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Cooling HD7970 OC Quirk and cooling Q's

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by xaser04, 20 Jan 2012.

  1. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Hi all,

    After an afternoon of testing yesterday I have noticed an interesting "quirk" with overclocking my HD7970.

    The card is 100% BF3 stable at 1075/6000 (stock volts- 1.112v) with a custom fan profile (ramping to 45% once it reaches 70 degrees), pushing it to 1100/6000 introduces artifacts.

    Increasing the voltage to the HD7970 "stock"; 1.175v, doesn't help as all it does is increase temperatures.

    However, if I manually increase the fan speed to 55-60% and re-run at 1100/6000 the artifacting goes away. As a further test I have found it stable at 1125/6000 at the same voltage once the fan speed is increased further to 75%.

    In all cases the increased fan speed was keeping the temperature below 75 degrees.

    To add further to my investigation I loaded on Crysis 2 last night which I found perfectly stable to begin with at 1075/6000 stock volts and my normal "auto" fan profile. However, after roughly an hours gaming the card peaked above 75 degrees and artifacts started to appear. Increased the fan speed manually - thus dropping temps below 75 degrees - and they dissappeared again.

    Now I know that temperature can be detrimental to overclocks, but I have never seen a card be so "picky" before :eyebrow:. My own testing has shown my HD7970 to hate temperatures above 75 degrees, or at the very least hates overclocking once temps reach over 75 degrees.

    I think I will carry on testing to see if I can pin this "quirk" down a bit further. At least for now I can conclude that my HD7970 does not like temperatures above 75 degrees (and I don't like fan speeds above 45% :yawn:).

    Whether anyone else has seen this "quirk" I don't know, it could explain why some people are seeing higher overclocks; they might be running a more aggressive fan profile (?).

    Anyway onto my cooling questions:

    Given that I have having to have the fan ramped up to get the OC stable (beyond 1075/6000) what are my best options for increased OC or decreased noise levels?

    My thoughts are:

    1) Buy aftermarket air cooling for my HD7970.

    I have seen the Accelero Extreme HD7970 and fallen in 'love'. Its looks great and would appear to knock ~ 20 degrees off the load temperature according to their own results. Another major advantage is the increased cooling performance should come in at lower noise levels. This would cost ~ £60.

    Only downside I can see to this cooler is that it isn't available until 31/01/2012.

    2) Increase/improve my case cooling.

    I am running the "stock" Define R3 setup with a single 120mm intake and exhaust running at low speed (high makes no noticable difference bar increased noise levels). If I went down this route I would want to ensure I still retain low noise levels, therefore fan placement and choice is key. I am slightly apprehensive about going down this route as it could lead to more noise but no overall improvement in GPU temperatures; therefore requiring an aftermarket GPU cooler anyway. The rough costs for this would be similar to the Accelero Extreme at ~ £60 (assuming of course an aftermarket VGA cooler is not required).

    3) Watercool my entire system

    A slightly more "extreme" choice given the potential risks and cost. Obviously this would achieve bar far the best balance of cooling & noise performance (again choice of fan of key importance), but would costs significantly more for a 240mm / 120mm dual radiator loop with CPU and GPU blocks. Rough cost I would imagine north of £300.

    Overall I am leaning heavily towards to the Accelero extreme but I would be interested to hear your thoughts and other suggestions. :)

    Cheers guys
     
    Last edited: 20 Jan 2012
  2. lilgoth89

    lilgoth89 Captin Calliope

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    id try both the first 2 options. ive fitted some accelero coolers in the past and they are GOOD
    very low noise and AMAZING cooling

    as for increasing the case cooling, try fitting some air penatrators to the front of your case
    the airflow is nice and will drop your gpu temps a couple of degrees and shouldnt cost you as much as the cooler does...
    you could also try fitting one to the side panel pushing / pulling air over your gpu

    with both you should be able to achive some sky high overclocks
     
  3. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    I was thinking along similar lines although I was going to try the GPU cooler first and then look at extra case fans.

    I have a couple of fans in a box somewhere at home so I will try a bit of "Ghetto" modding to see if it makes any difference in the short term.
     
  4. Guest-44432

    Guest-44432 Guest

    I have found when running my GTX 580's, I could get 960Mhz core with the waterblock, but after refitting the HSF, 900mhz core was the max it would go.

    I think you will fine its your VRM's/Phases hitting the thermal limits, in which case a waterblock will help cool these down.

    Anyhow 1075mhz core is not to be sniffed at.;)
     
  5. thetrashcanman

    thetrashcanman Angel headed hipsters

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    Watercool that beast! :D
     
  6. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    That does seem plausible given the very specific point at which I start to notice artifacting. The Accelero should provide masses of airflow both to the core and the VRM / Phase area so do a better job of keeping the temps in check than the stock cooler - or at least provide similar cooling potential at a massive reduction in noise.

    I would love to fully watercool my system - especially after seeing the New EK Nikel HD7970 blocks, but I think that will be something to look at in the future.

    EDIT: Another vote for Watercooling - Perhaps I can somehow include the watercooling gear into the budget for the new bathroom, hmmmmm. It all revolves around water so just maybe :p
     
  7. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Quick update:

    Been fiddling around with the overclocks and I now have 1125MHz stable on the core at 1.175v (often regarded as "stock" for a HD7970 - my stock VID is 1.112 for reference).

    Unfortunately the fan needs to be running at 75% to achieve this. At this fan speed GPU temperatures plateaued at 58 degrees which is overall pretty good.

    The fan at 75% is for want of a better word intolerable for gaming.

    The one thing I am learning with playing with this HD7970; it hates high temperatures once you start pushing it. It is quite odd as clocks of 1125/6000 don't really push the temps up much higher than 1075/6000, yet you really have to throw the cooling at it for it to become game stable (no artifacting).

    I can't wait to slap the Accelero on there though. Great temps and a cool card without deafening myself.
     
  8. thetrashcanman

    thetrashcanman Angel headed hipsters

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    I'll say it once more even though you probably don't want to hear it xaser, WATEROCOOL IT ;D
     
  9. debs3759

    debs3759 Was that a warranty I just broke?

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    I agree with thetrashcanman. Watercooling will give you loads of headroom for overclocking. I have chilled water on my GTX 570 (the water was at 16C when testing on high clock speeds), and I carried out several benchmarks tests at 1070 MHz (approx 34% above the factory overclock) with a maximum card temp of 40C. With a decent loop you should get comparable results (maybe not a third above stock, but much better than on air)

    What block you get (I don't know what the choices are this early on) and what radiators you use will make a big difference. The colder you can keep the water, and the better the transfer of heat through your block and into the water, the better overclock you will achieve.
     
  10. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    I'm hearing you guys, believe me I would love to get this card under water but at the moment the cost is just too high as I have a number of improvements to do on the house. The HD7970 itself was my last "big" purchase (authorised by the wife of course :p) that I will be doing for a while.

    EDIT: If I do go watercooling I was thinking along the lines of this:

    Decent Pump (Laing of some sort) --> Bay reservoir to save space in my actual case --> EK Supreme CPU block --> 120mm RAD at back of case --> EK Nickel HD7970 block -->240mm RAD in top of case --> Back to pump.

    I don't have room in the R3 for a 360mm RAD so the 240 & 120 will have to suffice. I should imagine that a single 120mm will be enough for a mildy OC'd 2500k whilst the 240mm will be sufficient for the HD7970.
     
  11. Instagib

    Instagib Minimodder

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    Don't forget this is the first 28nm gpu on the market. It's possible that they just simply do no like temps above 75.

    Look at AMD cpu's vs Intel. Intel can go all the way to nearly 100 degrees where as AMD top out around 70 or so.
     
  12. Bloody_Pete

    Bloody_Pete Technophile

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    It needs to go res > pump :)
     
  13. heir flick

    heir flick Minimodder

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    I have 2 fans at the front of the case and 1 on the side, i can oc my 7970 to ccc limits with fan on auto and dont think ive seen the temps go above 70c
     
  14. thetrashcanman

    thetrashcanman Angel headed hipsters

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    Silicon lottery dude
     
  15. heir flick

    heir flick Minimodder

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    Just saying these cards can be kept cool enough with good case airflow the down side is noise levels. Dont find the noise level too bad myself and i game with headphones anyway
     
  16. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    could OP post a picture of your fan setup please?

    does the 7970 have sufficient cool+clean air to its intake fan?

    im with heir flick (oh hai! Novatecher :D ) as far as i know, R3 suffers similar problem to its cousin the P180: lack of direct airflow over graphics cards.
     
  17. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    I am running the "stock" R3 fan setup (ie 1 x 120mm intake and 1 x 120mm exhaust).

    Absolute temperatures are not a problem, the card only hits 78 degrees after a lengthy session of BF3 in Eyefnity. The main "issue" is that the card doesn't like higher temperatures as you start to ramp up the clocks (beyond 1075 core).

    Looking around the net it would appear that I am not alone. Others over at HardOCP have noticed that as the clocks rise the temps have to be kept more in check to keep the card stable:

    EG:

    1075 is stable at 75 degrees
    1100 is only stable at 73 degrees
    1125 is only stable at 70 degrees

    etc

    It would appear from a quick skim read that the power supply (VRM) to the core is the main "culprit". It would appear that as the temperatures rise so does the fluctuation in amperage and voltage to the core. The fluctuations cause both instability to arise. Keeping the card cool, in part, mitigates the issue.

    EDIT: In addition I have found that playing a 80mm fan on the back of the card - blowing cool air over the VRM backside, has given me a couple of degree wiggle room at the same clocks before instability sets in (70 max stable before, now I can get away with 68).
     
  18. skoolz

    skoolz What's a Dremel?

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    Hey xaser. I registered just now so I could reply to this post. Your post was the first thing I found on this using Google. I wanted to say that my reference 7970 is going through the EXACT same thing you're describing. I used 3dMark and Furmark to test out my overclock with no problems, ultimately achieving an overclock of 1125/1575 without adjusting the voltage. But once I started gaming, I would get these artifacts (flickering textures in nature) after the temp would rise. Turning the fan on 100% got my max temp down to around 62 and the artifacts disappeared. I created a custom fan profile, and it successfully kept the temp under 70 during gaming, however, even 65 degrees and above was too much for this overclock, as the artifacts would return even at this temp. This is strange to me too that the card is so picky about temps while overclocking. I've found a sweet spot at 1100/1500 that made the artifacts stay away even with no custom fan profile, temps getting close to 80 under full load. However, I am getting a very occasional "display driver has stopped responding and has successfully recovered" error shortly after waking the computer up from sleep. It has not occurred during games YET, but I'm now wondering if this is attributed to a bad overclock as well, or just shoddy drivers.

    I'm just glad to know I'm not alone with this OC issue, so thank you! I have posted this on several forums hoping to find someone experiencing the same anomaly, but had been completely unsuccessful receiving only replies that claim I do not know how to overclock. Anyways, good day!
     
  19. Stu @ MSD

    Stu @ MSD What's a Dremel?

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    I am going through exactly the same process with mine guys, she doesnt like heat much over 80 degrees unless at quite low OC's. Will report back when I have finished my testing and completed my spreadsheet.

    Currently struggling to get it to even boot with the new 12.2 drivers.
    Rah... knew i shouldnt have tried them!
     
  20. xaser04

    xaser04 Ba Ba Ba BANANA!

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    Glad my post was of some use to you guys :).

    So far I have found overclocking the HD7970 both a joy and a headache. On top of everything I have reported so far, I have found that once it starts artifacting (say because I pushed the clocks too far) it will carry on artifacting until I hard reset. I only found this out after I thought my card was borked at stock clocks.

    This can make testing quite difficult as you have to setup everything ready for the test again once it starts to artifact. In subsequent tests without a reset you don't know if the artifacts you are seeing are true instability or remnents of the previous failed OC causing issues with the current OC.

    I have found it quite hard to put in writing the experience I have had with the card but I am glad that I am not alone in noticing these quirks. There is alot of conjecture around the net about exactly what causes what on the 7970 once you start overclocking but the only thing I can say with any certainty is that it likes lower temperatures.

    Adding a fan to the back of the card - blowing cool air over the VRM's - certainly helps. In my case adding the side fan also helped as well.

    I will be pushing it a bit further this weekend to see if 1150/6600 is the max the card will take under the stock cooler.

    My plan of the Artic 7970 cooler have been quashed as it is so massive it won't fit in my case. Add to the fact that it costs £80 and won't guarantee anything bar lower temperatures I am unwilling to go any further down that avenue. Water cooling looks to be the best option for the future but a purchase of a "new" car has put a stop to any of that.
     

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