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2 4870's. One normal temps, one running hot.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 18, 2010 8:52:01 PM

Hello all,


So a while back when I built my system (about a year and a half ago), I only had a single 4870. After about six months, I decided to upgrade. So I bought another 4870 off of newegg, this was an open box item though, so I was somewhat skeptical about how it would preform.

Since I've had it, it runs perfectly fine.......except it runs about 10-20c higher than my first card (it has always been this way). Mind you they are both exactly the same. Same model, same cooler, same everything, except one is open box and one was retail.

My first 4870 idles at about 37-40c, and the second card idles at about 50-56c. The only real concern I have is the fact that when I play Red Faction: Guerrilla, the temps on the card are pretty hot. On average under the huge load the game puts on the card, it runs at about 90c, but I did have a reading on the memory of 101c last night. That is far too hot for my tastes. So what could be the issue here? The first thing I'm going to try is replacing the thermal compound on the card. I know that what they put on the card from the manufacturer is pretty low grade stuff, so that should bring the temps down, I'm assuming, 3-5c. But why is this card running so damn hot?

I have tried changing the cards positions in my PCI slots. It doesn't matter if it is on the bottom or the top, it still runs excessively hot. So what could be the deal other than the thermal compound? Also, how bad is it for the card really to hit peaks of +100c? I know that the card can get that hot, but staying at 90c for several hours has to be damaging in some way.
March 18, 2010 9:02:55 PM

The Thermal compound could be the whole issue actually- The thermal compound they put in there is not great, and it tends to dry out and not work well. So- first thing to try is to replace it with a good compound (AS5 or similar) and see if it works- as an Open Box item, it could be an older card thats had more time to dry out, or had something else that caused the thermal compound to not react particularly well. Give that a try and let us know what happens.
March 18, 2010 9:05:04 PM

anything upto 120c is fine for GPUs, they run hotter than CPUs anyway.

if you are concerned, manually up the fan speed. or if you are REALLY concerned, get some aftermarket coolers.
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March 18, 2010 9:16:11 PM

Heh... I would be REALLY uncomfortable if my GPU was getting over 100C. I'd be looking to get it better airflow if it was getting over 80C. 120C is WAY too hot. I would replace the thermal compound to try and reduce temps. It may run still at 120C, but it is NOT good for it and will degrade it over time, and I'll say the same about 100C.
March 18, 2010 9:17:45 PM

I have the fan on the card manually set at 80% steady, kinda sounds like somebody is blowdrying their hair, but I'm used to it after a year (it really isn't all that loud actually).

I'll try replacing the thermal compound later tonight. First off, how hard is it to replace? Any tips on how much compound I should use? Also, is MX-2 alright? I use it for my CPU and it works great.
March 18, 2010 9:19:51 PM

flyinfinni said:
Heh... I would be REALLY uncomfortable if my GPU was getting over 100C. I'd be looking to get it better airflow if it was getting over 80C. 120C is WAY too hot. I would replace the thermal compound to try and reduce temps. It may run still at 120C, but it is NOT good for it and will degrade it over time, and I'll say the same about 100C.

Airflow isn't really the problem. I use a Coolermaster HAF 932, huge case, with a huge 230mm fan right in front of it. Like I said, one card idles at 38-40c, and this one idles around 50c. No matter what slot I put it in, it is the same.

I'll replace the thermal compound as soon as I have a chance.
March 18, 2010 9:26:37 PM

the 4870 is a ridiculously hot card, and red faction G is one of the most demanding games for a GPU, that always makes them run crazy hot (my friend actually down clocks his 4870 when we play)

im not saying those temps are ideal, but they are within normal limits. you can replace the thermal compound, but at best you will lose a few degrees.

March 18, 2010 9:38:38 PM

I understand airflow isn't your issue, I was talking more about a hypothetical situation for me. As for the Thermal compound, it should be good- way better than whats on there now. to replace it shouldn't be too big of a deal- just be careful and make sure you're keeping yourself grounded and not building static as you can blow it pretty easily, but thats the same for any time you're working with hardware. Make sure you've removed all the screws and restraints and then be careful pulling the sink off. You should be ok. Treat it like a CPU- apply compound the same way and you should be good.

Wleshmousepk- it could make a pretty significant difference (much more than a couple of degrees) if the compound in there right now is dried up and not transferring heat well. Also- I ran a 4870 for a while as well, and yeah its a hot card, but its not a 100C card. I never saw temps over 80C and I overclocked the CRAP out of that card (was running at 850 core and 975 memory), and I even ran furmark burn-in tests without going over 80C. I DEFINITELY would not call 90-100C temps within normal limits EVER.
March 18, 2010 9:42:18 PM

Yeah, I overclocked my first card before and the thing never broke 80c when I did burn tests with it. I'll be gone for an hour or so and when I get back I'll try and replace the thermal compound, I have my Arctic Clean and MX-2 all ready to go.
March 18, 2010 9:48:00 PM

good luck and let us know how it turns out.
March 19, 2010 4:12:17 PM

Alright, before I actually do this tonight, I would like to know a few things. First off, everything on my card is smoking hot. The MEM, GPU, and all other temps. When I take the heatsink off, what will need cleaning/thermal paste applied?

This is the type of card I have:
http://www.pc-store.cl/store/components/com_virtuemart/...

Tried finding a newegg link but it looks like they stopped production of most of their 4870's.

Looking at some pictures, it looks like the memory chips are only cooled by some thermal stickypads, what should be done with those? Just would like some pointers before I rip apart a card tonight =D
March 19, 2010 4:47:16 PM

I will give you my insight on this because I've been there. I had a 4870 Asus dark knight card and bought a 2nd one to crossfire. My bottom card stayed the normal temps as it did before as single card, however in game my top card would top out around 100-102C and then crash with a driver error. The 4870 is a HOT card. I tried reapplying paste and that did nothing. The factory stuff was actually really good and applied perfectly. In order to make it work you need air flow, ALOT of airflow, specifically between the two cards which is where the issue is. The heat from the bottom card is raising to the top card and because the fan on the cooler is sucking the hot air in, it is not getting cool air like the bottom card. You basically need a case that has one or several side fans to move the air between the cards. I took the side off my case and used a regular house fan to point between and it brought the temps down significantly. This wasn't a fix just a test. I ended up selling both cards on ebay, taking a small hit on the price and buying a 5870. I never looked back. Plus when the 2 cards did work the top card would run the fan at 100% and was SOOOOO loud I couldn't take it.

Just my experience. I battle with this for a week before calling it quits. I actually burned my fingers pretty bad because I grabbed the top card right after hitting 102C.
March 19, 2010 4:57:55 PM

Jay2tall- the OP already said he's swapped which was on top and which was on the bottom, the same one always runs hotter, so its not just an airflow problem like yours was. Its also not a Dark Knight, which is (supposedly) a high quality cooler, so most likely got better paste than a reference one (which the sapphire that the OP has I think IS a reference one). In this case, I'm guessing thermal paste MAY help as card location in his PC does NOT make a difference. To me sounds like YOUR problem was you didn't have enough airflow, so the top card got cooked by having a hot card under it, and the heat from the CPU above, without adequately getting cool air through.
March 19, 2010 6:40:09 PM

^
Woops. Wow I really should read the whole thing at one and not try to do 2 other things at the same time. TOTALLY READ that post wrong.

Yeah, Thermal paste, like you said. haha. If it was an open box someone could have returned it because they didn't want it and even tried to replace this already and failed. You never know.
March 20, 2010 2:40:19 AM

Well, just got done with my card. Opened it up and noticed that the thermal paste was pretty thick on it, and some was dry. Replaced it with a good even coating of MX-2. Slapped it all back together, turned it on, and turned on GPU. At idle I'm noticing about a 3c drop in the GPU temp.

Here are my temps at idle for both cards, and all available temp readings:

GPU #1 (trouble card)

GPU Temp: 51.0c
GPU Temp: (DISPIO) 51.5c
GPU Temp: (MEMIO.) 57.5c
GPU Temp: (SHDCORE) 51.0c

GPU #2 (Normal card)

GPU Temp: 39.0c
GPU Temp: (DISPIO) 39.0c
GPU Temp: (MEMIO) 48.5c
GPU Temp: (SHDCORE) 43.5c

So it definiatally dropped my GPU temps by a bit. I'll do a test with RF:G and post the temps afterward, but it still looks like the MEMIO temps are very, very high. What could cause this with two identical cards and both have identical cooling?
March 20, 2010 3:07:05 AM

because not all chips are identical.

i don't like to repeat myself, as it seems my advice is being ignored, but what you are seeing is perfectly normal. you have some hot running chips. but they are within safe levels.
March 20, 2010 3:24:20 AM

Oh trust me, your advice is not being ignored. I understand that 100c+ is OK for GPUs, I am just not really comfortable with the temprature being that high. Its more of a personal thing than me thinking the card is going to burst into flames

So far though, most of the temps seem to be down by about 6-7c while playing RF:G, so that is very good. Highest temps I'm seeing is 94c now, which I am alright with. This is really the only game that stresses my cards enough to hit that though.

Either way, my 5870 isn't far off, just another paycheck or two and its mine.
March 20, 2010 3:58:35 PM

Sounds good man. You got an exxtra hot card on the second one I guess (possibly hy it was RMA's in the first place). Glad it dropped the temps at least enough for you to be ok with it. Good luck man.
March 20, 2010 9:13:37 PM

Yep, thanks for all the help here everybody!
!