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 Post subject: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:39 am 
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I'm considering getting a Radeon 7850 and maybe a GTX 660 as well, but this is already at the upper limit. Maybe if Nvidia has better drivers or something...

Ideally I'd get a fanless model, but no such thing (at least for now). I still have some hope, seeing how there was a fanless 6850.

So, if I'd get a "regular" 7850/660, I have a few questions:

1. Can the fan(s) on it be controlled with SpeedFan?
2. If anyone tried this, what are the minimum fan speeds that you can get, before the fans stop spinning?
3. What temps do you get with the fans completely off, regular desktop use? (I'm guessing some models might be more "airy", with more space between fins on the heat sink, so maybe cooling with fans off in idle is possible.)


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:47 pm 
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I am only replying because I found your comment about drivers interesting: generally AMD is known for having immature drivers and Nvidia for being quick with the fixes.

Anyway, although I have no experience with these cards, I can tell you:
1. On it? No, not without some modification to the cable so that it could connect to the motherboard. However, they can be controlled by some GPU software, like MSI Afterburner, which offers "smoother" control than SpeedFan anyway.
2. AFAIK all GPUs ship with PWM fans, reference and non-reference to my knowledge. So, unfortunately, they don't stop spinning. According to this review the quietest GTX 660ti runs at 1080 rpm in idle.
3. Obvs I have no answer here, but having run my much, much hotter reference GTX 470s without fans I can tell you that they will heat up fast under use (I hit the temperature limit/auto-off after only a few minutes of gaming). That said I don't see why a good aftermarket heatsink wouldn't do okay under typical loads, but I'd still expect to approach the 90s before too long, depending on your case airflow.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:11 am 
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It is worth noting that you can change fan profiles of cards by BIOS editing with NiBiTor or RaBiT. This explains some of the noise difference seen between different makes as they have different BIOS setups. I've done this a number of times with great success. Just this week I've revived a Geforce 6600GT by adding multiple fan speeds at 30% and 60%, something that amazingly no AIB did, they all ran 100% all of the time.

I know some people will swear by one software tool or another but the BIOS root is a permanent solution once you have found cooling requirements.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:55 am 
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Speedfan will be able to control the header on the radeon board, just like any working mobo header. No nvidia support.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:13 pm 
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Oh that's interesting - I haven't owned a Radeon card since the 5850 but I couldn't use SpeedFan then. Cool!

P.S. Do you happen to know if Radeon cards are still using the weird PWM connector nvidia uses or are they generic now?

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:30 am 
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It's the weird 4 pin, but there's allways this.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:01 am 
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That's great, then. I was aware that Speedfan added temp monitoring for Radeons about a year ago, but I wanted to make sure there's also fan control. (I have 2 Radeons at home actually, but they're both fanless.)

Perhaps Speedfan can also make the fan spin below 1000rpm and/or stop it completely?

Tzeb wrote:
It's the weird 4 pin, but there's allways this.

That's another thing I'm very interested in. If I happened to replace the cooler and added my own 12cm fan (like a Scythe SlipStream), would I be able to get the same low speeds (300-400rpm) that I get when it's connected to the mobo header?


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:24 am 
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ermi wrote:
If I happened to replace the cooler and added my own 12cm fan (like a Scythe SlipStream), would I be able to get the same low speeds (300-400rpm) that I get when it's connected to the mobo header?

That depends upon the starting voltage and low speed behaviour of the fan. You should be able to get it close but manual changes might be required. BIOS modding would allow you to cover this.

For the non-standard fan connector, there is a good reason: they don't want you hooking up any old fan and either causing the card to overheat or blowing the header by drawing too much current. You do it at your own risk and have to accept that you are reengineering the card so it does take some thought to get it right.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:07 pm 
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Got some pics here. Look for PWM fans with the mininal speed 4-500, like the AC f12 PWM. The gpu header has a small limitation: It can't turn the fan off with "0", an0 the 0-6 range makes the fan run at 100%. But "8" translates to ~350 RPM, so the two fans are imposible to hear, even if you have the ear at 3 CM. 8)

Oh, and forget about "low starting voltage". Modern mobo and gpu headers start the fan at 100% for an instant and quickly slow them down after post, so that's not an issue.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 1:11 am 
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Tzeb wrote:
Oh, and forget about "low starting voltage". Modern (up to 10 years old so not that modern) mobo and gpu headers start the fan at 100% for an instant and quickly slow them down after post, so that's not an issue.

I beg to differ. Although motherboards and graphics cards will run 100% initially, if you're using Speedfan for control then you have to be careful as you may accidentally stop then with Speedfan. Hardware has reportedly failed under such circumstances. So yes, starting voltage is as issue even with PWM fans and regardless of what you're connecting them to.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 2:25 am 
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You are right. I forgot about the situation when you use speedfan to stop a fan under a certain temp. One just has to have the fan at 0 in speedfan and then try 5-8-10-12 etc, untill the fan starts. It takes 5 seconds to figure out what min speed value is needed for the fan to start moving and be safe. This is a 3 pin header only issue.

The thing with PWM fans connected to PWM headers is you can't turn them off, even with min speed=0, as the minimal speed is hardcoded by the manufacturer, 350RPM in the case of the Arctic Cooling F12 PWM. I remember some odd PWM fan with a 0 -> something range, but almost all start from 3-4-500.

Same with the gpu headers. Can't turn the fan off via software, not even by mistake.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 3:02 am 
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I have a couple of SlipStreams (a PWM version and a 3 pin 1200rpm), so I would use those.
The main difference is the 3 pin has a minimum speed of around 350rpm, lower than that it just stops, whereas the PWM version can spin even slower (using a Gigabyte P55 mobo).
If/when I get a new GPU I'll try connecting both and let you know how it goes.

In the mean time I welcome any other reports.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:27 am 
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Just something I noticed when I was looking at the 7850 reviews: most models have a 4-pin fan connector, but the two HIS models I saw have a simpler, 2-pin one (black and red wire):
http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/4847/his_radeon_hd_7850_2gb_video_card_overclocked_review/index2.html
http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/his_radeon_hd_7850_iceqx_turbox_review,3.html

I'm guessing with a 2-pin you might still be able to control the speed, but you wouldn't get RPM readings and PWM control.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:05 am 
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I would avoid the two pin header. It might not work with speedfan or some other tool. Look for something with a "Chill" chip and a 4 pin header. Random example - http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Powe ... lus/4.html


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:37 am 
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Tzeb wrote:
I would avoid the two pin header. It might not work with speedfan or some other tool.

It may not work in Speedfan but through something like Rivatuner it will be possible unless it is a fixed voltage output. I would be more worried about the 2-pin header in that it will not be interchangeable so easily with aftermarket PWM or DC fanned coolers and the current that it can supply may not be sufficient to power some other fans which would blow the header.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:07 am 
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Just an update. I eventually bought a PowerColor 7850 PCS+, so here's a quick recap.

I'm still using the stock cooler+fan.
I can set the lowest speed to around 992 rpm, which is achieved at around 25-30% in Speedfan. Setting it to anything lower than 25% doesn't reduce the speed and the fan never stops spinning.

The good news is that at the lowest speed it's pretty much inaudible (the two HDDs are louder and they're not very loud either).
As soon as I increase the speed (even by 100-200 rpm) I start hearing it, though. So using Speedfan (or similar) is a must, since without it it will not spin at the lowest speed in idle.
At load it needs to become audible to keep the temperature down, but it still doesn't need a very high fan speed, so it's tolerable.

I'll probably connect a 12cm fan with that Gelid cable-adapter at some point, but connecting the adapter safely would almost certainly require the removal of the cooler. I'm not in a hurry to do that, it's working fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:27 pm 
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Thanks for the update, this thread saved me from starting a new one as you were asking the exact same things that I was wondering about.

Are you able to answer your own question #3 now by stopping or disconnecting the fan while running 2D apps?

I'd very much like to know since my idea is to modify a 7850 or 7870 to become semi-passive, i.e. fanless in 2D mode and only turn on the fans in 3D mode.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet/silent Radeon 7850 or GTX 660, SpeedFan control
PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:13 am 
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No, I didn't try stopping the fan, because I couldn't do it with software. And unplugging it didn't seem easy enough with the cooler on.

My guess is the temperature wouldn't be very high. With the stock fan on minimum speed it's about 10-15 degrees over ambient. I have a case fan near it, though.
With something like an Accelero S1 Plus I think it should be easy to cool it passively in 2D mode.


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