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7970 VGA Cooler Mystery

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi all, new member here. Not sure if this is the right place for this - if not, please point me to the correct board.


I'm trying to solve a problem I created by overclocking my Sapphire HD 7970. I'm not very good at prose, so here's a list of the key events leading up to the problem:

1) Had my 7970 for about a year, during which I had a cooler that may have been insufficient for it: Accelero Twin Turbo II (I later found out that 7970 was not on its list of supported VGAs)

2) Decided to get a cooler designed for the 7970 instead: Accelero Xtreme 7970

3) Install new cooler - including using thermal adhesive to attach heatsinks (as per instructions)

4) Played BF3 for a couple of hours overclocked to the maximum that CCC allows (1125 core, 1575 memory). Running very well; significant FPS increase and temperature < 80

5) After quitting the game, decide to run fans at 100% to test the noise level

6) After a couple of minutes, Windows (7) UI starts getting a bit choppy, and a few seconds later, PC switches off

7) Wait a few minutes, try switching PC back on - nothing happens. No beep code, no lights, no sign of life at all

8) Remove card, PC boots fine


These are the steps I've tried so far towards fixing it:

1) Bought a new power supply - previous one was only 530W which possibly couldn't provide the power required by the fans (though according to several PSU calculators it was sufficient for my setup). No joy.

2) Bought a new Sapphire 7970 (this is becoming a very expensive investigation..) PC boots and card works fine

3) Replace stock cooler with Accelero Xtreme 7970 (including heatsinks), same problem as before - PC won't turn on

4) Replace stock cooler with Accelero Twin Turbo II (the old cooler from before) - still same problem.


Conclusion:
This would suggest that the problem is with the motherboard (which is around 2 years old), but the interesting thing is that the 7970 worked fine with the stock cooler, but not with either of the Arctic coolers. Anyway before I go buying any more components and using up the last of my savings, I would really appreciate any advice that you guys might have.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, really looking forward to any insight you might be able to give. Thanks in advance.


UPDATE
After a few hours of investigation and hijacking the PC of a disgruntled flatmate, it seems the culprit was the heatsinks.

I tried putting my card in my flatmate's PC, and the same thing happened as with mine - it wouldn't boot. Then I tried putting his card in my machine, and it booted and worked fine. Seems pretty conclusive that it's the card that's the problem and not the MOBO.

So, based on the fact that the second 7970 worked fine until I installed the new cooler and heatsinks, I assumed that it may have been a heatsink causing a short circuit. I removed the heatsinks in an area that looked a bit dodgey, and hey presto, my PC booted. However, it did crash after a couple of minutes so I guess some damage was done to the card.


FINAL CONCLUSION (HONEST!)

The heat sinks were causing the card to short, even though I scrupulously followed all the instructions that came with the Accelero Xtreme 7970. Seriously unimpressed with Arctic about this as they have cost me over $1000 in damage. I'll be demanding some sort of compensation, but in the mean time, I would advise anyone considering buying one of these coolers to be careful when following their instructions on installing the heatsinks.
Edited by JorjEade - 7/7/13 at 7:42am
post #2 of 6
shouldn't be motherboard if the second 7970 worked fine... most likely some kind of short, could possibly killed the card, but hopefully not.

maybe refer to some of these posts to troubleshoot 7970 (a LOT of pages though...) http://www.overclock.net/t/1203636/official-amd-ati-gpu-mod-club-aka-the-red-mod

does the heatsink have a shim of any kind? if so, seating the heatsink will be difficult and hard to do with just two hands... might need to try several times to get it lined up where it's not going to touch any other metal on the card.
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post #3 of 6
buying your used one a guy did once that to me!!!! sorry did you applied thermic silicone whatever to it when putting the fan or not touching it at all, 530 w is a bit narrow maybe a virus? I had to reinstall 2. it looks burned I would not paly with something so expensive. Treat it as an expensive cpu. watter cooling maybe with 2 of them but burn it and 530 low watt for it. Material thermal transmission varies, in something so extreme better trust the assembler, in my opinion, oh the voltage, no one ever told you...
Edited by Cinick - 7/7/13 at 6:05am
post #4 of 6
Any help would be greatly appreciated, really looking forward to any insight you might be able to give. Thanks in advance. I am going to introduce to the first dogma of computer science if it works do not touch it! oh you edited that you burned two, not to touch one like this until years pass really, but with two in tandem, i guess intel it would had been massive your game rig... I worked in making them, I still know how to calibrate one thumb.gif <><><> ahh funny... think at not at steady voltage but at an alternate source in steady, with frequency, ou youh, simple to simplify each >< collision provokes heat, well, just the voltage has to maintain the other parts of the board working the rest as down as you can as the long as chip works, easy! Coward you hide behind an edit! You burned 2 7970!
Edited by Cinick - 7/7/13 at 7:14am
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Dragon View Post

shouldn't be motherboard if the second 7970 worked fine... most likely some kind of short, could possibly killed the card, but hopefully not.

maybe refer to some of these posts to troubleshoot 7970 (a LOT of pages though...) http://www.overclock.net/t/1203636/official-amd-ati-gpu-mod-club-aka-the-red-mod

does the heatsink have a shim of any kind? if so, seating the heatsink will be difficult and hard to do with just two hands... might need to try several times to get it lined up where it's not going to touch any other metal on the card.

The heat sinks didn't have any kind of shim, I had to do it all by eye and using insulating tape (as directed by the instructions)

Anyway it seems it was the heat sinks causing the problem.. see my update in the first comment for details. And thanks for the help smile.gif
post #6 of 6
might be damaged, but worth checking... you can clean the chips off on the second card and reset to normal clocks and redo the thermal paste (TIM) and see where that gets you one that one...
for the first card, I'd retry the kit- just make sure you see where the metal is touching, if there isn't a special 'slightly shorter' heatsink for that spot, then just make one. sand it down, cut it... as long as it's getting air... also.. are those small heatsinks required? looks like the fans would still blow air on them, even if it's warm, it should still move some of the heat... maybe the large heatsink and fans and leave off any that could cause problems...

BTW- is second card under warranty? maybe see if they will do an RMA...
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HAF Dragon
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AMD Radeon™ RP1866 Performance Series OCZ VERTEX 3 OCZ VERTEX 3 Seagate Hybrid drive 
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