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Old 21-04-2012, 06:45 AM   #1
Offler
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Gigabyte HD 7870 OC - a different look.

Ok lets look at this card



The card has overclocked Pitcairn core at frequency of 1100Mhz. Decent 10% overclocking for same price as basic Sapphire card. However the basic PCB design does not differ a lot from reference card. But cooling is a different story.

Reference card has a metal plate which covers memory and voltage regulation. Voltage regulation chips are completely covered under it.



That piece of metal is preventing any airflow near the VRM chips. Fortunately Gigabyte decided to remove this "cooler" and let air near those chips. There is a lot of reviews on the web which praise this card for great temperatures. Thats right. Most 7870's accumulate much more temperature on VRM, not on the GPU itself.

If you wish to imagine some kind of modding of this card, you can even consider single slot modification. How? Well...

This is Thermalright Spitfire


I just need to find a way how to fix the top of the cooler over all others PCI cards i have in my computer, wait until VRM coolers will be available and then find a way how to modify the backplate.

3d results, as available for most of the month are same on my machine as on any other computer which were benchmarking this card. No surprise then. but one thing changed.

Many users of HD 5870 or 5850 were experiencing problems with 3d applications when any other program was running. Usually it was web browser with youtube running. GPU then underclocked to 400Mhz and even when 3d application was running 3d performance was throttled. With 7870 this problem no longer persist.

I was able to run 3d game and video at the same time, and GPU was clocked to correct (maximum) value.

Also the AMD boasts with a wide range of power saving features. I tested them a bit. It is true that this GPU can run on 350Mhz for desktop while memory runs on 150Mhz. Everyhing changes with running video.

If the video is using software codec GPU core is mostly running on 300Mhz, sometimes switches to 450. Memory is jumping from 150Mhz straight to 1200 for a short time. Total system power consumption was 158 watts which is quite good.

If the video was using hardware accelerated decoding GPU was always on 450Mhz and memory on 1200Mhz. Power consumption was then 178 watts. Same is true for normal youtube video. Video format (HD or SD) had no impact on power consumption.

PCIespeedtest worked fine. Measured bandwidth in direction GPU>CPU decreased to 5600mb/s opposed to HD5850 which had 6700mb/s at this point. I am unsure whether this is caused by power saving featues on PCI-E or the GPU itself does not have such high priority. Overall CPU+GPU communication seems much smoother.

Edit: Since my windows had some trouble installing the Catalyst, i had to install all drivers manually. I forgot to install OpenCL package - my bad OpenCL surely works.

Last edited by Offler; 26-04-2012 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 25-04-2012, 01:12 PM   #2
eva2000
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Interesting so you already modded the card now ? Before and after temps, oc's ?
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Old 25-04-2012, 11:32 PM   #3
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By eva2000 View Post
Interesting so you already modded the card now ? Before and after temps, oc's ?
Not modded yet.

The card is too new for now, so I dont want to change anything for some time to be sure it works well (revision 1.0, one of the first pieces sold here, Rma after mod will be impossible).

That cooler is not available here. There is Thermalright reseller, but not offering this cooler. Also if you notice - this card has only single DVI-D connector, while most older cards had doubled connector (twice as height). If the mounting kit for the cooler will be thin enough I may finally occupy my last PCI slot...

By the way. If the mark direcly on card is right, gigabyte is has PCBs with 2 oz layer...

At all the cooler provided by gigabyte is excellent so I really dont know whether this kind of cooler mod is worth it...

Here is the link to the more info on the cooler:
http://www.thermalright.com/products...at_id=30&id=93

Definitely worth if you wish to have single graphic card, with decent single slot cooling.
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Old 16-05-2012, 08:41 PM   #4
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Some notes of usage:

I experienced few graphical glitches. Later I realized that they are not only limited to the games, but are also visible in Windows.

The aluminium heatsink which covers the memory was not fitting well on the chips. That means that heat was not taken away from them.

The issue was diminishing over time so i believe that heat will help to melt the silicon tapes. 3 hours of OCCT burn test at 75-80 C and most of the graphical glitches were gone forever.

I am quite surprised by this. Mostly Gigabyte designs are supreme, but lower temperatures also can mean such unpredictable behaviour - like fact that silicon tapes would never be able to make better contact with the memory chips under normal conditions.

And just to note. PCI-E 3.0 cards might be bit more sensitive to unstable 5v rail voltage, but only in extreme situations such as many memory dimms on board.
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