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Heat issues with eVGA GTX 560 Ti SLI

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 4, 2011 8:11:12 PM

First off, here's a little idea of what I use my system for.

Professional use:
  • 3ds Max
  • Maya
  • Mudbox
  • ZBrush
  • Photoshop
  • Flash
  • Unreal
  • Unity
  • BigWorld
    Gaming
  • EverQuest 2
  • City of Heroes
  • World of Warcraft
  • DC Universe Online
  • Star Trek Online
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic
  • various FPS

    System specs (unless overclocked by the manufacturer, nothing here is OC'ed)

    Case: Coolermaster CM Stacker (STC-T01)
    PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower 1000W (W0132RU edition) (installed at bottom of the case)
    OS: Windows 7 Professional 64 bit CPU: i7 960 @ 3.2 GHz
    Motherboard: Asus P6X58D Premium
    RAM: Kingston HyperX 24 GB Kit
    SSD: Intel X25-M 80 GB(OS and main programs)
    HDD: WD Caviar Black 1 TB (for game installs and file storage)
    Soundcard: Asus Xonar D2X
    Graphics cards: 2x eVGA GTX 560 Ti SLI
    Monitors: 2x Asus VH242V (DVI connection @ 1920x1080)

    My typical usage is having whatever program I'm working with on the main monitor while the second one displays reference images, runs iTunes, displays monitoring software (eVGA Precision), Chrome, and various other mundane things while I'm working. When I'm gaming, the second monitor will often have Ventrilo as well as Chrome for guides and quick look up.

    Last week I installed the pair of eVGA graphics cards and started having an issue with them almost right away. Running some less graphically intense games and even using the other listed software, no issues showed up. However when I switched over to some of the more intensive games such as EverQuest 2, City of Heroes, DC Universe, and the beta for another game, I was only able to play for roughly three hours before the cards locked up. According to eVGA's Precision software, the top card was running at least 99C while the bottom card was between 80C and 86C. I change my settings over to make the bottom card the primary card to see if that would help. It seemed to help at first but after a short time, the computer locked up again. I suspect the only reason that helped was due to the cards having time to cool down. A few days later I tried again to see if I was correct in my assumption and sure enough, roughly three hours in to a session of EverQuest 2, it all locked up. After that, I tried setting up various profiles in Precision to try increased fan speeds to see if that might help. Even with running them at 90+ speeds, they still only are able to get through three hours of gaming before locking up.

    I believe my issue is in part due to the placement of the graphics cards due to the design of the Asus P6X58D motherboard. In order to use both cards in SLI, I have to install them in the PCIe2.0 x16_1 and PCIe2.0 x16_2 slots leaving them with no real breathing room between the two due to the coolers on the cards. There is a PCIe2.0 x16_3 slot on the very bottom of the board and while it would be slower for use, the main problem is installing a card there would make it impossible to attach it correctly and would also leave no ventilation for the card cooler.

    I'm willing to upgrade the motherboard in order to get better spacing and have found a few eVGA models that would be more than adequate for my needs. However before I invest in even the cheapest one of them, I'd like to make sure this isn't either an error on my part, or just simply an issue with dual monitors and running SLI.

    I've read a few reports that multiple monitors and SLI isn't possible when running a full screen game. I question that due to being able to do so with less graphically intensive games and due to several articles stating that with the release of the nVidia 180 drivers, multiple monitor SLI was now possible. As best I can tell, that release is dated back to 2008 so that shouldn't be the issue here.

    I'd also like to believe that my case has more than enough cooling to handle these even with them being stacked on top of one another. This is an original CM Stacker from Coolermaster will all available fans installed. I have three 120mm fans in the front for intake, one 80mm top fan for exhaust, one 120mm and two 80mm for rear and top rear exhaust. I also have one 80mm side mounted intake fan that is blowing on the top card. Even with all of that, sitting idle as I type this up I'm showing 49C on the primary card, 43C on the secondary card with the fans set to 85. Graphically I'm running Chome, eVGA Precision, Windows Aero desktop, and Ventrilo. Correct me if I'm wrong but I shouldn't be seeing anywhere close to that high of temps at idle.

    So after a rather lengthy explanation of my set up, my question is should I go after another motherboard to get better spacing between the two graphics cards? Should I adjust my fans? Should I move the PSU up to the top so that any heat from it isn't being pulled up in to either card? Is this just a limitation of running dual monitors with an extended desktop in SLI? A few hours of gaming before overheating isn't going to cut it for me but seeing the graphical quality boost I got from upgrading these, it would be a shame to have to go back to my single card set up that I had been running.

    Thank you for your time and any feedback/advice that you can give.

    *edit for typos*
    a c 91 Î Nvidia
    September 4, 2011 8:34:41 PM

    Those are very high temps , are the fans running on the cards and if they are is there a way to get say an auxilary fan to blow on them? After reading your post you do have a lot of fans in your case , I don't understand why the tyemps are that high. Do you have the latest drivers installed from Nvidia ? Newegg does have a nice Asus workstation motherboard and it currently has a $20 rebate ; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
    One other thing sometimes you can take off the fan heatsink and apply some high quality thermal grease (As-5) that might help.
    Another thought is to send the two 560's back and get two 570's , if you bought them from Newegg the rma would be easy and painless. If you bought them direct from Evga then they have a step up program you might be able to use.
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    September 4, 2011 8:50:48 PM

    I think you're right on the money about the heat coming from the graphics card spacing. However, there are some other factors that could be affecting things. First, if it's simply been hot out lately 43 degrees C isn't that high. I have to adjust my overclocking based on the seasons. You may want to think about moving your setup to your basement if it's currently in an upper level of your house, things like that.
    I think you should try and see what happens if you switch the side fan to outtake. You could have heat trapping beneath the cards with that amount of intake. The power supply might do better top mount, but that wouldn't be my first bet. Also, bottom intake fans are a great help.
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    a b Î Nvidia
    September 5, 2011 3:53:15 AM

    I think intake fans are overrated, you want to get the hot air OUT. Pushing cool air in does not remove the hot air. Big exhaust fans at the rear and top of the case is what you need to remove heat, air is drawn in naturally by ventillation holes in the case. An intake fan blowing straight onto the cards may help. Moving the psu wont help, the heat that is produced by it is sucked out of the case by its own fan, how3ever having that at the top would help expell some hot air from the upper case.
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    September 11, 2011 5:05:57 PM

    i custom fit a 80 mm fan on the side panel blowing cold air right into my two 560's and that did the trick for me. i have a crappy small uATX case with one 120 mm intake and one 92mm exhaust fan and man did i have heat problems before i modded my case. also i used a piece of antistatic foam to wedge between my two cards to help create a little more separation between them.
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    a c 171 Î Nvidia
    September 11, 2011 5:34:29 PM

    When running dual monitors, even with SLi your cards may be stuck in 3D mode which runs higher clocks therefore higher temps you are just using the desktop.
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    September 11, 2011 6:05:13 PM

    Well as of now they've been sent back to Newegg. They got to a point where even sitting on the desktop, they would overheat and lock up there in less than an hour even with just one card running. I don't know if that was due to the earlier issues actually damaging the card or not but either way, for the money spent I expected more. Doubly so for how well my previous eVGA experiences had been.

    Once Newegg processes the RMA, I'll be getting a pair of Asus GTX 560 Ti's and seeing how that goes. They have what seems to be a better cooling design on them so hopefully that'll make a difference. If that doesn't cut it, then I'll be upgrading the motherboard to something that has more room between the dual slot cards.

    I'll update again once I've had a chance to test the Asus cards. Thanks for all the replies so far.
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    September 11, 2011 6:08:41 PM

    Mousemonkey said:
    When running dual monitors, even with SLi your cards may be stuck in 3D mode which runs higher clocks therefore higher temps you are just using the desktop.

    Ok possible newbie question but is there an 'easy' way to check for this? If so, can they be forced out of that mode without too much hassle?
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    a c 171 Î Nvidia
    September 11, 2011 6:16:23 PM

    The graphic tab in CPUz will tell you what the current clock state is, ie 2D or 3D.
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