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PowerColor PCS+ 390 Experience

Jayquez

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I just bought a PowerColor 390 PCS+.
My set up:
Z97 Gaming7
i5 4590
EVGA P2 750W
4x4GB
PowerColor 390 PCS+
First impression of the card to me was great, it had gotten great reviews. It seems the card is known for it's quiet and effective cooling. I installed the card and no real issues at first.
I started OCing the card +100mv and +50% power, but was only able to get stable core clock of 1080 (at this point 3d mark starts artifacting) and 1575 for memory (Kind of low, ASIC score was only 67%)
I started running benchmarks, the core temp reached almost 78 degrees, and fans were not that quiet + coil whine. However when I checked the temperatures on other site's reviews, they were hovering around 71, 72. Powercolor support didn't offer me much help (recommended a 1200w PSU...for real??).
So I guess my question is, are these stats really low for that card? Is this even a legit reason to RMA a card? I don't want to [speak badly of them] since technically the card does what it says it does. I am guessing it is not but it's just very disappointing.
 

the54thvoid

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I just bought a PowerColor 390 PCS+.
My set up:
Z97 Gaming7
i5 4590
EVGA P2 750W
4x4GB
PowerColor 390 PCS+
First impression of the card to me was great, it had gotten great reviews. It seems the card is known for it's quiet and effective cooling. I installed the card and no real issues at first.
I started OCing the card +100mv and +50% power, but was only able to get stable core clock of 1080 (at this point 3d mark starts artifacting) and 1575 for memory (Kind of low, ASIC score was only 67%)
I started running benchmarks, the core temp reached almost 78 degrees, and fans were not that quiet + coil whine. However when I checked the temperatures on other site's reviews, they were hovering around 71, 72. Powercolor support didn't offer me much help (recommended a 1200w PSU...for real??).
So I guess my question is, are these stats really low for that card? Is this even a legit reason to RMA a card? I don't want to [speak badly of them] since technically the card does what it says it does. I am guessing it is not but it's just very disappointing.
If it does what it says on the box, an RMA isn't likely. To be fair to Powercolor, it's also uncalled for to ask for an RMA. Hawaii (the core of the 390) isn't renowned for over clocking. If the card runs at accepted noise at the stated clocks - it works. As for the power supply - that might be to do with reducing coil whine but I can only guess.
 
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Overclocking isn't covered by any means by any vendor. There's no promise that any vendor can make regarding overclocks and as such, it will be hard to RMA because of that. It's luck of the draw.
The issue is also that the cores on these GPUs (like on the 290/290X) are generally limited to that range. Especially in the 300 series, it seems the clocks are slightly lower as well. Rrealize that reviews usually make use of open test benches, in air conditioned rooms that may have lower temps than your environment. Certainly lower than the temperature within typical cases, so the readings will be lower.
Given what I know and have seen with the Hawaii GPUs, your clocks are about average, along with the temperature.
390X usually have higher binned GPUs so may be able to do 10Mhz or perhaps 20MHz or so higher, but this isn't a promise.
 

Jayquez

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If it does what it says on the box, an RMA isn't likely. To be fair to Powercolor, it's also uncalled for to ask for an RMA. Hawaii (the core of the 390) isn't renowned for over clocking. If the card runs at accepted noise at the stated clocks - it works. As for the power supply - that might be to do with reducing coil whine but I can only guess.
Yeah I completely understand that the lower clock stats is not a reason for an RMA, I am just wondering if there is some other issue that is causing me to not be able to reach more optimal levels.
While the temperatures and fan noise are louder than I expected they are still within reasonable levels.

Overclocking isn't covered by any means by any vendor. There's no promise that any vendor can make regarding overclocks and as such, it will be hard to RMA because of that. It's luck of the draw.
The issue is also that the cores on these GPUs (like on the 290/290X) are generally limited to that range. Especially in the 300 series, it seems the clocks are slightly lower as well. Rrealize that reviews usually make use of open test benches, in air conditioned rooms that may have lower temps than your environment. Certainly lower than the temperature within typical cases, so the readings will be lower.
Given what I know and have seen with the Hawaii GPUs, your clocks are about average, along with the temperature.
390X usually have higher binned GPUs so may be able to do 10Mhz or perhaps 20MHz or so higher, but this isn't a promise.
From what other users wrote, their 290xs and 390s are able to reach levels above 1100 usually, so these clocks are quite low, I am thinking maybe I am not doing something optimally that is causing me to reach such low clocks? I am not sure what it could be though.
 
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[Ion]

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From what other users wrote, their 290xs and 390s are able to reach levels above 1100 usually, so these clocks are quite low, I am thinking maybe I am not doing something optimally that is causing me to reach such low clocks? I am not sure what it could be though.
Well, 1080 is really very close to 1000MHz. Your chip may just be on the low side of average whereas their chips are a bit over average. Your PSU is good (at least a good model--can't speak for your exact unit. Temps are good on the GPU though so it sounds like you just got a decent-but-not-great card.
 

Jayquez

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Well, 1080 is really very close to 1000MHz. Your chip may just be on the low side of average whereas their chips are a bit over average. Your PSU is good (at least a good model--can't speak for your exact unit. Temps are good on the GPU though so it sounds like you just got a decent-but-not-great card.
Is there a way to check the performance of the PSU? It is quite new, only got it a couple weeks ago. I am using MSI Afterburner to OC, could it be that the card is actually not receiving the extra voltage? Is it also worth it to check the BIOS of the gpu?
 

[Ion]

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Is there a way to check the performance of the PSU? It is quite new, only got it a couple weeks ago. I am using MSI Afterburner to OC, could it be that the card is actually not receiving the extra voltage? Is it also worth it to check the BIOS of the gpu?
Only real way to test the PSU is to use (very expensive) professional equipment like the testers at JonnyGuru have. So that isn't feasible. I'm using MSI Afterburner too, but I'm not trying to overvolt (and I have rather different cards--two 8800GTs). Does GPU-Z report the voltage increase? And I'd discourage changing the GPU BIOS--I've personally never done so as I don't see much value (and some risk) to it.
 

Aquinus

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started running benchmarks, the core temp reached almost 78 degrees, and fans were not that quiet + coil whine.
As a 390 owner I feel a need to chime in. Hawaii doesn't like overclocking at high temperatures. In fact I can run 1.2Ghz on my 390 until it warms up in which case it starts artifacting every 1-2 seconds. If I had it under water, it might be a different story. Simple fact is that you're testing out the silicon lottery and not everyone is going to get a crazy clocking card. I personally got "lucky" with a card that can do 1140/1575 with 50% power and +43mV however, I also maintain temperatures closer to 72*C under those conditions.

I would make sure you have good ventilation in your chassis because these cards aren't blower style coolers and require a good amount of airflow through the chassis to keep cool.

I think you (the op,) is expecting more voltage = higher clocks and it's not quite that simple. Voltage only scales if you can keep the card cool and the cooler you keep the card the better it will clock. The higher the temperature, the worse the OC will get. This has something to do with the physical properties of transistors and circuits as temperature fluctuates which is why people under water and phase change and get better clocks than people simply running on air.

Simply put, your card is running too hot, you need to get your temps down.
 

Jayquez

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As a 390 owner I feel a need to chime in. Hawaii doesn't like overclocking at high temperatures. In fact I can run 1.2Ghz on my 390 until it warms up in which case it starts artifacting every 1-2 seconds. If I had it under water, it might be a different story. Simple fact is that you're testing out the silicon lottery and not everyone is going to get a crazy clocking card. I personally got "lucky" with a card that can do 1140/1575 with 50% power and +43mV however, I also maintain temperatures closer to 72*C under those conditions.

I would make sure you have good ventilation in your chassis because these cards aren't blower style coolers and require a good amount of airflow through the chassis to keep cool.

I think you (the op,) is expecting more voltage = higher clocks and it's not quite that simple. Voltage only scales if you can keep the card cool and the cooler you keep the card the better it will clock. The higher the temperature, the worse the OC will get. This has something to do with the physical properties of transistors and circuits as temperature fluctuates which is why people under water and phase change and get better clocks than people simply running on air.

Simply put, your card is running too hot, you need to get your temps down.
I use a define R5 with stock fans, not sure if I need additional fans and where I should place them.

I am artifacting/simply not loading benchmarks at 1080/1110 and the temperature there is about 77 78 in heaven, so I am not sure if temperature could really be the issue?
Doesn't the powercolor have one of the best coolers for the 390?
 

Aquinus

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I use a define R5 with stock fans, not sure if I need additional fans and where I should place them.

I am artifacting/simply not loading benchmarks at 1080/1110 and the temperature there is about 77 78 in heaven, so I am not sure if temperature could really be the issue?
Doesn't the powercolor have one of the best coolers for the 390?
A good cooler won't do you any good if your chassis isn't removing the heat fast enough. As I said, 78*C is a high temperature for the 390. Even my Antec 1200 (which is a beast for air cooling considering it has 6x120mm fans and 1x200mm,) has mostly aftermarket fans because the stock ones were "meh" at best (even more so when you factor in the filters which makes matters worse.) I suspect you're not moving as much air as you should be to keep the card cool.

Another thing I'll mention is that a chassis could have half decent air flow but the air might not be flowing past the GPU well enough to cool it. The R5 Define has 1/3 of the fans I do in the Antec 1200 and two of the fans I have are 100CFM and 180 CFM max, so it's probably moving a considerable amount of air in comparison which would explain my lower temps.

If you can put your hand behind your tower and the air it hot (not warm, but hot,) then it's not enough. The 390 likes to suck down power and all of the power is being dissipated as heat, so I suspect you need to improve airflow to get temps down.
 

Jayquez

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A good cooler won't do you any good if your chassis isn't removing the heat fast enough. As I said, 78*C is a high temperature for the 390. Even my Antec 1200 (which is a beast for air cooling considering it has 6x120mm fans and 1x200mm,) has mostly aftermarket fans because the stock ones were "meh" at best (even more so when you factor in the filters which makes matters worse.) I suspect you're not moving as much air as you should be to keep the card cool.

Another thing I'll mention is that a chassis could have half decent air flow but the air might not be flowing past the GPU well enough to cool it. The R5 Define has 1/3 of the fans I do in the Antec 1200 and two of the fans I have are 100CFM and 180 CFM max, so it's probably moving a considerable amount of air in comparison which would explain my lower temps.

If you can put your hand behind your tower and the air it hot (not warm, but hot,) then it's not enough. The 390 likes to suck down power and all of the power is being dissipated as heat, so I suspect you need to improve airflow to get temps down.
The only way I could do that would be to add more fans correct? Any suggestions on where to add them in a R5? I will measure the air flow tonight when I get home.
 

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The only way I could do that would be to add more fans correct? Any suggestions on where to add them in a R5? I will measure the air flow tonight when I get home.
There really aren't any places to add new fans. I would suggest getting better fans, however I don't think I'm the best source of information for good quiet fans. I tend to just use whatever is cheap and moves a lot of air which usually doesn't mean quiet, not to mention I haven't bought fans in years (I've had my Antec chassis for many years, it's the oldest component I have in my machine.) I suspect that the stock fans on the R5 are optimized to be quiet as opposed to performant but, I can't say. I've never used the R5.
 

Jayquez

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There really aren't any places to add new fans. I would suggest getting better fans, however I don't think I'm the best source of information for good quiet fans. I tend to just use whatever is cheap and moves a lot of air which usually doesn't mean quiet, not to mention I haven't bought fans in years (I've had my Antec chassis for many years, it's the oldest component I have in my machine.) I suspect that the stock fans on the R5 are optimized to be quiet as opposed to performant but, I can't say. I've never used the R5.
I set a very aggressive fan curve last night, ran some firestrike benchmarks. Fan speed at 100% at 70, never went beyond that, still things started artifacting past 1080 core clock and 1525 memory clock, I guess I just got a really bad card. I did hear that people sometimes undervolt and get better results?
 
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I set a very aggressive fan curve last night, ran some firestrike benchmarks. Fan speed at 100% at 70, never went beyond that, still things started artifacting past 1080 core clock and 1525 memory clock, I guess I just got a really bad card. I did hear that people sometimes undervolt and get better results?
You probably just got an unlucky piece of silicon. Also undervolting isn't going to improve your overclock. People undervolt while running at stock clocks, to see if they can get the same performance for less power. I'd cut my losses and just accept the overclock you're able to get, while not having to listen to jet turbines inside your case trying to keep it stable. Peace of mind is worth more than 20mhz.
 

Jayquez

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You probably just got an unlucky piece of silicon. Also undervolting isn't going to improve your overclock. People undervolt while running at stock clocks, to see if they can get the same performance for less power. I'd cut my losses and just accept the overclock you're able to get, while not having to listen to jet turbines inside your case trying to keep it stable. Peace of mind is worth more than 20mhz.
Yeah I ended up just not adding any extra voltage. I don't mind the fan noise too much since I wear headphones and keeping the card at 70 isn't such a bad thing.
 
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I just bought a PowerColor 390 PCS+.
I started running benchmarks, the core temp reached almost 78 degrees, and fans were not that quiet + coil whine. However when I checked the temperatures on other site's reviews, they were hovering around 71, 72. Powercolor support didn't offer me much help (recommended a 1200w PSU...for real??).
So I guess my question is, are these stats really low for that card? Is this even a legit reason to RMA a card? I don't want to [speak badly of them] since technically the card does what it says it does. I am guessing it is not but it's just very disappointing.
I have 0 coil whine with my Powercolor R9 390 PCS+. In some coil whine cases you can get the card replaced. Doesn't hurt to try.

Stock fan curve seems overly aggressive and I've made a custom fan curve that keeps temps below 75 Celsius degrees in full load and fan speed around 50-60%. Fan turns off at below 60 degrees.

Overclocks to around 1125 MHz with +100mV +50% P.limit.
 

Jayquez

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I have 0 coil whine with my Powercolor R9 390 PCS+. In some coil whine cases you can get the card replaced. Doesn't hurt to try.

Stock fan curve seems overly aggressive and I've made a custom fan curve that keeps temps below 75 Celsius degrees in full load and fan speed around 50-60%. Fan turns off at below 60 degrees.

Overclocks to around 1125 MHz with +100mV +50% P.limit.
OK your performance is what I expected from mine, but it's nowhere near that.
 
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