Monday, February 21, 2011

One digit upgrade. HD5770–> HD5870

I finally got a new video card. The long waited birthday present. Well, let’s say it is split gift with the Vertex 2 50GB SSD.

This is the card I got.

Sapphire HD5870 Vapor-X 1GB

(click to go to official product page.)

It is a second hand one. Yes, I wouldn’t buy brand new anymore, if the price different is huge. The Vapor-X retails for around 25k yen, and I bought mine for 17k yen. That’s a 50% less. It was in very good condition as well.

Why I bought the Vapor-X was because the cooler performed much better than the reference cooler. Less noise as well as better cooling performance. That was a big bonus. There are still a lot of second hand HD5870’s going for same price, but they are all reference design. Not only this comes with a custom cooler, but the PCB is also non-reference. And it comes with a factory overclock of 25Mhz on the core and 50MHz on the memory, so giving the final clocks of 875MHz/1250MHz. Sofmap was showing a rev. 1 card on the image, but they shipped the rev. 2 card. The popular word about this card was that it couldn’t be voltage tuned, but it seems that Sapphire’s own overclocking software, TRIXX, can increase the voltage up to 1.3V. So I’m not that disappointed about it.

Like I would do with everything else, I tried to find the maximum stable clocks this baby can operate at. It is so hard to find the max stable clocks on a video card. The memory doesn’t seem to overclock at all. 1275MHz wasn’t stable, so I dropped it to 1262MHz which seems to give no issues. The core seems to have much more promise. 940MHz @ 1.2V is stable, but I am trying if I can get it past 950MHz. Sad thing is, it is stable at 1GHz in 3DMark11, but it would fail in Crysis and intriguingly in COD:MW2. 950MHz at 1.2V wasn’t stable, and I cannot get past 1.25V on the core because the card would lock itself after a while. (They say the VRMs seems lower quality on the rev. 2 compared to rev. 1.)

Anyways, I’m getting 40fps on average in Crysis 1.2.1 32bit. (That FPS is different from scene to scene though.) Over 4600 3DMark11 points as well. Decent for a HD5870. Some people are breaking 5k, but that’s with a 4GHz+ CPU and 1GHz+ core clock speed, neither of which is with me.

So, it looks like this will be the last upgrade for the PC for a foreseeable future. Windows Experience Index gives 7.8 for the card. Wish I could break 7.9 with the overclock, but looks like it isn’t getting there. Maybe due to the lower tessellation performance, I don’t know.

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