|AMD Radeon HD6850 & HD6950 CrossFire Performance|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Steven Iglesias-Hearst|
|Monday, 27 June 2011|
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AMD Radeon HD6850 and HD6950 CrossFire 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. The ambient room temperature remained at a stable 27°C throughout testing. FurMark does two things extremely well: drive the thermal output of any graphics processor higher than applications of 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. The temperatures discussed below are absolute maximum values, and not representative of real-world performance.
As previously stated my ambient temperature remained at a stable 27°C throughout the testing procedure. The top card in a CrossFire setup (GPU 1) will always be warmer than the bottom card (GPU2). The coolers on both of the cards in this setup are more than capable but have a very relaxed fan profile, resulting in higher temperatures. GPU 1 (HIS HD6850 IceQ X Turbo) had an idle temperature of 54°C while GPU 2 (HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X) had an idle temperature of 42°C. Creating a load with FurMark saw the temperatures rise to worrying levels, GPU 1 was in the red zone @ 89°C (fan speed 67%) while GPU 2 was happily chugging along @ 67°C (fan speed 56%). Changing the fan speed of GPU 1 to 100% saw the temperature drop to 84°C which is still quite high but much better. The noise level at max speed is honestly still quite bearable, and we have a very nice 5°C improvement in load temperature.
When installing the HD6950 crossfire setup I had initially placed the MSI HD6950 in the top position, but due to its fan being much louder than the HIS HD6950's fan I ended up swapping them around. Because the top card always gets hotter the MSI HD6950's fan would ramp up and create a racket, while the HIS HD6950's fan is much much quieter even at 100%, it just made sense.
GPU 1 (HIS HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X) had an idle temperature of 48°C while GPU 2 (MSI HD6950 Twin Frozr III PE/OC) had an idle temperature of 39°C. Creating a load with FurMark saw the temperatures rise to worrying levels once again, GPU 1 was in the red zone @ 90°C (fan speed 60%) while GPU 2 was happily chugging along @ 68°C (fan speed 62%). Changing the fan speed of GPU 1 to 100% saw the temperature drop to 79°C which is still quite high but much better. The HIS HD6950 IceQ X Turbo X's noise level at max speed is honestly still quite bearable, and we have a very nice 11°C improvement in load temperature.