HIS HD 4850 IceQ 4 TurboX

Oct 29th, 2008 | By Simon

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HIS HD 4850 IceQ 4 TurboX

: 10/29/08 – 08:42:10 PM


: Video Cards

Page 1 : Index

: HIS Digital

HIS is not an unfamiliar name around Overclockers Online. In the past, we've seen HIS flourish with enthusiast products like the HIS 3870X2 and we've seen them hit home with fan-free products like the Radeon HD3450.


Today, we get the opportunity to review the HIS HD4850 IceQ 4 TurboX with Full HD 1080p. The card utilizes 512MB of DDR3 memory, has two dual link DVI outputs and TV output. I'll admit, the competition should be worried. The TurboX arrived factory overclocked and ready to rock 'n roll in your PC.

Page 2 : Package

The HIS HD4850 IceQ 4 TurboX came in a rather bland package compared to what other manufacturers are using. HIS has opted to print a large IceQ 4 on the center of the box and throw in a few pictures of the accessories included. The ’4′ in IceQ reminds me of the Fantastic 4 logo… perhaps this card will be fantastic. What's missing from the front of the box is a picture of the card, but that gets covered on the back with a large picture and embedded images of various features HIS has decided to highlight.

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On the short side of the box we get a picture of the card and the direction of air flow. The blue arrow indicates the cold air coming in and the red arrow shows the direction of the hot exhaust air. On the other side we get a quick list of the contents inside the box. On the other side of the box, we have a list of features in different languages, awards HIS has won and stickers with different serial numbers.

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Before we crack open the box, we'll take a look at the features and specifications.

Page 3 : Features & Specifications

HIS provides
a lot
of information about their products on their website. Here's a direct link to the HIS HD4850 IceQ 4 TurboX page.

Here are the features:


Here are the specs:


As you may have read, this is the world's fastest GPU despite being powered by the standard Radeon HD4850. This is accomplished by overclocking the card beyond stock ATI speeds. The regular core comes clocked at 625MHz but the TurboX is set at 685MHz – just under a 10% gain.


The memory comes clocked at 2200MHz compared to the stock 1866MHz, a gain of over 15%. This is accomplished by using week 28 Samsung K4J52324QH-HJ08 modules Googling up the product name, we see that these chips are rated for 1200MHz (2400MHz DDR) (0.8 ns).


Here are some additional features HIS thinks you might be interested in.

HIS IceQ 4 Cooling Technology – Pushing the HD4850 to its limit!
HIS IceQ 4 is the 4th generation of IceQ cooling technology, which is endorsed by the media worldwide. Thanks to the newly designed double-slot fans and heatsink, IceQ 4 effectively dissipate the heat from the GPU, thus enabling it for high levels of performance. The newly designed heat-pipes layout shows its strength in effectively transfer heat from the core are and reducing the GPU temperature. Larger heatsink surface areas are implemented to maximize heat dissipation. HIS IceQ 4 cool down the GPU temperature dramatically when compare with the reference cooler, allow you to maximize your overclocking potential. Cooling capacity is increased by up to 20% in gaming mode.

Efficient transfer of heat outside of computer case
: Cool air is drawn from both sides of the fan and hot air is forced out of the computer case. It ensures effective cooling when there is another card in front blocking the fan inlet such as in CrossFire setup. (Other brands' cooler leaves the heat generated from GPU inside the case so the temperature inside the case will be increased leading to higher GPU temperature affecting the stability of the graphic card.)

Dual-slot cooling design
: Ensure you can conveniently connect the CrossFire cable to run a CrossFire setup. Other brands' cooler which is greater than Dual-slot cannot run CrossFire Setup in some motherboards.

Silent and durable fan
: Significantly reduce noise level and extend service life.

Isolated heatsinks
: Memory and GPU heatsinks are completely separated, preventing any heat transfer from GPU to memory. Memory heatsink is actively cooled by air stream from main cooler.

Redefine HD Gaming
: The ATI Radeon HD 4800 Series GPUs deliver a cinematic gaming experience with unprecedented performance. The powerful new TeraScale graphics will propel you deep into your gameplay with seamless frame rates and high resolutions. Enhanced anti-aliasing (AA) and anisotropic filtering create striking graphics with unparalleled realism so you can max out the settings of the most demanding next-generation games or revitalize your favorite titles. Play today while preparing for tomorrow with tessellation, support for DirectX(R) 10.1 and scalable ATI CrossFireX(TM) technology.

ATI Avivo(TM) HD Technology
: ATI Avivo(TM) HD is the advanced image and video processing and display technology found in ATI Radeon(TM) HD GPUs and ATI Theater(TM) video capture processors. Specifically designed for HDTV and HD video enthusiasts, ATI Avivo HD provides brilliant colors, sharp images, smooth playback of Blu-ray(TM)* and HD video content, HDMI with built-in multi-channel digital audio, and on some GPUs, Unified Video Decoding (UVD). UVD is designed to enable a cool and quiet media PC with low CPU power requirements and playback of HD 1080p content. HD Monitor is required for full 1080p enjoyment.

HDMI Video and Audio
: A system with an ATI Radeon(TM) HD 4800 Series graphics card can help enhance the HD entertainment experience by providing a seamless connection to an HDTV or home theater system. With built-in 7.1 surround sound audio (AC3 / DTS ), the new GPUs and graphics cards support single cable connection directly to a compatible HDTV, projector or receiver. This single cable carries both the HD video and 8 channel audio for a clean, high definition connection. Some graphics cards will be equipped with an HDMI connector, while others will output the HDMI signal using a special ATI Radeon DVI-I to HDMI adapter. These options give consumers more options and flexibility when connecting their PCs to monitors or home theaters for maximum enjoyment of HD content. The new GPU also supports xvYCC color which can display a wider range of color when connected to capable HDTVs.

Microsoft(R) DirectX(R) 10.1 support
: ATI Radeon(TM) HD 4800 series GPUs offer full support for the new DirectX(R) 10 and DirectX(R) 10.1 API (Application Program Interface) from Microsoft; ready to meet the demanding needs of new, next generation games. DirectX 10 is the first totally new DirectX in the last 4 years and brings important graphics innovations that can be used by game developers for the next generation of games. DirectX 10 introduces crisp, never-beforeseen detail-rich images, visual effects and game dynamics capable of accurately simulating the real world. No matter which ATI Radeon(TM) HD 4800 Series GPU you choose, you can be assured that games will look as good as the developer intended!

ATI CrossFireX(TM) Technology
: ATI CrossFireX(TM) multi-GPU technology takes your gaming experience to the next level with superb scalability, performance and compatibility. The technology combines the awe-inspiring capabilities of multiple ATI Radeon(TM) graphics cards and an ATI CrossFireX ready motherboard to meet the hard-core demands of your alternate reality. New ATI Radeon(TM) HD graphics cards are designed with an internal ATI CrossFire(TM) Bridge Interconnect system to simplify installation.

Microsoft(R) Windows Vista(R)
: ATI Radeon(TM) HD 4800 series graphics cards provide support for the Microsoft(R) Windows Vista(R) operating system and take advantage of the Windows Aero(TM) graphical interface. You will be amazed by the dazzling 3D visual effects and have peace of mind that the ATI Catalyst(TM) software and drivers are designed and thoroughly tested to ensure full compatibility and stability to help keep you up and running. All these new technologies and features make the ATI Radeon HD 4800 series of GPUs the ideal solution for ultimate HD gaming and HD video entertainment with the Windows Vista OS.

I'm excited to see how well this card performs!

Page 4 : Product Tour

Cracking open the box for the first time, I'm greeted with a clear plastic box. We can see the HIS HD4850 IceQ 4 TurboX in all its glory along with the accessories included.


The accessories include a driver CD, registration paperwork, a sticker, CrossFire link, power cable, S-Video adapter, DVI to VGA dongle, DVI to HDMI dongle and a compact screwdriver with LED light tool.


Far more interesting than the accessories is the card itself. The copper heatsink and dark blue and black cooler on the forest green PCB gives it a great look. The IceQ 4 cooler takes up 90% of the surface space on the top of the card and the bottom of the card is littered with small components.

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The cooler has a slight blue tinge to it but the transparency allows you to see the size of the heatsink used. Heat pipes stick out the side.

pkg pkg

The overall design of the cooler hasn't changed very much since it was first used. Traces of the Arctic Cooling Silencer design can be seen but this is by no means one of the newer Arctic Cooling VGA coolers.

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At the front of the card we can clearly see how this is a dual slot cooler – there are two expansion slot covers! One is only a grill to allow hot air to be exhausted out. As mentioned in the specifications, this card has two dual link DVI outputs and a TV out cable connection.


The back of the card has a 6 pin auxiliary power connector. You can see the PWM has its own copper heatsink.


One thing I was curious to know was how dense the heatsink fins were going to be packed in. The easiest way to figure this out was to peel back the IceQ 4 sticker, and peel back I did! It ruins the overall look of the card, but satisfied my curiosity. Given what I saw, it wouldn't be a bad idea to remove the entire sticker just to show off the heatsink. It's pretty dense with a fin every eighth of an inch.

pkg pkg

The interface between the heatsink & core and heatsink & memory appeared to be very intimate. It's hard to see in the photo, but everything was level and there was full contact all around.

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Taking the heatsink off, I was surprised to see a sheet of plastic cover all but the area of the core on the heatsink! When trying to clean the included thermal paste with Arctic Cleaner, the liquid and paste spread below the plastic sheet. Apart from that, the contact area was finished nicely and made great contact with the core as the thermal paste was evenly spread.

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The memory heatsink has a separate L shaped copper piece. The heatsink made contact with each memory chip through thermal tape.

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Page 5 : Installation & Overclocking

Much like any video card in the market, installation is very simple. Pull out your old video card, install the Sapphire Toxic HD 4850, plug in the supplemental PCIe power, connect the appropriate displays and boot.


Once you're into Windows, download the latest AMD ATI drivers and install. You'll need the latest .NET framework if you want to use the Catalyst Control Center.


To overclock the video card, you're very limited with the Catalyst Control Center. The maximum setting is 700/1200 which is not nearly enough for this card. Go do yourself favour and download the latest version of GPU-Z and AMD GPU Clock Tool. Overclocking is a manual process with AMD GPU Clock Tool as ATI Tool doesn't support the newer cards. However, get a copy to as you'll want to do a stress test and make sure your new settings are stable. Slowly increase the core speed until ATI Tool's stress test starts giving you artifacts. I work in increments of 15 MHz and then 5 to fine tune. Once you have a stable core setting, do the same for the memory. At the end of the day, I was capped out at 775/1200. This is a moderate gain from the 685/1100 stock but I wish I could have squeezed a little more out of the memory as I've seen these memory modules go as far as 1240 so your mileage will vary.

To ensure 100% stability, I made sure this new setting was able to run every benchmark I could throw at it. It also passed 8 hours of ATI Tool Scan for Artifacts.


While stressing the video card in ATI Tool, the temperatures never peaked over 66C. The GPU Temp (DISPIO) hit 61C, GPU Temp (MEMIO) was the highest at 65.5C and the GPU Temp (Shadercore) reached a balmy 64.5C. If you compare this to my Sapphire HD 4850 Toxic review, you'll notice that these temperatures are 10 to 20C lower!

Page 6 : Test Configuration

Here is a complete list of the hardware that will be used for benchmarking and was used for stress testing.

The benchmarks we'll take a look at include the following:

  • Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

  • Futuremark 3DMark 2006
  • Futuremark 3DMark 2005
  • Futuremark 3DMark 2003
  • Cinebench Open GL Standard Test
  • Lightsmark @ 1920×1200

Gaming Benchmarks

  • Unreal Tournament III (DX 10) @ 1920×1200, 1920×1080, 1680×1050

  • Crysis (DX 10) @ 1920×1200, 1920×1080, 1680×1050
  • World in Conflict (Very High Detail) @ 1920×1200, 1920×1080, 1680×1050

8X Anti-Aliasing and 8X Anisotropic Filtering Gaming Benchmarks

  • Unreal Tournament III (DX 10) @ 1920×1200, 1920×1080, 1680×1050

  • Crysis (DX 10) @ 1920×1200, 1920×1080, 1680×1050
  • World in Conflict (Very High Detail) @ 1920×1200, 1920×1080, 1680×1050


Page 7 : Futuremark, Cinebench & Lightsmark

The first four benchmarks I ran were from the Futuremark 3DMark family. We all know what Futuremark products are for, so I won't go over them. The HIS HD4850 IceQ TurboX edges out the Sapphire Toxic HD4850 by 50 points, that little extra in stock overclock has already paid off here! Looking at the other Futuremark benchmarks, the IceQ 4 TurboX stays ahead of the game.


The second benchmark I looked at was Cinebench's OpenGL Standard Test. Cinebench is a real-world suite that assesses your computers performance using Maxon's Cinema 4D software. Cinebench runs two tests but we're only interested in the second one:

The second test measures graphics card performance and is run inside the 3D editor window. The project file used can test all graphics cards that support the OpenGL standard. In this scene, only the camera was animated. This scene places medium to low demands on graphics cards and tests the maximum speed with which the scene can be properly displayed.

ATI once again falls behind in the driver seat with relatively poor OpenGL results, being bested by both the 8800GT OC2 and the much newer but slower 9500GT. However, in comparison against the remaining HD4850, the IceQ 4 TurboX does inch ahead.


The final benchmark for this chapter is with Lightsmark, a realtime global illumination and penumbra shadows enabled benchmark. Natural lighting makes artificial graphics life-like. Computers get faster, but rendering more polygons doesn't add value if lighting looks faked, so insiders know that the next big thing is proper lighting aka Realtime Global Illumination. Typical workloads in realtime rendering will shift. Lightsmark simulates it. Global Illumination renders often take hours. Is your computer fast enough for realtime?

Lightsmark is another OpenGL based benchmark so we once again see the pattern of sub-par performance on the behalf of ATI. Much like in Cinebench, the IceQ 4 does edge in front of the rest.


The race is only half over, but the HIS HD4850 IceQ 4 TurboX is three for three in this set of benchmarking. The little extra oomph provided by HIS to out-do Sapphire has helped give it the lead.

Page 8 : UTIII, Crysis & World in Conflict

Video games, the real reason why so many of us spend thousands of dollars on building the ‘perfect’ PC balancing power to price. There are countless games in the world that we could play and to benchmark them all would simple take a lifetime. I have selected to compare the results between three titles, some newer than others and some more demanding than others. Starting with Unreal Tournament III, this game was released in 2007 and the Unreal Engine has been popular with many games but isn't the most demanding. Under DirectX 10 performance, we see some really high numbers, even with 8xAA and 8xAF enabled.


These frame rates are extremely good; when overclocked, we break the 200 frames per second barrier. Even at 147 FPS for 1920×1200 display, you'll have no reason to complain.

With AA and AF enabled, the rates drop by a factor of two. However, they are still very much enjoyable. I suspect the AA and AF configurations between ATI and NVIDIA are slightly different, which is why we see the NVIDIA numbers higher than the ATI but not when everything is disabled.


Moving over to Crysis, this 2007 title uses CryEngine 2 and is the follow-up to the popular FarCry. The CryEngine 2 engine is extremely brutal, clearly making your video card the weakest link with playing Crysis or any game using the CryEngine 2 engine. The overclocked results blew me away. a mere increase of 15MHz on the core and 200MHz on the memory allowed me to break the 30 frames per second mark. I thought this was a glitch but after re-running the numbers a few times, they didn't budge.


Not much to say with AA and AF enabled, the stock results averaged exactly where I expected them to be and the overclocked settings again blew me away.


The final game I benchmarked with is World in Conflict at very high detail. World in Conflict came out last year and uses the Masstech Game Engine. It's a demanding engine but not to the extent of Crysis. The HIS HD4850 IceQ 4 TurboX 850 still manages between 30 to 35 FPS, with and without Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering.



Overall, the HIS HD4850 IceQ 4 TurboX has performed well. The stock overclock truly makes it the fastest HD4850 available on the market. While the card falls slightly behind in the OpenGL performance, that's not the biggest area of concern for gamers.

Page 9 : Conclusion

When the HIS HD4850 IceQ 4 TurboX finally arrived, I knew I was in for a treat. It comes overclocked from the factory by a hefty margin without increasing the heat on the card or the noise. Compared to my Sapphire Toxic and 8800GT OC2, this card is whisper quiet. I wasn't even sure if the fan was working properly because it was so quiet. It sounds cliche, but with every aftermarket cooler or stock cooler I've tried, they always end up being louder than I thought they would be. Not with the IceQ 4. HIS engineers have done a fine job at perfecting this cooler.


The card comes bundled with accessories you normally don't see but they will come in handy. I've put the screwdriver to use a few times since getting the card a week ago. These fine details add additional value to a card that offers so much. The HIS HD4850 beat out the 8800GT OC2 and the other 2 HD4850 cards I threw at it. While it does cost a little more than the rest, if you want a card that will last and comes with features no one else has, this should be the only card on your list.



  • Highest stock Overclock

  • Silent and efficient cooling
  • Great performance


  • Premium price

Overclockers Online would like to thank HIS for making this review possible.

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