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AMD Radeon 6870 PSU Question

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 9, 2011 12:25:43 PM

Hi all,
I've just installed an XFX Radeon HD 6870 graphics card, but I'm getting freezes and crashes in 3dmark and in games. I'm wondering if it's pushing my 550W PSU too hard. I have a Corsair VX 550 PSU, which is from their 'value' range (not sure if they still sell it, bought it in 2009).
I have an Intel i5 750 running at 2.66GHz (set to run in turbo mode, at 2.8GHz), a Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4 motherboard, 2 * hard drives, 2* optical drives, 2 * Corsair 4Gb memory (8Gb total) and several USB devices.
Does this sound like a PSU issue? If so, what kind of wattage should I be looking for in a PSU (I thought about 650W because I'm unlikely to ever add Crossfire, or add any more hard drives etc).
Thank you in advance for your help!
Ben
a b U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 12:54:02 PM

Your PSU should be fine. It can handle up to 41 Amps on its single 12V rail, which is more than enough for the setup you described. Try installing something like MSI afterburner (works for almost any card) and monitoring temps and voltages on the card.

Also, you mentioned you've just installed the card. Was it an upgrade? If so, are you sure you properly removed the old drivers before installing the new card?

Also, does your computer present an error where your display driver stops working then recovers afterwards? If so, you may try setting your card's frequencies a little lower to see if its not faulty.
a b U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 12:55:02 PM

No, the 550 is fine and the VX550 can put out plenty of power on the 12V rail. AMD recommends a 500W PSU and you can crossfire on a 600W PSU if it has a high enough 12V limit. I wouldn't worry about the PSU unless you suspect it is bad.

However, with a bad PSU I wouldn't expect freezes, I'd expect complete system shutoff as the over current protection kicks in.
Related resources
November 9, 2011 1:01:11 PM

your PSU can run that fine, I have a 600W one and a reference sapphire 6870 + i5 cpu and my system runs fine

try downloading the latest drivers from amd if you haven't already.

for future reference and similar questions have a look at: Power Requirements and Specs For Popular Graphic Cards Guide by SAAIELLO, you can find the 6870 there.
November 9, 2011 1:06:13 PM

Thanks very much for the info. Looks like you just saved me £70 on a PSU!

Yes, it was a direct replacement for an AMD Radeon 5770. I didn't uninstall the old driver first, but did install the latest Catalyst drivers (dated Oct 31st 2011).

When I run Dragon Age, for example, the game runs smoothly, but suddenly the screen freezes (no artifacts, it just stops dead). Sometimes it starts working again after a second or two, but after a few freezes the computer seems to hang. Interestingly, the mouse cursor is visible during one of these freezes, and it does move when you move the mouse.

3dmark has the same freezes, but after a few of them the screen goes blank with a kind of stripy vertical pattern on it. The only way to recover seems to be a reboot.

I use Win7 64 bit fwiw.

Thanks again,
Ben
November 9, 2011 1:10:10 PM

What VGA did you replace with the 6870?
a b U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 1:14:48 PM

go to AMD controll panel and check temperature/ fan speeds you getting, Maybe overheating ??
November 9, 2011 1:30:15 PM

I replaced an XFX Radeon HD 5770, so not all that different really. I'll check the temps shortly...
a b U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 1:55:58 PM

benstat said:
I replaced an XFX Radeon HD 5770, so not all that different really. I'll check the temps shortly...

Which drivers are you using?
November 9, 2011 2:07:00 PM

OK, thanks to you guys I might be getting to the bottom of this. I went into AMD OverDrive settings in Catalyst Control Centre to check the temperature (it was normal). However, I noticed that AMD OverDrive was enabled. I disabled it, and then tried again. It seems a lot more stable now!!



I have no wish to overclock my graphics card, and I don't remember ever enabling it (which is why I never thought to check it)! Stability is more important to me, and a 6870 at default settings should be more than adequate for games like Dragon Age and the upcoming Skyrim to run at ultra settings.

However, this raises another question. Am I getting the expected default performance from my 6870 with OverDrive disabled? I noticed it said the GPU and Memory clock speeds were both 300MHz (according to the meters). The OverDrive settings were 850Mhz for GPU, and 1200MHz for Memory (fan speed was left at auto).
a c 104 U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 2:10:31 PM

Nice.

The 300mhz is the amount you used at that moment i think. When you're gaming they will be higher. My gpu speed is 450 when i'm on the net and 950 when i'm gaming.
November 9, 2011 2:14:18 PM

Fantastic!!!! Looks like problem solved then. If it's correct that AMD overdrive should be disabled by default for a 6870, then it looks like I can relax.

Thanks very much to everyone who posted. Without you help I suspect I'd have bought a new PSU, or returned the card and had the same problem with another one!

I'll keep an eye for any other comments and update the thread title to 'solved' shortly.
a b U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 2:17:50 PM

For the future -

If you want to objectively, accurately and scientifically determine what PSU power is required for your Vid card and PC in both watts and 12v rail amps., the forum Utility link below will show you how easy it is to calculate this information and objectively determine which PSUs are quality built, reliable PSUs that can meet your needs. Be advised that the available 12v rail amps. is just as important as the total PSU wattage. You need both to be correct.

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/314712-28-please-read...
November 9, 2011 2:22:25 PM

Thanks, I might need that if I ever decide to Crossfire my new card with my old one. You never know, might happen if a decent enough game comes along...
November 9, 2011 2:23:34 PM

It won't let me edit the thread title '[Solved]'.
a c 104 U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 2:27:58 PM

Still a shame ( and a bit weird ) you obviously can't oc the card then. 6870 ain't a good overclocker i believe but still. I had a xfx6870 black edition overclocked to 900mhz and it was very stable.
a b U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 2:28:39 PM

you have to select a "best answer" for it to be '[solved]'
a c 104 U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 2:30:09 PM

That's because you made this a discussion not a question, only questions can be closed by choosing the best answer and than a moderator will close it.
You can ask a moderator to close it for you.
November 9, 2011 2:52:00 PM

Oh, I see. Oops - newb mistake, sorry.

It's obvious to me what happened now.

I had an XFX AMD Radeon HD 5770. I upgraded to an XFX Radeon HD 6870, but I didn't uninstall the old drivers before installing the new ones. Normally that's an obvious thing to do, but I assumed that because they both use Catalyst that the drivers were probably the same anyway, so I just updated to the latest version.

Both the 5770 and 6870 DO have OverDrive enabled by default. Problem was that the 5770 had very different defaults to the 6870. Because I didn't uninstall the old driver, it simply kept the default 5770 OverDrive settings, which were way off for the 6870.

I realised this because I noticed a 'Default' button at the bottom of the OverDrive page. I clicked it, and OverDrive was then enabled with totally different settings for the 6870.

So now I have OverDrive enabled and it seems to work fine. Silly mistake really. Hope that helps another newbie in the same situation.
a c 104 U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 2:59:40 PM

Good one :lol:  Classic mistake. Surpriced nobody ( including me ) didn't ask you before if you used driversweeper or something to clean.
a b U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 3:03:39 PM

The kind of issue you described is typically happens on hardware failures on the GPU side. I get those when I overclock my GPUs. I advise you to run MSI afterburner, or even use catalyst's hardware configuration and underclock the card a bit. Test it at slower clocks with the same programs, if the issue goes away, then you have a defective card that can't handle stock speeds, and should e replaced.

EDIT: Heh, forgot to refresh the page, issue was already solved.
November 9, 2011 3:13:14 PM

Just to clarify, this issue is now resolved.

Thank you all for your help!
a c 104 U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 3:15:41 PM

Checking can't hurt but i bet my monitor that the corsair will be more than up to the job. ( depending a bit on what all those usb devices are, if there is a frying pan involved, well . . . )
November 9, 2011 3:23:53 PM

Hehe, no frying pans, but I do use a few. I use a USB hub with a couple of USB software anti-piracy 'dongles' for audio software, a USB sound card, a USB MIDI keyboard, and finally a USB wireless mouse/keyboard receiver.

Actually, sounds like a lot now I mention it. Tried the PSU calc above but the link doesn't seem to work for me :-(
a b U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 3:39:24 PM

btw its only possible to overclock ATI 6850/6870 by 100mhz 100% stable (memory and core) I have my upped by 100 all the time all ok, get few extra fps ~5 in games with no negatives, any more and it would freez randomly
a c 104 U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 3:42:50 PM

LoL. Black november madness i get with the link. Probably somewhere in all that info there's a calculator to lazy to look. :lol:  I know there are different calculators on the net, can't remember how they called. Just google a bit at pc power calculator or something, you can find for yourself.

Don't really know much about powerneeds for all those usb thingies but can't imagine they really use a lot compared to gpu and cpu.
a b U Graphics card
November 9, 2011 3:58:48 PM

I don't need a calculator to tell you it will work.

GPU: 150W (AMD's claimed power)
CPU: 120W (massive overclock)
Motherboard, HDDs, fans, and any other 12V items (usb is 5V): we'll call it 100W but I'm confident you don't use that much and probably use about 50W.

Max 12V load - 370W or 29.7A

PSU has 550W which leaves 180W of power left over. There is no way you'll connect 180W worth of 3.3 and 5V loads.

Yes, the PSU will work. Besides, you'll never even use 100% load of everything at the same time.
!