3D Mark 11

3D Mark 11 is still relatively new, so we’re still getting to grips with what the numbers mean. Still a performance score of P4722 is better than we expected.


Unigine Heaven

click above for settings

Usually we don’t bother with getting a Heaven score, but it’s widely used, free, and I like to run it while testing overclocks. To that end, you can see that the 5870 trails both 6870 cards here. The HIS 6870 IceQ X Turbo X with it’s faster than standard clocks easily racks up a higher score than the standard card.



Unusually for an HIS card that comes overclocked out of the box, there is plenty of headroom in the Catalyst Control Center for further overclocking. While we are running an uprated cooling setup compared to a standard card, HIS have already provided some pretty aggressive overclocks, so I’m not sure just how much more this card has in it.

The HIS clock speeds of 975/1150 are already much higher than a standard cards 900/1050, but we still managed to get a stable 1005/1210 out of the HIS 6870 IceQ X Turbo X. This resulted in a slight boost for Left 4 Dead 2 and a fair boost for DiRT 2.

Temperatures were good throughout. As always, the enclosure used was the excellent Cooler Master Cosmos S. At the HIS default clocks, the card Idled at a nice 46C. Under Load the heat rose to 65C, but never went over this even after a few hours of gaming. When overclocked, the Idle temps never changed overly much, but the highest recorded temperature went up to 70C. This is still a very low temperature.


Final Words

The Radeon HD 6870 is a great card to begin with. It sits a little behind NVIDIA’s 560 GTX and despite the parallels in the name, the 6870 was never meant as a replacement for the high end 5870 (the 6870 is a mid range card).

The is marketed as the worlds fastest 6870. I’m not sure if that claim is true, but regardless it’s a quick card. The is within spitting distance of a default clocked 5870, and for most of the games tested today, you would be hard pushed to tell the difference between the two without watching a frame counter all the time. Add in high resolutions and heavy Anti-aliasing and were starting to knock on the door of NVIDIA GTX 560 Ti.

I must admit I was a little surprised to read a few comments around the interwebz about the new IceQ X cooler’s looks. Performance and noise aside, I personally think it looks pretty good, although I would like to see a change from blue. I was also surprised to find the shroud wasn’t UV reactive; I would guess this wouldn’t have been a huge attraction for the majority though. Noise and temperature levels are 15dB and 15C less (respectively) than a default 6870 cooler according to the box. This would seem to be a true statement as the was certainly not a noisy card during testing.

Overclocking went well, with plenty of room in the Catalyst Control Center, negating the need for third party software to be used. The runs at 975 Core and 1150 on the Memory. Despite this aggressive out of the box overclock, we still managed to eek out increases on both for a final stable 1005/1210, and it the IceQ X cooling setup was able to keep the temperature relatively low at a 70C maximum (while overclocked).

As with any card like this, all the good points and positive waves can easily be undone by the price, but the is $249.99 ($229.99 after rebate) which is a fair price against the competing overclocked 6870′s.

Overall then, the is an easy card to recommend. It’s cool, quiet, and simply the fastest out of the box 6870 we’ve come across. And despite being the fastest, it’s not the most expensive either.

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