Overclocking a Sapphire Vapor-X and Fur Mark questions

SlowSpyder

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
17,305
1,001
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I am really enjoying this 5870 so far. Just because I always overclock my cards since the performance is there and free for the taking, I've begun the process on my 5870.

One thing that was a bit of a letdown was that it appears that I cannot adjust the voltage of the GPU core. But, while doing a little digging, I came across this thread on another forum, where this poster claims that Sapphire when with a slightly higher voltage then the reference 5870's. Assuming this is true, I don't know how big of a difference .012 more voltage is likely to have. I thought most voltage bumps where more in the .1 of a volt range.

http://forums.techarena.in/overclocking-computer-modification/1266925.htm#post4677050

Well, so far I'm up to 900MHz on the core. I've been testing with Fur Mark. I have a question or two about testing with Fur Mark. First, when I overclock I usually don't go too crazy with stability tests. I'll run some benches, run a few burn-in type tests, if everything checks out I'll game on it. If gaming is stable, I consider it good to go for what I need. In 14 months of gaming on my 4870 I can't recall a single GPU related crash, so even though I did not test as throroughly as many of you, I could game stabley, so I was happy with that.

With Fur Mark, is the proper way of testing to choose my LCD's native res and just run it? Do I have to use the 'Extreme Burning Mode'? MSAA? Do those things matter? So far running for about 12-15 minutes at 900Mhz without MSAA or Extreme Burning Mode my GPU settles at 67C. But, I want to make sure I'm running as it should be run so I get value out of it as a stability test.

Lastly, any general direction anyone has to offer about overclocking this card is appreciated. For whatever it's worth I'm more the type of person who isn't after every last MHz so much as finding an easy overclock that works and is probably pretty close to the max.

Thanks in advance.
 

SlowSpyder

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
17,305
1,001
126
Oddly enough, Afterburner only lets me overclock to 900Mhz. If I move the slider even a single MHz beyone (901MHz) it goes back to 900MHz. I don't believe it's testing anything, just seems to be an artificial limitation of some sort (not that the GPU is not capable of more). CCC also maxes out at 900MHz, so I have a feeling that CCC is somehow limiting me even in other overclocking software. Maybe this is something Sapphire somehow managed to do with a cusom bios?

I believe Afterburner is built off of Rivatuner, so I don't know if it'd be worth trying that for overclocking.

Anyone else with a Sapphire Vapor-X 5870 run into a similar situation, a 900Mhz wall due to overclocking software not being able to go higher?

This is a bit disappointing, this decent cooler and extra GPU voltage seems somewhat wasted without the ability to push this thing more than 900MHz. At least it's quiet I guess, though I really would like to attempt to push this GPU a bit more.
 
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dug777

Lifer
Oct 13, 2004
24,778
4
0
Something in my memory banks stirs ;)

I kinda recall something about ATI drivers recognising Furrmark as a 'power virus' and intervening to downclock etc in response?
 

SlowSpyder

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
17,305
1,001
126
Something in my memory banks stirs ;)

I kinda recall something about ATI drivers recognising Furrmark as a 'power virus' and intervening to downclock etc in response?
Well, even when not running Fur Mark, just from the desktop adjusting the clock speed, I'm not able to go beyond 900Mhz... I think there is some kind of software/bios road block here, not that the GPU is not able to run at 901Mhz.

I think what you may be thinking of is the 4870 issue with Fur Mark (I think it was Fur Mark that caused the problem). If I remember correctly, reference 4870's couldn't run Fur Mark (again, I think it was Fur Mark) at specific settings, it caused the GPU to draw more power than the VRM's or something could deliver. But that was specific to reference 4870's.

My problem is that I cannot get MSI Afterburner to go beyond 900MHz, as soon as I attempt to push it higher the slider moves itself back to 900MHz, even when just at the desktop with nothing 3D related running. CCC also maxes out at 900MHz, so I think somehow that is limiting what other overclocking software can max out the GPU core at as well.
 

dug777

Lifer
Oct 13, 2004
24,778
4
0
Well, even when not running Fur Mark, just from the desktop adjusting the clock speed, I'm not able to go beyond 900Mhz... I think there is some kind of software/bios road block here, not that the GPU is not able to run at 901Mhz.

I think what you may be thinking of is the 4870 issue with Fur Mark (I think it was Fur Mark that caused the problem). If I remember correctly, reference 4870's couldn't run Fur Mark (again, I think it was Fur Mark) at specific settings, it caused the GPU to draw more power than the VRM's or something could deliver. But that was specific to reference 4870's.

My problem is that I cannot get MSI Afterburner to go beyond 900MHz, as soon as I attempt to push it higher the slider moves itself back to 900MHz, even when just at the desktop with nothing 3D related running. CCC also maxes out at 900MHz, so I think somehow that is limiting what other overclocking software can max out the GPU core at as well.
Apologies for the nonsensical drivel before, googling suggests that 900MHz is a common BIOS limited core limit:

http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?p=15021144

http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=306272

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1457659

http://www.overclock.net/ati/618454-flashing-5870-bios-works-easily.html

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=243786
 

SlowSpyder

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
17,305
1,001
126
Thanks guys. I figured that most of these cards could go beyond 900MHz out of the box, I didn't realize it took a bios flash to unlock that ability. I'm probably out of luck though, I don't believe I can flash the bios on my card since it's not a reference board.

I'll check out other apps (like the GPU tool linked above) when I have more time.

Thanks again for the responses.
 

Kenmitch

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
8,504
2,245
136
I was gonna say it's bios limited but you figured it out already. I don't think I'd flash it either. What you need to find is a modded bios for your card that let's you oc higher. Not sure if one is available or not tho. Google it and see.

I just flashed my visiontek 5850 yesterday with the MSI bios. My sliders are unlocked for the most part. I'm testing it at 900/1225 which looks like it's gonna work out fine. I'm gonna start looking around for bios options for my card. If I should come across something for yours I'll let you know.
 

ader098

Member
Mar 9, 2010
99
3
66
The newer blue pcb Vapor X cards are custom boards so I dont suggest flashing the
bios. If you want test your card past the 900Mhz limit, Msi Afterburner will let you once you enable unofficial overclocking (I think thats correct, might be called something similar). However enabling that option disables powerplay, not 100 % sure
though?
Here you go found link:
http://www.overclock.net/ati/667677-tut-overclocking-passed-limit-without-bios.html
 

Kenmitch

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
8,504
2,245
136
Hmm....After some google action it looks like it would be possible to mod the bios of your card to enable higher oc sliders in CCC and afterburner.

Although I have not tried it yet all you need is gpu-z to extract and save your bios. Then you use RBE to mod the bios. Looks like options for max overclocking sliders as well as voltage defaults.

Of course this would be a do at your own risk kinda thing as you could fubar your card if not done correctly or you get a bad flash.

Hmm....I may have to try this out with the original bios file I saved from my card. As I would prefer to just have it done on bootup instead of having to use CCC or afterburner.

Maybe somebody with experience in Video bios modding will chime in and give some pointers.
 

SlowSpyder

Lifer
Jan 12, 2005
17,305
1,001
126
The newer blue pcb Vapor X cards are custom boards so I dont suggest flashing the
bios. If you want test your card past the 900Mhz limit, Msi Afterburner will let you once you enable unofficial overclocking (I think thats correct, might be called something similar). However enabling that option disables powerplay, not 100 % sure
though?
Here you go found link:
http://www.overclock.net/ati/667677-tut-overclocking-passed-limit-without-bios.html
Ha... that was painfully easy.

I also noticed a '0' next to 'UnlockVoltageControl' and 'UnlockVoltageMonitoring'. Changing those options to a '1' still didn't allow me to change the voltage unfortunately, but I halfway expected that with the non-reference board. But, I can go above 900MHz now, so at least I can find what I can max out at on this board's stock voltage.

Thanks for the links and all the help guys.
 

Kenmitch

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
8,504
2,245
136
Hmm....My Visiontek 5850 CCC sliders are locked at 775 core 1125 memory which isn't crap.

That is why I had no choice but to flash my bios to the MSI bios. With afterburner I've tested it up to 930 core and 1250 memory so far with furmark and 3dmark without artifacts. I had to bump the voltage up to 1.175 stock was 1.088v on my card.

Tonight I'm gonna mod the extracted OE bios for my card. I'm gonna set the clock to 875 core and 1200 memory with 1.175v but I'm gonna lock my sliders at 1000 core and 1350 memory. And maybe play around with the fan speed controll also.
 

MagickMan

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2008
7,537
3
76
I'm still hammering away at my new ASUS 5850, but so far I'm at 950 core/1150 memory @ 1.2v. It's just an amazing card, it seems like it wants to just go faster and faster. If you don't mind a little warranty voiding you should try using an MSI or ASUS BIOS to get around the clock and voltage locks. Then you can just use Afterburner for everything, which is pretty nice.

All that aside, one interesting point is the RAM on this card will run up past 1300MHz, no joke. HOWEVER, it starts getting slower, no matter what the core is set to. It's not a huge difference either, but it is measurable in benchmarks. Somehow it has some type of error correction and will keep chugging right along with memory speeds that are more than it really can handle. So watch your memory speeds and keep them in whatever "sweet spot" that you find, then adjust a little once you find your max core speed at the voltage you're comfortable with.

ALSO, watch your VRM temps in GPU-Z, that's important. Furmark can push them up past 90C after several minutes. Not sure how much abuse they can take, but I remember one reviewer saying that over 90C isn't a "good thing". I've not seen any game that makes them that hot, it's just a indicator of how much abuse Furmark can rain down on the card. So, what I did was just manually crank up the fan to ~60% when doing that particular test.
 

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