HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X² OC 3GB Video Card Review


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Radeon R9 280 Final Thoughts

AMD have been playing on the back foot in performance terms compared to NVIDIA and it pains me to point this out in my review articles. With Mantle in the final stages of development I hope to see AMD change the playing field considerably. Until then it is left to AIB partners such as HIS Digital to produce new SKU’s from old stock to keep the revenue coming in. We want to see if AMD really have what it takes to compete with the ‘Kepler’ GTX780 and Titan video cards, and really even out the playing field.


HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X2 Conclusion

Before we think about ratings I will write a brief summary for each of the following; Performance, Appearance, Construction, Functionality and Value. This will aid me in giving the HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X2 OC 3GB video card a final score and give you a consolidated summary of the entire review. I do strongly suggest that you read the entire review, if you have not already, so that you can arrive at your own conclusion.

My performance rating of the HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X² OC 3GB is based on a comparison between a Radeon R9 270X and an NVIDIA GTX 770. While this isn’t the most ideal set to compare the R9 280 to, I’m hoping that you the readers will already know where these video cards stand in comparison to the GTX 760/660Ti. With a factory overclock of 953MHz, the HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X² OC 3GB was performing on par with an older HD7950 Radeon Video card.

I think the HIS IceQ X2 cooler looked absolutely awesome in the older black/silver design but I’m not overly keen on this new gold design. The stock box designs of the AMD reference video cards has had a snazzy makeover, but these after market designs just blow them out of the water. There is a downside to having a good looking card however. All of the after market designs that I have seen exhaust most of their warm air inside the case rather than straight out the back like the AMD stock design. Sure you get a cooler core but you will also get a warmer interior case temperature to deal with too.

The HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X2 OC 3GB is an extremely well constructed video card. Considering the size of the PCB and Cooler you could be forgiven for thinking it will be super heavy, but it’s not. There is a bit of weight to deal with, but HIS have this covered with their integrated component/mosfet/memory cooler that also doubles as a PCB support plate. Overall, the construction of the entire card, and layout of components are infallible.

Functionality wise, the HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X2 OC 3GB video card could have been better. Factory overclocked out of the box and cool and quiet operation are the strong points of this video card. HIS have pushed the GPU core but I couldn’t find much more overclocking headroom or voltage adjustments to get a meaningful boost. The default fan profile does an excellent job of keeping temperatures in check while remaining quiet. The noise of the fans at 100% isn’t really worth the temperature reduction when compared to the temperatures and noise level achieved with the default fan profile.

Priced online for 279.99 (NewEgg | Amazon), the HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X² OC 3GB Video Card is priced $20~$30 above the main competiotion but isn’t the most expensive model I have found. The question is whether or not the extra cost is worth the extra performance/functionality achieved. These cards are undoubtedly priced to take a dent out of NVIDIA’s profits and this is all good for the PC gaming community.

Unless you desperately need a current generation video card for whatever reason, you can do much better for your money at this level to buy a previous generation Radeon HD7950 if stock is still available. When the R9 series video cards were released AMD and their partners slashed prices on the older stocks. Savvy shoppers will always find a good deal and so should you, it always pays to shop around.

Pros: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award Logo (Small)

+  factory overclock
+ Excellent design and construction
+ IceQ X2 Cooler performs brilliant
+ DirectX 11.2 ready and PCI-e 3.0 Compliant
+ Supports CrossFireX
+ UltraHD 4K display support
+ Multiple outputs – 2x mini DisplayPort / full size HDMI /DualLink DVI-I
+ Supports Triple-display and AMD HD3D Technology
+ Good power consumption figures


– Vents exhaust inside your PC case
– No real overclocking headroom
– Price is relatively high on current market


  • Performance: 9.00
  • Appearance: 8.50
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 8.75
  • Value: 8.25

Final Score: 8.80 out of 10.

Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.

COMMENT QUESTION: What do you think of the new HIS IceQ X2 video card cooler design?



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  1. bnjohanson

    If you can put 6 of them in SLI in an attached tower, …it could be pretty good.

    1. RealNeil

      I have two of them in crossfire and they ~are~ pretty good.

    2. Steven Iglesias-Hearst

      You will do very well to SLI 6 of these video cards since SLI is an NVIDIA technology, and the upper limit for multiple GPU configurations is 4.

      I expect you mean CrossFireX? And even still, going above 3x CrossFireX is utterly overkill.

  2. Hassan Mujtaba

    The PCB shot is the Radeon R9 270X, not the 280 IceQ X2 OC.

    1. Steven Iglesias-Hearst

      Thanks for pointing that out for me Hassan. The review has been updated with the correct image.

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