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HD 3870 and VF-900 cu aftermaket cooler

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
January 10, 2008 12:59:26 AM

I just got my Gigabyte HD3870 and went ahead and install to my computer. My 7800GTX is now retired and I will be selling it on Ebay. Ebay upon getting the HD3870, I tested it on my pc and works really well on my games and the perfomance is significantly better. At 1280x1024 resolution I was able to crank the COD4 game settings to the max and frames rates are over 50fps. I have the V-Sync on for 60hz monitor. Also using the Vista 32-bit, 840 @ 4Ghz, 2 Gb DDR2 533 @ 400Mhz.

I have the Kandalf case and it's equiped with a 250mm side fan. It's cool enough, and the stock cooling HD3870 idles at 34c and full load of 70c. I went ahead and install my old Zalman VF-900 cu from the 7800GTXs to the HD3870. I didn't have to remove the HD3870 ram heatsink and the other heatsink next to it. I just remove the stock GPU cooler and is now replaced with the VF-900cu. The results are from playing the COD4 at the settings above as I mentioned, I get 32c idle and 45c full load. Yes! 45c full load on CoD4, 1280x1024 high settings.

Alsow the VF-900 is at medium speed and i can control the rpm with it's controller.


P.S. I don't know how to insert the images I took of the card and the VF-900. Please let me know how to do this and I'll be happy to post the pics and results.
January 10, 2008 2:20:32 AM

Use photobucket or imageshack to upload pics. What were the temps with the stock cooler?
January 10, 2008 3:19:13 AM


With the HD3870's stock cooler running Vista 32-bit on CoD4, it registers 34c idle and 65c full load. I'm happy I'm able to reuse the Zalman VF-900 Cu from my 7800GTX SLi.
January 10, 2008 3:26:24 AM

Test configuration:

72f room temp
Thermaltake Kandalf full tower w/ 250mm fan
Vista 32-bit
Pentium D 840 4Ghz
4x512Mb DDR2 400

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
1280x1024 2xAA, 8xAF, high settings

HD3870 with stock cooler: Idle 34c , full load 65c-70c.

HD3870 with Zalman VF-900cu: Idle 32c , full load 40c-45c.

I haven't done any overclocking of the HD3870, since all my games runs smooth and high quality settings.
January 10, 2008 3:51:07 AM

You are really making me want to buy one of those :) 
January 10, 2008 4:03:39 AM

Photos: Gigabyte HD3870 and Zalman VF-900cu.
Artic Silver cleaning kit and Artic Silver 5 thermal paste

Result (stock) : Idle 32c , Full load 40c-45c

Disclaimer: Modify your graphics card at your own risk.
January 10, 2008 4:08:25 AM

You put a lot of AS5 on. Wonder what affects it had on CPU temp etc given the fact that the air isn't all channeled out the back.
January 10, 2008 4:11:56 AM

Oh, that picture is before I thinned and level out the paste. It's a little bit thicker than what I put of the cpu since the VF-900cu is held place and pressure with springs. So I don't want to squeeze out the paste that much. I guess I did alright since my temps are good.
January 10, 2008 4:13:37 AM

The 250mm side fan supplies plenty of cool air for the graphics card. I might include this on the water cooling loop but for now it's runs fine and cool on stock settings.
January 10, 2008 4:47:46 AM

Good luck. I might pick up when when the 9800GX2 comes out, I'm hoping for a minor price drop due to increased competition.
January 10, 2008 6:00:29 AM

The 9800GX2 is not much powerful compare to the 8800GT SLi. So the question is how much will it cost? I sure does hope that this won't be a collectible type and costs a fortune.

As for me all I need now is the quad core cpu.
January 10, 2008 6:34:48 AM

SLI and CF don't interest me, even on a single card. Too expensive. My price maximum is $350 AU and that is enough for a single 8800GT at the most.
January 10, 2008 6:42:17 AM

I'll bet you don't have much problem running most stuff wiff an oc like you have, now that is power. Its nice to see how an 800 can still do well with a good oc
January 10, 2008 6:51:18 AM

Hey gomer, long time no see! I didn't even realise the overclock there, 4GHz, wow, must use a ton of power :lol: 
January 10, 2008 6:57:00 AM

doing fine oldbuddy I miss you guys alot
January 10, 2008 8:17:08 AM

Yes, yes. The old Pentium D 840 I'm still using. Set at 1.55vcore for 4Ghz oc on DDR2 400Mhz. It can still pull some strings and able to get some good frame rates, thanks to the HD3870 it's going to serve me yet several more months. But I'm interested in the Q6600, but I don't really have a use for it except gaming.

I'll wait for the new Intel chips to come out, and hopefully the Q6600 will drop down or the Phenom in that case. Well, I might go for the Phenom if they have a stable and cheap motherboard for it. Might as well, I already have the ATI gpu.

It's always been my case, I go AMD and then Intel and Nvidia and ATI and vice versa. Yeah, everyone will agree that Phenom is not as good as the Q6600, but gaming wise the a $200 cpu will be just as good as the $275 (Q6600). Then I can finally buy that game, Crysis, it demolished my 7800GTX SLi to the ground. I heard the HD3870 is capable of rendering that game at med-high settings.

I've been playing CoD4 since I got this gpu this yesterday. I'm very impressed of the quality and performance is this card.

As for the two 7800GTX 256Mb cards, I will ebay it though I might be able to sell it for $80 and include an Artic Cooling aftermarket cooler. I just want to get rid of the old cards now, they have served me well.

January 10, 2008 8:19:03 AM

How about the 8800GTS 512Mb? It's in your budget. This card kicks arse, giving the 8800GTX a run for it's money. :bounce: 
January 10, 2008 9:30:04 PM

Na man, the GTS is way beyond my budget by like $80 or more. I'm talking $AU here. The cheapest GTS I can find is $400.
January 10, 2008 9:53:40 PM

Well. Then 8800GT it is. I read the reviews, that card can go upwards of 90c at full load. Might want to invest in after market cooling.
January 10, 2008 11:01:19 PM

Which will mean I might as well buy the 8800GTS :/ 

EDIT: I think that was only before the BIOS update that fixed the fan speed issue where it would always sit at 29%.
January 11, 2008 12:42:37 AM

That would be awesome.
January 12, 2008 2:18:48 AM

Vista 32-bit
Pentium D 840 3.2Ghz (stock)
4x1Gb DDR2 533 Mhz (stock)
HD3870 777mhz core/1126mhz memory (stock)
72f room temp. : 32c idle, 45c full load

6675 3DMark06 points. 1280x1024 default.

..still the software reads the core and memory speeds wrong. Its says here.

ATI Radeon HD 3870
391 MHz / 564 MHz


January 12, 2008 4:02:46 AM

Might be throttling while idle, I assume they haven't dumped that idea yet.
January 12, 2008 4:08:01 AM

Oh. So those numbers are from the idling. I get it. But with my 7800GTX SLi it says my core is over 2Ghz. lol.

Anyways, now I'm really tempted to get a quad core.
January 12, 2008 6:20:01 AM

Well I assume they are idle, since they are exactly half of the full speed.
January 13, 2008 4:22:26 PM

Anyways I got Crysis running. System with Pentium D 840 Ghz, 4Gb DDR2 400, and HD3870. The game is at 1280x1024 high settings and it's smooth. I'm very impressed with the new card. I need a dual core now.
January 13, 2008 9:23:10 PM

Are you running the DX10 or DX9 path on high?
January 13, 2008 11:41:41 PM

Med-High settings.

Vista 32-bit, DX10
Effects, shadow and motion blur on med.
Everything else on high.

I give this game 9.7/10.

January 14, 2008 12:10:44 AM

Try running DX9 and see how it affects your framerate. Create a shortcut to the exe and in the target box leave a space and type -DX9. That will force the DX9 render path, which shouldn't look significantly different unless on very high. Water seems to be most affected.
January 14, 2008 12:44:25 AM

I think I would be happy if I just had one 3870 ... but I bought it in CF and my second card is virtually useless. but I'm very tempted by your results here. Its just that I have to buy two coolers if i'm going to do this... sigh... CF
January 14, 2008 12:59:49 AM

Well on DX10, I'll give Crysis 8.5.

Bad thing:

Sound glitch with X-Fi and other glitches. In the "flight deck" fighting with the aliens, I keep falling through down the flight deck as If the character is a ghost.
January 14, 2008 1:33:04 AM

I got it running on DX9 and the frame rates are improved. The picture quality to me in not that different.
January 16, 2008 10:01:43 AM

Well I've max out the speed to 885mhz no problem but I could never pass 1300mhz for the memory. This is on the original bios. Anyone can give me the link about that flash bios for this HD3870? At 885mhz temps is at 55c full gaming and also some minor artifacts showing on Crysis but not an overheating problem. Maybe it just needs more voltage to run stable at 885mhz.
January 22, 2008 11:32:50 AM

Correction: How much improvement will I see if I switch to quad core?