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How does AMD test graphics cards

unixguru88

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#1
Just purchased a 6950 last week and running 900/1450 with shaders unlocked. With all the controversy surrounding the 6970 bios mod, many people saying things might go wrong after a few months, I am curious how AMD decides whether a given chip ends up a 6950 or 6970? I just played through Crysis and Crysis Warhead maxed out, and have run Kombustor for many hours to test stability and am curious what more AMD could have done? Basically my point is that if an unlocked card runs stable for a few weeks then there is no reason to believe that AMD did not label it a 6970 because there was some flaw in the card, but rather to meet demands or some other reason. The people whose cards developed some problems, as many have pointed out, were just unlucky.
 

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#2
AMD doesn't even make the graphics cards TSC manufactures the chip which is then sold to the aftermarket companies like Asus etc and they all have their own testing methods.
 

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#4
My suspicion is that they make every chip 6950s, and take the best ones to make 6970. Just like how they make their cpu's. As yields go up, and since that there will be less people buying 6970s they will have to use "good" chips for the 6950.
 

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unixguru88

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#6
Thank you very much! This page http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Sapphire/Factory/5.html sort of makes it clear that Sapphire's tests is not more rigorous than what some of the members in this forum put their cards through! The next natural question is whether Sapphire receives chips pre-labelled as 6950 and 6970 or does Sapphire decide? I highly doubt it is the latter. So my question is rephrased as :- How do AMD/TSMC or whoever decide whether a particular chip ends up as 6950?
 

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unixguru88

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#8
From what I understand the testing mentioned in this page is not done for very card but rather only to the design samples of non-reference Sapphire cards to check if the design changes have not decreased the lifetime of the card. Given that they test for 14 days, Sapphire would need heck of a lot of machines to test each card, and image how ugly our cards would look having survived 14 days of hell!
 

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#9
From what I understand the testing mentioned in this page is not done for very card but rather only to the design samples of non-reference Sapphire cards to check if the design changes have not decreased the lifetime of the card. Given that they test for 14 days, Sapphire would need heck of a lot of machines to test each card, and image how ugly our cards would look having survived 14 days of hell!
Well, then don't expect EVGA or even ASUS to have better testing methods than that.
 
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#10
The leakage of each chip is tested and the ones that have higher leakage get labeled as 6950s. Even if your chip can run at 6970 speeds, it probably does so using more power and producing more heat than a "true" 6970 chip. Thus electron migration is more likely to occur, reducing the lifespan of the card.
 
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#12
that's for new changes to designs and they don't test every card. So if say sapphire wants to put out a toxic 6990, that's what it would ahve to go through.

page 5 is where all cards are tested. And the quote from that page below shows why some fail and are made lower cards and then a user can mod it back and have it be fine.

To make sure, that the card will also work in cases where air flow is not as good or in high-temperature countries, the card is heated by a heater blower while it is running some tests.

so as long as you're providing good airflow and keeping the card cool the mod will hold. Apparantly it's the heat tests where mod cards faila nd are made lower chips.