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6870 doesnt overclock well. Help!!!

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February 12, 2012 8:10:59 PM

Hi I'm new to this forum and I was wondering if I could get some help plz. The problem is quite simple, my 6870 is not oc'ing well. I can get it stable at 945mhz core clock and 1150mhz memory clock. And this isn't even with stock voltages. I actually have to bump it all the way to 1.195 V before it runs stable. I use OCCT as a stability tester as it's pretty good at finding all possible errors. Not only that but if increase the clocks any higher without changing the voltages, not only are my temps high but I end up with artifacts. SOO my question to you guys is:

A) Is this normal?
B) What am i doing wrong?
C) Is the card defective?

I even changed the fan profile to amp up the cooling of the GPU, yet the temps are still reaching 82*C on OCCT with the clock speeds and volts mentioned above. Why can't I overclock any higher even though a lot of other people are able to get to 1000mhz core clock and 1200mhz memory clock on STOCK VOLTAGES!?!?! And the other minority can at least reach around 970mhz on stock voltage. I have to increase my core voltage just to OC my core clock to 945mhz. I'm not quite sure what on earth is going on. My computer seems to be well cooled as my CPU doesn't even reach 50*C on full load.

My specs:
-CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 @ 3.9GHz OC'ed using CCC CPU Overdrive
-Case and Fans: CM HAF 912 w/ two 120mm CM sickleflow fan intakes in front, stock 120mm intake on side case, 200mm CM megaflow exhaust on top and stock 120mm exhaust on back. Seems to me as cooling is sufficient
-CPU Cooler: Corsair A50
-GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD6870 w/ Dual fans (DiRT 3 version)
-PSU: iCAN 600W which I'm pretty sure is more than enough even for Crossfire
-M/B: ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO
-OS: Windows 7 64-Bit
-RAM: 2x4GB DDR3 in dual channel

I've used 4 different ATI CCC drivers, no difference from any of them including latest 12.1.

So, I think I've put plenty of info and detail. This is my first time using a PC forum and I really need help. Hope you guys have any advice or suggestions. THANKSSSS :D 

More about : 6870 doesnt overclock

February 12, 2012 8:18:42 PM

Overclocking is not a guarantee on any part. If you can get it to OC, that's just an added bonus. You just have a chip that can't clock very high, but it doesn't matter because if its stable on the stock speeds, that's all it has to be.
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February 12, 2012 8:23:58 PM

Vettedude said:
Overclocking is not a guarantee on any part. If you can get it to OC, that's just an added bonus. You just have a chip that can't clock very high, but it doesn't matter because if its stable on the stock speeds, that's all it has to be.

Thanks for the quick response! Do you think I should change my fan configuration in my case? I was wondering if it was good for cooling as my GPU still seems to heat up quite a bit.
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February 12, 2012 8:30:33 PM

17seconds said:
The 6870's in general are well known to have very little headroom for overclocking.
http://www.guru3d.com/article/radeon-hd-6850-6870-revie...

Thank you for giving me some piece of mind :na:  I guess I'm going to stick with my current OC and not worry about it. Though I'm still concerned about the GPU temp :(  It's way too high for my taste, anything I can do to improve that without having to drastically decrease the OC settings? I was wondering if my PC fans configuration could be adjusted to improve temperatures?
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February 12, 2012 8:38:59 PM

After I wrote that, I found this review where they got a higher overclock and said the Sapphire 6870 Dirt 3 was the highest overclocking 6870 they have ever had.
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/sapphire_6870_d...

Each GPU is different, so you likely just have a GPU that doesn't want to go much higher. Even a more extreme OC won't improve your performance/gaming experience by much if at all. As for your temperatures, I'd say 82c fully stressed on an overclocked card is pretty good.
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February 12, 2012 8:39:07 PM

The thing is that even if I decrease the OC back to stock settings, the temperatures will still stay at around 75-80*C which is still ridiculously high for a dual fan card that I was told to have "a very amped-up cooling system."
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February 12, 2012 8:39:16 PM

82 isn't horrible for a GPU and you can't compare that to your 50C CPU as they have different heat tolerance. Panic when the GPU is at 90C. But yeah, for a dual-fan card, its pretty warm.
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February 12, 2012 8:42:16 PM

17seconds said:
After I wrote that, I found this review where they got a higher overclock and said the Sapphire 6870 Dirt 3 was the highest overclocking 6870 they have ever had.
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/sapphire_6870_d...

Each GPU is different, so you likely just have a GPU that doesn't want to go much higher. Even a more extreme OC won't improve your performance/gaming experience by much if at all. As for your temperatures, I'd say 82c fully stressed on an overclocked card is pretty good.

WOW really?? :D  That makes me a little happier. I guess I'll have to settle than. I think it should run quite a bit cooler when playing most graphically-intensive games as they don't stress the GPU as much. Thank you for your help!
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February 12, 2012 8:43:40 PM

Each card is designed to seek out a particular operating temperature while adjusting the Auto fan to compensate. On my GTX 580, I seem to always be at 86-88c when gaming with the only difference being how fast (and loud) the fan runs. Sometimes the fan is running at 60%, other times at 70%, but that temperature stays just about the same. That is the way it was designed to run at that target temperature.
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February 12, 2012 8:44:24 PM

Vettedude said:
82 isn't horrible for a GPU and you can't compare that to your 50C CPU as they have different heat tolerance. Panic when the GPU is at 90C. But yeah, for a dual-fan card, its pretty warm.

Mhmm :(  I don't know whether the cooling around the GPU is insufficient ( which it shouldn't be because of the fact that the card is getting direct cool air from the side fan and cool air from the front two case fans ) yet I'm trying to look for some adjustments.
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February 12, 2012 8:48:56 PM

17seconds said:
Each card is designed to seek out a particular operating temperature while adjusting the Auto fan to compensate. On my GTX 580, I seem to always be at 86-88c when gaming with the only difference being how fast (and loud) the fan runs. Sometimes the fan is running at 60%, other times at 70%, but that temperature stays just about the same. That is the way it was designed to run at that target temperature.

That it is very true but I'm actually using a custom fan profile that I created on Sapphire Trixx and even with those amped fan speeds, it is still running at 80*C + on 100% load. I can only imagine how high the temps would get if I let the fans run on auto :(  I can probably expect 90*C!! :cry:  And that is definately way to high.
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February 12, 2012 8:52:46 PM

I think I tried the stability tester with these OC settings before. That time I used the auto fan profile from ATI CCC, and I got temperatures between 85*C and 90*C so that means I'm definitely running my GPU on the hot side. :sweat: 
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February 12, 2012 8:55:04 PM

Your cooling sounds pretty good. But do you have a lot of cables all messed around in the case? That can cause turbulence and really hurt the cooling.
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February 12, 2012 8:56:43 PM

If you really want to tweak things, some suggestions:

- Move the video card into a different PCIe slot (higher or lower) to see if it can get better airflow. Don't move it from a PCIe x16 into a PCIe x8 or x4 slot, though.

- Try to play around with a custom fan setting (I'm not really big on changing the Auto fan setting, but others are). Since your are already running a fan profile, maybe, try setting it on Auto and see what happens. The engineers who designed your card might just know what they are doing.

-Remove the heatsink and replace the thermal paste. Not something for beginners, but usually not too hard to do.
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February 12, 2012 8:57:35 PM

Vettedude said:
Your cooling sounds pretty good. But do you have a lot of cables all messed around in the case? That can cause turbulence and really hurt the cooling.

I thought that too before so I re-did the entire wiring and practically all power cables behind the case. I have one single case fan sticking out and it is clear out of the way from everything so I don't have a problem with that. :??: 
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February 12, 2012 8:59:44 PM

17seconds said:
If you really want to tweak things, some suggestions:

- Move the video card into a different PCIe slot (higher or lower) to see if it can get better airflow. Don't move it from a PCIe x16 into a PCIe x8 or x4 slot, though.

- Try to play around with a custom fan setting (I'm not really big on changing the Auto fan setting, but others are). Since your are already running a fan profile, maybe, try setting it on Auto and see what happens. The engineers who designed your card might just know what they are doing.

-Remove the heatsink and replace the thermal paste. Not something for beginners, but usually not too hard to do.

Haha I did try it with auto fan before and I got higher temps :(  And yes I wanted to try replacing the thermal paste but it seems very hard since this card has screws in the most difficult-to-reach locations. Not only that but I don't wanna lose my warranty. :cry: 
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February 12, 2012 8:59:57 PM

Well me saying it could be cables is hypocritical haha. You should see my case right now :p  My 6850 will be in tomorrow though so I'll do some organizing. But I have a side window on my case so every time I use my computer I see my horrible cable management :p 
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February 12, 2012 9:01:54 PM

Vettedude said:
Well me saying it could be cables is hypocritical haha. You should see my case right now :p  My 6850 will be in tomorrow though so I'll do some organizing. But I have a side window on my case so every time I use my computer I see my horrible cable management :p 

LOL thats why they have another side of the case ;)  Some plastic zip ties and a little creativity should help you make your system really clean looking! :D 
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February 12, 2012 9:05:17 PM

Damn I should've paid like $30 more for the GTX 560 Ti :(  It is a lot better than my garbage 80*C card :cry: 
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February 12, 2012 9:07:49 PM

17seconds said:
If you really want to tweak things, some suggestions:

- Move the video card into a different PCIe slot (higher or lower) to see if it can get better airflow. Don't move it from a PCIe x16 into a PCIe x8 or x4 slot, though.

- Try to play around with a custom fan setting (I'm not really big on changing the Auto fan setting, but others are). Since your are already running a fan profile, maybe, try setting it on Auto and see what happens. The engineers who designed your card might just know what they are doing.

-Remove the heatsink and replace the thermal paste. Not something for beginners, but usually not too hard to do.

Oh ya, and my next available PCIe x16 slot is 2mm shy of my PSU :(  Not good.
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February 12, 2012 9:08:16 PM

Akhilcool said:
LOL thats why they have another side of the case ;)  Some plastic zip ties and a little creativity should help you make your system really clean looking! :D 

My mobo risers are only like 1/8 inch, no way I can fit cables except maybe some of the fan connectors under it haha. I do have a plan to stuff them in a spare 5.25in drive bay though and zip tie them in there :D 
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February 12, 2012 9:08:41 PM

I do have to say, unfortunately, as I look at this review, your temps do seem to be high. The cooler on the Dirt 3 edition seems to keep the card pretty cool, 65c at 1040 mhz on the core. Just out of curiosity, is returning the card for a replacement an option? If not, I would say to just get on with gaming and quit checking the temps.
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/sapphire_6870_d...
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February 12, 2012 9:11:39 PM

Vettedude said:
My mobo risers are only like 1/8 inch, no way I can fit cables except maybe some of the fan connectors under it haha. I do have a plan to stuff them in a spare 5.25in drive bay though and zip tie them in there :D 

Heehee that is exactly what I did before I realized my case had another side. :na:  As long as they are out of the way it will be good. Though it might have looked better if it had bigger risers so you could push the wires on the other side.
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February 12, 2012 9:13:43 PM

17seconds said:
I do have to say, unfortunately, as I look at this review, your temps do seem to be high. The cooler on the Dirt 3 edition seems to keep the card pretty cool, 65c at 1040 mhz on the core. Just out of curiosity, is returning the card for a replacement an option? If not, I would say to just get on with gaming and quit checking the temps.
http://www.overclockersclub.com/reviews/sapphire_6870_d...

Unfortunately I can't, my replacement time ended last month. The only reason I'm worried is because the computer runs like an airplane when the GPU fans go high :(  At the same time, the temps are unreasonably high. Very unlucky! :cry: 
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February 12, 2012 9:24:13 PM

Any more suggestions or am I stuck with this?
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Best solution

February 12, 2012 9:24:31 PM

My recommendation then is to take off the heatsink, replace the thermal paste, and make sure the heatsink is properly seated. In the photos I have seen, it looks like simply removing the 4 screws around the GPU are all it takes to remove the heatsink. If that is not an option, then I think there are plenty of other pretty good suggestions on this thread.

From my research, your card should run cool (mid-60c's) and quiet. I can only think, with a HAF case and everything else you have tried, that the heatsink isn't sitting properly in place on the GPU.
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February 12, 2012 9:26:02 PM

17seconds said:
My recommendation then is to take off the heatsink, replace the thermal paste, and make sure the heatsink is properly seated. In the photos I have seen, it looks like simply removing the 4 screws around the GPU are all it takes to remove the heatsink. If that is not an option, then I think there are plenty of other pretty good suggestions on this thread.

From my research, your card should run cool (mid-60c's) and quiet. I can only think, that with a HAF case and everything else you have tried, that the heatsink isn't sitting properly in place on the GPU.

Alright I'll give that a try. What thermal compound do you recommend?
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February 12, 2012 9:26:28 PM

Arctic Silver 5. Worth every penny.
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February 12, 2012 9:27:29 PM

Vettedude said:
Arctic Silver 5. Worth every penny.

Ok thanks alot :D  I really hope it helps. Take care. :) 
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February 12, 2012 9:27:50 PM

Best answer selected by Akhilcool.
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February 12, 2012 9:29:24 PM

Vettedude said:
Arctic Silver 5. Worth every penny.

Hope you can fix your wiring issues too. See ya guys later!
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February 12, 2012 9:34:13 PM

17seconds said:
AS5 is good. I like MX-4 from Arctic Cooling. Here is an excellent roundup of thermal pastes:
http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Thermal-Compound...

Thanks. I think I'll choose one tomorrow and take the GPU apart when I get time. It shouldn't take that long. And even if it doesn't help alot...even 2*C cooler is worth something :na: 
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February 12, 2012 9:34:54 PM

Be careful and take your time. Clean off the old paste with 90%-100% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol on a cotton ball and then a Q-Tip, and don't touch the GPU with your fingers or leave behind any cotton fibers. Be carefel when removing the screws, don't use too much pressure, and be sure to use the right size screwdriver. Above all else, have fun with your project.
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February 12, 2012 9:54:25 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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