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ASUS EAH3870 X2 Top/G/3DHTI/1G/A Radeon HD 3870 X2 Videocard

ASUS EAH3870 X2 Top/G/3DHTI/1G/A Radeon HD 3870 X2 Videocard - PCSTATS
Abstract: The ASUS EAH3870 X2 1GB TOP - which is quite a mouthful to say, by the way - packs in twin ATI RV680 GPUs, packaged together in Crossfire mode on a single PCI Express videocard.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Video Cards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ASUS Nov 13 2008   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Video Cards > ASUS EAH3870 X2 Top/G/3DHTI/1G/A

Overclocking the Twin Radeon 4870 GPUs

Overclocking Results:
Stock Overclocked
GPU (Core) Speed: 850 MHz 940 MHz
Memory Speed: (950) 1900 MHz (1100) 2200 MHz DDR
If you're new to Overclocking and not sure what to do, check out these two excellent Guides for some pointers:
Overclocking the CPU and Memory
Overclocking the Videocard
The ASUS EAH3870 X2 Top/G/3DHTI/1G/A videocard ships with pre-overclocked GPUs running at 850MHz. That's an increase from the ATI default clock speed of 825MHz GPU. The 1GB of GDDR3 memory runs at 950Mhz (1900Mhz DDR), which is up from the stock speed of 900MHz. Overclocking dual GPU videocards is always a tricky endeavor, but that doesn't mean PCSTATS won't be looking for some really good overclocking results with this ASUS videocard. Let's begin!!

As usual, overclocking was done through the ATI Catalyst Control Center and ATI Overdrive which unlocks GPU and memory clock speed. PCSTATS started with the GPU first, pausing to test the results with a quick 3D benchmark before continuing. We take note of any stability problems or the appearance of artifacts, and then list the maximum stable and artifact-free overclocked speed the videocard can attain.

Please note that the ATI Overdrive option which allows you to overclock the twin crossfire'd HD 3870 GPUs will not be available unless both an 8-pin and 6-pin PCI Express power connector are plugged into the videocard. If you've had to use two 6-pin power connectors the feature will remain disabled.

Starting with the GPUs first, we're happy to say that from a starting point of 850MHz the ASUS EAH3870 X2 Top/G/3DHTI/1G/A's twin HD 3870 GPUs successfully achieved 940Mhz overclock without any sign of artifacts or instability. We weren't able to push things further however, as distinct stability problems manifested at speeds of 945MHz and higher. A GPU speed of 940MHz is pretty sweet though!

Overclocking the ASUS EAH3870 X2 Top/G/3DHTI/1G/A's 1GB of DDR3 memory proved fairly unexciting too, as PCSTATS was easily able to raise it to a maximum of 1100MHz (2200MHz DDR) without much effort.

Clearly additional tweaking headroom is packed into the ASUS EAH3870 X2 Top/G/3DHTI/1G/A videocard, and unlike the MSI HD 3870 X2 this baby overclocks like a monster!

Let's jump into the benchmarks now and see how it handles against Crysis, and a few other intensive tests, but first here's that all important fan speed tweak. This is a must for any dual GPU Radeon videocard unless you like seeing GPU core temperatures in the 90C range.

Tweaking Fan Speed for Lower Temperatures

After a few rounds of benchmarking with the ASUS EAH3870 X2 temperatures were stratospherically hot. Curiously, in spite of the burn-your-fingers-heatsink-temperature, the videocard's two fans remained relatively slow and quiet throughout testing. It's a safe bet the videocard's twin GPUs were generating heat like fiery furnace, and sure enough GPU temperatures were hovering around the 80-90C mark.... far from ideal conditions regardless of how quiet the videocard was operating.

Why the heatsink's fan wasn't kicking up the RPM to deal with the heat is a question only AMD can address, drivers always seems to its weakest point. Luckily, there is a quick software hack you can do to dramatically lower GPU and memory temperatures. Credit is due to Guru3d.com for coming up with this one, and you'll find that it applies to just about any ATI Radeon videocard on the market. In fact, this is the same technique PCSTATS used with the Palit Radeon HD 4870 X2 series.

First ensure that Catalyst 8.8 drivers are installed (or newer), then open up Catalyst Control Center and go to > ATI Overdrive > and enable overdrive by clicking on the little padlock icon. Next, click on Profiles > Profile Manager and create a new profile called "Lower Fan Tweak". Check "all catalyst control center settings" and click Save. Next, within Windows Vista go to:

C:\Users\*your ID*\Appdata\Local\ATI\ACE\Profiles\Lower Fan Tweak.xml

Right click on the file and select "edit", we need to edit some parameters in the XML.

Find "FanSpeedAlgorithm" and change value="Automatic" to value="Manual". The term "manual" is case sensitive, so spell it Manual.
Next, find "FanSpeedPercentTarget_1" and change <property name="want" value="23"> to your desired fan speed percentage, value="100" for full fan speed, value="50" for half, you get the idea. The number may be 23, or some other integer.

Note that if you change the values for FanSpeedPercentTarget_0, this won't work on the dual GPU HD 3870 X2 videocard - that parameter (the "_0" parameter) is for the single GPU Radeon HD 3870 videocards. I made this mistake the first time and it took me a couple minutes to figure out why the fan speed didn't change at all.

Save the XML file you've just edited. Back in the Catalyst Control Center load up the "Lower Fan Tweak" profile. You should immediately notice the fan on the ASUS EAH3870 X2 speed up to 100% duty.

For our testing PCSTATS simply set the value to 100, which results in a pretty vigorous whooshing noise. Within a few minutes the GPU temperature fell to a reasonable 40-50C range with fan speed at 100% duty. If you play around with the values you'll find a happy medium to achieve low temps and moderate noise levels.

Next up are the benchmarks!

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Contents of Article: ASUS EAH3870 X2 Top/G/3DHTI/1G/A
 Pg 1.  ASUS EAH3870 X2 Top/G/3DHTI/1G/A Radeon HD 3870 X2 Videocard
 Pg 2.  AMD Radeon HD 3870 X2 Technology Overview
 Pg 3.  Videocard Power Consumption Measurements
 Pg 4.  — Overclocking the Twin Radeon 4870 GPUs
 Pg 5.  Videocard Benchmarks: System Specs, 3DMark Vantage, Crysis
 Pg 6.  Videocard Benchmarks: 3DMark 3DMark06
 Pg 7.  DX10 Videocard Benchmarks: Call of Juarez
 Pg 8.  DX10 Videocard Benchmarks: Lost Planet
 Pg 9.  Videocard Benchmarks: FEAR
 Pg 10.  Advanced videocard Benchmarks: Crysis, Quake 4
 Pg 11.  Advanced Videocard Benchmarks: FEAR
 Pg 12.  Conclusions: HD 3870 X2 Still Competitive?

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