4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

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4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:04 pm

Hello again.

I built my first PC last fall, following suggestions I recieved here on TR. I'm back again looking for oppinions regarding cooling solutions. System specs and current temps listed below.

My system is not overclocked, and I'm thinking I would like to. Was thinking of going with a liquid cooling system, but Im not sure if it would be overkill.
I have a Xigmatek HDT-S963 cooler for the cpu, but never installed it. So cpu might be good with the Xigmatek alone. However my 4870 runs hot as is (75c idle). I would like to drop it's temps before I start overclocking my system.

Should I go with an aftermarket cooler for the 4870? Or should I go with liquid cooling and the piece of mind that will come when I decide to overclock?
If a gpu cooler states its compatable with 4800 series gpus does that mean it will work for all 4870s?

Im not so computer savy. . I'm really looking for suggestions, as in product links or specific models etc (especially if it comes down to liquid cooling, like a list of stuff I need lol?). . I can spare about $300 (U.S), maybe a bit more if needed.

plz and thx again


System
Processor: TripleCore AMD Phenom II X3 Black Edition 720
http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?item=n82e16819103649
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128392&cm_re=Gigabyte_GA-MA770T-UD3P-_-13-128-392-_-Product
Graphics: HIS IceQ 4+ HD 4870 - 1gb
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161265&Tpk=HIS%20HD%204870%20IceQ%204
Case: Cooler Master HAF 932
Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro M700


Temps according to Everest Ultimate Trial
Motherboard..................... 34 °C (93 °F)
CPU............................... 46 °C (115 °F)
CPU #1 / Core #1............... 35 °C (95 °F)
CPU #1 / Core #2 .............. 35 °C (95 °F)
CPU #1 / Core #3 .............. 35 °C (95 °F)
GPU Diode (DispIO)............ 68 °C (154 °F)
GPU Diode (MemIO)............ 83 °C (181 °F)
GPU Diode (Shader) ........... 72 °C (162 °F)
GPU VRM ........................ 51 °C (124 °F)
WDC WD6401AALS-00L3B2 ... [ TRIAL VERSION ]

Cooling Fans:
CPU.............................. 2626 RPM
GPU.............................. 4094 RPM (60%) <--- Pretty noisy :P
Last edited by Pysops on Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:41 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:32 pm

I would say that you would want to stay away from liquid cooling for your system. If you really aren't computer savy than something that requires alot of meticulous setup/long-term caring for probably isnt' down your alley. Also, though it sounds like you want to overclock it doesn't seem like you are trying to be a l33t overclocker, and thus as such the liquid cooling could be somewhat of a waste.

It seems like your cards is mega-hot as is, most 4870's from my knowledge do not run THIS hot (maybe 50-60ish) rather than 70's. You may want to look into cleaning out the heatsink as is, maybe up'ing the airflow in your case than seeing how the temps look. Many people are able to overclock the 4870's to equal/above speeds of a 4890 without and issues and the stock cooler.

If everything is already dandy (cooling, dust in heatsink of gpu, etc) and you just have a abnormally hot card, than look into some aftermarket coolers from Artic Cooling and Zalman. As far as I know they make some great aftermarket gpu heatsinks.
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:56 pm

Yo StuG, thx for posting.

As for liquid setup, though Im not computer savy, I am mechanically inclined ;) I'm sure your right about it being unnecessary though. Its just frustrating buying a $250 case to keep my components cool, and having my gpu nullify those monster fans on the case that I hear running all night.
I have my HAF 932 fan setup as it came stock:
1 x 230mm front red LED fan
1 x 230mm top fan
1 x 230mm side fan
1 x 140mm rear fan
+ cpu, gpu, psu fans. . ofc

As far as dust, I clean out my system once a week, being my case does not come with a way to filter my fans. Im pretty certain dust is not the issue, allthough I will take a closer look at the gpu.

I guess I should start looking for a gpu heatsink.

Edit: the GPU I have pulls hot air out the back of my case. Not sure if that would matter when selecting a cooling solution
Last edited by Pysops on Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:17 pm

For the cost and bother of liquid cooling, you would be better off just getting a 5770.
Much cooler and much less heat, much less power.

All win win.

Shoot for $300 you might as well get the 5850. Double the performance. still much lower idle temps.

Water cooling of GPU only makes sense for extreme OC, or people running their cards 24/7/365(folding)

If you just want to try it for the heck of it, that is one thing. But cost effective, it is not. :wink:
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:41 pm

I was thinking along the same lines of upgrading to a new GPU, however my 4870 eats what games I play alive.
I cant justify spending another 200-300 $$ on a gpu when I have one that works, and could spend the money on a liquid cooling setup. I would look at that as a loss.
Though I have no idea what liquid cooling would cost me ( what I need). I was guessing about the same price as a new gpu.

I'll do some research on the 3 options, and post here in a few days. I might even change my mind about a 5000 series gpu if i can find some benchmark comparisons vs 4870 that illustrate a decent performance advantage / justifies throwing out my 4870.

In the mean time if anyone has any specific hardware oppinions, plz post them :)
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:09 pm

I think typically you are going to be seen within three categories here:

A. If your GPU eats every game alive..than why are you overclocking? If you don't need extra performance, there is no need to buy an intense water-cooling/aftermarket setup for nothing that is needed.

B. You need the extra performance and thus, overclocking (along with the money spent on a GPU water cooling solution ($200+)) is going to get you such little performance per dollar that you should just upgrade to something that IDLE's cooler (my cards idle at 40C in a low air situation) and performs way better.

C. You have the extra money to blow for no reason at all. Most people are going to just tell you to either again get a new card, or if you REALLY want to go for the water-cooling setup "just cause". If so, than there is no reason for asking in the thread in the first place.

All in all, unless you WANT to overclock to high degree's even if it doesn't make sense for the amount of performance you get out of it or money spent getting there than water-cooling is for you. Water-cooling is also convenient in a Folding situation as mentioned before, where high heat is being put out for long periods of time. Really, you need to either look into getting a "cheap" aftermarket cooler ($50) for any of this to be worth it. If you start looking at $75 coolers and up you are than spending too much money for just lowering the temperatures of aging technology.

I would say honestly just leave it until you feel like you need an upgrade, than upgrade. I don't usually overclock anything unless I need too...this was my first "permanent" processor overclock and that was just because I needed too.

GL, tell us what you decide.
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:59 pm

I was thinking about overclocking the cpu and ram; sometimes I get the feeling that the cpu and ram (4gb DDR3-1333) is bottlenecking my system. Like i said Im kinda PC ignorant, if Im sounding dumb plz forgive me :(
But yeah I wont be overclocking much, your performace per $ reasoning makes sense. I just figured liquid would prolong the life of the PC and be much quieter.

Im running vista 64, my physical memory usage is 2gb-2.5gb staring at the desktop. I wonder if going with windows 7 would relieve stress off my cpu and ram.
If it does, it really would make sense to just leave the gpu and upgrade later. What gpu do you have StuG?

I'll be back in a few hours after install. Im using one of those windows 7 "upgrade" disks, hopefully all goes well.
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:59 am

Ok windows 7 is installed. With antivirus, razer app, audio mngr, and ati ccc im running under 1gb physical memory :)
Windows experience index rates my pc out of possible 7.9
Processor: .. 6.6
Memory: .... 7.5
Graphics: ... 7.4
Hard disk: .. 5.4 - WD Cav Black 7200 RPM 32MB 3.0Gb/s. . . ouch

Apparently my cpu is bottlenecking my gpu. Going with a 5850 at this point would be a waste of money Im guessing.
I also looked at 5770 benchmarks, but looks like there will be no performance gain unless Im overclocking the card (which I will not be), but will help with gpu temps.

That being said I was almost set on getting a gpu cooler, so I did some google searches. It appears alot of people are having issues with them, the pwms on the end of the 4870 are often insufficently cooled, they dump heat into the case, and/or dont seat properly on various cards.

Im still stuck, however it was interesting looking at the new pc hardware / benchmarks.

At this point I see a few options
1) Cost: $180. . . . get a 5770 and mildy OC my cpu.
Benefits: reduces my scorching gpu temps and somewhat un-bottlenecks my system.
Cons: No gpu performance gain. System will still be bottlenecked, just not as much
2) Cost: $480. . . . get a 5850 and AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz
Benefits: Better temps, better gpu and cpu performance, dx11, and un-bottlenecks my system?
Cons: Dont really need better gpu performance.
3) Cost: $300?. . . . liquid cooling
Benefits: Reduces gpu temps, reduces jetplane ruckus coming from pc, allows me to significantly OC my cpu (un-bottleneck), extends life of pc components, majority of liquid system can be used in future builds
Cons: Maintenance, stuck with water blocks for progressively outdated hardware, risk of leak??
4) Cost $50. . . . . Find a aftermarket gpu heatsink that will actually work well.
Benefits: Reduces gpu temps
Cons: I have no idea how to properly install one/uninstall stock, risk of wasting money on something that doesnt properly cool my gpu/frying card, system is still bottlenecked.

Not sure. . .
Last edited by Pysops on Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:07 am

Put the Zigamatech on your processor, and overclock it to 3.2-3.5 area...this will allow you to easily un-bottleneck it.
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:27 am

I will try that tomorrow then. Need to read that noob overclocking sticky I guess. . .
If I can get it near the 7.4 rating I will be happy.

Im not sure what to do about my gpu now. I would rather not wait for it to fail, being it might harm other system components, and im thinking it might fail soon being ccc reads it at 85c+ while playing mw2. Ive had it since last August.
1) $50 ..... GPU cooler
2) $180..... 5770
3) $290..... 5850 (will be bottlenecked even after I OC the cpu, but at least its an upgrade in performance?)
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 7:17 am

If you buy a water kit (or a normal aftermarket air cooler for that matter), figure out whether you need a separate VRM cooler or not (with high end cards such as 4870, you usually do). Unless the water kit is custom made for 4870s and includes cooling for VRM...

Here's one VRM cooler (especially for 4870/4890):
http://www.thermalright.com/new_a_page/ ... r_vrm.html

BTW, that's a lot of big fans. Do you live in a hot region or something? That 75C idling is definitely not normal with that arsenal. AND it must be kind of noisy.

So here's what I thought: Maybe the termistor(s) is broken? How hot is the vented air or the heatpipes (I assume you can't get to touch the heatsink directly)? Maybe the heatsink isn't contacting properly? If you're confident enough you could try re-installing the heatsink.

Your CPU doesn't seem to be overheating, but if you've already bought an aftermarket cooler for it, you should probably install that also. It's probably at least quieter.

In any case, it seems you have money to burn, so I'd say go for liquid cooling. You can most likely use it in future cards also (unless you buy a kit custom made for one card, then you might have to buy extra accessories later on). But about the cost: you can't (usually) get good for cheap. So it will very quickly cost more than a new GPU.

Can't give any specific model recommendations, though. Find some complete kit to get some perspective of the parts you need. (Or buy the complete kit, while you're at it.)

Or you could try sending the GPU back (warranty still in effect?) and say it's overheating abnormally. Some retailers might either fix it for you or give you a new working one. Then again, they might also say it's working OK in every other aspect and send it back to you. You could send them an email beforehand and ask what's their policy on that.

One word of advice, though: my GTS250's and MB's heatsinks were "stuck" to the card. I'm not sure whether the thermal paste had dried up or whether it was a specific type of thermal "glue" that ensures a better connection. But I had to use (IMO excessive) force to remove them, and I'm just glad I didn't break them. And just so you know, removing the heatsink usually voids the warranty.
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 11:24 am

Holy smokes! After removing the heat sink/cooler, cleaning the card (was a dust bunny trapped in the cooler), reapplying mx2 and cooler, my temps are:
GPU Diode (DispIO)............ 47 °C
GPU Diode (MemIO)............58 °C
GPU Diode (Shader) ...........48 °C
GPU VRM ........................48 °C

I feel so stupid, I should have done this so long ago. I have no idea what the problem was, all that matters is my card is alot cooler :)
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:06 pm

Dust bunnies cause HUGE problems for dual-slot coolers. They are probably the #1 reason for overheating and high temps...hence why I told you to check that out :P

You could get a pretty sizeable overclock out of those temperatures and be at where you were before if you so desire. Goodluck :)
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:59 pm

A google search or reading an old tr review will quickly show you that your temps are completely normal for the 4870.
Ati sacrificed temps for noise on this card, and it shows. Don't have a cow though, since the card is designed to withstand the heat.
Mine is currently 79, but I did just quit playing metro 2033 several minutes ago. Either way, the temps seem fine to me.

Ati's stock cooler uses copper heat-pipes too, so an aftermarket cooler is not going to help much.
The most you can probably get out of the card anyway, is a 50mhz OC.
If you wanted more, you got the wrong card. The 4890 was redesigned for higher clock speeds, and OC's a lot better.
Both cards are outdated now, so you're better off saving up for a new dx11 card instead.
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Wed Jul 07, 2010 6:59 pm

I had believed those temps were normal after I googled 4870 temps; most people were claiming idle temps in high 60's - mid 70's stock.
Then last night when I was searching for aftermarket coolers, almost all testimonials stated idle temps in mid 40's - mid 50's stock.

I think its just luck of the draw with these cards. Though I did notice most posts with folks claiming high temps were generally older.
All I know is my room was unpleasantly warm before. I live in Az, it was like I couldnt get away from the heat. I can allready tell the difference.

Thx alot for the help guys.

One last question before I go. Should I be thinking about getting a new harddrive or running raid anytime soon?
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Re: 4870 -Aftermarket cooler or liquid setup? Suggestions needed

Postposted on Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:41 am

Pysops wrote:One last question before I go. Should I be thinking about getting a new harddrive or running raid anytime soon?


1. Is your current one full?
2. No.

While following this thread I felt that the temperatures you were seeing were right in line with normal 4870 temperatures. AMD did err on the side of minimizing noise with these, and your pre-cleaning temps were far from unheard of. It is very nice however to see that they have dropped with cleaning!

Also, the 'Windows Experience Index' is a very obtuse look at your system from the OS's perspective. It's also far from linear and is based on undocumented (or at least not widely published) reference points, unlike PCMark for example. Take them with a grain of salt.

For desktop use, once you have enough memory, and have 2+ CPU cores (these days), hard drive performance drives the desktop experience. Thing is, you have a fairly recent drive, with 320GB platters, with 500GB platters being the largest made today. You won't see a real performance jump with any feasible mechanical solution. You could save up for an SSD, now that you have Windows 7, but little else will really help.
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