013
Product Name: HD 7970 IceQ X HD 7950 IceQ X
Part Number: H797QMC3G2M / H795QMC3G2M
Warranty: 3 Years
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Temperature Analysis


For all temperature testing, the cards were placed on an open test bench with a single 120mm 1200RPM fan placed ~8 away from the heatsink. The ambient temperature was kept at a constant 22C (+/- 0.5C). If the ambient temperatures rose above 23C at any time throughout the test, all benchmarking was stopped. For this test we use the 3DMark Batch Size test at its highest triangle count with 4xAA and 16xAF enabled and looped it for one hour to determine the peak load temperature as measured by GPU-Z.

For Idle tests, we let the system idle at the Windows 7 desktop for 15 minutes and recorded the peak temperature.



HISs IceQ X heatsink allows for extremely low temperatures when the two cards are at stock speeds and that doesnt change too much when higher clock speeds are applied. These are actually quite impressive results since it proved this heatsink isnt operating anywhere near its thermal limits.


Acoustical Testing


What you see below are the baseline idle dB(A) results attained for a relatively quiet open-case system (specs are in the Methodology section) sans GPU along with the attained results for each individual card in idle and load scenarios. The meter we use has been calibrated and is placed at seated ear-level exactly 12 away from the GPUs fan. For the load scenarios, a loop of Unigine Heave 2.5 is used in order to generate a constant load on the GPU(s) over the course of 20 minutes.


There are a number of things we have to point out here. First and foremost, both cards heatsinks operate at extremely low decibel levels but a stock speeds HISs high efficiency PWMs noise output actually outstrips the fans. When higher clock speeds are used, the fans do increase their speed but not to a level which will be noticed over ambient gaming noise.

Will you actually hear the PWM wailing away when in game? That all depends on how loud the volume is cranked. At reasonably levels, theres just no way it would intrude so we wont let this detract from an otherwise excellent experience. Just be aware that the PWMs acoustical profile is quite high so it will be distracting for some people.


System Power Consumption


For this test we hooked up our power supply to a UPM power meter that will log the power consumption of the whole system twice every second. In order to stress the GPU as much as possible we once again use the Batch Render test in 3DMark06 and let it run for 30 minutes to determine the peak power consumption while letting the card sit at a stable Windows desktop for 30 minutes to determine the peak idle power consumption. We have also included several other tests as well.

Please note that after extensive testing, we have found that simply plugging in a power meter to a wall outlet or UPS will NOT give you accurate power consumption numbers due to slight changes in the input voltage. Thus we use a Tripp-Lite 1800W line conditioner between the 120V outlet and the power meter.


While the PWM does pump out some excess noise, there is some reasoning behind HISs madness. As our power consumption numbers show, these are some extremely efficient cards at both stock and overclock speeds.
 
 
 

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