HIS R9 280X iPower IceQ X² Turbo Boost Review

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Closer Look Continued

It’s all fine and dandy to see the card for what it is but what happens when you take it apart and find out what’s truly under the hood? Well, I think it’s important as you can get a better idea of the components used on whatever card you’re looking at and it also gives me an excuse to take more pictures to give you guys more eye candy!

Let’s start off by removing the four screws at the back which hold the cooler in place to reveal the next layer. From here, you can see that the cooler has a dense heatsink that should cool quite well with the five heatpipes that are going into them. There are two heatpipes which are thicker than the other three, one of which runs directly through the centre of the core and the other is slightly off to the side. The other three, the smaller ones, take care of the excess heat that is produced and the thicker ones are not able to carry away. The cooler is very well constructed and easily rivals the best such as the DirectCUII from ASUS or the Twin Frozr from MSI. In my previous review of the HIS 7950 IceQ X², I made a comment with regards to its noise level. As this is the same card under the hood and the same cooler too, I expect this one to be near enough identical in terms of both temperature and noise output. Also in view is that heatspreader I was talking about, which not only helps to lower the component temperatures on the card itself, but it also adds that rigid and sturdy feeling to the card too. Have you noticed how heavy GPUs sag under their own weight towards the back? It’s because the coolers are too heavy for the PCB to be able to sustain such weight on its own so any added strength is a welcoming feature to any GPU.

 

Here’s an ever closer look for the cooler itself. As you can see, there are five heatpipes to carry heat away from the GPU and the surrounding plate which is made of copper as that is one of the best materials for heat extraction. Two of the five heatpipes are thicker than the other three and they run through the centre of the core. The reason for this is that they are able to carry to the heat away faster and more efficiently whilst the others take care of the remaining heat. They probably could’ve gotten away with less but more cooling power is never a bad thing. You can also see how closely packed the fins are on this cooler. There is an awful lot of surface area for the air to come into contact with.

 

Continuing to get closer, we can see the power delivery on this card. There are a total of seven power phases, six of which take care of the GPU core and the remaining one powers the VRAM. It’s not the biggest count of phases ever seen on a graphics card but I am sure it isn’t the least either. They are of superior quality which means they should not only last longer than conventional power phases, it means they should also provide better and cleaner power as well, which helps with both stability and longevity.

The VRAM chips that are utilised on this particular card are of the Hynix variety which are known to perform very well and are well famed for their overclocking abilities too. They may not overclock as well as the Samsung chips but they are definitely some of the best on the current GDDR market. That can only be a good thing, especially if you’re an overclocking fanatic such as myself. I will be testing out the capabilities of the VRAM to find out what sort of increase there is available but it usually doesn’t bring that much more to your card in terms of FPS output unless you’re seriously pushing the GPU core to its limits with exotic cooling methods such as dry ice or liquid nitrogen (LN2).

 

 

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