I'm looking to upgrade my 5850 to a 7950, but I have 1 tough requirement: startup sound of the fans when the card BIOS is not loaded.
My setup is booting with a i5 IGP and my 5850s fan stays 100% until the driver is loaded. Even when it's primary, it goes full-speed 1-2 secs at every startup/reset, which my previous GTX260 never did.
So I have the following questions:
1. Is there a 7950 that has a HW-set default low fan-speed? (please refrain from posting BIOS tweaks..I have used them and I know they don't do what I want...remember....the BIOS is never loaded). If you have 1 sec of full-speed on restart, then I'm not interested.
2. How is the 2nd GPU of a Crossfire setup behave with fan speeds? Is it full-speed until Windows loads?
As a background, here is my use-case (warning: highly-technical knowledge reccomended): I boot with the i5s IGP to load linux and within linux I start a virtual machine with the 5850 passed to it (I have posted months ago about gaming in a virtual machine). My current workaround is to load the linux driver to silence the fan until I start the VM (which is only when I want to play games). The problem is that when the VM is stopped, the card is reset (through PCIe bus) and it reverts to 100% fan speed. So if I stop playing and go to hours of linux-work, the fan is loud (note: if I leave the VM active, there is a high chance of forgetting it when shutting down the machine). So I am looking for a card which starts with low-fan speed before BIOS is loaded (mainly 7950-based, but I welcome 78xx and GTX6xx experiences). My previous GTX260 experience make me think this is achievable, and the case is similar to the 2nd GPU of a Crossfire/SLI setup (unless the BIOS from the 1st takes control of the 2nd, which I don't know).
I wouldn't worry about the fan at startup. I have a 7870 and can never hear it over my case fans.
Well, in my case, the loudest fan is the 5850 reference fan, even when it's at low speed. I don't care about it when I'm gaming, but this PC is used maybe 50% for gaming. And I'm talking about startup sounds because that is how regular users can judge what I'm expecting. What you hear 1-2 secs at startup, I may be forced to hear it for hours.
I have the 7970 is it's super loud. Also get either the 7870 or 7970, the 7950 is just a 7870 OC, not worth it.
Please check your references: 78xx and 79xx are totally different chips. 78xx are 2.8 billion transistors chips whereas 79xx are 4.3 billion. Saying that 7950 is an overclocked 7870 is ... I don't even have an analogy, besides the fact that 7870 has higher clocks than 7950. You get a cheap 7870 when you don't have money for any 79xx. Well I do have money fo entry-level 7950, and there is no reason to buy 7870 for that money. Check this: http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=88&pgno=1
I'm looking for performance and I don't care that much about the noise at that time (while gaming). But I am very interested in that startup noise spike, as that could be relevant to my usage.