Radeon 5870 Crossfire overheating, card reaches 95C

Hey guys, I've used your forums for a LOT of help in the past, but never actually posted. Sadly, I'm at my wits end about how to get this fixed.

I recently upgraded my computer in Feb, when the 5870's were getting liquidated for CHEAP. So I picked one up for my system and built the following (links where I still have them).

Coolermaster Wavemaster Case
Corsair 850W Enthusiast (recently upgraded to accomodate SLI, see below)
ASUS Sabertooth x58 Motherboard
Intel Core i7-95- @ 3.06GHz
12 GB of Kingston HyperX T1 RAM
Intel X25-M 120GB 2.5" SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Hitachi 1.5 TB 7200 rpm Drive
and old WD 500 GB 7200 rpm Drive
a DVD/RW Drive

(plus 1 widescreen 1900x1200 monitor and 1 square 1280x1024 monitor)

and the part in question, a XFX Radeon HD 5870 1GB

My wife, who is decidedly fantastic, knew I'd wanted to mess with crossfire and bought me a second Sapphire 5870 for my birthday. I knew my old 650W PS wouldn't do it, so I upgraded to the 850 above.

I gladly threw in the Sapphire and tried out crossfire. Much to my dismay, I noticed a lot of new artifacts in the BF3 beta, and black lining in BF:BC2. Using MSI Afterburner I tracked down temps and found when crossfire is enabled......

My temps at idle are ~55(secondary)/~70(primary). At load ~80/~93 (that's 93C with 100% fan). And the only reason it stays at 93 is b/c the card throttles down from 850 to 600. By the way, these temps are with the side of my case removed.

I've got both cards in the Sabertooth's x16/x16 configuration and, as I'm sure you know, they're right on top of one another. I do have a 3rd PCI-E slot that's more distant (i.e. has better airflow), but it's only at 4x.


Question 1: How the holy heck can I get this heat under control?

Question 2: I heard 16x/4x performance hits aren't necessarily that bad. Will I see dramatic underperformance at that level?

I don't want to sell the cards, or buy another, so please help me work with what I have. Having recently spent a bunch of money on this, I'm loathe to "just buy a better single GPU." I'd also like to avoid expensive aftermarket coolers, especially since I understand they block SLI.

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  1. Best answer
    It is normal that the top card heats up much more than the one below due to restricted airflow, moving it to the x4 slot would make about 10% difference on a 5870 performance - wise .

    But the problem here is the case you're using, it has very little ventilation options and it doesn't make a good match with lots of hot-running power hungry equipment you're using, even if you let the side of the case open it still won't make a good airflow, having a couple high CFM 120mm fans blowing directly towards the cards will make a difference, I suggest you upgrade your case to something like this: and fill in the optional fans
  2. I'm floored the case makes that much difference - when I got the Coolermaster way back when I thought it was supposed to have great airflow. Le sigh.

    Thanks for the quick reply though. In regards to the 10%, I presume that's 10% off of what I'd get from full-performing 5870's CF'd, right?
  3. hm, I actually overstated the performance loss part: with a gtx480 it's only a 5-8% performance loss by going to PCIE x4, with a 5870 it would be sightly less so.
  4. That case has no airflow, lol @ 3 80mm fans
  5. That case has no airflow, lol @ 3 80mm fans
  6. Best answer selected by SheerLunacy.
  7. So I'm upgrading to the Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower ATX Case you suggested, but I wanted to know....

    Can I get away with 3x + 3x 120mm fans? Or do I really need the 3x 120mm + 2x 200mm fans it can support?


    On second thought, I'll make a new post so I can award a best answer again.

    Thread continued at:
  8. [deleted to continue thread in more appropriate forum]
  9. [deleted to continue thread in more appropriate forum]
  10. I'd recommend you do both move the card to the x4 slot and upgrade your case for best results.
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