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  • nightstar - Thursday, December 03, 2009 - link

    I enjoyed reading this artical. I found it to be well written and researched, with one exception. You quote AMD as calling Furmark and OCCT "power virus".

    I expect the authors and editors at such a prestigious website as Anandtech would understand what a virus is in the context of computer software, however some clarification seems to be required. A virus is malware that self replicates after infecting a system, spreading to other systems.

    To the best of my knowlege neither of the aforementioned stress testing software tools fit the criteria of a "power virus" or any sort of computer virus for that matter. While I'm not surprised that a hardware manufacturer would try to spin a design deficiency by redefining worlds I hold journalists to a higher standard than Corporate PR reps.

    How very Orwellian of you.

    War is peace, Freedom is slavery. Certain third party stress-testing programs are power viruses...?
    Reply
  • AuDioFreaK39 - Sunday, January 17, 2010 - link

    I find that explanation to be a little extreme. Reply
  • TurboMecca - Thursday, December 03, 2009 - link

    I've got a Powercolor 4870PCS+ (1GB, slight factory-overclock) and it displayed the same problem when running Furmark and
    other demanding graphic-intense programs.
    Powercolor later decreased the factory overclocking of this card to just a mild/small overclock (without telling it's customers, same old O/C figures at their site). They also increased min fan speed to 63% which made the card sound like a old GeForce 5800:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFZ39nQ_k90">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFZ39nQ_k90

    Even later Ati made their graphicsdriver recognize when Furmark was being run and underclocked the card to cope with Furmark (at a lower FPS of course).
    This is ridiculous and embarassing both for Ati/AMD and all the hardware-testing sites (Anandtech hereby excluded, after this article :-))
    Stupid manufacturers that cannot construct a graphics-card that manage to run stable at even base clocks.
    Reply
  • TurboMecca - Thursday, December 03, 2009 - link

    I had some links to articles at EXPreview that verified my statement above, but they doesn't seem to be accessible at this time (maybe later):
    http://en.expreview.com/?p=680">http://en.expreview.com/?p=680
    http://en.expreview.com/?p=700">http://en.expreview.com/?p=700
    Reply
  • TurboMecca - Thursday, December 03, 2009 - link

    I might as well add that the "cooling" solution (heatsink) on my Powercolor 4870 PCS+ doesn't even seem to make contact with the VRM:s.
    So instead of help cooling the VRM:s the stupid designers at Powercolor manage to cave in/embed the VRM:s, thus increasing the temperature even further.
    Reply
  • LedHed - Tuesday, December 01, 2009 - link

    ATI has been designing their X2 cards cooler like this for what? 3 years? From the beginning people have been telling them that the design results in hot air of one GPU being blown into the other; resulting in one GPU being hotter.

    I find it hilarious that ATI has done this AGAIN with their "top dog" card. I own a GTX 295 and it idles @ 41C and Full loads @75C, if NVIDIA figured out how to cool dual GPU cards so well over a year ago why is ATI still scratching their heads?

    Once again ATI has produced an overly HOT card that can't be used to it's full potential with the stock cooler.
    Reply
  • Proxicon - Saturday, November 28, 2009 - link

    I think I would rather get two 5870's than this, except currently this is a cheaper alternative by close to $150.00 dollars with the pricing inflation ala demand.

    Also, I don't think it's a good idea to be using AS-5 or anything with silver that is conductive on this 600 dollar + card or its VRM's or anywhere on that PCB if I was you, unless your sure that you could keep it in the right spots putting that massive heatsink back on.

    Maybe AS-5 on GPU and Ceramique for all the lil VRM's and stuff that might overflow off and onto the board.

    They will release a waterblock for this thing that will cool the GPU's and VRM's if you want to overclock. I think you could expect more dramatic results with that.

    I think this card is a solid deal.

    GO ATI!!
    Reply
  • fausto412 - Saturday, November 28, 2009 - link

    i think ATI will have to address their cooling design and the location of VRM's in future cards. this is a major discovery and i wouldn't buy this card based on those super high VRM temps. i know i probably would not run into issue but components that run that much hotten than usual ones can't last as long. i look forward to an update on this issue and what if anything ATI will do to mitigae the problem. Reply
  • Targon - Sunday, November 29, 2009 - link

    This is something that most people don't seem to understand about ATI/AMD and NVIDIA. Both companies release reference designs, but NVIDIA does NOT make retail graphics cards, and it is hit and miss if ATI/AMD will release a retail card or not for a given GPU these days.

    So, you have those companies that will just copy the reference design, and may reproduce a design flaw in the reference design, and you have those that come up with their own cooling solution which DOES tend to be better than the reference design. Those, such as Sapphire Tech that have their own cooling solutions will hopefully solve this problem and provide a much better experience.
    Reply
  • Proxicon - Saturday, November 28, 2009 - link

    VRM temps were really only an issue when overclocking, otherwise they were running within there temp boundarys. I think thats what the article said maybe I misunderstood. Reply
  • Hauk - Friday, November 27, 2009 - link

    The copper bar for those VRMs needs to be connected to something. The low grade metal of the cooler body isn't wicking/dissipating heat away from the copper bar fast enough. Slap the best TIM available under the copper bar, you still have a traffic jam ahead.. Reply
  • overclocking101 - Friday, November 27, 2009 - link

    have you tried a preassure mod at all? i mean just some small plastic washers? this brought my 4870 vrms down by almost 10c!! and they were under a bar just like that im thinking amd is not putting enough preassure for the cooler to make the best contact to be safe not to "cruch or ruin" any of the component but just some small plastic washers help a lot at least in my case they did. just a thought Reply
  • jigglywiggly - Saturday, November 28, 2009 - link

    I am going to get one(probably), I am wondering, how big is the gap between the vrm and the heatsink? Is it enough to put a goop of thermal paste? I was thinking of using mx-2, it would probably help, I don't want to use their thermal tape. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Saturday, November 28, 2009 - link

    I didn't bother measuring it, but it's big enough that you can't use paste. Something sizable needs to be there to connect the metal bar with the VRMs. The VRMs and the memory chips sit much lower than the GPUs themselves do. Reply
  • wh3resmycar - Friday, November 27, 2009 - link

    i have a feeling ati-fanboys all over will perfectly find this article "offending".

    Reply
  • xpclient - Friday, November 27, 2009 - link

    Please I want video encoding, decoding/playback benchmarks. I read in their forums that ATI doesn't use DXVA HD (introduced in Windows 7) on their GPUs but their own API. Intel and Nvidia use DXVA HD. Reply
  • PorscheRacer - Thursday, November 26, 2009 - link

    I had this problem on my R600 reference design, though instead of the throttling I would get lockups, hangs or bluescreens when severely overclocked. After removing the backplate and front cover/heatsink, I removed the old thermal pads and applied liquid metal and AS5 for the VRMs and AS5 for the die. Everest showed a significant drop in temperatures and less ramping up of the fan. VRMs are unknown as Everest doesn't report this... I think ATITool did, but I don't recall that anymore.

    Very interesting though, and thanks for the investigative journalism. It's one thing to say, oh well in this benchamrk for some reason the 5970 did poorly, and another to explain why it did.
    Reply
  • Sahrin - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    So far as I have read, AT is the only website that has had any issues getting the 5970 to 850/1200 on both GPUs. Has anyone considered the possibility that AT just got a bad sample? I know AMD 'built these to overclock' - but stock is stock is stock. I'd be interested to see what your testing environment is, and if there's any impact from that on temperatures. From the articles I have read, the clock increases have been pretty painless.

    Is AT's part a review sample or a retail card?
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    It's a review sample, but it's identical to a real card.

    And yes, it's always possible we got a bad sample. But bear in mind that throttling probably isn't going to show up in a game. So unless the other guys ran FurMark/OCCT/Dnet and were specifically looking for it, they would have never noticed. I'd be surprised if their cards' VRMs didn't get similarly hot.
    Reply
  • Zok - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    Maybe my eyes are deceiving me, but it looks like there is a 10th VRM chip at the top of the board, where it makes contact with similar white thermal goop used on the other 9. Could you comment on this Ryan? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    Your eyes deceive you. There are only 9 VRMs. I think I see what you mean, that's just another small chip. Reply
  • largon - Thursday, November 26, 2009 - link

    Fact is, there are not just 9, and not even 10 but 13 pieces of VRMs of various models of Volterra slave chipsets and other non-Volterra parts on the card.

    Here's a complete list:
    - 3× Volterra VT1157SFs silkscreened as "U71, U72 and U73" located above the PLX, coupled with the lone horizontal CPLA-3-50 choke "L22/L23". These feed the GPU silkscreened as "U1". Controlled by the VT1165MF marked as "U70".
    - 3× Volterra VT1157SFs silkscreened as "U87, U88 and U89" coupled with the vertical CPLA-3-50 choke "L26/L27". located to the right of GPU on the right. These feed the GPU silkscreened as "U2". Controlled by the VT1165MF marked as "U86".
    - 2× Volterra VT1157SFs silkscreened as "U76 and U77" coupled with the vertical CPLA-2-50 choke "L21". These feed RV870 GPU "uncore" I/O (GDDR5 ctrl?), 2 phases shared for both GPUs. Controlled by the VT1165MF marked as "U75".
    - 1× Volterra VT232WF silkscreened as "U60" coupled with a 1005R1 choke "L14", located above GPU "U2". This feeds the GDDR5 chips their VDD or VDDQ (no way to tell which just by looking).
    - 1× Volterra VT232WF silkscreened as "U60" coupled with a 1005R1 choke "L15", located below the vertical CPLA-3-50. This feeds the GDDR5 chips their VDD or VDDQ (no way to tell which just by looking).
    - 2× Infineon n-channel MOSFETs (042N03LS + 119N03S) silkscreened as "Q1" and "Q2", respectively, coupled with a 1R5 choke "L1" located on the bottom edge of the PCB, below and left of the vertical CPLA-3-50. These are for the PLX bridge chip.
    - 1× AOSMD (AO)Z1024DI low-power integrated buck regulator coupled with a 4R7 choke "L33" located above the vertical CPLA-2-50 choke "L21". I don't know what purpose it serves.
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Thursday, November 26, 2009 - link

    Thank you! Reply
  • largon - Thursday, November 26, 2009 - link

    Correcting a few typing errors:

    - 1× Volterra VT232WF silkscreened as "U61" coupled with a 1005R1 choke "L15", located below the vertical CPLA-3-50. This feeds the GDDR5 chips their VDD or VDDQ (no way to tell which just by looking).

    - 2× Infineon n-channel MOSFETs (042N03LS + 119N03S) silkscreened as "Q2" and "Q1", respectively, coupled with a 1R5 choke "L1" located on the bottom edge of the PCB, below and left of the vertical CPLA-3-50. These are for the PLX bridge chip.
    Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    It looks like one of the VRMs on the right didn't even touch the heatsink, it has no thermal goop on it and there is n oindentation on the TIM either. Maybe better contact would help? Is Anand's card similar or wose for contact? Could be a quality control thing. Reply
  • greywood - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    Second that - - from the photo, it looks like at least two VRM's at the bottom right side and all three at the top center are making little if any contact with the TIM. Might be interesting to clean off the generic goop, re-apply some AS5 (or such) then really "cinch-down" the HSF and try re-testing? Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    I think Ryan scraped that off to read off the FET part numbers. I asked him the FET model numbers because I wanted to find out if ATI had used 45amp slaves.

    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    Bingo. The clean VRM is the one I scraped clean to get the model number. Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Thursday, November 26, 2009 - link

    Each VGPU FET is spec'd at 40 amps. So 120 amps tops per GPU.

    regards
    Raja


    Reply
  • mindless1 - Thursday, November 26, 2009 - link

    Spec'd at 40 amps if they had adequate copper under them, ++ heatsinking on top Reply
  • sciwizam - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    I think it would be easier to understand, if you can label the parts being discussed (GPU1 or 2, and which set of VRMs are feeding which GPU) in the 2nd set of pics. Reply
  • sciwizam - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    strikeout "feeding", "associated" with Reply
  • sciwizam - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    strikeout "feeding", "associated" with Reply
  • Pjmcnally - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    In your article you suggest that VRAM temps wont effect most normal users of this card. That may be true but there are several threads over on the Borderlands PC users forum complaining about overheating based shut downs on ATI 4XXX and 5XXX series cards. At least one has specifically linked the problem to the VRAM. If you have a copy of the game lying around maybe you can check it out. Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    Just to be clear, I'm talking about the Voltage Regulator Module (VRM), not the Video RAM (VRAM). Reply
  • Pjmcnally - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    Yeah...Sorry about that. Reading comprehension fail on my part. Next time I will pay more attention. Reply
  • Gutcheck2009 - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    So your better off getting 2 5870's or 2 5850's. I have 3 5850's and they all do 900/1200 on air. I have EK blocks on them and they never get above 55C for the cores. The VRM's are also cooled by the block. EK says they do get hot, so I am glad I am on water. Reply
  • The0ne - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    Are there plans to attempt to cool the VRMs to actually see what the outcome will be? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    Not at this time I'm afraid. I don't have a practical alternative method to cool the VRMs on the right side. Reply
  • titanmiller - Friday, November 27, 2009 - link

    How about adding a twist to the fan's spokes so that it directs air downward like a traditional fan? Reply
  • mindless1 - Thursday, November 26, 2009 - link

    Assuming they used vias under the chips (surely they would or else they might overheat... oh, wait...), you might try pointing a fan at the back of the card though these days fancy mobo NB 'sinks often get in the way. Reply
  • Pneumothorax - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    Looks like the design of placing the GPU1 VRM's on the right side of the board would require the fan to be placed further back (and elongating a card that barely fits) to adequately cool them. Reply
  • cgramer - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    From the article:

    "It’s also worth noting that all the 5800 series cards share the design of placing the VRMs under a metal bar under the fan, but the 5970 seems to suffer more for it compared to the 5970."

    I assume you meant to compare it to another card, rather than to itself?

    Good article otherwise... Interesting to keep an eye on the latest generation of cards as I get ready to build my next system. Thanks!
    Reply
  • cgramer - Wednesday, November 25, 2009 - link

    Never mind -- corrected before I even managed to post my comment. :-) Reply
  • geogan - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    Interesting article. Just FYI here's some numbers I got with Sapphire ATI Radeon HD5970 2Gb + Koolance VID-AR597 waterblock combination:

    Idle:
    (400MHz/1.049V/1010MHz)
    GPU1: 37°C
    VRM1: 38°C
    GPU2: 32°C
    VRM2: 38°C

    CPU:3150MHz (150x21):

    FURMARK stability 1024x768 windowed No MSAA
    MIN:108 AVG:135 MAX:183
    8 mins (480secs) (735MHz/1.049V/1010MHz)
    GPU1: 50°C
    VRM1: 77°C
    GPU2: 46°C
    VRM2: 72°C

    FURMARK OC stability 1024x768 windowed No MSAA
    MIN:111 AVG:154 MAX:210
    8 mins (480secs) (850MHz/1.1V/1200MHz)
    GPU1: 55°C
    VRM1: 94°C
    GPU2: 52°C
    VRM2: 88°C

    I have been trying to do furmark run with CPU clocked at 4200MHz (which is stable) but something on motherboard doesn't like the combination and starts loud warning beeping sound which I have been unable to diagnose as yet.
    Reply

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