|GIGABYTE Radeon HD 6850 GV-R685OC-1GD|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Servando Silva|
|Tuesday, 18 January 2011|
Page 13 of 16
GIGABYTE GV-R685OC-1GD Temperatures
Benchmark tests are always nice, so long as you care about comparing one product to another. But when you're an overclocker, gamer, or merely a PC hardware enthusiast who likes to tweak things on occasion, there's no substitute for good information. Benchmark Reviews has a very popular guide written on Overclocking Video Cards, which gives detailed instruction on how to tweak a graphics cards for better performance. Of course, not every video card has overclocking head room. Some products run so hot that they can't suffer any higher temperatures than they already do. This is why we measure the operating temperature of the video card products we test.
To begin my testing, I use GPU-Z to measure the temperature at idle as reported by the GPU. Next I use FurMark's "Torture Test" to generate maximum thermal load and record GPU temperatures at high-power 3D mode. FurMark does two things extremely well: drive the thermal output of any graphics processor much higher than any video games realistically could, and it does so with consistency every time. Furmark works great for testing the stability of a GPU as the temperature rises to the highest possible output. During all tests, the ambient room temperature remained at a stable 18°C. The temperatures discussed below are absolute maximum values, and may not be representative of real-world temperatures while gaming:
Since this card comes with 2 fans instead of one, it seems like all this screws up rpm readings, which is why I didn't included them. Sometimes GPU-Z (or any other software) would say the fan was at 0rpm, while other times it would go above 50,000rpm, which would be completely insane. I think 71C is a decent result for temperature stress testing. I've become used to seeing video card manufacturers keeping the fan speeds low, but it's not really the case with the GV-R685OC-1GD. In this case, the fan controller went from idle speed of 40% (a little high, but very quiet) to the 60% mark when running at full load on auto. At that moment, the noise was noticeable, but it wasn't annoying since it produces a low frequency sound, more like a hummmm. However, at 100% the card was very noisy, and considering the temperature difference between 100% and auto mode, I'd stay in auto mode without thinking it twice.
When I started gaming with some demanding titles the temperatures were much lower. After running Unigine's Heaven Benchmark for 30 minutes, the GPU core barely reached 59 degrees, which is great for overclocking. Any other game like Metro 2033 or Crysis produced less heat, barely passing 55 degrees. At this time, I can confirm that the windforce 2x anti-turbulence cooler works great, as it really performs better than the stock heatsink which reported similar Idle results but 10 degrees higher at full load in our AMD Radeon HD 6850 Review. Now let's see what clocks we can achieve with this great cooling system.
GIGABYTE GV-R685OC-1GD Overclocking
When it comes to overclocking I usually get excited and try many things to achieve the best solid overclock with the GPU, especially if it's known to be a good one, which is the case of HD 6850 GPUs. Now that we've voltage control over many GPUs via software applications like MSI Afterburner, the only thing we need to keep in mind is heat. Since this is an already OCed card, but it's far from being on the limits of the HD 6850 Core, I quickly installed the latest version of MSI Afterburner and Sapphire TriXX to start doing some 3DMark damage at the orb. The whole story turned around and can be described in the next 3 sentences:
The Good: This GPU allows being overclocked very high and the windforce heatsink performs pretty well.
The Bad: It needs extra voltage to achieve higher clocks, normally raised with Sapphire's TriXX or MSI Afterburner.
The Ugly: There's no software support for the included voltage controller in this specific model.
Yeah, there you have it... GIGABYTE ruined their AMD HD 6850 OC version by using a non-common Core voltage controller which has no software support, which means we're limited to stock voltage overclocking. I was able to achieve 860MHz with stock voltage and I did some tests, but considering I already had tested the GPU at 820/1050 MHz, the difference was so minimal that it wasn't worth to put them up in the charts. Of course, compared to a reference 775MHz HD 6850, that's a 85MHz overclock, but I know the HD 6850 could do much more (900-950MHz easily) if there was any way to control GPU Core voltage.
You know what's better? The non-OC version of this specific model with Windforce 2x cooler costs $10 less, and it has full support for voltage control, which means it might be able to achieve 900MHz or possibly more thanks to the included cooler. In other words, GIGABYTE made the overclocked version a non-overclockable one, while it keeps the non-overclocked version quite overclockable for the masses with the proper software. What a joke!