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5870 overclocking guide

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August 10, 2010 5:46:22 PM

Ok hello!
Ok for some time now i have my 5870 at stock speed 850/1200.
So now i think its time to fire it up a little. But for now i have only OCed my older 5750 and for that card it was all simple. But now for the 5870 its a little different right? I need to increase voltages, flash BIOS and things like that. Which my self did not do anything before. So i would ask you guys for a little help to guide me through the overclocking. What programs are you using for stability tests? I used furmark for some time but i dont use it now because it cant be bad for 5870 series like i heard... I also cant increase voltages in MSIAfterburner. And for BIOS flashing... I dont have any idea how to do that. So pls help me a little =)
a c 125 U Graphics card
a c 100 K Overclocking
August 10, 2010 6:17:35 PM

If you know you did the right steps to allow voltage adjusting in Afterbuner (essentially checking the box in Settings) but it doesn't allow it, then chances are that you have a model which simply does not support voltage adjustment. That's ok tho, because I found on my 5850 that while I can add voltage and bring the core clock up, it adds so much heat that I lose out on other possibilities...

IMO, first go download GPUZ. This is great because it allows you to monitor all the GPU and VDDC (sp?) sensors. From what I've found/experienced, GPU1 is the core itself, but the other two GPU sensors I believe to be VRAM, while the VDDC sensors are for the different voltage regulating parts of you chip. It might be slightly different since you have a non reference model but that's the gist of it.

I found that if any temps went over 120C it would get unstable and/or crash. MSI Afterburner tends to show the GPU 1 temp, which can be as much as 20C or more cooler than your VRM (VDDC sensors).

So, use GPUZ to check temps. Then it's basically exactly the same as OCing a 5750. IMO start bumping your memory clock up by 25mhz and testing for 2 mins. If it starts to stutter, back off by 50mhz for now. Test with FurMark, 4x or 8x AA. Then OC the core the same way, 25mhz at a time and test for a couple mins. Again, if it stutters a lot or artifacts then you're as high as possible. Also, keep an eye on temps as none of them should be over 100C, 110C max.

If you can get FurMark stable for 5 mins with good temps (crank that fan) then it's great to test in games... just make sure you save a lot.

Last night I discovered I could OC my RAM more with my new heatsinks on my 5850s. I had the core at 875mhz which was fine and the memory at 1200. I got it up to 1250 ok in FurMark so I played some STALKER and it froze up after about 15 minutes. Dropped to 1240 and I was able to play for a while... more testing to do.

Anyway, once you find a happy OC, you have a couple options. OCing will generally make the idle clocks go higher which means more power and heat. There's only 2 ways to really fix this. One is to make a stock profile and an OC profile, and just load the OC profile when gaming. The other option is to BIOS flash. IMO the best way to do that is to get RBE (radeon bios editor) and ATIWinFlash (or ATIFlash) from techpowerup.com. You can copy your card BIOS with GPUZ, and then open that in RBE. Edit the clocks, save it, and flash your cards with ATIFlash. Win Flash can have some issues, regular ATIFlash is safest but you need to jump some hoops to use it. I've used win flash many times on my cards without any big issues. Had to reflash a couple times but no "card bricking". There's tuturials on these programs where you download them. Definitely good to read if you're going to flash your card.
August 10, 2010 6:27:23 PM

Well yes, first i think ill try to OC just to max in ccc so 900/1300.
I really dont understand all the things about flashing. This is like the only thing that i dont know about computers, i really dont like things that you have to be in DOS xD
Related resources
a c 125 U Graphics card
a c 100 K Overclocking
August 10, 2010 7:20:00 PM

Well it's pretty easy to max CCC settings. IMO, do it in Afterburner tho just because you can easily set and switch profiles (like I said, a stock one and an OC one for gaming).

I wouldn't worry about flashing too much... took me a while to decide to do it, and while I do like the results, it can be a pain in the butt at times.
August 10, 2010 7:33:31 PM

But can anything go wrong? Can i f**k up my system or anything? And how does this works like? I just run some program so it does the stuff or is there anywhere any guide to do it in DOS programs like i saw one time in one topic on the internet. Is there any step by step guide for doing this? Also for the voltages becouse like you said... my graphic card dont have support for the voltages in MSI
a c 125 U Graphics card
a c 100 K Overclocking
August 10, 2010 8:32:11 PM

When OCing graphics cards, the absolute worst thing that can happen is a freeze or crash. Resetting the computer will resolve this, just make sure you don't have the OC settings it crashed on set to "appy on startup".

I don't know what you mean by "how does this work like?"... how does what work? I just explained OCing with a fair bit of detail in my first post. Do you mean BIOS flashing? Again, if you go to the website with the programs I listed, they have tutorials. Read them to learn. BIOS flashing has a chance of "bricking" your card tho, which makes it unusable until you can reflash it... but then you need a back up graphics card in order to boot up and be able to reflash it. Like I said, don't worry about BIOS flashing right now. First, experiment with OCing. See what you can do, learn how it works... monitor temps...
August 10, 2010 8:46:50 PM

Ok thanks =) Ill see where i will be able to go in ccc and then ill post what is new here :D 
August 12, 2010 9:57:04 PM

wolfram23 said:
If you know you did the right steps to allow voltage adjusting in Afterbuner (essentially checking the box in Settings) but it doesn't allow it, then chances are that you have a model which simply does not support voltage adjustment. That's ok tho, because I found on my 5850 that while I can add voltage and bring the core clock up, it adds so much heat that I lose out on other possibilities...

IMO, first go download GPUZ. This is great because it allows you to monitor all the GPU and VDDC (sp?) sensors. From what I've found/experienced, GPU1 is the core itself, but the other two GPU sensors I believe to be VRAM, while the VDDC sensors are for the different voltage regulating parts of you chip. It might be slightly different since you have a non reference model but that's the gist of it.

I found that if any temps went over 120C it would get unstable and/or crash. MSI Afterburner tends to show the GPU 1 temp, which can be as much as 20C or more cooler than your VRM (VDDC sensors).

So, use GPUZ to check temps. Then it's basically exactly the same as OCing a 5750. IMO start bumping your memory clock up by 25mhz and testing for 2 mins. If it starts to stutter, back off by 50mhz for now. Test with FurMark, 4x or 8x AA. Then OC the core the same way, 25mhz at a time and test for a couple mins. Again, if it stutters a lot or artifacts then you're as high as possible. Also, keep an eye on temps as none of them should be over 100C, 110C max.

If you can get FurMark stable for 5 mins with good temps (crank that fan) then it's great to test in games... just make sure you save a lot.

Last night I discovered I could OC my RAM more with my new heatsinks on my 5850s. I had the core at 875mhz which was fine and the memory at 1200. I got it up to 1250 ok in FurMark so I played some STALKER and it froze up after about 15 minutes. Dropped to 1240 and I was able to play for a while... more testing to do.

Anyway, once you find a happy OC, you have a couple options. OCing will generally make the idle clocks go higher which means more power and heat. There's only 2 ways to really fix this. One is to make a stock profile and an OC profile, and just load the OC profile when gaming. The other option is to BIOS flash. IMO the best way to do that is to get RBE (radeon bios editor) and ATIWinFlash (or ATIFlash) from techpowerup.com. You can copy your card BIOS with GPUZ, and then open that in RBE. Edit the clocks, save it, and flash your cards with ATIFlash. Win Flash can have some issues, regular ATIFlash is safest but you need to jump some hoops to use it. I've used win flash many times on my cards without any big issues. Had to reflash a couple times but no "card bricking". There's tuturials on these programs where you download them. Definitely good to read if you're going to flash your card.


Ok so this is what i got with 900/1300 no voltages changed.
I used MSIKombuster for stress and it was stable for 7min with the final clock and memory with the maximum of 76°C. But in Kombuster the FPS went up for only like 3. Is this normal or did i do a bad overclock :S
a c 125 U Graphics card
a c 100 K Overclocking
August 12, 2010 10:14:55 PM

Kombuster/FurMark are both only single threaded so you get a lot of CPU bottlenecking potential. Did you run it full screen at your monitor's native resolution? And test both with AA and without against your stock. You should see more than a 3fps boost with AA, but without AA you only bumped the core speed 50mhz so you might not see as much of a difference.
August 13, 2010 11:07:30 AM

OK dont know what can be wrong with Furmark buy i just cant set the AA... ok but i did benchmarks with Furmark 1.8.2 and got pretty good result (for me dunu if they are wrong)
http://www.ozone3d.net/benchmarks/furmark_score_180.php...
This is at 900/1300 and by looking to other users that got less OC and got also like 200 points less from my score. Does this sound good to you? I didnt tried it in gaming also :p 
a c 125 U Graphics card
a c 100 K Overclocking
August 13, 2010 3:52:40 PM

Yeah, but you might be CPU limited there not sure. Increase the resolution to make sure the GPU is being fully demanded. Still a pretty good score.

As for the AA in FurMark, I don't know why that has been removed... it's wierd, I used it one day then next time I go to run FurMark I can't set AA. However, I can set it in CCC. I'm wondering if the 10.7 drivers are causing a FurMark issue.
August 13, 2010 4:16:54 PM

Hmm what do you mean by CPU being limited? Well for the resolution... This is the highest xD im running an only 22inch monitor so this is it :p  But yes im going to buy soon an 27inch one :p  Can i test the GPU in any other benchmarking program? In 3dmark vantage i only got 1 try for the trial version and i used it like 1 week ago -.- and 3dmark 06 is shitty for me... the score for gpu and cpu are so wrong so i guess its the 3dmarks problem not the hardware
a c 125 U Graphics card
a c 100 K Overclocking
August 13, 2010 4:28:45 PM

Ah I see. By CPU limited, it's just that I ran FurMark at that same resolution with a single 5850 and then crossfire 5850s and the FPS only went up by about 5. Then I set it to 1920x1080 and the FPS became 90% better. The reason it can be CPU bound is that it only uses 1 core.

There's game benching software. RE5 (has CPU limitations), AvP, Dirt 2, Crysis, FFXIV, STALKER. Sometimes you need to own the game to run it, tho.
August 13, 2010 4:39:51 PM

Ah yeah i see. Well it would be really ql to do bench in crysis but i cant get the game running because of my x64 bit windows.
Ok so what do you suggest now for even better performance of my PC.
flash the BOIS of the gpu and go even higher with the clock, or maybe OCing my
Phenom II x4 965BE CPU?

Also do you maybe know if this is normal, in metro2033 i play on very high with DX11 but all the DX options are off, also with AAA instead of MAAA4 (or what is it) and i got pretty good fps in some areas like 70+ but in some parts it really drops to like 25+. I know its not very low but i just cant play with my FPS lower than 35 xD
In crysis warhead i get like around 35-40. I know metro2033 is really based on graphics...
a c 125 U Graphics card
a c 100 K Overclocking
August 13, 2010 4:47:43 PM

Why can't you run Crysis? I'm also in 64bit there's no problem... (32bit game)

Metro 2033 is very demanding. Not sure what you mean about the DX11 options being off... you turned them off? They both lower performance quite a bit if on and it' hard to tell what the difference is. As far as AAA vs 4xMSAA, the 4x does help reduce aliasing but it also makes all the textures a little blurry. Personally I play with AAA, Very High, DX11 with DoF and Tesslation on but that's with crossfire 5850s. FPS is generally around 50, some areas with crazy lighting it drops down to 30ish.
August 13, 2010 5:25:32 PM

well for crysis dunu... It always says that crysis has stopped working. With 32 or 64 bit game and with 64 bit Win7 crack... It turns on but then black screen and you have to ctrl-alt-delete and you have this error there...

So for metro you think its good for me running this was? and what do you think about OCing GPU more and CPU (stock right now)?
a c 125 U Graphics card
a c 100 K Overclocking
August 13, 2010 5:32:29 PM

Well when you say Win7 crack... either you mean windows or the game is a cracked copy so you can expect errors like that. Can't complaing if it's not legit.

And yeah the Metro FPS sounds about right.

I say OC to the max lol but... it's not always a good thing... It's something you'll have to decide on.
August 13, 2010 7:04:24 PM

Yeh your right. Well first i think im going to buy scythe mugen 2 for the CPU and also im going to read about those programs for flashing bioses you gave me the links, so then i maybe OC a little more :p 
And thank you a lot for all the help you gave me and everything! :D 
August 16, 2010 4:15:59 PM

I found that its easy to OC my 5870 and i wonder if any 5870 won't reach to 900/1300
But the gains are almost non and another thing is that many don't know that these new ati models are masters in repairing vpu errors.
These cards won't crash easily if the memory gives errors it simple redo the calculation/retry it, which slows down your performance.
When you run furmark you can see what happens, after i went over 1340 mhz i saw my framerates drop instead of going up. So the vpu recover kicks in which makes it slow down..
I turned it down to 1300 and the framerates went up again
So it runs nice at 900/1300 with 86/96/85 C temps under 100% load
August 16, 2010 10:18:47 PM

Yes nice. But today i noticed some thing. If i play metro2033 or crysis warhead it runs really smooth with no laggs and everything on 900/1300. But when i play CoD 4 (modern warfare 1) i got little gray screens every 5-10 mins for few secs. Also little lagging every few sec. But when i change to 850/1200 its OK! So could it depend on the game also?
a c 125 U Graphics card
a c 100 K Overclocking
August 16, 2010 10:35:09 PM

Yeah some games will behave differently. GSODs are often a result of VRAM issues. It could be that they are getting too hot in CoD 4 or something along those lines. Try lowering to 1290 or 1280 for that game.
!