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Crossfire 3870s overheating

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Last response: in Graphics Cards
January 17, 2008 7:54:53 PM

Update: Idle they are 52-54 and when running Crysis with nearly all settings on high, with the GPU usage at nearly 100% the temp hit 89. Is this too high? Im hoping mounting the front 12cm fan and maybe drilling some air holes at the back of my desk to allow the rear exhausts to work better will help. Accodring to guru3d ( 90 degrees is what their cards ran at. Looks like setting the fan speed to 100% in riva did something! But will it keep them at 100% even when the program isnt running?

My twin 3870s currently run at around 50 degrees idle and when i was playing crysis earlier, the game just froze and the graphics cards cut out, after rebooting the system i went into CCC and saw the temp was nearly 60 after a reboot (giving the chips just over a minute to cool down).

Whilst my case has a 36cm fan on the side, a 12cm on the back and the 12cm (i think) on the PSU, its in a pretty bad place for airflow. Also, ive not yet found a way to screw in the front 12cm fan as the front of the case cannot be removed, i may just try hot melt glue or super glue!

Currently the case has wood on its right, wood at the back (about 2-3", giving room for the cables), wood on top, but no fan here as the case has no hole for 1, the front is clear but as i said before ive yet to find a way of mounting the fan, and on the left its very close to a radiator (rendering the 36cm fan almost useless im thinking!). When i say close i mean, the radiator ends just before the case starts, but its still very close (About 2")!

I also got that rivatuner program and set the fan at 100% speed, although i saw sod all temp change after i rebooted so im not entirely sure that worked.

Basically, im thinking that if i move the tower up on top of my desk, outside of the highly impracticle 'area' for it, it will be cooler and have better airflow, especially if i mount the front 12cm fan. But will doing this stop Crysis causing the graphics cards to approach meltdown?!

The case i use is,


More about : crossfire 3870s overheating

a c 131 U Graphics card
January 17, 2008 8:09:32 PM

Yes i would definatly get the tower up on top and as far away from te radiator as practically possable remember hot air rises so if its just above the radiator it will draw it in, you could try turning that side fan around so that it blow i guess but i would see what diff you get just moving the tower first it should be enough on its own.
a c 131 U Graphics card
January 17, 2008 8:11:39 PM

One other thing the cards have a dual slot cooler i think if so are they the sort that blow the air out of vents at the back of the case? and have you removed the blanking plates to let them do so ?
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January 17, 2008 8:48:56 PM

Update: Idle they are 52-54 and when running Crysis with nearly all settings on high, with the GPU usage at nearly 100% the temp hit 89. Is this too high? Im hoping mounting the front 12cm fan and maybe drilling some air holes at the back of my desk to allow the rear exhausts to work better will help. Accodring to guru3d ( 90 degrees is what their cards ran at. Looks like setting the fan speed to 100% in riva did something! But will it keep them at 100% even when the program isnt running?

I just tried moving it up and got little/no temp change, playing crysis still elevated them to 82 degrees (max logged), usually in the mid 70s.

It is back next to the radiator again as it was too impractical having it on top. Ill just have to play games when the heating is off! Also, the blanking plates are off the back but there is sod all space between the back of the tower and the back wood of the desk! I may get violent with a drill tomorrow and fill it with holes to vent the air.

Ill also mount the front fan to draw in air as the vent for it is right at the bottom of the tower face plate, so at floor level where the air is coolest, im hoping that will help.

Ive also set the graphics card fans to 100% speed in riva, so hopefully that will have some effect! Although i cant be certain.

At least being at ground level, most of the heat from the radiator goes up, the only heat that will get to the computer is that coming from the very end of it and the very bottom as most will just rise up.

Hopefully some holes in the wood at the back of the tower, a 12cm front fan and the 100% speed fans on the two graphics cards will help cool it, if crysis still causes them to overheat ill just have to lower the graphics :( 

Sadly i cant think of any other way! The secondary graphics card's fan and heat sink is about 1" from the side of the tower!

Also, what is normal temperatures for Crossfire 3870s? Currently mine idle at 49-52 and at load Crysis caused them to hit 89 when the GPU usage is nearly at 100%. Is this too high?
a c 131 U Graphics card
January 17, 2008 9:41:40 PM

Im not sure what the normal operating temprature is but i do know that an intake fan at floor level = dust = more heat.
January 17, 2008 10:11:04 PM

I have a similar problem even though my case and room are ice cold. D/l the lastest version of RivaTuner it now supports 3870's in crossfire with different fan speeds, but whack it to 61% it's still quiet and you can overclock them to 850/2500 without them ever hitting 85C :) .
January 18, 2008 2:35:09 AM

Hey man I had sorta the same problem but mine was when I oc them. I brought them up to 850 and 1350 and they would always die. Right now they are running at 42 and 51 with riva set to auto.
January 18, 2008 5:11:22 AM

I have Riva Tuner 2.06 and it detects both cards, as the temps for them correspond to the two temps in ccc.

They are currently at 49 and 52. Also, ive not noticed any difference in noise levels after raising them to 100% speed, and crysis still caused them to hit nearly 90 after only a few minutes.

It could be a problem with how i set it up in Riva, i have 2 options from the drop down box, Ati Radeon HD 3870 / Plug and Play Monitor and Ati Radeon HD 3870 / Default Monitor. For both i went into Low level system settings, changed the speed to Fixed and set it at 100%, i also enabled Apply fan settings at windows startup. Is that right?

I just nocited however that the one called Plug and Play reverted back to 25% and Auto when i rebooted, any way to stop this? Im guessing this is the secondary card as its hotter, which will be beacuse its closer to the side of the case than the primary.

Also, so you think maybe the intake fan as floor level is a bad idea? Its not exactly at floor level, about 2" above it!

Edit: Just found this, page 2, thread before last, If i turn the speeds back onto auto in RivaTuner and just close the program will that set them back to normal? I dont need to disable crossfire or anything?

January 18, 2008 9:16:02 AM

Regarding RivaTuner v2.06. This has worked for me so theoretically should work for you.

Setting the fan speed to auto for me dosen't work, but 63% is about when it gets audible. Set it at whatever fan speed you require.

The Fan Speed menu in 'Lower Level'. \/\/\/

Click the box under the 'auto descriptions' which says 'Apply fan settings on Windows startup'. Then click Save follwed by Apply.

Close the 'Lower Level' page and select 'Settings' on the top tab.

You should see a section for 'RivaTuner startup settins'. Tick the box saying 'Run at Windows startup' then 'via Startup folder' in the drop down menu to the side.

Once applied run something like 'rthdrible' gfx stress and leave 'HWMonitor' open, if the temps get a bit hot again increase the fanspeed slightly :) .

You need Crossfire enabled to get this to work properly. Since 7.12 most gfx stress testing actually uses both cards, huzzah so it makes for easier temp reading. Anything below 93C is ok for gfx cards.

Anywayz hope this helps, if not think about changing your room layout :p .
January 18, 2008 2:42:49 PM

Well that bios update i thought about is useless as i actually have a newer version! And im quite worried about temps because during about 5 mins of Crysis the primary card hit 99c, and returned to idle at 52c roughly. I wasnt able to check the secondary during crysis but its idleing at 77c!

I also heard that Riva Tuner was difficult with crossfire as it reset's the secondary cards fan speed every time you boot up.

Ill try it again and if its still really high ill have to move the tower, add a 12cm front intake fan and possibly drill several small holes on the base of the case just underneath where the secondary cards heat sink is as it only has about 1.5" of clearance. This will mean that the feet on the tower will raise it enough for the holes to allow some cooler air in.

January 18, 2008 2:53:21 PM

Ok, after setting both speeds at 100%, using the exact settings you said in your post, both cards are now idling at around 52-55c.

But the radiator thats near the computer is currently on and almost too hot to hold your hand on...i really do need to move it dont i?!

But, my big question is, will using RivaTuner to set the speed high (i heard its difficult with crossfire), moving the pc to a higher, more open space, installing a 12cm intake fan on the front and possibly adding some air holes just beneath the secondary card make it run cool enough for me to be able to play crysis for longer than 45 minutes and not cause the graphics card(s) to auto-shut down to avoid damage?!
January 18, 2008 4:18:34 PM

I had an issue similar to everyone else's (namely, my single 3870 runs too damn hot). What I've found is that the default card bios fan speed is set too low (you may have noticed that the fan hardly speeds up at all on the 3870, and even then only when around 90c). I found this posting here where some fellow found a new bios that fixes the fan speed issue. I flashed my HiS 3870 to the new bios (called "3870fanfix.bin") and now the fan dynamically speeds up and down according to the temperature. No more rivatuner fooling!

I highly recommend reading through that entire thread.
January 19, 2008 10:25:33 AM

I also found that thread and after reading it i got the Winflash program and the 10.071 bios image, but then i loaded up GPUz and saw that i alreay have a biod version 10.072, which is newer and so presumably has the fix already in.

I am going to move my tower up from its current enclosed space on top of my desk. Meaning the 36cm fan will be facing into my room, not a radiator, the rear panel wont be about 2" from a wall and hopefully this will allow far better air flow!

Edit: Turns out that whilst i have a newer bios, it still doesnt have the fan fix! Also, Riva appears to have no effect, im still hitting 92c with no heating on at all in my room (so the radiator isnt causing the problem). Ill try flashing it now.

Update: As my bios is newer i get some ID error when flashing from winflash, so i have emailed Burn as he has an iso image of the new bios image and the program needed to flash from DOS. When he sends me it ill do that. It seems like im getting the same symptoms as everyone else, 90c temps under load. Riva also has no effect at all as with it on or off (a reboot after turning it off to allow the fan speeds to reset) crysis still gives me 92-94c temps after a few minutes.
January 19, 2008 1:10:03 PM

Well, I hope it works for you, as I am almost certain that a bios flash to the fanfix one will cure your problem. Try it before you drill too many holes at least ;) 
January 19, 2008 1:43:10 PM

Haha, i certainly will. I also think i know why it Riva didnt work, it seems that people who use that have an 8.1 fix or something from ATI that means Riva can control the speed.

Fortunately he posted instructions on the forum thread and my brother knows his way around DOS so ill just get him to help me!

Thanks for your help, if it works ill ask Burn about posting a thread here with a link to his iso image if i host it. Then it might be stickied and will help all others who have 3870s which are set on melting themselves!
January 19, 2008 1:45:16 PM

Ok, I know you changed your fan speeds in Riva tuner to 100%. So, tell me, can you hear a extreme increase in noise from your PC?

If you set the fan speed properly, you should be fine. I just put a 3870 crossfire setup together, and when play crysis @ very high, or any setting for that matter, it would breach the 90's. Well, with the fans changed to about 50-60%, it stays MUCH cooler now. Last time I talked to my cousin (the person I built the system for), it was in the 70's under load with the fan speeds changed.
January 19, 2008 2:13:46 PM

Well i figured out that even though ide set them to 100%, even with the 36cm fan off, all i could hear was a humming from the CPU fan and the PSU fans (probably the graphics fan a bit too), the graphics fan probably hadnt increased at all because i didnt get the 8.1 hot fix. (

Thats why Riva had no effect! So ive emailed Burn (the guy who found the bios fix) to get the iso image of the boot disk he made so i can basically downgrade my bios to the version with the fan speed fix (10.072 to 10.071). People have reported drops of 20-25c with this and as mine hits nearly 100 when next to a radiator, ill be looking for around 65c with it under load when ive moved it to a cooler place (and added a 12cm front intake)! Also, i know that my current one doesnt have the fix as most people on the thread who had apparently newer bios' reported a decrease in temp after the downgrade.

Its definately the bios problem now, no doubt. Just ran Crysis for less than 5 minutes, and in that time the fps dropped from 40 to about 30, due to the increase in temp. I also monitored it in Riva and this is what i got.

No increase at all in fan usage at over 80c!
a b U Graphics card
October 25, 2010 9:03:53 PM

I was having problems with over heating on my hd 3870.... ran at 52 c at idle and spiked to 80 c at a load... The problem is actually an easy fix....

Take the fan off your card.... clean the white crap off....

Buy some artic silver heatsink compound

put that on your chip where the heat sink touches.....

after doing this i want from over heating after 3 mins.... to running 99.9% gpu usage and a max temp of 60 c

The compound from the factory is crap and that is the problem with the card temps.... that and the fan lol but that i set to run at 60% constant and you will never have a problem.... I really hope this helps some one... as it is an easy fix..