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Underclocking 7870?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 1, 2013 4:07:36 AM

Hello,
I own an AMD 7870 and an AMD 940 clocked at 3.4 Ghz. There's a little bit of bottlenecking going on in some of my very intensive games such as battlefield 3; nothing major, but enough that it bothers me a little bit, and thus, I was wondering if there is any point in underclocking my 7870. Will that alleviate the effects of the stuttering?

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January 1, 2013 4:27:57 AM

I don't think underclocking will help the stuttering, although, it wouldn't hurt to try. I used to underclock the memory to keep the card cooler, I didn't notice any adverse effects, then again, this was years ago.
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January 1, 2013 4:29:06 AM

It probably wouldn't help. You'd have to overclock that CPU rather than underclock the graphics card if you wanted better performance. Underclocking the 7870 is most likely simply going to leave performance at about the same until the graphics becomes enough of a bottle-neck for it to make performance even worse.
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January 1, 2013 11:43:32 AM

I Underclock my Mobility Radeon HD 4650 by ~20% But that is only because it's trying to melt it's self. Underclocking will technically heal the bottle neck, by removing the wide bit, then all your left with is a smaller pipe. Metaphors aside I guess your not trying to lower performance, but a good underclock will save you some heat production, and therefore make it run quieter and (electrically) cheaper.

I will say that UC'ing can have some unexpected, but (for me anyway) harmless side effects. I cannot run two screens together on my system now, as the card doesn't seem to be able to redraw the screens in time for both refreshes. Not really a problem for me, whenever I need 2 screens I just turn the card back up to full power.
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January 1, 2013 11:54:43 AM

OC your cpu or turn down the graphics settings. Do you have a stock cpu cooler - if so you do not want to "crank it up" very much.
-Bruce
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January 3, 2013 6:44:39 PM

I do have a hyper 212 cooler except my cpu still reaches 58 C when playing far cry 3 and battlefield 3. I have it overclocked from 3.0 to 3.3 Ghz. I tried going up to 3.4 Ghz but it started giving me blue screens and the only way to get past that is to increase voltage. The problem, though, is that my cpu would fry if I tweaked voltage. I'm not sure why it's getting so warm.
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January 3, 2013 8:42:59 PM

Have you considered a closed loop water cooler?
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January 4, 2013 12:53:29 AM

I guess the thought has crossed my mind but it's a little on the expensive side. If I absolutely have to resort to that, I will but if I can figure out something slightly more affordable, then that would be ideal for me.
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January 4, 2013 7:56:12 PM

Closed loop coolers aren't worth the money except for a few uncommon circumstances. High-end air coolers are generally just as good at cooling and are generally much cheaper. Heck, some air coolers are better at cooling than every closed loop CPU cooler available.

For example, one of the cheapest closed loop coolers, the Corsair H60, can be had for around $50-60 IIRC, yet it doesn't cool any better than the Hyper 212 Plus and Hyper 212 Evo coolers. One of the most expensive coolers, the corsair H100, doesn't cool any better than the top Phanteks and Noctua air coolers, as well as a few others.
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January 4, 2013 11:31:09 PM

hm. I see. It might be bad air flow because my case doesn't allow for good cable management and my PSU is kinda close to the cpu/heatsink and might be contributing lots of heat. Then again, I don't see how anything short of buying a full tower case would solve that problem, and even then, I find it hard to believe it would make THAT big of a difference. Lots to ponder, I suppose.
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January 5, 2013 3:57:41 AM

Closed loop coolers can be helpful in tight cases.

The issue of having bad cable management and a PSU right next to the CPU cooler is easily solved by an ATX mid-tower with good cable management and a bottom-mounted PSU (PSU is in the bottom of the case instead of the top of the case). There's no need to go to a full tower to fix such issues :) 

Regardless, adding a fan to that CPU cooler and another fan or two to the case might make a world of difference for getting rid of that heat even if you stick with your current case. About $20 could do the trick, if you want to spend a little money in it, assuming that you don't have any spare fans that fit lying around.
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January 6, 2013 3:41:22 AM

I wouldn't mind spending money on fans, it's just that I don't think I have any more room for something as large as 120mm fans, and at that point I might as well buy a bigger case. The case I currently use have 2 pretty small fans installed (one on the side and one on the top).
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January 10, 2013 10:00:24 PM

The cooler Master Hyper 212 uses 92mm fans. The Hyper 212+ and Hyper 212 Evo use 120mm fans. Even another 80mm/90mm/92mm fan in the case might help. You don't need to upgrade to large fans to at least get some improvement from your current situation, especially if you don't have the room for them.

Do you have room for another 92mm fan on the cooler and another small fan or two in the case? Also, is the side fan an intake or exhaust fan?
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