HIS has sent along their latest HD 7750 video card for us to put through the paces. What makes this one different, you might ask? Well, two things actually. For starters, HIS has taken the HD 7750 and used the more current reference design of 900 MHz core versus the original reference design’s 800 MHz core. HIS then decided to top it off by installing their higher end IceQ X cooler. It all sounds promising for the gamer on a budget, so let’s find out!
Specification and Features
Here are the specifications as provided by HIS.
|Model Name||7750 IceQ X Turbo 1GB GDDR5 PCI-E DVI/HDMI/2xMini DP|
|Chipset||Radeon HD 7700 PCIe|
|ASIC||RadeonTM HD 7750|
|Manu Process (Micron)||28nm|
|Memory Size (MB)||1024|
|Core CLK (MHz)||900MHz|
|Memory CLK (Gbps)||4.5Gbps|
|Memory Interface (bit)||128bit|
|Power Supply Requirement||450 Watt or greater power|
|Max. Resolution||4096×2160 per display (DisplayPort 1.2)
2560×1600 per display (Dual-link DVI)
2048×1536 per display (VGA)
|Bus Interface||PCI Express 3.0 x16|
|Mini Display Port||2|
|Card Dimension||12.2 x 4.1 x 23.2 cm|
Much of the above specifications can be confirmed with GPU-Z.
The HIS HD 7750 IceQ X Turbo supports all the features you would expect from AMD’s Southern Island series of GPUs. AMD’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) technology is one of the highlights of HD 7000 series graphics cards, and it’s present and accounted for here. Once past the GCN architecture, we have support for OpenGL 4.2, OpenCL 1.2, Multiple Displays (up to 4), UVD, Shader Model 5, DirectX 11, and Zerocore technology.
Digging a little deeper into the features of the HIS HD 7750 IceQ X Turbo, we find several HIS specific items.
With IceQ X, the card is 22°C cooler than the reference cooler.
IceQ X is one of the quietest coolers. The card is below 28 dB when watching movies, surfing Facebook, checking emails.
The card remains quiet whether you are gaming, online socializing, entertaining or working.
|iTurbo is your graphics card’s assistant to control your card to be quiet, cool. Experience overclocking by simply pressing the iTurbo Button!User Friendly Overclocking Software: Cooler, Quieter, OC!
iTurbo’s Fan Control and Fan Monitoring allow easy adjustment of your card to its maximum cooling performance or to run your card quietly!Press iTurbo: OC Right Away!
With the smart auto overclocking function, users can experience a slight performance boost for selected HIS graphic cards with just one click!Powerful Overclocking Software
Either you wish to unleash its full potential or to make it more environmental friendly, iTurbo is ready for you!iTurbo is compatible with all cards! Enjoy OC no matter what card you have!
The HIS HD 7750 IceQ X Turbo packaging should look familiar to to you if you have seen previous HIS IceQ series cards. The cool blue coloring, along with many of the features and specifications, grace both the front and back of the box. The box sides have additional features, box contents, system requirements, and branding applied to them.
Once the box is opened, you’ll find another box, which is solid black except for the HIS branding printed on it. Sitting inside is the video card securely nestled in a thick foam bed, which completely surrounds it. There is a leaflet sitting on top of the foam enclosure describing how to align the card in a PCI-e slot and position your case for proper transporting. The card is extremely well protected with this packaging method. Kudos to HIS here. Sitting next to the video card is the only included accessory: a DVI to VGA adapter.
Under the video card and beneath the foam enclosure are the quick installation guide, driver CD, and the iTURBO software CD. The driver CD also includes HIS wallpapers with calendars applied to them. There is a wallpaper for each month of the year, but there is a slight problem…… the newest calendars are from the year 2011. Note to HIS, it’s time to update these!
If you have a motherboard with a blue PCB, this card should definitely appeal to you aesthetically. Here is a series of pictures taken from all the different angles
Up Close/Under the Hood
We’ll begin this section by having a look at the connectivity options. On the power side of things, we have a single 6-pin PCI-e connection at the rear area of the card. For display connectivity, we find two Mini DisplayPort, one HDMI, and one DVI-I Dual Link connections. The card supports up to four displays using AMD’s Eyefinity technology and possibly two additional displays, if you daisy chain the DisplayPorts. You’ll also see that the card is a dual slot design.
The IceQ X cooler is one of the highlights of this video card and promises a 22° C reduction in temperatures when compared to the reference design. The eleven blade 8.6 cm axial fan carries a 50,000 hour lifespan. The box makes mention of the fan being 9.2 cm in size, but this is incorrect. They did get the fan specifications correct on their web site though.
Removing the IceQ X cooler only requires taking off four spring loaded screws located on the back of the card. Once off, you can separate the heatsink from the fan housing by removing two hold down plates located at each end of the heatsink. The TIM was found to be well applied and making good contact with both the cooler and GPU core.
A closer look at the heatsink itself reveals a dual 6 mm heatpipe design. The heatpipes make direct contact with the GPU core as they pass through the base of the cooler. Typically, heatpipes that make direct contact with a core (be it CPU or GPU) tend to transfer heat faster than heatpipes that are “inside” the cooler’s base plate. Once the heatpipes exit the base of the cooler, they loop around to enter the fin stack. At this point the air flow from the fan whisks away the heat. Some of the heat will travel out the back of the card, but the majority will exit the fin stack and enter the main body of the chassis. You’ll want to make sure you have a good case cooling scheme to exhaust the warm air out of your system.
Something worth mentioning at this point is that the HD 7750’s original reference design was updated by AMD a few months back. This is important to know because where HIS claims improvements over the reference design, those claims are based off the original release. As an example, the newer reference design comes stock with a 900 MHz GPU core speed; the same as this HIS offering. The newer reference design also added the 6-pin power connector and an additional power phase, which also makes that the same as this card. You can view the updated HD 7750 specifications at AMD’s web site. Some creative marketing on the part of HIS? I’ll let you decide for yourself.
As we take a closer look at the PCB, we find a 3+1 power delivery area at the front of the card, which is an increase from the original HD 7750 reference design of 2+1. HIS says the power delivery system has an additional two phases, which we can see at the back of the card. One of the additional phases is more than likely related to PLL, and the other other one is anyone’s guess (second PLL or VDDQ?). HIS quantifies their “High Quality Components” feature by using solid state capacitors, solid state chokes, and dynamic phase control PWM IC’s. These components are visible in the pictures below.
There are four Elpida W2032BBBG-50-F 256 Mb memory chips, which make up the 1 Gb total available memory. As we can see by the Elpida product specs in the first picture below, this GDDR5 memory is rated for 1.5 V and 5.0 Gbp/s. It’s nice to see the memory is rated 500 MHz (effective) above the specifications of the card. Hopefully, this translates to descent memory overclocking!
The HD 7750 series of video cards employ the AMD Cape Verde Pro GPU, which is located in the lower spectrum of the Southern Islands’ family. Here’s a close up of the GPU Core itself.
We’ll finish this section of the review with a few photos of the HIS HD 7750 IceQ X Turbo in its birthday suit.
Performance and Overclocking
- ASUS Maximus V Formula Motherboard (Oveclockers Approved!)
- G.SKILL Trident X (2 x 8 GB) DDR3 2400 F3-2400C10D-16GTX @ 18666 MHz 9-9-9-24
- Kingston 3K SSD 240 GB (Overclockers Approved!)
- Intel i7 3770K Processor @ 4.0 GHz (Overclockers Approved!)
- Water Cooled/Swiftech Apogee HD CPU Block
- Corsair HX1050 PSU
- HIS HD 7750 IceQ X Turbo Catalyst 12.10 Drivers
Since June of this year, we have been using our new “Updated Video Card Testing Procedure“. If you are not yet familiar with it, click the provided link to learn more. Below is the down and dirty version of the new procedure.
- All Synthetic benchmarks were at their default settings
- Unigine Heaven (HWbot) was run using the “extreme” setting
- Aliens vs. Predator – 1920×1080 with highest settings offered (4x AA, textures set to highest)
- Battlefield 3 – 1920×1080 at Ultra settings (4xAA/HBAO by default)
- Dirt 3 – 1920×1080 with 8x MSAA and all settings enabled and at Ultra where possible
- Metro 2033 – 1920×1080, DX11, Very High, 4x MSAA/ 16x AF, PhysX OFF, DOF enabled, Scene: Frontline
- Civilization V – 1920×1080, 8x MSAA, VSync OFF, High Detail Strategic View: Enabled, Other Settings: High, using full render frames value ( / 60)
- Batman: Arkham City – 1920×1080, VSync off, 8xMSAA, MVSS and HBAO, Tessellation set to high, Extreme Detail Level, PhysX Off
For Comparison, we have a reference NVIDIA GTX 650 Ti (stock speed only), a GTX 650 Ti from both EVGA and MSI, and a Sapphire HD 7770. Both AMD and HIS claim this card is aimed at the NVIDIA GTX 650 series cards. While we don’t have a vanilla GTX 650 to test at this time, if this card can hang tight with the GTX 650 Ti, then I think we can call it “mission accomplished”.
Just like most companies that manufacture graphics cards, HIS bundles its own utility to compliment their products; they call it iTURBO. As always, I recommend you check their web site for the most current available version. In this case, it was a good thing I checked because there was indeed a newer version than what was included on the CD.
HIS provides an excellent overview of iTURBO on their website. When you first start the program, you are greeted with the iTURBO control panel. From here you can click on any of the four available areas along the outer edge. If you click on the “iTURBO” button in the center, you get a very mild automatic overclock. By mild, I mean a 9 MHz increase in GPU core speed.
The “Info” section of iTURBO gives you the pertinent information on your graphics card and the ability to save this information to a report. From here you can also backup the card’s BIOS to a file, check on temperatures, and monitor power consumption.
The “Overclock” section of iTURBO allows for core and memory clock manipulation. You can also perform your voltage adjustments here. As far as this particular card is concerned, the memory voltage option is not available. My guess is that feature is reserved for higher-end offerings.
The “Fan Control” area of iTURBO allows you to choose between automatic, fixed, and custom settings. If you go back and look at the welcome screen, you will notice there are two options called Quieter and Cooler. You can set the profiles for those here. Once the profiles are saved, simply click either Quieter or Cooler at the welcome screen, and the profile will be loaded.
In the “Settings” area we can alter the behavior of iTURBO and change a few of the items it actually reports.
Overclocking for Stability
I was able to obtain a stable GPU clock of 1200 MHz, which is quite an increase from the out-of-the-box 900 MHz. On the memory side of overclocking, 1450 MHz (5800 MHz effective) is where it topped out. As I mentioned earlier, there was no memory voltage manipulation available in the iTURBO software, but it didn’t seem to hinder the effort. A 325 MHz overclock for the memory and 300 MHz on the GPU was more than I expected, especially on the GPU side.
As we begin the benchmarking phase of the review, it’s important to note that the new Catalyst 12.10 drivers were used during the testing. I make note of this because the 12.10 drivers claim to boost performance by as much as 10% over previous versions. Obviously, we don’t have the time or manpower to go back and retest every AMD card previously reviewed with this new driver, but it’s something you need to keep in mind as you peruse the graphs below.
Our synthetic test suite consists of 3DMark03, 3DMark11, 3DMark Vantage, and HWBot Heaven. 3DMark03 is an aging synthetic test that virtually no video card makers optimizes for any longer, so take the scores with a grain of salt. However, it is still a very useful benchmark for seeing how well a card scales when overclocked. As you can see in the graph below, this card scales extremely well when overclocked. In fact, it wasn’t too far off of the MSI and EVGA GTX 650 Ti, and pretty much blew them both away when overclocked.
In the much more modern 3DMark11 test, the HIS HD 7750 IceQ X Turbo fell behind the other cards in the graph when at stock settings. However, when overclocked it beat out the Sapphire HD 7770’s stock and overclocked scores. This is partially due to the new 12.10 drivers I’m sure, but still a nice showing!
We’ve got pretty much the same story in 3DMark Vantage with the HIS falling short of the GTX 650 Ti competition, but when overclocked it’s pretty close. You can also see that the overclocked HIS scores took the Sapphire HD 7770’s stock and overclocked scores to task, beating both of them.
The pecking order remained intact during the HWBot Heaven run. The HIS wasn’t able to beat out the HD 7770 this time around, nor is it expected to.
Starting in alphabetical order, our first three game benchmarks are Aliens vs. Predators, Batman:Arkham City, and Battlefield 3. In the AvP run, the overclocked HIS held right in there with the Sapphire HD 7770 and the GTX 650 Ti cards.
Batman: Arkham City again showed the overclocked HIS 7750 nipping at the heals of the GTX 650 Ti competition, and besting the Sapphire HD 7770’s stock and overclocked scores.
The Battlefield 3 results show a similar pattern with the HIS besting the competing cards when it was overclocked, and holding close while at stock speed. As we saw with the synthetic testing, the HIS HD 7750 IceQ X Turbo continued to scale nicely.
Our last three game benchmarks include Civilization V, Dirt 3, and the GPU crushing Metro 2033. Beginning with Civilization V, we again see the overclocked HIS card keeping pace with the stock speed GTX 650 Ti and HD 7770 competitors. The HIS card also shows the best FPS increase when comparing the stock and overclocked results.
In Dirt 3, the HIS HD 7750 IceQ X Turrbo did not fare too well against the GTX 650 Ti competitors, except for the NVIDIA reference card, where it managed to eek out a scant a .5 FPS when overclocked. The HIS card did continue the trend of performing better than the Sapphire HD 7770 when overclocked, and stayed pretty close at stock.
Metro 2033 is probably the most demanding of all our game benchmarks. Just reaching a playable 30 FPS (on max settings) will require an expensive video card. As an example, none of the cards in our graph reached 30 FPS, even when overclocked. In its overclocked state, the HIS card continued to give the competing GTX 650 Ti and HD 7770 cards a run for their money.
Looking back at the game benchmarks, the HIS HD 7750 IceQ X Turbo performed quite well against the GTX 650 Ti and HD 7770. I have little doubt it would perform on par or better than the vanilla GTX 650 for which it was intended to directly compete against.
Cooling and Power Consumption
As per Overclocker’s temperature testing procedure, I ran HWBot Heaven at both stock and overclocked settings. The results are normalized to 25° C ambient and the fan settings are set to automatic (default). As you can see by the graph below, the IceQ X cooler does a nice job keeping the GPU cooled down, even when the GPU is pushed to its limit. Nothing to complain about here.
Our power consumption testing is done with a Kill-a-Watt and wattage usage is recorded at idle and load. We run both HWBot Heaven and 3DMark 11 (Combined Physics Test) to hopefully get the maximum power draw the video card can produce. I tend to take this testing one step further and provide results while the video card is overclocked, as well. The graph below shows the system drawing a paltry 102 watts when idle and the video card at its stock settings. Once the overclock is applied, it still only draws 106 watts at idle. During the benchmark runs we had a maximum power draw of 203 watts, which was obtained during the 3DMark11 Combine Physics test with the video card overclocked. When the card was left at its stock settings, the highest recorded was 172 watts, again during the 3DMark11 Combined Physics test. It’s pretty hard not to be satisfied with these numbers.
Pushing the Limits
I was able to get a run of HWBot Heaven completed with the GPU core set to 1225 MHz and the memory at 1475 MHz (5900 MHz Effective). I also tossed in a CPU overclock of 5.0 GHz and set the G.Skill memory used in my test bed to its rated 2400 MHz. There was only a modest gain in the score from the previous overclocked settings, but the additional GPU overclock was modest as well. This just shows how GPU dependent the HWBot Heaven benchmark truly is.
3DMark11 would not cooperate with any additional raise in memory speed, but I was able to complete the run with the GPU core speed ramped up to 1250 MHz. We also see a pretty good gain in score from the previous overclocked results.
3DMark03 is always fun to run in the “Pushing the Limits” section just to see how well it scales from previous results. Again during this test, the memory would not budge from 1450 MHz and complete the run. The GPU core was able to be set to 1250 MHz though. From our original run when the card was at its stock settings, we can see roughly a 17,000 point score increase. Not too shabby.
At the time of this review, I have been unable to find this card available for purchase anywhere; but that is sure to change any day now. In fact, there is only one other HD 7750 with an out-of-the-box 900 MHz GPU speed, the ASUS HD7750-T-1GD5. The ASUS card sells for $119.99, so I would expect this HIS version to be priced similarly. If this price hold true, then I think HIS has a very nice offering here. It should fit the needs of any gamer out there on a budget. The improved performance of the latest 12.10 drivers just adds to the value and playability of the HIS HD 7750 IceQ X Turbo.
The IceQ X cooler performs extremely well and kept the card cool under every condition I threw at it. On the power consumption side of things, our testing shows how efficient the card is, especially when it’s not overclocked. Even under the more extreme conditions of being overclocked and under full load, it still only drew a tad over 200 watts.
The overclocking ability of this card was impressive on both the GPU and memory side. Even without the ability to manipulate the memory voltage, I was still able to get it perfectly stable at 1450 MHz (5800 MHz effective). The GPU core overclocking didn’t disappoint either and was able to run stable at 1200 MHz, an increase of 300 MHz from stock.
All told, we have a video card deserving of consideration if you are looking for something in this price/performance range.
-Dino DeCesari (Lvcoyote)