HIS Radeon R9 280, 285, 280X, 290X IceQ X2

Published: Oct 18th 2014, 09:57 GMT

As you know graphics cards are mainly limited by TDP. Few years ago one would simply rise the clock and then increase the voltage if necessary. Today it’s not that simple. Since TDP is now the main focus, voltage should be adjusted only when the clock speed is not stable.

Bear in mind that each and every card in this review came factory-overclocked, so while further adjustment are still possible, they are not as big as you might expect.

When overclocking Radeon cards it’s very important too look at GPU temperature. We are not looking for insane clock speeds just to claim our cards are the fastest. We are looking at good performance with reasonable noise and temperature levels.

Overclocking: frequency gain

HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X² OC
Boost ClockMemory Clock
Reference Clock933 MHz(100%)1250 MHz(100%)
Factory Clock953 MHz(102%)1250 MHz(100%)
Overclocking Clock1169 MHz(125%)1455 MHz(116%)

HIS Radeon R9 280 turned out to be great overclocker. We managed to put this card through 3 tests with minimum clock variation.

HIS Radeon R9 285 IceQ X² OC
Boost ClockMemory Clock
Reference Clock918 MHz(100%)1375 MHz (100%)
Factory Clock938 MHz(102%)1375 MHz(100%)
Overclocking Clock1040 MHz(113%)1500 MHz(119%)

While HIS R9 285 is capable of running at 1050-1060 MHz, it is strongly advised not to. During my tests with 1050+ MHz frequency the fan would operate at 3000 RPM. I measured the noise during such scenario and it reached 64 dB. That’s something I could simply not tolerate.

A small decrease to 1040 MHz limited the fan speed to 2500 RPM, delivering much better experience. In the end we are getting 13% better clocks than reference model, which is not bad at all.

HIS Radeon R9 280X iPower IceQ X² Turbo
Boost ClockMemory Clock
Reference Clock1000 MHz (100%)1500 MHz (100%)
Factory Clock1050 MHz(105%)1500 MHz (100%)
Overclocking Clock1164 MHz(116%)1600 MHz(107%)

Radeon R9 280X managed to reach 1164 MHz boost clock gaining 16% over reference model.

HIS Radeon R9 290X iPower IceQ X² Turbo
Boost ClockMemory Clock
Reference Clock1000 MHz (100%)1250 MHz (100%)
Factory Clock1040 MHz(104%)1350 MHz(108%)
Overclocking Clock1063 MHz(106%)1450 MHz(116%)

Some R9 290X samples are just not designed for overclocking. Our card is a good example. Any further overclocking brought significant increase of temperature. We could live with that, because IceQ X2 cooler was still doing great job, although we started seeing artifacts, and that’s something we cannot accept. The final results were just 6% better clocks.

EVGA GeForce GTX 760 Superclocked ACX
Boost ClockMemory Clock
Reference Clock1032 MHz (100%)1500 MHz (100%)
Factory Clock1137 MHz(110%)1500 MHz (100%)
Overclocking Clock1183 MHz(115%)1600 MHz(117%)

EVGA GTX 760 was the slowest card in our test. Factory-overclocking was already high, delivering 10% higher frequency. We managed to add even more juice, but it wasn’t enough to consider it much faster.

Palit GeForce GTX 770 JetStream
Boost ClockMemory Clock
Reference Clock1085 MHz (100%)1750 MHz (100%)
Factory Clock1202 MHz(111%)1750 MHz (100%)
Overclocking Clock1280 MHz(118%)1905 MHz(119%)

Palit GTX 770 ships with very high specification out-of-the box. We were still able to add 7% higher clocks, so the end result was 18% better frequency.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 Ti OC
Boost ClockMemory Clock
Reference Clock928 MHz (100%)1750 MHz (100%)
Factory Clock1085 MHz(117%)1750 MHz (100%)
Overclocking Clock1158 MHz(124%)1945 MHz(111%)

Gigabyte’s GTX 780 Ti has the highest factory modified clock speed in this test. It comes with 17% better clock speed at 1085 MHz.

It’s worth noting that this clock is just a starting point for GPU Boost to operate. It means that in different scenarios it will clock somewhere between 1100 and 1170 MHz, depending on how GPU is utilized. By adding an extra 73 MHz we set the GPU to start with 1158 MHz, so the end results is much higher. During game tests clock speed varies between 1180-1222 MHz. On the other hand during stress testing with Furmark this value does not exceed 1200 MHz.

Overclocking: performance gain

Tahiti-based Radeon R9 280 series did exceptionally well in this test. Despite shipping with already non-reference speed, we were still able to squeeze more juice with aggressive clocks. Radeon R9 280 managed gained 12% better synthetic performance, while R9 280X 9%. Tonga-based R9 285 managed to get ahead of R9 280X with default clocks.

HIS R9 OverClocking

Review Contents
Page 1Introduction
Page 2Overview HIS Radeon R9 285 IceQ X² OC
Page 3Overview HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X² OC
Page 4Overview HIS Radeon R9 280X iPower IceQ X² Turbo
Page 5Overview HIS Radeon R9 290X iPower IceQ X² Turbo
Page 6Overview EVGA GeForce GTX 760 Superclocked ACX
Page 7Overview Palit GeForce GTX 770 JetStream
Page 8Overview Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 Ti OC
Page 9Testing platform and methodology
Page 10Games Batman: Arkham Origins ● BioShock Infinite ● Total War: Rome 2 ● Alien:Isolation
Page 11Games Company of Heroes 2 ● GRID Autosport ● Hitman Absolution ● Watch Dogs
Page 12Games Metro: Last Light ● Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor ● Tomb Raider
Page 13Games Battlefield 4 ● THIEF ● Sniper Elite III
Page 14Test 3DMark Fire Strike ● Catzilla ● CompuBench
Page 15Test ComputeMark ● TessMark ● Luxxmark
Page 16Test Power consumption ● Temperature
Page 17Test Overclocking
Page 18Conclusion