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Benchmarks: ATI And Catalyst 9.6

Graphics Overclocking: Getting The Most From Your GPU
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ATI OverdriveATI OverdriveWe used RivaTuner to determine the highest stable clock speed for our card, since it allowed us to ignore the Catalyst driver’s 790/1,000 MHz limit. After a bit of trial and error, we settled on a clock speed combination of 820/1,030 MHz, which proved to be stable during our testing.

If you constrain yourself to drivers supplied by a third-party add-in board vendor, you’re definitely throwing away performance. Instead, we’d recommend downloading the most recent driver directly from ATI’s Web site and then tapping the card's overclocking potential using the integrated Overdrive feature.

In many cases, its overclocking range is sufficiently wide, since the frequency limit in the driver is already quite close to the hardware’s own. To use Overdrive, you only need to activate it once. Then you’re free to use the slider to adjust the frequencies as you like, after which you can test your new settings before applying them. If you want more options, use RivaTuner or the ATI Tray Tools instead, as they will let you bypass the drivers frequency limit.

O/C Mode
Clock Speeds (GPU/Memory)
Watts (3D)
Temperature (3D)
dB(A) 3D
MSI D.O.T Commander
790/1,000
292
72.0
46.4
Standard (default)
750/900
278
70.0
40.6
Maximum w/ RivaTuner
820/1,030
292
72.0
46.4


The table below is a testament to the importance of using a current driver. Even at default speeds, the newer Catalyst 9.6 can sustain higher average frame rates across the board than MSI’s older driver with D.O.T.

Overclocking the card as high as we could brought us closer to the 25 fps mark at 1920x1200 with 8xAA and 16xAF. 23.3 fps should minimize the performance dips noticeably and reduce in-game choppiness a good deal.

Far Cry 2, Radeon HD 4870 (GPU/Memory)
1920x1200 0xAA 0xAF
1920x1200 4xAA 8xAF
1920x1200 8xAA 16xAF
O/C Mode/Clock Speeds/CPU/CatalystMin
Average
Max
Min
Average
Max
Min
Average
Max
D.O.T. Commander, 790/1,000, i7@3.8, 8.546.7
58.5
81.7
33.1
44.8
84.2
20.1
29.8
44.8
Standard, 750/900, i7@3.8, 9.649.5
62.4
87.2
31.9
45.5
77.2
21.5
30.8
45.1
Maximum, 820/1,030, i7@3.8, 9.653.3
67.7
93.7
36.7
49.7
85.7
23.3
33.5
48.6


Left 4 Dead shows a marked performance improvement, and once we use the newest driver, the overclocked card really takes off. With the frequencies set to their maximum and anti-aliasing turned on, the benchmark may become unstable quickly, resulting in a crash. The card’s GDDR5 video memory is now running at 1,030 MHz--a full 130 MHz above its stock speed. That bumps it from 3,600 MT/s to 4,120 MT/s. Using software alone, that’s the best we could squeeze out of our test sample.

Left 4 Dead, Radeon HD 4870 (GPU/Memory)
1920x1200 0xAA 0xAF
1920x1200 4xAA 8xAF
1920x1200 8xAA 16xAF
O/C Mode/Clock Speeds/CPU/CatalystAverage
Average
Average
D.O.T. Commander, 790/1,000, i7@3.8, 8.5104.0
76.0
71.2
Standard, 750/900, i7@3.8, 9.6106.179.773.8
Maximum, 820/1,030, i7@3.8, 9.6115.387.480.6
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