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Overclocking a 6950/6970 without overheating it?

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December 20, 2011 8:13:11 PM

Well my new Sapphire HD 6950 Dirt 3 Edition is coming tomorrow and I read the feedbacks on newegg and they say that this has a 6970 bios switch, so I'm going to be doing that. Also, besides that, I want to overclock it to make it even better.

Does anyone here have a 6950/6970 that they overclocked without any special coolers or stuff that didn't make it that much hotter but gave them a good boost in power/fps? My current graphics card (6850) never gets hotter than like 60 celsius on graphic intensive games, and my case has two 120mm fans. I'd rather not add any other cooling devices.

So, can anyone tell me how to overclock it, and what a good overclock speed would be without overheating? Would MSI Afterburner work even though its not a MSI card?
a c 88 U Graphics card
a b K Overclocking
December 20, 2011 9:12:57 PM

MSI Afterburner can be used on any brand card , download it and you can start to overclock and change fan settings etc , make sure you go into its settings and unlock the voltage adjuster. Its really easy to use and a good way to learn how to overclock.
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December 21, 2011 12:30:50 AM

Alright, great. OCing it would give me more FPS, right? Also, does anyone here have a 6950/6970 they oced to tell me what some good OC rates are? Thanks :) 
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a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 12:38:46 AM

if your 6950 is a reference model, which im assuming it is with the bios switch, then all the hot air will exhaust outside your case, so no wories there.
as monsta said, MSi afterburner is your best friend with overclocking with custom fan profiles for cooling, and sliders for easy clocking. Make sure to read a tutorial and what-not-to-do's online before plunging in and changing stuff though
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a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 12:41:57 AM

kandon said:
Alright, great. OCing it would give me more FPS, right? Also, does anyone here have a 6950/6970 they oced to tell me what some good OC rates are? Thanks :) 



I own 3x sapphire toxic radeon 6950s all converted to 6970s. I have 2 on 1 machine and a single one on my bros PC. The one on my bros PC easily overclocks to 930/1400. This is with a minor voltage bump upto 1.185v.

Since your card is dual fan I think you should easily be able to bump the voltage to 1.2-1.25v max and get around 950-980 on the core (all depends on your luck..there are no guarantees). You should be able to get around 1400-1450 on memory. Anything beyond this is risky in my opinion but I have seen people go to 1.3v. I don't think its worth it.

Your temps will likely stay around 85C under max load in games like Crysis 1, 2, Bf3, and benchmarks like Furmark. Just make sure your temps don't exceed 93-95C..you are approaching the danger zone of 100C at that point.

Another suggestion I have is when you do these massive overclocks...keep the fan speed at a set amount. Around 40%...its not too loud and it will cool your components. The auto setting will keep your core temps low but that vram won't be getting enough air so I recommend a constant speed if you drop in 1.25v for an overclock.

You can use sapphire trixx or MSI afterburner. The thing with MSI is that it doesn't let you change the core voltage on all cards but sapphire trixx does. Also, both will stop you from changing the memory voltage. Perhaps sapphire trixx wil have that functionality in the future so we can get more mileage on memory overclocks too.

I am still trying to find a software for sapphire cards that lets you change memory voltage.
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a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 12:43:30 AM

dharmenparikh said:
I own 3x sapphire toxic radeon 6950s all converted to 6970s. I have 2 on 1 machine and a single one on my bros PC. The one on my bros PC easily overclocks to 930/1400. This is with a minor voltage bump upto 1.185v.

Since your card is dual fan I think you should easily be able to bump the voltage to 1.2-1.25v max and get around 950-980 on the core (all depends on your luck..there are no guarantees). You should be able to get around 1400-1450 on memory. Anything beyond this is risky in my opinion but I have seen people go to 1.3v. I don't think its worth it.

Your temps will likely stay around 85C under max load in games like Crysis 1, 2, Bf3, and benchmarks like Furmark. Just make sure your temps don't exceed 93-95C..you are approaching the danger zone of 100C at that point.

Another suggestion I have is when you do these massive overclocks...keep the fan speed at a set amount. Around 40%...its not too loud and it will cool your components. The auto setting will keep your core temps low but that vram won't be getting enough air so I recommend a constant speed if you drop in 1.25v for an overclock.

You can use sapphire trixx or MSI afterburner. The thing with MSI is that it doesn't let you change the core voltage on all cards but sapphire trixx does. Also, both will stop you from changing the memory voltage. Perhaps sapphire trixx wil have that functionality in the future so we can get more mileage on memory overclocks too.

I am still trying to find a software for sapphire cards that lets you change memory voltage.

msi locks the voltage? hrm... i guess thats why i went into the settings and clicked " enable voltage control"
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December 21, 2011 12:45:05 AM

dharmenparikh said:
I own 3x sapphire toxic radeon 6950s all converted to 6970s. I have 2 on 1 machine and a single one on my bros PC. The one on my bros PC easily overclocks to 930/1400. This is with a minor voltage bump upto 1.185v.

Since your card is dual fan I think you should easily be able to bump the voltage to 1.2-1.25v max and get around 950-980 on the core (all depends on your luck..there are no guarantees). You should be able to get around 1400-1450 on memory. Anything beyond this is risky in my opinion but I have seen people go to 1.3v. I don't think its worth it.

Your temps will likely stay around 85C under max load in games like Crysis 1, 2, Bf3, and benchmarks like Furmark. Just make sure your temps don't exceed 93-95C..you are approaching the danger zone of 100C at that point.

Another suggestion I have is when you do these massive overclocks...keep the fan speed at a set amount. Around 40%...its not too loud and it will cool your components. The auto setting will keep your core temps low but that vram won't be getting enough air so I recommend a constant speed if you drop in 1.25v for an overclock.

You can use sapphire trixx or MSI afterburner. The thing with MSI is that it doesn't let you change the core voltage on all cards but sapphire trixx does. Also, both will stop you from changing the memory voltage. Perhaps sapphire trixx wil have that functionality in the future so we can get more mileage on memory overclocks too.

I am still trying to find a software for sapphire cards that lets you change memory voltage.


Great info, but the thing is I don't want to overclock it THAT much. Just something that would give me a good 5-10 fps more. And is 85 degrees a healthy temp? I don't want my card to die out fast lol.
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a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 1:09:27 AM

kandon said:
Great info, but the thing is I don't want to overclock it THAT much. Just something that would give me a good 5-10 fps more. And is 85 degrees a healthy temp? I don't want my card to die out fast lol.

85 Is normal for stock settings. When you get msi afterburner enable the fan profiles under settings and set your arch. I have mine 1% fan speed per 1 degree celcius not going higher than 70% cause that's loud already. A small bump in your core and shader clocks shouldn't require a voltage boost if you don't plan on going for a max stable overclock.
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a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 9:45:53 AM

FlintIronStagg said:
msi locks the voltage? hrm... i guess thats why i went into the settings and clicked " enable voltage control"


Hey It doesn't work after that either. I wanted to use it for my cards and it didn't work. They actually have a special list of cards where afterburners voltage control will work.

I wish it did because its a much better software than sapphire trixx. Now if this dirt 3 card is on the list then it might but I doubt it.
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a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 9:51:22 AM

kandon said:
Great info, but the thing is I don't want to overclock it THAT much. Just something that would give me a good 5-10 fps more. And is 85 degrees a healthy temp? I don't want my card to die out fast lol.


yes to get the extra 5-10 FPS you need to get atleast 940/1400 clocks for most games.

Think about it logically if you could pump the clocks by 10-20mhz and get 5-10fps extra...then if AmD was starting at 0mhz how much would you have at 900mhz? haha. Basically, higher clocks see diminishing returns so a small increase in fps like 10 requires more and more clock speed increases as you go higher.

My bros 6970 is at 920/1400 and he gets around 50-55ish fps...if I do stock 880/1375 he's around 48-52 ish. This is in bf3 at ultra settings with MSAA off and everything else maxed out.

But if you want a safe overclock then do 1.2v and try to push core speeds near 940-950 and keep memory at 1400-1420. I think you will get your 5-10fps
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a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 11:16:42 AM

dharmenparikh said:
yes to get the extra 5-10 FPS you need to get atleast 940/1400 clocks for most games.

Think about it logically if you could pump the clocks by 10-20mhz and get 5-10fps extra...then if AmD was starting at 0mhz how much would you have at 900mhz? haha. Basically, higher clocks see diminishing returns so a small increase in fps like 10 requires more and more clock speed increases as you go higher.

My bros 6970 is at 920/1400 and he gets around 50-55ish fps...if I do stock 880/1375 he's around 48-52 ish. This is in bf3 at ultra settings with MSAA off and everything else maxed out.

But if you want a safe overclock then do 1.2v and try to push core speeds near 940-950 and keep memory at 1400-1420. I think you will get your 5-10fps

Whoa there. Telling someone new to overclocking to start adjusting voltage to this or that is asking for a fried card. OP needs to read up on overclocking himself before trying anything with voltage for his own sake and not just listen to someone on a forum for settings unless its for reference only to compare.
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a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 2:09:35 PM

You're right..I guess I should put that disclaimer...frankly if you come to tomshardware and ask for overclocking...people will give that to you.

If you're too dumb to take it and blow your card..then its your fault not mine. My assumption is that people know the inherent risks in overclocking..when they ask for advice this specific.
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a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 5:04:43 PM

dharmenparikh said:
You're right..I guess I should put that disclaimer...frankly if you come to tomshardware and ask for overclocking...people will give that to you.

If you're too dumb to take it and blow your card..then its your fault not mine. My assumption is that people know the inherent risks in overclocking..when they ask for advice this specific.

I completely disagree. If you are giving advice make sure it isn't at risk to another member. Enough said .
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a b U Graphics card
December 21, 2011 6:38:20 PM

Sorry its not enough said. You can't ask an overclocking question and then expect to be told about the risks. Its by its very definition risky...it voids warranties and so forth.

If you ask me should I overclock then I will explain it...if you ask how do I overclock I am not going to give you a lecture on the risks..but the steps to overclock....this is a forum for tips...I am not running a professional company that has to put disclaimers out to protect consumers.

The more retard proof you try to make things..the higher quality of retards you get. It makes no difference to me what happens to someone's components..I give them my honest experience...no one is putting a gun to their head telling them to take the advice...you ask how do I make a bomb...I will tell you how to make a bomb if I know the steps. I won't lecture you on the risks and so forth. This isn't my family or friends.

Go take your moral righteousness some place else.
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December 21, 2011 9:47:45 PM

dharmenparikh said:
Sorry its not enough said. You can't ask an overclocking question and then expect to be told about the risks. Its by its very definition risky...it voids warranties and so forth.

If you ask me should I overclock then I will explain it...if you ask how do I overclock I am not going to give you a lecture on the risks..but the steps to overclock....this is a forum for tips...I am not running a professional company that has to put disclaimers out to protect consumers.

The more retard proof you try to make things..the higher quality of retards you get. It makes no difference to me what happens to someone's components..I give them my honest experience...no one is putting a gun to their head telling them to take the advice...you ask how do I make a bomb...I will tell you how to make a bomb if I know the steps. I won't lecture you on the risks and so forth. This isn't my family or friends.

Go take your moral righteousness some place else.



Actually even if you are giving advice/steps, you could have at least told me to watch out or be warned, I'm sure typing those 2 or 3 extra words wouldn't kill you, and I'd be very pissed if I did what you said thinking there was no failure chance and my $250 card blew out on me. Doesn't matter whether you have to or not, it's customary.
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a b U Graphics card
December 22, 2011 1:45:51 AM

kandon said:
Actually even if you are giving advice/steps, you could have at least told me to watch out or be warned, I'm sure typing those 2 or 3 extra words wouldn't kill you, and I'd be very pissed if I did what you said thinking there was no failure chance and my $250 card blew out on me. Doesn't matter whether you have to or not, it's customary.

Well said.
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