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 Post subject: My HD4670 with VF-900 and RAM sinks
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 3:40 pm 
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I used to have a X1950pro with Zalman VF-900 with Noctua fan, as detailed here. A few weeks ago a stray cable stopped the fan and I didn’t notice anything was wrong till after I’d been away most of the weekend! As the fan would spin very slow at idle there was no acoustic signature to notice and was also below the 6V/900rpm(ish) that Noctua NF-R8 fans need to output a speed signal. I’m not sure what temp it may have gotten up to, 90°C+ I’d guess!
I came back to spots and graphical corruption all over the desktop, although it hadn’t crashed. On rebooting I got corruption in the BIOS and desktop and any 3D app would crash very quickly. After checking various connections, things etc I decided I’d toasted the card and got out the credit card. As my finances weren’t great (having been made redundant :( ) and not being that big on gaming I decided on a HD4670 as being good bang-for-buck at low price, lower power, quiet etc.
I bought the cheapest HD4670, at the time, from my favourite web store, I got Powercolor 1GB PCS version for £57. It looked like good value, even now that’s a good price for any HD4670 let alone a 1GB model with up-rated cooler. In practice the 1GB of RAM only runs 873MHz where the 512MB models are ~1000MHz and the card is usually memory bandwidth limited. In situations where more than 512MB RAM might help the card is probably not powerful enough anyway. That the HD4770 was released about 10 days later...
Interestingly ATI suggests that the 1GB models use "ordinary" DDR3 as it's cheaper than the GDDR3 used in 512MB Models; however my card definitely has Samsung GDDR3 chips, rated at 1.1ns (900MHz).

After ordering the new card I fiddled about with the X1950pro some and discovered that the GPU core was fine and the problem was the memory chips, guess those GPUs really can handle the heat! The RAM was advertised as 800MHz DDR but only really ran 700MHz, the core was 580MHz. I had a customised BIOS that ran max stable speeds of 600/750MHz core/mem and altered fan profile to fit the Noctua fan.
Now I’ve set the RAM to 550MHz the card seams to work OK again, except I’ve taken the VF-900 off. If anyone wants a slowed down X1950pro with no cooler ready to take heatsink of your choice then drop me a PM!

The HD4670 card I’ve got had several issues; for SPCR folks the stock cooler is fair at idle and good with the speed manually reduced further but as soon as any load was applied the fan spun up noisily. I've "fixed" this problem with the VF-900 from my X1950pro and this keeps card 65C or less at very low fan speeds.
The other main issue is that the card does not under-clock or under-volt at all. Once I modified the card’s BIOS (or enabled ATI overdrive) this caused unbearable flickering on the second screen every time the clock speed changes, and it changes often, just scrolling or re-sizing a window would do it. I think this the same issue mentioned on a Powercolor card in the huge HD4670 thread, brenta100 eventually got the card replaced for a different brand.
In my case I’ve accepted fixed clock speeds and they’re set in the BIOS at 770/903MHz, from original 750/873 so not much of an overclock. As it won’t idle it may have to spend it’s time folding for SPCR ;-)
In stock form I found the RAM chips, the transistors (I think they are, black squares next to the gray cubes) and the gray cubes all got pretty hot.

Overall the card is physically smaller, lower power consumption and faster than the X1950pro it replaces. It’s 25 to 60% faster in my tests and I guess the greater RAM, 1GB vs 256MB, and more-up-to-date video and 3D processing features will help in future.

Enough of my rambling, now for the pictures:
(click picture for full size cropped original, 10MP, upto 2MB)

Modified X1950pro and new HD4670
Image

HD4670 with stock heatsink removed, memory and transistors cleaned with ArctiClean and skim of Arctic Silver 5 on GPU core all ready for heatsinks.
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Enzotech 14mm tall copper BGA RAM sinks on a ram chip and the six transistors. Low profile Zalman heatsinks on other three RAM chips to fit under the VF-900
Image

The other four Enzotech heatsinks on the rear RAM chips (packs of eight)
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The Zalman VF-900 with Noctua fan mounted
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Slotted back in my system
(P5B-E Plus, HR-05, Zerotherm BTF90 butterfly w/120mm Arctic Cooling PWM fan)
Image

System full side shot (reasonably tidy)
Image

Turns out that the very high heat and being stalled for couple days didn’t do the Noctua’s bearings any good at all the fan now had a noticeable rumble.
I replaced the fan with a Xilence 80mm Red Wing.
Image

It has some advantages over the Noctua, it’s slower, 1500rpm max vs 1800rpm and also reports its speed right down to stall point ~300rpm. The Noctua wouldn’t read below ~900rpm. On the X1950 the fan was powered and speed controlled by the card with the speed wire routed to a motherboard header to read it through SpeedFan. Something about the way the HD4670 controls the fan's speed causes it to fail to be readable so the fan is powered from the motherboard and linked to the case fan speeds. Not ideal but as loads of cooling headroom it should be OK.
The Xilence is a 9 blade design that may provide better static pressure and should be more efficient than the Noctua that is noted for it’s poor performance on heatsinks.
I tested idle and load (10mins+ of Furmark) temps with both fans at (reported) 959rpm. The results slightly favour the Xilence with idle/load of 32/54°C vs 33/55°C for the Noctua. I would say it’s too close to be significant
At 1507rpm the results were a wash with idle/load of 31/51°C for both fans.
Overall the Xilence is a nice fan, no real bearing noise, perhaps a touch loader than the very best 80mm fans might be but nothing to get excited about especially given it’s low price.

Comments? Questions? Please ask,
Regards, Seb

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i7 2600k under NH-C14 w/2xTY-140PWM fans, P8P67Deluxe, 8GB RAM, GTX560Ti OC w/TwinTurbo II and BIOS fanspeed mod. 2x120GB HyperX 3K RAID 0 & 2TB EARX in Scythe QuietDrive outside case. Antec Signature 650 fan swapped. CoolerMaster 201C with 2x92 + lower 92mm fan out rear, holes-in-floor and mesh top+front intakes.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 7:33 pm 
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that's sexy. good work, enjoy it, man. :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:18 am
Posts: 10
Location: Chch, NZ
If you had to buy another HD4670 with stock cooling solution would you buy the same card again?

What do you mean by - "As it won’t idle it may have to spend it’s time folding for SPCR"

If it has doing hardware acceleration +deinterlacing of H264 1080i do you think the fan would spin up, or would it stay closer to idle?

I'm wanting a HD4670 for my HTPC and would prefer it to be reasonably quiet when doing hardware acceleration of H264 HDTV / MKV files. I'd prefer to get a HD4670 that i can use stock without any mods.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:52 am 
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Hi, regarding the idle thing I mean that the card doesn't lower it's GPU/RAM clocks in order to save power. If you look in the long (16 page+) HD4670 Perfect balance thread there is a lot of discussion of which cards will lower the clock speeds and which are capable of lowering the voltage too to really drop the power usage when the card is idle.
Even my card uses a low less power idle then when rendering 3D etc. A card that can drop it's clocks and voltage probably can save 10-15w, at 24/7/365 usage that's £10-15/year so it's more a matter of "it's right and it should" than makes all the difference in use. Likewise whether the card idles at 5w or 15w will make little differance to the noise.
I'll test the card in respect to HD decoding, anything you'd like me to test allowing I don't have BluRay anything? Maybe so 1080 clip/trailer I can download?
In an HTPC, unless playing games too, 3D performance doesn't matter so the fact that 512MB HD4670s have 1000MHz RAM vs the 873MHz on 1GB models wouldn't matter. The card I bought was the cheapest HD4670 at the time. As 3D performance matters to me I would buy a 512MB version if I had to do it again. Also as I use two monitors and the PCS card I have has a problem with flickering on the second screen if you enable ATI overdrive or modify the BIOS to drop the clock speeds at idle.
If you want a quiet, stock card then maybe see if you can find a passive card, if 3D doesn't matter too much then maybe HD4550/4650 as they are cheaper and passive ones are more common, will still have great HD decoding. HIS IceQ model should be quiet too.
I'll report back when had a chance to investigate HD decode load/noise.
Regards, Seb

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i7 2600k under NH-C14 w/2xTY-140PWM fans, P8P67Deluxe, 8GB RAM, GTX560Ti OC w/TwinTurbo II and BIOS fanspeed mod. 2x120GB HyperX 3K RAID 0 & 2TB EARX in Scythe QuietDrive outside case. Antec Signature 650 fan swapped. CoolerMaster 201C with 2x92 + lower 92mm fan out rear, holes-in-floor and mesh top+front intakes.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:18 pm 
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Location: Chch, NZ
Thanks, I don't have blu ray either.

But i do have a lot of 1080P mkv files I play using DXVA (MPC-HC) or MPCVIDEODEC.ax in Mediaportal.

Yeah i am trying to decide between Powercolor vs HIS IceQ Pro. I like that the HIS extracts the heat outside the case, but I don't like that it is a bit louder. I don't want to go passive bc I am worried my case's airflow might not be sufficent and I had a passive 8600GT in the past, which was really really hot and it made me feel uncomfortable.

[url=http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/HIS/HD_4670_IceQ_Turbo/25.html]HIS IceQ Pro = 24.3 dbA @ Idle -> 29 dbA @ Full load
Powercolor = 21 dbA @ Idle -> 24.2 dbA @ Full Load[/url]

That would be useful to know if playing a 1080P movie caused the card to get hotter/increase fan speed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:11 am 
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Did you know that your version of powercolor HD4670 is different from that pictured on the tech powerup review? Look at the location of the little grey boxes....

Image

There are also 2 different versions of powercolor HD4670 512mb PCI-E on the powercolor website

http://www.powercolor.com/Global/produc ... ctID=2389#
http://www.powercolor.com/Global/produc ... ctID=5064#

Both versions are different to yours.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:36 pm 
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kiwijunglist, having examined Powercolor's webpage the difference in those two cards you listed is the RAM clock speed, 1000 vs 800MHz. I believe the HD4670 tends to be memory bandwidth limited so I would avoid the 800MHz RAM card. Another difference to my 1GB card is mine has no crossfire connector(s).

Anyway I refitted the original cooler to my card and it's better than I remembered, although I should point out the fanspeed curve in the BIOS is altered. It's set to idle at 25% and the fan turns fairly slowly. I would say it would be un-noticed in all but the quietest of PCs / settings. Idle temp was ~45°C. Under heavy load with Furmark the card breached 70°C where the fan speed increased to 38%. Highest temp was 77°C, I think I set something like 50%+ fanspeed for 80°C and above. At 38% the fan is audiable in my quiet PC and slightly annoying due to the highish pitch. Even small amount of game or ambient noise will pretty much cover it, it's not really that bad at all. I do note my £57 card has VF-900 (£25 except it came off my dead X1950), Xilence fan (£4), Zalman RAM sinks (£5) and Enzotech RAM sinks (£11), silence maybe golden but its not cheap!

I tried to gage the GPU load for video playback, but I didn't find a 1080p file that I could play that used GPU acceleration. Quicktime was one of the worst, Harry Potter 1080p clip used 0% GPU and up to 35% CPU power (of quad core Q9400 @ 3.2GHz...) Power DVD seamed to be the best for actually using the GPU, the best I saw was the 720p MPEG4 clips in Graysky's x264 benchmark. This would show up to 12% GPU use in CCC with single digit CPU use.
Given the apparently light use of the GPU and the fact it takes something really stressful like Furmark to really heat the card up I'd say that GPU video acceleration won't cause the fan to ramp up.

Would I buy my card again? If you don't demand the absolute quietest idle, you don't mind the lack of under clock/volt at idle or bit more noise under load and you're prepared to control the fan speed (BIOS mod, ATITool, RivaTuner or CCC[fixed only]) to keep the noise low then yes it's not a bad card at all. I would recommend the 512MB version with 1000MHz RAM though. This one (AX4670 512MD3-P)

Hope this all helps, Seb

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i7 2600k under NH-C14 w/2xTY-140PWM fans, P8P67Deluxe, 8GB RAM, GTX560Ti OC w/TwinTurbo II and BIOS fanspeed mod. 2x120GB HyperX 3K RAID 0 & 2TB EARX in Scythe QuietDrive outside case. Antec Signature 650 fan swapped. CoolerMaster 201C with 2x92 + lower 92mm fan out rear, holes-in-floor and mesh top+front intakes.


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 Post subject: Re: My HD4670 with VF-900 and RAM sinks
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:26 am
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Location: Germany
SebRad wrote:
I came back to spots and graphical corruption all over the desktop, although it hadn’t crashed. On rebooting I got corruption in the BIOS and desktop and any 3D app would crash very quickly. After checking various connections, things etc I decided I’d toasted the card and got out the credit card. (...)

After ordering the new card I fiddled about with the X1950pro some and discovered that the GPU core was fine and the problem was the memory chips, guess those GPUs really can handle the heat! (...)
Now I’ve set the RAM to 550MHz the card seams to work OK again, except I’ve taken the VF-900 off. If anyone wants a slowed down X1950pro with no cooler ready to take heatsink of your choice then drop me a PM!

Just a warning: I had an X800GTO after a mod with an Accelero S2 fail on me similarily, with the same "fix" (lowering RAM speed) making it "work" again. However, the condition of the card detoriated further quickly, and after about 2 weeks or so I had to trash it.
All reported temperatures were fine, and there was also plenty of airflow.

It might have been that there was some fundamental problem with my cooling solution (yes, there was a fan on the Accelero), however I failed back then to see what and do not know now, either.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 5:02 pm 
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K.Murx, yes I've given up on the X1950pro now. Having tried to run it some more it quickly became apparent that it wasn't happy at all. I've seen X1950pro for as little as £20 so concluded no point in messing with it.
I have kept the VRM heatsink and will be putting it in the for sale section if anyone wants it as cooling X1950 VRMs has sometimes caused issues for people.
Seb

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i7 2600k under NH-C14 w/2xTY-140PWM fans, P8P67Deluxe, 8GB RAM, GTX560Ti OC w/TwinTurbo II and BIOS fanspeed mod. 2x120GB HyperX 3K RAID 0 & 2TB EARX in Scythe QuietDrive outside case. Antec Signature 650 fan swapped. CoolerMaster 201C with 2x92 + lower 92mm fan out rear, holes-in-floor and mesh top+front intakes.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:16 pm 
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Weird. My Powercolor 4670 can reduce its core/mem frequency from 785/1050 to 500Mhz/750Mhz. But your mod on 4670 is pretty good. You improve the Powercolor's relatively loud noise under heavy load. :D


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