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 Post subject: PowerColor Radeon HD 5850: Worth the Wait
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:18 pm 
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PowerColor Radeon HD 5850: Worth the Wait

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:07 pm 
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It seems ironic (if not moronic) that ATI is boasting about Eyefinity and multi-monitor gaming yet their cards work like arse when using more than one monitor because the lazy (or just stupid) engineers/driver developers/whoever over at ATI didn't do a proper job therefore the card's idle clocks of 157/300 are not high enough for dual monitors (flickering/jittering, black bands, etc) so it constantly idles at 400/1000, thus higher idle power consumption, thus more heat, thus more noise, thus no overclock for anyone.


This affects all 5xxx cards (at least 5770 and up) and going by their forums, they don't seem to give two bits about it so we're all SOL.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:37 pm 
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rpsgc wrote:
It seems ironic (if not moronic) that ATI is boasting about Eyefinity and multi-monitor gaming yet their cards work like arse when using more than one monitor because the lazy (or just stupid) engineers/driver developers/whoever over at ATI didn't do a proper job therefore the card's idle clocks of 157/300 are not high enough for dual monitors (flickering/jittering, black bands, etc) so it constantly idles at 400/1000, thus higher idle power consumption, thus more heat, thus more noise, thus no overclock for anyone.


This affects all 5xxx cards (at least 5770 and up) and going by their forums, they don't seem to give two bits about it so we're all SOL.


PEBKAC

Many people have not had issues with Eyefinity. (With the single GPU cards at least. Multi-GPU drivers need some work)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:44 pm 
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Vibrator wrote:
PEBKAC


If I have two monitors connected the card fan idles at 24% instead of 21%. Is that user error? Didn't know! Thanks.
If I have two monitors connected the card idles at 400/1000 instead of 157/300. Is that user error? Didn't know! Thanks.
If I have two monitors connected and try to overclock, the card reverts back to 157/300 during idle and I get horrible flickering and black bands in one monitor. Is that user error? Didn't know! Thanks.

That doesn't happen with just one monitor connected. Must be user error again.


So next time do think before posting smartass remarks like that, some people actually know what they're talking about, you know? Oh and FYI, I wasn't talking about Eyefinity, I was just using it as an example.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:55 pm 
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I have not heard any problems like that either. You don't need more 3D horsepower to set up a 2nd or 3rd display. Either you are doing something wrong or there is something wrong with your card. A monumental problem like that wont affect the whole 5000 series without everyone knowing about it. No way.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:15 pm 
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Going back to the actual SPCR review. I am thinking about S1 and 5850. From What I have seen, you can take the DVI cover off and you won't need to modify the S1. There should be a gap but it may be extremely close. Probably a good idea to insulate it with electrical tape in that case. Also if you can separate the stock cooler, would you be able to use the cooling plate with the S1? Like you say, Mike - you didn't have the right tools to do it. So hopefully that means it can still be done.

If it is possible to do these two things (remove DVI cover and make use of the stock cooling plate), a follow up article exploring the cooling performance of the S1 on the 5850 with different speed 120mm and 92mm cooling fans would be good ;) hint hint ;) lol


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:40 pm 
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Lawrence: Thanks for a great review! Would you say there are room for improvement with the fan settings?
I mean, is the fan capable of lower the speed so much that the temp would rise 20°, or would it stop before that? Did you try to change it?

DAve_M wrote:
From What I have seen, you can take the DVI cover off and you won't need to modify the S1.

Let's see, I either cut off some aluminium fins on a €15 heatsink, and pretty much nothing can go wrong as long as I don't touch the heatpipes or the base with some tool.
Or, I remove the cover for the DVI's on a €220 card, which I guess have some shielding function.. :roll:

What's the importance in keeping the S1 intact, honestly? I just don't see the logic. Well unless you're using a case with a window, I don't.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:22 pm 
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nice review lawrence! the power numbers are valuable information.

so the scythe musashi fits, and works? it clears the dvi cover.

also, " The stock cooler, while quiet enough for most, can certainly be improved, but this point of contention is far from notable as finding a reference heatsink we genuinely seem impossible." ...the word "liked" is missing? the musashi wasn't viable after all?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:03 pm 
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Mats wrote:
Lawrence: ...
DAve_M wrote:
From What I have seen, you can take the DVI cover off and you won't need to modify the S1.

Let's see, I either cut off some aluminium fins on a €15 heatsink, and pretty much nothing can go wrong as long as I don't touch the heatpipes or the base with some tool.
Or, I remove the cover for the DVI's on a €220 card, which I guess have some shielding function.. :roll:
What's the importance in keeping the S1 intact, honestly? I just don't see the logic. Well unless you're using a case with a window, I don't.


As the review points out:
"One of our favorite heatsinks, the Accelero S1 in incompatible with the HD 5850 as there is a box cover over the DVI ports blocking it, though you could easily bend a few fins to make it work. "

This is probably the easiest way of getting it done.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:32 pm 
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I'm using an S1rev2 on a 5850(HIS) with great results. The sizeable stock heatspreader plate can be used which I think is nice, though it might not be easy to get off the stock plastic cover with some incredibly tight tiny screws. I had to break one off of mine.

I also tried getting an AC Twin Turbo Pro to fit but ended up using its fans on the S1rev2 instead. (more fin problems and heatspreader would not fit) A great combo if unnecessarily expensive. ;)

The prospect of modifying the BIOS intrigues me and I might try it at a later date. If possible I'd like to adjust the fan rampup slightly, and maybe raise the UVD clocks to the full 3D level. Thing is that I've having some issues with the UVD clocks locking down sometimes after having used Windows Media Center(Win7x64). Hopefully just a driver thing though. For a while I was playing Modern Warfare 2 at 400/900 without noticing because the performance was so good anyway at 1920 & 4x AA.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:35 pm 
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DAve_M wrote:
I have not heard any problems like that either. You don't need more 3D horsepower to set up a 2nd or 3rd display. Either you are doing something wrong or there is something wrong with your card. A monumental problem like that wont affect the whole 5000 series without everyone knowing about it. No way.

rpsgc is sort of correct. It's true the card won't downclock the ram at all (and the gpu less) if more than one monitor is attached.
The reason for this afaik is that it is only possible to adjust memory clock during vblank, and since multiple monitors don't run synchronized it is impossible to get this to work. In theory it could work but then you'd get flickering during clock adjustments (I believe though for mobile chips this actually happens), something which is deemed not acceptable.
It is however very untrue this is a problem specific to the HD5xxx series, this affects basically all cards, from both nvidia and AMD (except those which don't lower memory clock in the first place), and the difference is probably bigger with gddr5 rather than gddr3. As for why gpu clocks are also downclocked less I'm not sure, it might be possible that some minimal clock is required per memory clock to make the memory controller work correctly or something like that.
Here's some link which tests multi-monitor idle power consumption:
http://ht4u.net/reviews/2009/msi_r5850_ ... ndex10.php
(the hd5770 seems to be some particularly bad card though, I think they've also tested another one once and it did't exhibit _that_ high idle power consumption with multi monitors) - the article also mentions idle clocks / voltages at another place, though you'd need to look up other cards in their reviews for a comparison of these values).


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 Post subject: The S1 mod to fit on the 5850 is EZ
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:23 pm 
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Nice review on a terrific card. I managed to get one of these early before the prices escalated and have been very pleased. The only issue that I've experienced is flaky dual-monitor support (flicker) if I don't do a clean install for driver updates. Other than that, it is working great. I just got my third monitor, and am looking forward to test-driving Eyefinity. :D

The S1 mod to fit on a HD5850 is trivial. I used a Dremel, but good scissors would probably work just as well. You simply need to trim about 2x2 cm of the thin Al fins in one corner to clear the DVI cover. This is about the simplest mod I've ever done. :D

The combination of low cost, large surface area & good fin spacing makes the S1 an excellent alternative for the 5850. A surprisingly small amount of air will work fine. My main concern was actually getting good stick-on heat-sinks and air-flow for the VRMs. I use a low-speed S-Flex zip-tied to the bottom heat pipes only because for me the clip-on 'turbo module' fans (which provide plenty of cooling) were a PITA to mount reliably. The S-Flex is complete overkill, but I don't have to worry about it falling off.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:08 am 
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Looking at the picture of the card with the Scythe Musashi mounted to it, it looks like the Scythe overhangs the card by about an inch. I assume that means this combination won't work in smaller cases (for instance, the Antec Solo has only around 10.5" of space available for the card). Is that overhang actually present or is it just a function of the picture?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 6:11 am 
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Vibrator wrote:
rpsgc wrote:
It seems ironic (if not moronic) that ATI is boasting about Eyefinity and multi-monitor gaming yet their cards work like arse when using more than one monitor because the lazy (or just stupid) engineers/driver developers/whoever over at ATI didn't do a proper job therefore the card's idle clocks of 157/300 are not high enough for dual monitors (flickering/jittering, black bands, etc) so it constantly idles at 400/1000, thus higher idle power consumption, thus more heat, thus more noise, thus no overclock for anyone.

Many people have not had issues with Eyefinity. (With the single GPU cards at least. Multi-GPU drivers need some work)

I tried all last evening to get Eyefinity running on three displays using a Sapphire Radeon 5770. It didn't work for me. All three monitors worked in non-Eyefinity mode just fine. 1280x1024 LCD + 2 CRTs--all setup to be 1280x1024@60Hz. I also tried 2 LCDs + a CRT which also didn't work. I got several blue screens, weird plaid textures. A few times I got "Eyefinity duplicates" where all three monitors duplicated each other. Never did I get all 3 working as a big display. When they were running duplicated I was getting lots of momentary 2D image issues. The displays also became 640x480 fairly often. It was a mess.

Eyefinity probably only works right now if you actually have 3 identical LCDs. Not just 3 displays that can run the same resolution.

FWIW: $19 buys a DP->VGA adapter. That seemed to work just fine.

Also the 5770 only runs my big Trinitron at 60Hz at all resolutions on both the DP->VGA adapter and with the DVI-A->VGA adapter. Maybe it expects everything to be a crappy LCD now. Disappointed, I hooked up the 32" 1366x768 Samsung TV to play some game, which of course only will run properly at 1360x768. I suppose I shouldn't miss 4,608 giant pixels.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:49 am 
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Mats wrote:
Or, I remove the cover for the DVI's on a €220 card, which I guess have some shielding function.. :roll:


You are probably right that is has some shielding function. So it's not much of a loss because there is another DVI port as well as a HDMI which could be converted to DVI if you needed it to. You have to take the stock cooler off to fit the S1 on there. So why not take off the DVI cover as well while you are at it? :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:58 am 
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mczak wrote:
rpsgc is sort of correct. It's true the card won't downclock the ram at all (and the gpu less) if more than one monitor is attached.
The reason for this afaik is that it is only possible to adjust memory clock during vblank, and since multiple monitors don't run synchronized it is impossible to get this to work.


What about if the 2 monitors both had the same refresh rate? Can't the monitors then be kept in sync?

Display port is not clock based like DVI/HDMI/VGA. So you may not get any problems with 2 monitors attached as long as one is display port.

BTW, the Radeon 5000 series is no different from previous cards in the sense that it can only drive a maximum of 2 'regular' displays. This is because it only has 2 clock sources to drive them with. Not sure if that is in the review somewhere. But most reviews leave that bit out anyway because the reviewer doesn't realize the limitation is there.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:01 am 
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DAve_M wrote:
Mats wrote:
Or, I remove the cover for the DVI's on a €220 card, which I guess have some shielding function.. :roll:


You are probably right that is has some shielding function. So it's not much of a loss because there is another DVI port as well as a HDMI which could be converted to DVI if you needed it to. You have to take the stock cooler off to fit the S1 on there. So why not take off the DVI cover as well while you are at it? :)


Because it has a function, and removing some fins on a heatsink is a much safer and easier route?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:05 am 
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Monkeh16 wrote:
Because it has a function, and removing some fins on a heatsink is a much safer and easier route?


Yep you are right. But at least you don't break the S1 :P. I expect the S1 will have a longer lifespan the 5850 so you better look after it ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:06 am 
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DAve_M wrote:
Monkeh16 wrote:
Because it has a function, and removing some fins on a heatsink is a much safer and easier route?


Yep you are right. But at least you don't break the S1 :P I expect it will have a longer lifespan the 5850 so you better look after it ;)


I highly doubt it'll be usable on any current cards by the time the average 5850 dies..


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:10 am 
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Monkeh16 wrote:
I highly doubt it'll be usable on any current cards by the time the average 5850 dies..


I don't doubt it at all. As long as they keep using the same mounting holes. I also expect it will be replaced before it dies. Most cards only last a couple of years before they really start to show their age. 8800GT is the exception.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:13 am 
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QuietOC wrote:
Eyefinity probably only works right now if you actually have 3 identical LCDs. Not just 3 displays that can run the same resolution.


See my post about 5 posts up. You need to use the display port output if you are using 3 displays. If you don't have a display port monitor, you need to buy an active display port > DVI converter. It has to be active (powered by a USB port). They exist for this purpose. Passive converters will only work if you have 1 or 2 displays maximum.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:17 am 
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DAve_M wrote:
Monkeh16 wrote:
I highly doubt it'll be usable on any current cards by the time the average 5850 dies..


I don't doubt it at all. As long as they keep using the same mounting holes. I also expect it will be replaced before it dies. Most cards only last a couple of years before they really start to show their age. 8800GT is the exception.


I doubt they'll still be using the same mounting holes in four or five years. If you have the money to be buying a new GPU every year or two, you can afford a heatsink too..


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:49 am 
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DAve_M wrote:
QuietOC wrote:
Eyefinity probably only works right now if you actually have 3 identical LCDs. Not just 3 displays that can run the same resolution.


See my post about 5 posts up. You need to use the display port output if you are using 3 displays. If you don't have a display port monitor, you need to buy an active display port > DVI converter. It has to be active (powered by a USB port). They exist for this purpose. Passive converters will only work if you have 1 or 2 displays maximum.

Wrong, the $19 active DP->VGA converter works. All 3 displays worked. There is no problem (well, other than the artifacts already mentioned) using them for everything else. I just can't get Eyefinity configured on them.

2 of the displays have to be inactive or made inactive when you go to setup a 3x1 Eyefinity group. There is no way to tell CCC that you want all 3 setup at 1280x1024. My best guess is the CCC is trying to figure out what resolution to set all 3 to and then craps out.

My monitors to try are:

a) 1366x768 LCD TV HDMI/VGA/etc
b) 1680x1050 LCD DVI-I/VGA
c) 1280x1024 LCD DVI-I/VGA
d) 21" CRT 5-BNC
e) 19" CRT VGA

The most natural setup was c+d+e, but I also tried b+c+e.

I am sure most people who really want to use Eyefinity will buy more similar monitors.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 10:58 am 
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QuietOC wrote:
Wrong, the $19 active DP->VGA converter works.

Clearly, you are wrong as you cannot get it to work properly. You are also wrong as you can't buy an active converter for $19. They are £80 over here so I'm guessing it is $100 or more where you are.


Quote:
However, with this family of cards, although two of the screens can be connected directly to the DVI or HDMI outputs on the card, the third display has to be driven from the DisplayPort output. Some users have expressed concern about the cost or availability of DisplayPort compatible monitors, or a wish to match existing monitor styles.

Now SAPPHIRE has introduced an active powered DisplayPort to DVI converter, which allows any standard DVI monitor to be used as the third screen and enabled in Eyefinity mode.

http://www.techpowerup.com/110927/SAPPH ... apter.html



Quote:
The 5800-series cards come with 2 DVI, 1 HDMI and 1 DisplayPort. DVI and HMDI require a clock signal to be passed through to the monitor, but the cards only have two clocking chips. This means you can use two of the clocked ports, so DVI & DVI, or DVI & HDMI, but not DVI & DVI & HDMI. Therefore, to get a three-monitor setup going you need to use DisplayPort. A simple DisplayPort-DVI converter will not work, since they do not generate the clock signal that the monitor's DVI input requires. You need to buy a powered or "active" adapter, and unfortunately they don't come cheap, over US$100 I believe. Also, there are reports that not all of them work with the cards, so do a Google search for models known to work before you go and purchase one.

http://forums.flightsim.com/vbfs/showth ... ?p=1358917


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:05 pm 
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Wow, some heated discussion here :lol:

It seems strange to me when you guys are given higher end products to review that clearly don't cater towards the low-noise expectations or requirements of the average SPCR reader :? Does the name of the site not give it away?

Anyway, I'm hoping you guys get a 5750/5770 in for review, preferably a passive one (I'm still hoping someone will make a passive 5770). :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:43 pm 
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DAve_M wrote:
QuietOC wrote:
Wrong, the $19 active DP->VGA converter works.

Clearly, you are wrong as you cannot get it to work properly. You are also wrong as you can't buy an active converter for $19. They are £80 over here so I'm guessing it is $100 or more where you are.

Sorry, sure active DVI converters are $$$, and the TMDS in them require more power than the DP can provide, but the DP->VGA converters are cheap. Yes, there's a little active chip in them. Maybe I should take a picure...

http://www.hardocp.com/news/2009/11/30/ ... ve_adapter
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-re ... 39901.html
http://www.widescreengamingforum.com/fo ... 64&t=17468
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r234879 ... more-later
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/page- ... 33_50.html

I'm sure if I had 3 of the same crappy monitors Eyefinity would work fine. It is just very immature tech right now. I didn't buy the 5770 to run Eyefinity. I just spent some time and $19 bucks to try it. Now I get to add a DP->VGA adapter to my collection... Oh well.

I am actually curious if I could have skipped the DP->VGA and tried a DVI->VGA adapter with DVI and HDMI. Theoretically that should work as there are 2 RAMDACS and 2 TMDS on the card. Hmm...


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:10 pm 
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Ok, I can't explain why that would work for some people. I know it's not supported officially. Try setting your CRT monitors to 800x600 or 640x480. I'm sure I read on one of the forums that can allow triple monitor eyefinity to work without active adaptors.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:16 pm 
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i'm guessing that using a vga adapter anywhere is going to be detrimental to the quality of the video.

not the option that you really wanted for such a nice video card.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:57 pm 
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QuietOC wrote:
I am actually curious if I could have skipped the DP->VGA and tried a DVI->VGA adapter with DVI and HDMI. Theoretically that should work as there are 2 RAMDACS and 2 TMDS on the card. Hmm...

Tried it just now, and it doesn't work at all. You do have to use the DP port for the third output. Evidently the 2 TMDS and 2 analog outputs are tied together.

HDMI->DVI->LCD
DVI->LCD
DVI->VGA->5-BNC->CRT

I can switch between any 2, but the other one must be disabled.

2x1 Eyefinity works with the 2 small LCDs 1280x1024.

Tried 2x1 with the 1280x1024 LCD + CRT, and it doesn't work. It just mirrors them and stops.

Trying 3x1 again with 2 LCDs and the newer CRT connected to DP. Booted up fine with desktop extended to all 3, but Eyefinity crashed again. Windows now thinks there are 5 monitors, but one of them is "Display Device on: Mobile PC Display" and the other extra two are "Display device on: VGA."

Okay, I finally got 3x1 working. I connected the CRT->VGA->DVI and the 1680x1050 LCD->VGA->DP and disconnect it before running the Eyefinity setup. Now to get it arranged right and try a game...

Yes, it is working. 3840x1024 in TF2. Pretty stretched out on the 1680x1050 monitor. Maybe I'll try to swap in the other CRT...

Yep now it works fine (CRT->VGA->DP, CRT->VGA->DVI, and LCD->DVI). Well, it was gone after I rebooted. It keeps thinking the old CRT connected to the DP is a Mobile PC. The key to enabling Eyefinity seems to be to unplug the weird monitor(s) before starting the Eyefinity setup. I think CCC is trys to read the monitor data when it setups Eyefinity. They could have just let he users setup the resolution--the current setup process is stupid and unnecessary.


Last edited by QuietOC on Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:07 pm 
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Location: TN, USA
For those that haven't seen it this video explains setting up eyefinity step by step and what some of the pitfalls are.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYorUpN4PQo

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