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 didnâ€™t notice anything was wrong till after Iâ€™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. Iâ€™m not sure what temp it may have gotten up to, 90Â°C+ Iâ€™d guess!
I came back to spots and graphical corruption all over the desktop, although it hadnâ€™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 Iâ€™d toasted the card and got out the credit card. As my finances werenâ€™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 Â£57. It looked like good value, even now thatâ€™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 Iâ€™ve set the RAM to 550MHz the card seams to work OK again, except Iâ€™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 Iâ€™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 cardâ€™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 Iâ€™ve accepted fixed clock speeds and theyâ€™re set in the BIOS at 770/903MHz, from original 750/873 so not much of an overclock. As it wonâ€™t idle it may have to spend itâ€™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. Itâ€™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
HD4670 with stock heatsink removed, memory and transistors cleaned with ArctiClean and skim of Arctic Silver 5 on GPU core all ready for heatsinks.
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
The other four Enzotech heatsinks on the rear RAM chips (packs of eight)
The Zalman VF-900 with Noctua fan mounted
Slotted back in my system
(P5B-E Plus, HR-05, Zerotherm BTF90 butterfly w/120mm Arctic Cooling PWM fan)
System full side shot (reasonably tidy)
Turns out that the very high heat and being stalled for couple days didnâ€™t do the Noctuaâ€™s bearings any good at all the fan now had a noticeable rumble.
I replaced the fan with a Xilence 80mm Red Wing.
It has some advantages over the Noctua, itâ€™s slower, 1500rpm max vs 1800rpm and also reports its speed right down to stall point ~300rpm. The Noctua wouldnâ€™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 itâ€™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 32/54Â°C vs 33/55Â°C for the Noctua. I would say itâ€™s too close to be significant
At 1507rpm the results were a wash with idle/load of 31/51Â°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 itâ€™s low price.
Comments? Questions? Please ask,