ATI 3850 AGP, strange idle temperature gap, need help pls

I have an unusual problem with my HIS Radeon 3850 AGP card in my secondary system I was hoping I can get some help with.

The problem is that when I turn the system on, from a warm or cold boot, doesn't matter, GPU monitors such as ATI Tray Tools either shows its GPU temperature at 47-48 C stable _OR_ 63-64 C stable after just 5-10 minutes. When I say stable I mean the temperature is virtually fixed there while during regular computer use (browsing, Word, playing media, etc or at idle -- nothing graphically intensive like gaming).

I would estimate that maybe 60-70% of the time the temperature climbs up to 63-64 C and stays there upon boot. The duration that the system is on does not seem to be a factor as I have left the system fully on for a minimum 48 hours at each temperature and it does not climb or drop (unless I play around with the fan speed via Riva Tuner). Also, my room temp is pretty much constant at 22-24 C but that doesn't seem to affect it either.

My Riva Tuner settings are set to have the fan at 80% when between 55-64 C, 70% between 45-54 C. Riva Tuner seems to be working as it's programmed so I don't think it's that. I can audibly monitor when it changes speeds.

Of course, my concern is when the GPU is shown at ~63 C at idle, as that would diminish its life. But why does it _either_ stabilizes at one or the other and they're a whopping 15-16 degrees apart?? I'm at a lost to explain it. What other factors have I not considered or things can I try?

I'm not sure how relevant the system specs are but this system is a Dell 8300:
P4 3.0GHz
Intel 875p motherboard
HIS Radeon AGP 512MB
120mm case fan at back, nothing blocking any vents, etc.

Thanks a lot for any help to resolve this matter.

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  1. Hi,
    room temp does affect the card, but i guess it none of your concern with your problem.
    i would check the air flow in your case.
    maybe even try to leave the case open and check the temps again.

    if that is no help - depends on your warrenty, take the card apart (only if u know what u r doing) and check if the cooler is sitting correctly on the card - maybe there is to little pressure from the cooler agianst the GPU. u could also change the cooler to a more efficint one AND less noisy.

    i have a sapphire radeon 3850 agp with 521 MB.
    my ccc is telling that my idle temp is 45C (with the 8.8 drivers)
    my case is custom made by myself and should not have ANY airflow issus.
    funny thing: when i play quakelive my agp card simply stops working and gives me a black display after 15 to 20 min gameplay. i hear that the game is still running but i cant see a darn thing.
    playing left 4 dead for over an hour doesnt seem to matter. no idea whats going on...
    now i have made an own airtake-out duct for the card. i will be monitoring this. i seem to have a different issue but nevertheless - i want to rant too! ;)
    hope i could help... somehow.

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