HIS HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo full review

The HIS HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo is an excellent, although somewhat expensive, graphics card.

HIS is a relative newcomer to the UK market, albeit one that's beginning to make quite an impression. We appreciated the first-class cooling system and extra burst of performance offered by its recent 4850, and the HIS HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo looks to be following in the same footsteps.

The original 4870 hit the ground running some months ago, vanquishing its GeForce rivals at the £200 price point (see Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 review).

The original card has now fallen so much in value that it's in danger of dropping into our budget chart. For a card that holds a significant lead in frames over the likes of the 9800 GTX, this is quite an achievement.

And with its 800 stream processors and efficient architecture, the standard 4870 will take some beating. So what can HIS add to the HIS HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo?

Well, there's that fantastic cooling system for a start. Although we weren't able to measure the difference in heat, the HIS HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo does feel extremely cool compared to the furnaces created by many of today's graphics cards.

But that's the biggest plus point of the HIS HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo, for while the speeds have been upped, they haven't been increased by such a large amount as to allow this card to leave the standard 4870 in the dust.

The core clock has gone up from 750MHz to 770MHz. The memory clock upgrade is more eye-catching, going from 900MHz to 1GHz. In reality, this difference is greater than it may seem.

While on standard GDDR3 graphics memory, the memory clock needs to be doubled to give the effective figure, with the 4870's fantastic GDDR5 memory you'll need to quadruple the figure instead.

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So, the HIS 1GHz core clock results in an effective 4GHz rather than the 3.6GHz of the standard 4870. And you get a full 1GB of this sizzling memory, rather than 512MB on the original 4870.

What does this mean in reality? The HIS HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo's enhanced settings don't make the most massive difference to the framerates, and the difference between this and the standard 4870 was a fairly typical 4-6% across a range of games (Crysis, World in Conflict, FEAR).

This gives the card a significant advantage over the 4850, but compared to the standard 4870 it's rarely pumping out more than an extra 5-10 frames per second - and in intensive titles, such as Crysis, the difference is around 4-5 frames.


HIS HD 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo: Specs

  • ATI Radeon HD 4870
  • 1GB GDDR5
  • 770MHz core clock
  • 2GHz memory clock (4GHz DDR effective)
  • 400MHz Ramdac
  • bit memory interface
  • 800 stream processors
  • PCI-E Interface
  • TV Out/Video In yes/no
  • DirectX 10.1
  • DVI (HDMI adaptor)
  • 1-year warranty