UK price (as reviewed): Approx £170 (inc VAT) US price (as reviewed):$219.99 (ex Tax)
As we discovered in our initial AMD R9 270X coverage, the card is little more than a revamped and rebranded HD 7870 GPU with faster clock speeds and a more wallet-friendly £155 price point. That doesn't mean it's not of interest, however, as we found it offered plenty of performance given its price and it's a solid choice for anyone looking to game with high settings on a 1080p panel without having to take on a second job.
This also makes board partner varieties of interest, as anyone who can offer a faster, cooler and quieter card than the reference model for a reasonable price will automatically be onto a winner. Enter the HIS Radeon R9 270X IceQ X2 Turbo Boost, which aims to do exactly that, by offering a healthy overclock and a large custom cooler.
Annoyingly, HIS only informed us after we'd tested the card that this exact model won't be available in the UK for some time (it's also helpfully out of stock in the US), so the price above is simply its current best guess. Thankfully, the non-overclocked version of the card is in stock for £165.
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The R9 270X uses the same Pitcairn GPU found in the original HD 7870 card, with 1,280 stream processors, 80 texture units and 32 ROPs. It also has a 256-bit memory interface and ships with 2GB GDDR5. Although 4GB variants are available too, we sadly haven't been able to test one so far, as this HIS card is a standard 2GB one.
While the reference card is clocked at 1,050MHz, HIS has boosted this by just under 9 percent to 1,140MHz (you may see this referred to as its boost clock, but it will always hit this speed under load). This may not seem like much, but given that our original sample wouldn't remain stable past 1,190MHz, the GPU in the HIS Turbo Boost card is still being pushed hard, which is what we always like to see. Sadly, HIS has left the memory clock at 1.4GHz (5.6GHz effective).
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Another area HIS has altered are the card's display outputs. In place of the second DVI port and DisplayPort connections are two mini-DisplayPort connectors, leaving the card with the same arrangement as MSI's R9 280X OC. Personally, we think these outputs are a little less useful than those they replace, but we can't see it being an issue for many (if any) in this price range. Anyone still hanging onto the past with a VGA monitor can also rest assured – a DVI to VGA adaptor is included in the package.
Although the card's PCB is no longer than the reference one, the chunky cooler extends the length from 240mm to 263mm. Its dimensions also spill over the top of the PCB, so it's a large card overall considering it's only a mid-range model. Looking at the cooler, it's easy to see why, as soldered onto the copper GPU baseplate are five nickel plated heat pipes that feed a massive array of aluminium fins. A pair of 86mm fans provide cool air to the apparatus and exhaust the hot air into your chassis. Finally, a black metal plate with thermal pads is used to absorb heat from the MOSFETs, VR controller and memory chips.
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The PCB itself is similar to the reference model, but is turquoise instead of black and features slightly rearranged power phases. Surrounding the GPU are eight 256MB Elpida W2032BBBG-6A-F GDDR5 modules. As these are specified to run at 6GHz, it's a shame that HIS hasn't taken the opportunity to overclock them, especially since it also provides cooling for them. A CHiL CHL8225G is used to control the card's five main power phases (all located just behind the I/O panel). Finally, the HIS R9 270X is fuelled by a pair of 6-pin PCI-E powered plugs and also sports a single CrossFire connection.