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Sapphire HD6870 idle frequencies

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by dnLL, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. dnLL New Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm new to this forum so I just want to introduce myself a bit and ask you a question about my new video card. First of all, I'm a French canadian from Quebec. I'm sorry if my English isn't perfect.

    I actually have a Q9550 (3.6 GHz w/ Corsair H50) on a P5Q-E, 4GB of G.Skill DDR2-1066. I have a Lian-Li PC-B25F computer case, a ST-85F power supply and a lot of SSDs/HDDs.

    I just changed my HD5770 Vapor-X for a HD6870. I'm running a tri-22" Eyefinity setup and the 5770 wasn't enough to play DiRT2 at full settings (5040x1050px resolution). Now, with the 6870, I'm really happy with the performance, but I have a new problem: temperatures.

    In fact, the card idles at ~55C (no O/C) and go up to ~75C when in load (which is in fact really great). I modded the PWM fan curve a little bit with MSI Afterburner, so that the fan hits 100% at 80C instead of 102C. It keeps my GPU cool enough when playing games or running some GPGPU application. I don't really care at the noise when I'm playing, but I really like it to be silent when the PC is idle. At 20-22%, we don't hear the fan, which is okay.

    My main problem is the idle temperature, I need to raise the fan speed up to 40% (which is way too much noise for me when the PC is idle) if I want to achieve a ~42-44C temperature. I know my PC-B25F for having a great airflow (not the best, but still good). I looked at a few benchmarks and saw an interesting point: idle frequencies downclocking.

    When the GPU is idle, it downclocks its frequencies. Instead of 900/1050, it's 300/1050. While it allows the GPU for lower temperature, some HD6870 downclocks to 100/300 when idling, but not the Sapphire one. I really didn't take any attention at this point when buying my card, thinking the temperatures with the reference cooler would be the same whether I buy a Sapphire branded card or an ASUS one.

    With RBE, I can see my card's BIOS. There are 5 clock profiles. The first one is 900/1050, the second one is 300/1050, then the third one is 100/300. The 4th and 5th are both 900/1050. I don't really understand why there are 5 clock settings on the BIOS, and I don't understand either why my GPU downclocks only to 900/1050 instead of 100/300 (which would allow really better temperatures).

    I cannot flash the BIOS yet, as Winflash actually doesn't support it. I've tried CCC 10.10, 10.10a, b, c and d. It doesn't matter. The card seems to overclock really great but if I O/C to 950/1200, then it will idle at 300/1200, which is 6 degrees hotter (and that's the point: the 1200 MHz are obviously producing a lot of heat, so are the 1050 MHz).

    Any solution or idea?

    Thank you very much!
    dnLL
     
  2. W1zzard

    W1zzard Administrator Staff Member

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    are you using multiple monitors by any chance?
     
  3. dnLL New Member

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    Yes, as I've said, I'm running a 3x22" Eyefinity setup.

    Each monitor is a Dell P2210. Two pluggued w/ DVI and obviously one with DP.
     
  4. W1zzard

    W1zzard Administrator Staff Member

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    back with the hd 5000 series, the lowest idle clocks would only be used when one monitor is connected. with multiple monitors the memory clock was the same at all time to avoid displays flickering when the clock changes.

    the underlying explanation is that the gddr5 memory training process that happens after clock switching takes a little time. with a single monitor you can hide that in the vertical refresh cycle. with multiple monitors you basically never have time to do that because all 3 monitors refresh at different times.

    i would have expected they had solved this in some way but apparently this is not the case.

    check if your clocks go down with 1 monitor. if they do then there seems to be no solution for your problem. a different ati brand won't change it
     
  5. dnLL New Member

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    Thank you for the quick answer. I will try this tonight. With my HD5770, I was getting some flickering in the bottom left corner on my W7 desktop (w/ Aero activated), near the Start button. I thought it was a driver issue but my HD6870 solved that problem.

    If I cannot manage to get a lower idle downclock, can I manage to change the clocks directly into the BIOS (as soon as Winflash will support HD6800 series)? What would be the consequence? I don't care that much about the little flickering I had before.

    And if the 1-monitor solution changes the clocks, what will be the solution?

    And finally, any consequence for the card to run between 55 and 60C when in Windows? The hot air is exhausted out of the case. I don't have any heat issue on my CPU or whatever. I just don't want to burn that card in the next year or so.
     
  6. W1zzard

    W1zzard Administrator Staff Member

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    no problem. you will go through two or three generations of cards before it breaks from old age
     
  7. dnLL New Member

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    When O/Ced to 950/1200 (stock voltage), idle frequencies are 400/1200 and idle temp is more about ~65C.

    Here again, no problem with that? I know that this GPU can handle 80C+, but my system is running 24/7 and it looks like much for 24/7 usage.

    Two/three generations mean about 2 to 3 years, which isn't that much. I would like it to last at least 3 years. I would maybe Crossfire a new HD6870 in a year or so.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  8. dnLL New Member

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    The card idles at 100/300 now with only one active monitor. Idle temp is now 42C degrees, which is fabulous. Just o/ced the card to 940/1175 and it still downclocks to 100/300 when idle, which is still pretty good for temperature.

    Now, what's the solution? I am still using my 3 monitors for multitaking too.
     
  9. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    Higher clockspeeds are REQUIRED for multiple monitors. There is no solution. No need to be concerned with temps, either...been dealing with this issue with the 5-series since like march/april. With one monitor @ 2560x1600, I don't get lowered idle clocks either.
     
  10. dnLL New Member

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    Well, whenever there is a second monitor active, the card doesn't downclock to 100/300 anymore.

    Are you sure there is really no need to be concerned with temps? With my 940/1175 O/C, the card idles at 300/1175, idle temp is about 64C.

    If anyone can confirm me that this card can idle at 64C 24/7 for 5 years, I will agree with you.
     
  11. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    5 years? no warranty is 5 years , except PSU and a few HDD.

    Sapphire warranty is what? 2 or 3 years?

    Let me say, I have been running cards with 60c idle temps for a bit over a year now(5870). Since these are the same basic design, and same silicon, and I have had to RMA many, I cannot say for sure that it is OK, but I can say that if it isn't, your card will live a short life(~6months for me), and expire well within warranty period.

    If you feel these temps are not good, please contact Sapphire..they made the card, and they MUST know that these temps exist in this situation, and should it NOT be OK, I'm sure they would have taken steps to fix it, whether by a bios that increases idle fan speed, or something else.
     
  12. dnLL New Member

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    I actually modded the fan speed curve with MSI AB (I will try TriXXX). I don't want to hear it at all when it's idle. I'm really serious when it comes to "quiet computing".

    But yeah, I will leave it there.

    Idle temp is now 67C... 68C...
     
  13. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    Really, at idle, because so little current flows through the chip, I'm not personally concerned with temps.

    It's load, and it's death-dealing current, that should have you looking at temps.
     
  14. dnLL New Member

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    idle at 70C as I'm now typing and doing nothing else. the 1175 O/C shows a really high idle temperature raise.

    load temp are good because the fan increases his speed. when I'm gaming, I don't care about the sound.
     
  15. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    I think if you want real silence, aircooling is NOT an option. ;) put that card under water, see 30c idle, 45c load, and you can calm your worries.
     
  16. dnLL New Member

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    my 5770 Vapor-X was cool and quiet. I think I will just have to change the card or something.
    watercooling is a serious business, I have a PC-B25F, not that much space.
     
  17. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    If you have a bit of minor skill, there are many options for external radiator housings that work well with smaller cases. DangerDen just launched a new one in the last little while...
     
  18. dnLL New Member

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    Not sure I want anything externel either.

    Anyway, thanks for your help, at least I know where's the problem. I will wait for card with a better cooling solution and sell this one.
     
  19. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    No problem. I was in your shoes a short time ago...same high idle clocks, but I had one card that had a fan die, and many others that overheated under load...

    The last one I RMA'ed XFX replaced with thier own design, rather than the reference boards I had been using...and I am very happy with it. I get 57c idle temps, with multiple monitors, but wit hthe lifetiem warranty I have, if something dies, I'll get it replaced.

    I am going to watercool my card though, and completely eliminate the proble. Fortunately the warranty on my card allows for cooler changes.
     
  20. dnLL New Member

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    I should buy from XFX. If their lifetime warranty is really covering watercooling and etc...
    This is the first time since my GTS250 that I use a reference cooler. I will avoid these in the future. Hopefully XFX will do something better. Not sure about their cooling solution; Vapor-X looks better.
     
  21. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    Yes, as long as you don't physically damage the card installing an aftermarket cooler, warranty is still valid, with XFX. That's what made me move over to thier brand.

    I don't even have a case with a window, so function over form, for me.

    And while my XFX expereince has been 100% perfect, I am happy, in the end.
     
  22. dnLL New Member

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    But the only cards that look really silent are the Vapor-X ones (HD5870 for example). One con, it doesn't exhaust the air out of the case.

    I guess that I should wait a few weeks. Some custom HD6870 will probably be made, not to say that the HD6900 is also coming.
     
  23. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    the xfx card I have now is virtually the same as the vapor-X, FYI. But yeah, new cards are coming.
     
  24. dnLL New Member

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    You're talking of your HD5870? I saw it on newegg, it looks the same (except for the colors). But I won't buy a HD5870 now, that would be ridiculous.
     
  25. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    I was just saying, I'm pretty happy with the 5870 vapor-x equivalent. But it's not really quiet, iMHO.

    teh 6870 should run cooler under the same heatsink, you'd think. I'm quite interested to see what custom-designs come out, but at the same time, what you seem to be looking for, won't happen without water, no matter which vga it is.
     

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