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Looking for 7970 under $430 that is not voltage locked

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm finally thinking about upgrading my old "crusty" HIS 4890 Turbo to a 7970. For awhile I had my eye on the Gigabyte Windforce model but I understand that, like the Vapor-X, it's now voltage locked.

I really like this Powercolor AX7970 for the price as I thought I could eventually replace its sub-par cooler later with a GELID Icy Vision-A. My concern is that the low price may also mean a low ASIC where even a decent cooler would net little gain. I'm also concerned whether this card is voltage locked.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131468

I'm also giving thte following some consideration but have the same concerns as above.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202008
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150586

I'm open to suggestions but don't want to go over $430.

post #2 of 11
I have that Sapphire card you link to.

In Bios position 1 it is Voltage unlocked. My Sample ASIC is 72.4% and I run 1.3GHz core on air. I love the Heatsink cooler on it, it has tremendous bulk to it. Core Temps are always very good! . Although the noisyest thing in my case by far at 100% fan, but to be honest any would be.

They seem to be one of the worst offenders for Coil Whine though, just from what I read. Mine does this, although has dramatically improved over time. Just depends how good your tolorence levels are, and if you game with Headphones etc... My B-Grade stock card came direct from Sapphire with Glue all over the Coils which was done at the factory. It is dead silent on the Desktop though.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhole View Post

I have that Sapphire card you link to.

In Bios position 1 it is Voltage unlocked. My Sample ASIC is 72.4% and I run 1.3GHz core on air. I love the Heatsink cooler on it, it has tremendous bulk to it. Core Temps are always very good! . Although the noisyest thing in my case by far at 100% fan, but to be honest any would be.

They seem to be one of the worst offenders for Coil Whine though, just from what I read. Mine does this, although has dramatically improved over time. Just depends how good your tolorence levels are, and if you game with Headphones etc... My B-Grade stock card came direct from Sapphire with Glue all over the Coils which was done at the factory. It is dead silent on the Desktop though.

 

1300 is quite good for any air cooled 7970. What is your GPU vCore? Did you oc the mem as well?

 

I had an old X1900XTX that exhibited very annoying coil whine, but not nearly as bad the noisy "hairdryer" cooler. I've read where if you leave the 7970 running at a game menu for a day or two that it reduces the whine; sorta breaks in the coils I guess. Or simply enabling vsync can do it as well.

 

As I do with all my graphics cards, I'd replace the stock paste with a good aftermarket TIM (I have some Prolimatech PK-1 laying around here somewherethumb.gif).

post #4 of 11
Quote:
1300 is quite good for any air cooled 7970. What is your GPU vCore? Did you oc the mem as well?
My Vcore is currently at 1.293 in TriXX. Interestingly the latest 13.2 Beta 6 driver has allowed me to lower Core Voltage, but yet has increased average Core temp by a couple of degrees. My Temps are good though and I can afford the card to die on me. But some Manufacturers ship 7970's with 1.2+v on the core, so I really cannot see it causing much harm despite warnings from people. As it is a complete unknown and my Temps are good. But like I say, I guess the decider on Core temps is if you can afford to lose the card.

My Memory is at 1750 (7000 effective), Memory voltage is 1.612v just a fraction above the 1.6v stock. I can push higher with more volts, but there is no Temp sensor on the Memory chips, so I am going to wait until I can sort something out for that.

Quote:
I had an old X1900XTX that exhibited very annoying coil whine, but not nearly as bad the noisy "hairdryer" cooler. I've read where if you leave the 7970 running at a game menu for a day or two that it reduces the whine; sorta breaks in the coils I guess. Or simply enabling vsync can do it as well.
I was skeptical about this. But it does infact seem to work. It has not gone in my case but it has gone from around a 10 to a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. I have not left it over night yet. But just from benchmark and stress-test runs. I do find in-game menus that make it scream have a dramatic effect on it.
Quote:
As I do with all my graphics cards, I'd replace the stock paste with a good aftermarket TIM (I have some Prolimatech PK-1 laying around here somewhere:thumb: ).
Definately do that! I replaced the TIM on mine with CoolLabs Liquid Ultra. Temp Drops were 10 -15 degrees C on full load in Crysis 3 MP Beta. I hear that PK-1 is great stuff and non conductive I think.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

oops


Edited by NLight95 - 2/18/13 at 11:48pm
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

    Quote:
My Vcore is currently at 1.293 in TriXX. Interestingly the latest 13.2 Beta 6 driver has allowed me to lower Core Voltage, but yet has increased average Core temp by a couple of degrees. My Temps are good though and I can afford the card to die on me. But some Manufacturers ship 7970's with 1.2+v on the core, so I really cannot see it causing much harm despite warnings from people. As it is a complete unknown and my Temps are good. But like I say, I guess the decider on Core temps is if you can afford to lose the card.

 

In my case I couldn't afford to replace it, though I love to tweak and experiment! What is the max safe range for vCore on these cards?


Quote:
My Memory is at 1750 (7000 effective), Memory voltage is 1.612v just a fraction above the 1.6v stock. I can push higher with more volts, but there is no Temp sensor on the Memory chips, so I am going to wait until I can sort something out for that.

 

That's one hell of an oc on the memory. You must have some good airflow in your case as well. I want to replace the top cover in my Lian Li A77 because the stock one doesn't have any holes for top-mounted exhaust fans or a radiator.

post #7 of 11
Quote:
In my case I couldn't afford to replace it, though I love to tweak and experiment! What is the max safe range for vCore on these cards?
I'm not sure anyone really knows. Afterburner only allows a max of 1.3v. Modded TriXX allows a max of 1.381v.
Some GHZ Edition cards have 1.2+v Cores, so its probably safe to assume that that is safe for 24/7. In my experience 1.3 is ok if you Temps are below 75c and your VRMs are below 80 degrees C. Higher volts will shorten lifespan of course. But nobody really knows 100% for sure how much it will.
Quote:
That's one hell of an oc on the memory. You must have some good airflow in your case as well. I want to replace the top cover in my Lian Li A77 because the stock one doesn't have any holes for top-mounted exhaust fans or a radiator.
I have a a basic no-name/brand case, but it has a huge 220mm side fan slow running ~900rpm sucking air in, but it is level with the Graphics card, which I am sure aids cooling a lot. I have one fan at the front (120mm) at the bottom of the drive bays, sucking air is. And one 120mm fan blowing air out at the back next level with the CPU.

Do you have good cable management and a fan sucking air in at the front?
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhole View Post

Do you have good cable management and a fan sucking air in at the front?

 

Currently I have my case apart where the mb tray & two drive cages are sitting on top of my desk; this is only temporary until I get most of my testing done. My case has one side and rear 120mm fans. In the front there are three blue led Yate-Loon 120s drawing in air (I replaced the stock units with these), so overall my case flow isn't too bad. One of the limitations of the A77 is that there are few cable grommets to work with so cable management is average at best. I could always cut more holes but to be honest I'm not that much of a craftsman when it comes to those sort of things.

 

I wouldn't mind purchasing a new case but I can't fit it in my budget right now. In the past I've found it very difficult to sell used cases and I know I'd take a loss on my A77, even though it's completely stock (except for the aforementioned Yate-Loon fans, and I could always go back to the stock LL fans which I have stored away) . I'd consider trading my A77 even up for a new NZXT Phantom or Xigmatek Elysium but the likelihood of that I consider very slim.

 

I believe side fans, especially the 200 mm+ variety, do more to cool components than any other case fan. If I purchased a new case a large side fan would be a must, and preferably at least one 120/140 on top.

post #9 of 11
I just purchased the sapphire oc the other day after doing quite a bit of research (best card available other than msi lightning and upcoming cards). I contacted Sapphire last week and neither bios' are voltage locked, boost or not.
C3ntury
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
I7 920 D0 EVGA E758-A1 3-Way SLI Sapphire 7970 OC with Boost OCZ Platinum 6GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Intel X25-M Mainstream Western Digital WD Black WD1001FALS Seagate Barracuda 7200  Pioneer Black Blu-ray Disc/DVD/CD BDR-205BKS 
Optical DriveCoolingCoolingOS
LiteOn DVD Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.B  Lamptron FC Touch Win 7 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Emerson 40" LCD CM Storm Quickfire Rapid CORSAIR HX Series HX850 850W Haf 922 
Mouse
Logitech G9x 
  hide details  
Reply
C3ntury
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
I7 920 D0 EVGA E758-A1 3-Way SLI Sapphire 7970 OC with Boost OCZ Platinum 6GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Intel X25-M Mainstream Western Digital WD Black WD1001FALS Seagate Barracuda 7200  Pioneer Black Blu-ray Disc/DVD/CD BDR-205BKS 
Optical DriveCoolingCoolingOS
LiteOn DVD Prolimatech Megahalems Rev.B  Lamptron FC Touch Win 7 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Emerson 40" LCD CM Storm Quickfire Rapid CORSAIR HX Series HX850 850W Haf 922 
Mouse
Logitech G9x 
  hide details  
Reply
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by C3ntury View Post

I just purchased the sapphire oc the other day after doing quite a bit of research (best card available other than msi lightning and upcoming cards). I contacted Sapphire last week and neither bios' are voltage locked, boost or not.


Awesome! Wish I had the money for a Lightning but it's out of my price range. How well is the mem cooled on the Sapphire? Is this the one you're referring to: (just double checking)

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814202008

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