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Do "Factory Overclocked" cards contain better hardware?

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November 4, 2007 8:51:05 AM

There seems to be some serious disagreement on this subject. My understanding has always been that factory overclocked cards are in no way physically superior to stock cards. They have just had their BIOS's flashed at the factory with a higher clock and guaranteed to be stable at that speed.

I have heard others say that the "best chips" are saved for the Factory OC versions . Speaking to EVGA directly, I've been told that isn't true but who knows, others here may know different.

So, what do you guys think? Does anyone have the definitive final word on this subject from inside sources?

More about : factory overclocked cards hardware

November 4, 2007 9:03:58 AM

Some like the Zotac use higher grade memory modules rather then just over clocking the ones already on there.

Some of the cards probably use higher voltage too, so i expect that stock over clocked cards will over clock to a max, further then a standard card.

As for picking the best... yes I believe EVGA do with their motherboards for t he black pearl versions. so they probably do it with their graphics cards too.
November 4, 2007 9:24:13 AM

I believe Sparkle offer a range of over clocked cards that use better quality parts. They also offer 3 year warranty on those cards but only 1 year on their standard cards. There badged Calibre. :) 
http://www.calibrestyle.com.tw/
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November 4, 2007 9:35:01 AM

Its an interesting topic, but I suppose its just luck with the quality if the chip you get, and it probably isnt illegal as the manufactorers dont expect you to overclock as if they can prove it it usually viods the warrenty.

The Gainward 'Golden Sample' card say that they have selected only the chips that passed somes tests.

I'm not worried about more expensive pre-overclcoked editions, as i'd rather save the money and do it myself. Pre-OC are guarentied to work in even the dustiest of case with high ambient temps, but my case has good airflow so i'm ok with ocing the 'lesser' chips.
November 4, 2007 9:42:05 AM

I had a stock 8800 GTS 640 that I OC'd stable to 710 / 1040 for a 3DMark) score of 10,640 with just an extra PCI exhaust fan blowing out heat, so my experience with stock cards has been good.

I guess factory OC cards have always seemed like kind of a marketing gimmick to me aimed at those who just want to set it and forget it. Sort of an "hey dude, chicks dig me cause I got an 8800 GT SSC" sort of thing.

But, of course, the possibility I am completely wrong at every conceivable level exists :) 
a c 130 U Graphics card
November 4, 2007 9:46:51 AM

Some do some dont and its not always made clear what is what when you buy a card you would probably get a better cooling solution than stock on most pre oced cards, so ther is no definate answer to this thread :) 
Mactronix
November 4, 2007 10:02:21 AM

Hey mac, do you know anyone that makes a good Thermo-electric "Air-cooled" VGA Cooler?
a c 130 U Graphics card
November 4, 2007 7:17:19 PM

Sorry mitch i tryed to answer earlier but i have been helping someone move house today,Have to say i dont really have a lot to do with aftermarket cooling my last two cards have been pre oced IceQTurbo cards from HIS.
Obviously Zalman have a good rep i also have been told that the Titan Elena is a decent option but have no personal experiance as i said.
Sorry not to be of more help
Mactronix
November 4, 2007 8:42:08 PM

Mac,

I'm expecially interested in the thermo-electric type that take advantage of the peltier effect. These suckers can cool your chip sub-zero without water, but haven't seen one for GPU's yet.

There is always the condensation problem though with anything sub-ambient.
a b U Graphics card
November 4, 2007 9:54:06 PM

I can't speek for the 8800GT's, but as someone mentioned sometimes the OC'ed car models have faster/better rated RAM.
November 4, 2007 9:54:56 PM

Hatman said:
Some like the Zotac use higher grade memory modules rather then just over clocking the ones already on there.

Some of the cards probably use higher voltage too, so i expect that stock over clocked cards will over clock to a max, further then a standard card.

As for picking the best... yes I believe EVGA do with their motherboards for t he black pearl versions. so they probably do it with their graphics cards too.


Why would eVGA not admit to putting better parts in them then?
"Speaking to EVGA directly, I've been told that isn't true but who knows, others here may know different."

"Sort of an "hey dude, chicks dig me cause I got an 8800 GT SSC" sort of thing. "

I think we all wish this but it aint true lol i dont know any chicks that would give it up for an OCed GPU lol
November 4, 2007 9:59:28 PM

Yeah I just spoke to EVGA again today and they confirmed that all hardware is IDENTICAL. All that is different for $30 extra is a factory OC.

Now one way of looking at it is that they had to find a GPU that would hold a 700 OC and thus, these are the most stable cards, but I don't think they have a "good chips", "bad chips" pile.

Best OC I've seen for the 8800 GT stable so far is 728 Core.
a b U Graphics card
November 4, 2007 10:02:59 PM

So for the extra money we get a factory OC and they get more sales, more money but a higher RMA/failure rate.
a b U Graphics card
November 4, 2007 10:19:06 PM

Mitch and Mac - in regards to your peltier or tec cooler for VGA/GPU - check out this:

http://www.coolitsystems.com/index.php?option=com_conte...

I know that it's for dual cards (in SLI), but it's certainly a TEC solution for you. Check out the rest of CoolIt systems because they use a lot of thermo-electric coolers.
November 4, 2007 10:19:19 PM

pauldh said:
So for the extra money we get a factory OC and they get more sales, more money but a higher RMA/failure rate.


Makes you wonder why they get bought
November 4, 2007 10:25:49 PM

huron,

Thanks but for $450 I hope it comes with a leggy blond :) 
November 4, 2007 10:33:56 PM

i've actually heard that the peltier coolers were good, but kinda not worth it. as in, they achieved temps that a zalman could achieve on low settings, and on high settings they were noisier than any water radiator+pump, and still didn't surpass water's cooling. and they're really expensive, and huge?

i would guess the whole "huge" part would stop them from being VGA compatible.
November 4, 2007 10:40:35 PM

oooo, leggy blond! i have one! :p  shall we start the bidding at $450? double your money, get the blond and the cooler?
November 5, 2007 8:43:27 AM

Sparkle Calibre cards have TEC's for their cooling solution and come pre-overclocked. Got mine at a lower cost than a standard GTX..... other brands are really crazy priced here in South Africa :pfff:  so i bought the Calibre 880+ OC and got regret it.... what an awesome card :) 
November 5, 2007 10:01:04 AM

Some cards may contain better hardware than regular vanilla cards. I got a EVGA KO superclocked 7900gt, default clock speeds of 580mhz gpu and 780mhz memory. I slapped a zalman vf700 on it and its rock solid stable at 700mhz gpu and 850 mhz memory.

Yeah I know that this card comes with a higher vcore than normal gt's so it doesnt (and did not) need a volt mod, and many gt's can reach these speeds with a volt mod, but I've read that not all people have been able to get this high on their gt's with volt mods and extra cooling (at least on the gpu - the evga card has some quality ram on it) so maybe there is something in the idea that some factory oc'd cards have higher quality gpus and memory on them. ....Or voltage regulation circuitry. hay ho.
a c 130 U Graphics card
November 5, 2007 10:20:31 AM

There is always going to be a differance in what overclocks people get on what are basically the same card but unfortunatly all chips are not made equal when they make a waffer they test them and the ones that fall into X performance bracket would be the XT version of the card and the ones that fall into the Y bracket are pro cards.
That is simplifying things a bit and i dont know how wide the tollerances are they test to,but if you take the 2900 as an example where the PRO was basically a XT card with a failed XT core,wheather it failed because it couldnt get to the required clocks or was unstable at those speds who knows but some would have failed slightly and some by a lot so the ocing potential is differant for ever card.
With a factory oced card the card is gauranteed to be stable at the clocks it ships at so takes the guess work /risk out of it for those who want the best performance but are uneasy about ocing.
Mactronix
November 5, 2007 10:41:27 AM

Mac,

The guys at EVGA deny that they parse their chips between the Factory OC cards and the stock cards. They told me that the only difference would be that they test chips until they find one that will be stable at the factory OC and then use it, but it's not like they have a "good chip" bin and a "bad chip" bin for the same model number (i.e., 8800 GT), but who knows, maybe they are just saying that but it isn't true.

So, do you personally think that it's worth an extra $30 to get the EVGA 8800 GT CSS because of the factory OC to 700 core or no? I mean $30 is no big deal if I am getting value.

P.S., I sure as hell wish I knew what the G92 GTS Benchies will look like, when it is coming out and how much it will cost. Also want to find out if the ATI HD 3870 is the dog all the rumors say it is. I feel uncomfortable buying the 8800 GT until I know that. Why do they make it such a big secret when knowing that could make me wait to buy their's instead of the 8800 GT? How do they benefit from the secrecy?

Hell, if the 8800 GTS G92 is only $305 as has been rumored and I get a full 128 pipes and can beat an Ultra, I definitely want that one instead of the 8800 GT.
November 5, 2007 11:27:48 AM

Mitch,

You do realize you were supporting MACs claims?

EVGA said that not all Chips could support the Factory OC so they were regulated to use in Std Cards. As a result, EVGA just told you that not all of their Std Cards could achieve Factory OC speeds.

So, with the Factory OC, you are guarenteed a minimum OC level.
With Standard Cards you are not and there are definitely ones that will not meet that level.

If you really know that you wante and need that OC, then $30 may not be a big deal. If you are only hoping or feel the odds are on your side, then go for it.

However, if you read some of the reviews for the 8800GT, I saw successful OCs to 670 and 680 twice on the three reviews I read.
So clearly, expecting to reach 700 on a factory stock card is definitely no sure thing.

November 5, 2007 11:33:12 AM

mitchellvii said:
There seems to be some serious disagreement on this subject. My understanding has always been that factory overclocked cards are in no way physically superior to stock cards. They have just had their BIOS's flashed at the factory with a higher clock and guaranteed to be stable at that speed.

I have heard others say that the "best chips" are saved for the Factory OC versions . Speaking to EVGA directly, I've been told that isn't true but who knows, others here may know different.

So, what do you guys think? Does anyone have the definitive final word on this subject from inside sources?



NO ... NO .... NO ----- :sol:  Not better or more stable ... depends on the chip .... some more overclockable as it has always been . Remember the more overclocked the hotter and don't last as long ..... they are hoping most buy a new card before it burns itself up . Lord I remember when video cards lasted many years before self destructing and some never did ... have a few antique ones laying in a box somewhere ----- :pt1cable:  .... GOD all that money
November 5, 2007 11:38:58 AM

mitchellvii said:
Hey mac, do you know anyone that makes a good Thermo-electric "Air-cooled" VGA Cooler?


What's next .... a window air conditioner with a direct vent fastened and sealed directly to the air input of the case ???? LOL --- Believe it or not saw one such hookup ----- :lol:  The guy ran plastic dryer hose from the air conditioner right to the case ! Overkill ... yes .... did it work .... SURE DID !! And it only cost him 2 dollars .
November 5, 2007 12:09:44 PM

trooper et al,

I'm not arguing against Mac, and if it seemed I was, I apologize. Mac has probably forgotten more about all this stuff than I'll ever know.

Just passing on what EVGA told me.

Re: the air-conditioner thing, yep, I thought of that too :) 
November 5, 2007 12:23:46 PM

eVGA's cards all come in the same. eVGA then tests them and determines which are the highest quality i.e. most OCable. These cards then have their bios flashed and are given the SC or whatever bios which OC's the card.

The hardware is the same, but the quality of the hardware is a little better, making the cards more OCable than the standard cards they sell.
November 5, 2007 12:25:59 PM

"P.S., I sure as hell wish I knew what the G92 GTS Benchies will look like, when it is coming out and how much it will cost. Also want to find out if the ATI HD 3870 is the dog all the rumors say it is. I feel uncomfortable buying the 8800 GT until I know that. Why do they make it such a big secret when knowing that could make me wait to buy their's instead of the 8800 GT? How do they benefit from the secrecy?"

Those rumours all seem to stem from a performance graph/chart from none other than nVidia themselves!

...funny that eh.
November 5, 2007 12:36:12 PM

Well the explanation I saw was that the GT is so much faster than the the ATI card because GT's run their shaders at a 2.5 multiplier of some sort, but the ATI shaders are limited to the cards Core Clock speed. Something to do with how R670 works creates that limitation so it can't be fixed in this version.

Dunno, wish I did.

I am guessing that if the ATI card actually did smoke the GT in reality, ATI would be singing that from the rafters to steal the GT's thunder. They are stayin mum so I guess the ATI under-performance may be true.
a c 143 U Graphics card
November 5, 2007 12:37:40 PM

I'm guessing here that eVGA (and all others) get a bunch of cards, try to overclock them, then sell the ones that fail as non-overclocked. When you buy those and try to overclock them they will fail again. It makes sense and I can't blame them for doing it. It does stink though if you tried to save $30 and expected to do the overclocking yourself instead. They don't test all their cards like that, which means you can get a non-overclocked card that does overclock well, if you're lucky.


November 5, 2007 12:56:35 PM

"Well the explanation I saw was that the GT is so much faster than the the ATI card because GT's run their shaders at a 2.5 multiplier of some sort, but the ATI shaders are limited to the cards Core Clock speed. Something to do with how R670 works creates that limitation so it can't be fixed in this version.

Dunno, wish I did.

I am guessing that if the ATI card actually did smoke the GT in reality, ATI would be singing that from the rafters to steal the GT's thunder. They are stayin mum so I guess the ATI under-performance may be true."

That shader thing is a bit bogus, nVidia shaders have their own 'domain' on the chip and run at the clock speed they can handle which the rest of the chip could not (i.e. faster) on the other hand ATI cards have more shaders...

I dont think the ATI cards will waste the new nVidia ones, but they'll probably be at a similar level of performance and price. ATI's drivers are shaping up well, so the new cards -if theyre similar to/the same as the current ones- should debut quite strongly. Should find out in like 2 weeks or something.
November 5, 2007 1:08:09 PM

Spoon,

Yep, that's why I cancelled my 8800 GT order this AM. Just gonna wait and see before I commit.

I have two serious problems with this whole thing:

1. I care WAY to much about all this.
2. I'm actually concerned over whether I get 90 or 110 FPS in a game when my brain could never tell the difference.

Both of these concern me as I obviously have somehow contracted the geek virus. Lord help me, I don't want to become the WoW Dude from South Park! :) 
a c 130 U Graphics card
November 5, 2007 2:40:02 PM

mitchellvii said:
Mac,

The guys at EVGA deny that they parse their chips between the Factory OC cards and the stock cards. They told me that the only difference would be that they test chips until they find one that will be stable at the factory OC and then use it, but it's not like they have a "good chip" bin and a "bad chip" bin for the same model number (i.e., 8800 GT), but who knows, maybe they are just saying that but it isn't true.

So, do you personally think that it's worth an extra $30 to get the EVGA 8800 GT CSS because of the factory OC to 700 core or no? I mean $30 is no big deal if I am getting value.

P.S., I sure as hell wish I knew what the G92 GTS Benchies will look like, when it is coming out and how much it will cost. Also want to find out if the ATI HD 3870 is the dog all the rumors say it is. I feel uncomfortable buying the 8800 GT until I know that. Why do they make it such a big secret when knowing that could make me wait to buy their's instead of the 8800 GT? How do they benefit from the secrecy?

Hell, if the 8800 GTS G92 is only $305 as has been rumored and I get a full 128 pipes and can beat an Ultra, I definitely want that one instead of the 8800 GT.

You have to be a bit carefull when your dealing with the people who are trying to make a profit out of you.
My guess is they are telling you that they dont selectivly pick out the OC chips which they probably dont but they certainly do have a good bin bad bin thing going on,Thats traditionally how it worked the top card of the generation would be released and then all the chips they collected that didnt cut it at that spec became the pro/gto/gt models etc. Its all about maxamising the profit from each wafer of chips they make.
Definatly wait for the 3800 cards then you can make an educated decision as to what to get by comparing some reviews and benchies,if like the info Zenmaster has seen so far seems to sugest and people cant get to 700 ocing then its worth the extra $30, if you decide on a GT in the end.
The reason they keep the info secret is because they have non disclosure agreements regarding new cards,most of the time the odd rumor will leak out though.
No i didnt read your post as arguing with me were fine.
Mactronix
November 5, 2007 2:48:32 PM

mitchellvii said:
Spoon,

Yep, that's why I cancelled my 8800 GT order this AM. Just gonna wait and see before I commit.

I have two serious problems with this whole thing:

1. I care WAY to much about all this.
2. I'm actually concerned over whether I get 90 or 110 FPS in a game when my brain could never tell the difference.

Both of these concern me as I obviously have somehow contracted the geek virus. Lord help me, I don't want to become the WoW Dude from South Park! :) 

do you speak in 1337 to normal people? Its a bad sign, but unfortunatly blizzard weren't stupid enough in real life to make it so if you are a high enough level you can kill admins lol
November 5, 2007 2:54:31 PM

Actually, I am a devastatingly handsome, rich and successful businessman in real life :)  That is why I am worried that I have taken to caring about this.

And the cost? I couldn't care less about the cost except that it is sort of like a game to build the best system for the most reasonable cost. Anyone could go out and say "here's $10,000, build me the world's greatest PC", but where's the fun in that?

This is sort of a meaningless little distraction or hobby if you will, that has become more important to me than it should be - lol.
November 5, 2007 4:27:55 PM

Wow,

I just saw a website where they cranked their 8800 GT to 738 Core and got 3DMark06 scores of about 13,500. Now THAT's impressive if the card didn't catch fire.
November 5, 2007 4:55:42 PM

mitchellvii said:
2. I'm actually concerned over whether I get 90 or 110 FPS in a game when my brain could never tell the difference.


And your monitor (more than likely) cannot display it.
November 5, 2007 5:03:11 PM

Ok, let's assume that the hardware on an EVGA SSC 700 Core is "better" than a stock card (not for sure, but could be). How MUCH better will that hardware be than the worst stock card you could get stuck with?

Are we talking one OC's 2% better than the other or one OC's 25% better than the other? What's worst case scenario? What's most likely scenario?
November 5, 2007 5:04:42 PM

For sake of argument, I had a stock EVGA 8800 GTS 640 that I OC'd to 728 / 1040 stable as ur momma. I haven't seen many other of those cards get much higher than that.

BTW, the EVGA SSC's are out of stock again.
a c 176 U Graphics card
November 5, 2007 5:18:39 PM

Whoa, hold on here folks. I see some things being talked about here that don't make sense with what I know.

First, who makes these "cards"? I say cards because some people have said that the company tests the cards and see which ones are stable. They don't get cards from Nvidia, they get chips. I don't know if they test the chips prior to putting them into cards or only test after, but because they get their batch of 1000 chips all at once, they ARE identical. For example, eVGA submits their order for 1000 8800GT chips. thats what they get, 1000 8800GT chips. Not cards already assembled, and I doubt that they are speed graded. Its up to eVGA to put them into cards and test them for speed.

Once they are in a card they can then be tested to see how fast they run. eVGA didn't make the chip, and Nvidia didn't ship them a card. Because they just receive a batch of chips, I don't see how they would know which ones are the best chips. (unless they can place an order with Nvidia that says "800 normal GPUs, 200 overclockable ones.)
November 5, 2007 5:46:14 PM

Most card come off the same assembly line...just like Toyota Matrix and The Pontiac vibe.

Quality of the card should be the same but the cooling is superior. They might change something here or there to satisfy cooling but I doubt they tamper with the resistance and chip sets.

November 5, 2007 5:54:14 PM

Well, it's a quandary for sure. I think it works more like this:

EVGA makes 1000 cards. They want to sell 250 of these as SSC Models for $30 more than stock. They need these cards to be stable at 700 Mhz Core guaranteed. So they test all the cards and cherry-pick the first 250 that will hold the stable 700 clock.

Does that mean the other 750 are of lesser quality? No. Not necessarily. From the articles I've seen, these 8800 GT's hold 700 Mhz pretty easily and can go higher, so in reality, by getting the SSC you are mostly just paying $30 for a sticker and some bragging rights to your 12-year-old friends. My 8800 GTS 640 was stock and OC'd like a champ on 'roids.

I've decided to go ahead with the 8800 GT Stock and not wait for the the ATI 3870's to come out first. Why? Simple, I want to "step-up" to the G92 GTS w/ 128 shaders right after Christmas when the prices come down and we really know what that card can do.

That gives me 2 months of happy use of the 8800 GT and then a small incremental expense to get the GTS after Jan 1.

Do I care about 10.1? Lol, by the time they write games for that, MSFT will be on v11.0 and the 10.1 hardware will be incompatible. So no, I'm not worried.
November 5, 2007 5:58:53 PM

Yes but then you be at 10 and 11 will be out lol so you'll be missing out on 2 different type of DXs

I doubt 11 will come for a while though I think there migh be just minor updates.
But yes the GT is awesome Why would u get the GTS though? THe 8800 GTS has a higher nm and has lower Benchmarks...:S
November 5, 2007 6:00:52 PM

sorry miss read... I thought you ment the 8800 GTS lol k My bad
November 5, 2007 6:10:12 PM

Liquid,

Yeah, the as yet unreleased G92 GTS, not the G90 that they are trying to palm off on the unsuspecting.
November 5, 2007 6:28:11 PM

mitchellvii said:
Yeah I just spoke to EVGA again today and they confirmed that all hardware is IDENTICAL. All that is different for $30 extra is a factory OC.

Now one way of looking at it is that they had to find a GPU that would hold a 700 OC and thus, these are the most stable cards, but I don't think they have a "good chips", "bad chips" pile.

Best OC I've seen for the 8800 GT stable so far is 728 Core.


Another way to look at it is like an Intel X6800 Extreme is nothing more than an overclocked E6600 running a much lower volts. Intel finds a CPU capable of 2.93GHz that will run at a certain voltage. The ones that don't make the grade are binned for lower quality chips like my E6600 needing 1.45 volts to run at 2.93GHz. 1.45 volts wouldn't qualify as stock voltage on an X6800.
November 5, 2007 6:39:02 PM

Well if my stock EVGA 8800 GT won't go 700 stable, I'm sendin it back!

:) 
November 6, 2007 12:55:22 AM

mitchellvii said:
Well if my stock EVGA 8800 GT won't go 700 stable, I'm sendin it back!

:) 


Weather you get 650-700MHz will not matter that much, unless all your interested in is 3dmark06 scores.
November 17, 2007 1:25:30 PM

mitchellvii said:
Actually, I am a devastatingly handsome, rich and successful businessman in real life :)  That is why I am worried that I have taken to caring about this.

And the cost? I couldn't care less about the cost except that it is sort of like a game to build the best system for the most reasonable cost. Anyone could go out and say "here's $10,000, build me the world's greatest PC", but where's the fun in that?

This is sort of a meaningless little distraction or hobby if you will, that has become more important to me than it should be - lol.



Well ... I'm old and half ugly ... but do get alot of young women .... because I wear 15 lbs. of gold a diamond encrusted JOJO watch and designer chlothes ... and have a pony tail . :kaola:  .... Geez to be young and handsome by youth standards again ... retired CEO from 3 companies I owned .... so NO money is not an object here either. But I WON'T waste money on inferior computer hardware again ! I do care about myself and other folks wasting money from company hype and unresearched and unknowledgeable posts !
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