So I had a noob moment tonight. I was planning on sending the card out tomorrow, and was doing some reading up on 7970 overclocking. That's when I found this thread and the bulb above my head turned on:
And it got me thinking... What if this card was overclocking poorly due to me improperly setting the Graphics Processor Type. So I pulled the card out of the box, and put it back in the rig to give it one last shot. Once I read that thread I realized how stupid I was to just foolishly assume it needed to be set to 1.1750V before...
So I calculated the quality of the GPU:
346 hex = 838 dec
(838/1023)100 = 81.91%
At this moment I started to facepalm, and think, CRAP, no wonder the overclock wasn't stable, I had the dang mV set too high for the Graphics Processor Type.
So then I took the percentage and got the _correct_ value I needed for the Graphics processor type in MSI afterburner, which is 1112mV. I then immediately saw the correlation between the stock voltage and this number. I am quite upset with myself that I missed something so obvious.
So here is the chart I used:
up to 2F90 (up to 75% quality) - 1.1750V
up to 34D0 (up to 80% quality) - 1.1125V
up to 3820 (up to 85% quality) - 1.0500V
up to 3A90 (up to 90% quality) - 1.0250V
I set 1112mV for my graphics processor and so far have managed to get the core Voltage to 1200mV and a 1200 core clock without a single issue (tested with BF3). This was just a quick, set and see if it will work run--I didn't do this slow, I just tossed in some numbers that I know previously caused an instant crash to cure my curiosity. Verdict? It ran under load without issue. It would previously instantly crash with these settings, yet it now behaves admirably. So it appears the setting for Graphics processor Type in MSI afterburner fixed my overclocking woes in regard to this card. It is running quite cool too, even with the stock cooler--high/mid 60s with that overclock under load with 75% fan speed manually set. So it is safe to say I just had a freaking noob moment /facepalm and this card isn't _all_ bad.
So I guess this is sort-of bittersweet. The card is non-reference being sold under their reference model number. That upsets me. But, at least from this quick check, the card still is able to overclock fairly well, I just wasn't _doing it right_. I will do some proper overclocking later to see what it can really do.
So there ya go. Take what you want from this. It is a non-reference card with a reference layout PCB, so the reference blocks fit. And so far, at least, it seems to overclock to at least 1200 core. I will do some more testing with it and hold off on the RMA. At least for now.
Just wanted to post some more information on this, even if it is information that exposes a real noob moment of mine.
I guess that is a way one learns, I suppose.
Put the EK block back on the card, it is running stable at 1200/1500 @1.2V core. Haven't tried to go too much higher yet, honestly I am a bit happy with these clocks, and a bit hesitant to volt too much higher. On water, 99% card usage in BF3, I am running 47 - 49C on the card--temps are good, I believe.
I tell ya what, you want to have your GF/wifey all on-board with you spending money on watercooling? Put a 7970's reference cooler @ 80% and game. She'll be begging you to put a waterblock on the card, I promise lol. It was priceless. Imagine a short lil' blond yelling at her nerdy boyfriend, 'You watercool that card RIGHT NOW!' That was my night... Awesome-ness.Edited by svthomas - 2/28/12 at 8:53am