HIS Radeon RX 480 IceQ X2 Roaring Turbo 8GB Review

Published: August 31st, 2016 | Comments

HIS RX 480 IceQ X2 Roaring Turbo: A true king of the jungle?

According to HIS, this model is equipped with Metallic Lion Fan-Shroud and Metallic Lion Back-plate, but does it have a true heart of the king?
‘Roaring’ are the latest series introduced with Radeon RX architecture. HIS finally got rid of the gold shroud, and blue PCB, but in exchange we get blue fans.. let’s be honest here, not everyone will like it, but it’s a big step forward from previous designs.

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Small tip: if you have LED strips in the chassis (like me), then there is a good chance that the metallic paint of the lion will reflect the color of your LEDs.

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The backplate is not finished with brushed aluminum. That’s good, actually that’s great, because the likelihood of leaving fingerprints is much lower.

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This card is slightly wider than 2 slots. If you were to use two of these cards in CrossFire  I recommend removing the backplate from one of the cards, unless of course, you have enough room to provide necessary airflow for secondary GPU.

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This model is equipped with single 8-pin power connector. I will already tell you that this card is a true beast. I had an impression that even this non-reference connector was not enough!

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The power is distributed by International Rectifier Digital PWM (IR3567B) controller to six phases. The VRM is cooled down through thermal pads attached to the heatsink.

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On the left we can see Ellesmere (Polaris 10) GPU with 2304 Stream Processors. Thermal paste was well distributed across the die.

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This card has two BIOSes for easier tuning. In our sample both BIOSes carried the same configuration.

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HIS RX 480 Roaring Turbo has Samsung K4G80325FB modules, which are hidden under custom base plate.

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The cooler without the shroud reveals two heat sinks with four copper heat pipes connected directly with the copper GPU base.

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Left: copper base, Right: VRM thermal pads

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What’s in the box: 2x 6pin to 1x 8pin adapter, manual and a disc with the latest drivers.

HIS RX 480 ICEQX2 Roaring Turbo (box)

The last picture shows LED illuminated logo. It’s actually really bright, but there’s no way of changing it. There’s also a small blue diode right above the power connector, likely indicating if enough power is delivered to the GPU.

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HIS RX 480 IceQ X2 Roaring Turbo: Specifications

HIS RX 480 IceQ X2 Specifications
HIS RX 480 IceQ X2
Roaring Turbo
AMD RX 480 AMD RX 470 GeForce GTX 1060
GPU Polaris 10 XT Polaris 10 XT Polaris 10 PRO GP106-400
GPU Cores 2304 2304 2048 1280
Boost Clock 1338 MHz 1266 MHz 1206 MHz 1506 MHz
Memory Clock (Effective) 2000 MHz (8 GHz) 2000 MHz (8 GHz) 1650 MHz (6.6 GHz) 2002 MHz (8 GHz)
Memory Configuration 8GB GDDR5 8GB GDDR5 4GB GDDR5 6GB GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 192-bit
TBP/TDP 150W+ 150W 120W 120W
Power Connectors 8-pin 6-pin 6-pin 6-pin
1x HDMI 2.0
3x DisplayPort 1.3
1x DVI-I DL
1x HDMI 2.0
3x DisplayPort 1.3
1x HDMI 2.0
3x DisplayPort 1.3
1x HDMI 2.0
3x DisplayPort 1.3
1x DVI-I DL

Testing platform

Component Provided by
CPU :  Intel Core i7 6800K @ 4200 MHz  
CPU Cooler :  NZXT Kraken X61 NZXT
Motherboard :  ASUS X99-A II  
Memory :  G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 3200 MHz 16-18-18-38-2N G.SKILL
Display :  Crossover 289K (4096×2160)  
SSD :  Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2  
PSU :  EVGA SuperNova 850 G2  
OS :  Windows 10 x64 PRO
GPUs :  HIS RX 480 IceQ X2 Roaring Turbo (Crimson 16.7.3) HIS
HIS R9 390X IceQ X2 Turbo (Crimson 16.7.3) HIS
Colorful iGame GTX 1070 X-TOP-8G (GeForce 368.81)  COLORFUL
MSI GeForce GTX 1060 6G TOC (GeForce 368.81) MSI

HIS RX 480 IceQX2 Roaring Turbo: Overclocking

To get the most out of HIS RX 480 IceQX2 Roaring, we are using Sapphire’s TRIXX 6 utility, which in my opinion is much easier to use than AMD’s WattMan.

There are few things to consider though: the voltage will not be saved when system is restarted (but it is saved in profiles). Also if you choose effective memory clock, bear in mind that profile saved with non-effective clock will override effective clock (so instead of 2250 MHz, it will be 562 MHz). Also with clock speeds above 1400 MHz, changing them on the fly (like in the game), may results in a black screen.

Now let’s get to the point. I’ve successfully overclocked this card to 1430 MHz. It was stable configuration that allowed me to finish all synthetic tests. However, once we got into gaming tests, it wasn’t so stable anymore, as some tests wouldn’t even start. It got to the point when our ASUS motherboard’s circuit protection would shut down whole PC, as too much power was being drained by the GPU. According to GPU-Z the card was consuming 203W of power, that’s really close to 225W we could get through 8pin connector and PCIe slot…

So to make everything is perfectly stable, we settled with a clock speed of 1410 MHz.  Still, I would probably recommend slightly lower clock (I think 1400 MHz would be good configuration for daily use).

To achieve such boost clock additional voltage is required (at least 100 mV). Also don’t forget to change power limit to 150% and apply custom fan profile.

Finally memory clock is set to 2250 MHz. This is unfortunately limited by Crimson driver. You can set higher values, but they are not saved.

HIS RX 480 Roaring OVERCLOCKING

Speaking of the profiles, three fan profiles were tested. First profile was not enough to keep stable 1410 MHz clock (see the graph below). Therefore second profile was used for further testing, to ensure that clock speed is not throttling. Third profile is suggested for daily use (lower RPM at lower temperatures), but still enough to keep card from throttling.

HIS RX 480 RoaringHIS RX 480 Roaring Fan AggressiveHIS RX 480 Roaring New Profile

Comparison between the first profile (red arrow) and second profile (green arrow) in TRIXX hardware monitor:

HIS RX 480 Roaring Throttling

Screen grabs from GPU-Z with ‘moderate but stable’ 1410 MHz overclock and 1430 MHz, which was enough to keep the card alive through 3DMark, but not enough to keep it alive in games.

HIS RX 480 Roaring 1410 mhz OC GPUZ HIS RX 480 Roaring 1430 mhz OC GPUZ

HIS RX 480 IceQX2 Roaring Turbo: Stability and thermal testing

HIS RX 480 Roaring features 0dB technology, which basically means that the fans won’t start spinning unless certain temperature is detected (I believe it was 50C on our sample). Quickly after discovering the true potential of this card (1400 MHz+ clocks), I decided to put more aggressive fan profiles to get best performance. As a result the cooler was louder than I’m used to, but nothing I would call extreme. Also bear in mind that we are testing in normal chassis with other components (like AIO cooler for CPU), so total noise listed below is generated by the whole system (but kept in ‘silent’ modes if possible).

HIS RX 480 IceQ X2 Roaring Turbo 
 Stress testing Idle Fire Strike
Stress Test
Furmark
DEFAULT BIOS
Max. GPU Temperature  46 C 71 C 70 C
Fan Speed  0 RPM 2065 RPM 2223 RPM
Typical Clock Speed 300 MHz 1266 MHz 1180 MHz
Memory Clock  300 MHz 2000 MHz 2000 MHz
Noise Level (30cm/100cm)  — 49/41 dB 50/42 db
OVERCLOCKING
Max. GPU Temperature  29 C 73 C 79 C
Fan Speed 1310 RPM 3080 RPM 2780 RPM
Typical Clock Speed 300 MHz 1410 MHz 1255 MHz
Memory Clock 300 MHz 2250 MHz 2250 MHz
 Noise Level (30cm/100cm) 46/42 dB 59/48 dB 56/46 dB

In Fire Strike Stress Test our 1410 MHz overclocking is 100% stable. In Furmark clocks will oscillate at similar levels, no matter the configuration (well, it’s called power virus for a reason). Out of the box the clock speed will not stay at 1338 MHz, unless power limit is increased. Otherwise we get ~1260 MHz in FS Stress Test or 1190 MHz clock in Furmark as shown with this graph:

HIS RX 480 Roaring Clock Stability

HIS RX 480 Roaring GPU Temperature

HIS RX 480 IceQX2 Roaring Turbo: Performance

First few graph include RX 480 @ 1430 MHz, the highest overclocking that was possible with the HIS Roaring. Starting with the games we stick to ‘moderate’ overclocking at 1410 MHz, which was proven more stable.

Note that in our charts we report on ‘GPU-Z boost clock‘. In reality clocks will go up and down depending on how boost technology works. So for instance, while it says 1934 MHz for GTX 1060, in games this clock is well above 2.0 GHz.

02_3DMark FS

You don’t see this every day, overclocked RX 480 beating overclocked GTX 1060 in FS Performance and Ultra.

01_3DMark11

In 3DM11 Performance preset (1600×900 resolution), HIS RX 480 has a lead ever GTX 1060 from MSI, even at stock settings. In Extreme.. it’s much different story.

03_Time Spy

Time Spy, first DX12 benchmark from Futuemark, shows interesting comparison. Both GTX 1060 and RX 480 seem to fight near the same performance level.

05_Unigine

Unigine benchmarks are clearly handled better by GeForce GTX 1060.

04_Ashes

Overclocked HIS RX 480 Roaring almost pairs with HIS R9 390X in Ashes of Singularity in CRAZY preset at 1440p with DirectX12 API.

06_ROTTR

First game and first win for RX 480.

07_HITMAN

Both Hitman and ROTTR are very playable with both cards at highest in-game settings. You may however consider buying second card for 4K gaming.. (sadly not possible GTX 1060 users).

08_TotalWar

This is latest addition to our benchmark stack, Total War Warhammer. I do not recommend Ultra preset for normal gaming as it really pushes both cards to their limits. Yet, we always test at highest settings to ensure that we are looking at the game the way it was meant to be looking.

09_Metro

Radeon RX 480 is not staying far behind in Metro LL, as it beats GTX 1060 at 1759 MHz and even R9 390X.

10_FarCry

We almost have a tie for overclocked GTX 1060 and RX 480. One card is winning at 1080p, while the other wins at 2160p.

11_Siege

One of my favorite games, with a true cooperating gameplay. The likelihood of you playing at Ultra is probably low, but it’s the only way to see where are the real bottlenecks. Surprisingly RX 480 wins at 2160p, but it lost against 1060 at 1440p and 1080p.

12_Division

Division benchmark is really demanding. Seeing any card going past 60 FPS at 1080p always puts a smile to my face. It appears that HIS RX 480 Roaring clearly has more potential than GTX 1060 in this game (1440p/2160p).

13_THIEF

One of the very few games to support Mantle gives another win to HIS RX 480 Roaring. There’s quite a gap between 1338 and 1410 MHz test runs for some reason.

15_DeusEx

No, I did not forget about Deus Ex. This game is either very demanding or horribly written. I don’t remember seeing 1X FPS in any game that was released in the past few years. The good news is that this is DX11 API, as DX12 was not added yet. Hopefully it will deliver better performance across our charts, right now it’s just sad to see how horrible is the performance in this game, no matter the card.

16_GTA5

In GTA5 we are using highest settings that are preapplied in the game. We are not enabling any of the advanced features. Such in-game preset is still enough to keep mid-range cards below 60 FPS at UHD, so it’s enough for our comparison. RX 480 Roaring lost against GTX 1060 this time, but at least we have a win against R9 390X.

17_Doom

And finally.. Doom. We are using Vulkan API and our own modified tools to measure FPS. I’m happy to report that overclocked HIS RX 480 is faster than GTX 1070 at stock clocks. It’s a small win, but still.. you don’t see this every day.

Conclusion

Performance: Our sample was able to reach 1400+ MHz, which gave us the opportunity to put RX 480 and GTX 1060 face to face at highest overclocking settings. It produced some interesting results proving that GTX 1060 and RX 480 indeed have similar potential. RX 480 clearly offers better framerate in DX12 titles.

Cooling and design: A big step forward from previous series. We finally have have black PCB with black shroud. Yes, it does have a gold lion, and yes it does have a blue fans, but to be honest, most of the time you won’t even see it, when card is installed in the system. The new IceQ X2 cooler also received 0dB feature.

Overclocking: RX 480 sample that reaches 1430 MHz and finishes all 3DMark tests without hiccups is clearly a great sample. Clock to clock, this is nothing like GTX 1060, but the actual gain from overclocking is comparable.

Price and bundle: (Update) Official suggested retail price is 289 USD / 289 EUR. In UK it should cost around 260 GBP. I think it’s a good price for such a powerful card.

Issues: There was a problem connecting this card to our UHD monitor. It would detect wrong (non-native) resolution, and sometimes it would produce black screen when resolution was changed. No such issues were seen on other cards (even with RX 470).



HIS Radeon RX 480 IceQ X2 Roaring Turbo 8GB Review WhyCry

HIS RX 480 IceQ X² Roaring Turbo 8GB (HS-480R8DTBR)

Performance - 95%
Cooling & Design - 90%
OverClocking - 100%
Price & Bundles - 90%

0db technology
Efficient cooler
Backplate
Dual BIOS
Good overclocking potential
Blue fans
Issues with UHD monitor

94%




by WhyCry