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Powercolor HD 6850 overheating?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 13, 2012 12:43:35 PM

Hi all. I just purchased a brand new Dell XPS8300 with a Intel i7 (2nd Gen) 3.4Ghz and 16GB RAM. I swapped out the base video card for a new Powercolor HD 6850. During normal use at 1920x1200 resolution it appears to work fine.

Then I loaded up Skyrim. The game recommended the high graphic setting. However even when playing for more than 2 minutes, the display starts to develop artifacts and tears the screen (the display shifts a third to the right and then wraps around to the left side of the screen). At this point even if I exit to the desktop the display remains all messed up.

I have to do a hard reboot to correct the display.

On my old Intel Core Duo 3 Ghz with an older nVidia 9600GT, I was able to play Skyrim for hours on medium to high graphics with no issues.

Is this an issue of the video card overheating? I hear the fan kick in when Skyrim loads. Is this a defective video card? Should I exchange for a different brand 6850 like Saphire? Is the equivalent nVidia a better card?
February 13, 2012 1:22:53 PM

yes I already upgraded to the latest driver from AMD Radeon's website.
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February 13, 2012 3:52:58 PM

What happens at 1080p?
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February 13, 2012 4:01:42 PM

I have not tried at 1080p. I wanted to keep it at 1920x1200 or some other 16:10 resolution if need be. It is being played on a 24" monitor. I did try the "medium" setting (still at 1920 x 1200) and played for about 10 minutes no problem. But I see people online have used the 6850 fine on the ultra settings.
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February 13, 2012 4:06:59 PM

so hows the temps? (GPU-Z)

what is the power supply in that dell? total wattage and 12V rating?
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February 13, 2012 4:12:07 PM

I am not sure of the temps. Is there a good program I can use to monitor the temps? The power supply is a 460W (several people online have said this worked fine with the 6850 series cards despite the 500W recommendation). Not sure of the 12V rating. It is the standard Dell XPS 8300 power supply.
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February 13, 2012 11:15:33 PM

I ran GPU-Z and ran Skyrim for a couple of minutes. It did not get to the point where it crashed, but the GPU temperature maxed out around 80 degrees celsius (it also said sensor #2 in GPU-Z maxed out around 143.5 Celsius) - which I am guessing is the problem. Is this merely a ventilation problem (and if so I am wondering how so many other people got their XPS 8300s which have a cramped case to properly run with this card) or is this card running too hot?

Even when I removed the side of the tower to allow full ventilation, it still ran up to 83 degrees celsius on the last run...
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February 14, 2012 2:32:02 PM

80 isn't too bad but the 143 is...
if that reading is accurate then it really is too hot for whichever part it think it is... Does the reading behave logically? like come down when in idle etc so it isnt just reading some sensor wrong? It might be vrm temperature, does the card have any heatsinks on the vrms? Or maybe the heatsink isn't attached properly.

edit checked some 6850 designs, and none had vrm heatsinks on them. So that's not probably it. If the heatsink is sitting tight and snug on the gpu, I'd guess you could just return the card to the shop...
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February 14, 2012 2:48:35 PM

Kari said:
80 isn't too bad but the 143 is...
if that reading is accurate then it really is too hot for whichever part it think it is... Does the reading behave logically? like come down when in idle etc so it isnt just reading some sensor wrong? It might be vrm temperature, does the card have any heatsinks on the vrms? Or maybe the heatsink isn't attached properly.

edit checked some 6850 designs, and none had vrm heatsinks on them. So that's not probably it. If the heatsink is sitting tight and snug on the gpu, I'd guess you could just return the card to the shop...


It does seem to behave logically. The temp goes up in intensive gameplay like in Skyrim when looking at waterfalls and then goes down when I exit Skyrim. The fan also sounds like it is spinning up and down appropriately. The 143 reading was typical in GPU-Z for the sensor #2 reading. Sensor #1 and #3 seem to correspond more with the overall GPU temperature reading. Do you go based on the highest sensor reading or the overall reading of the GPU?

I ordered a Sapphire 6850 and will swap out the Powercolor 6850. I will try an experiment to see how different the readings are.
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February 14, 2012 3:00:59 PM

well if all the sensors are on the gpu-die itself there shouldn't be so big difference between them unless it is somehow faulty, and some cards have sensors on other places as well. Even though the tooltip in GPU-Z says they are on the die (at least for me), I'm not sure if it is the case allways.

Here's hoping the Sapphire one works better. :) 

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February 15, 2012 1:55:11 AM

Best answer selected by livngston.
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February 15, 2012 1:57:31 AM

Installed the Sapphire and so far running Skyrim I am maxing out at 70 degrees. I definitely think the Powercolor was a defective card unless there is some significant difference in cooling between the Sapphire and Powercolor cards.

So far though everything seems to be running beautifully with the Sapphire card. Thanks all! Now I can enjoy my new Dell - once I find a better keyboard to replace the cheap piece of crap Dell ships with now.
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