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Amazon Shipping 7970PCB model, Great overclocking, MSI NEEDS TO USE DIFFERENT THERMAL PASTE,
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This review is from: MSI AMD Radeon HD 7950 3GB GDDR5 DVI/HDMI/2xMini DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card R7950 TWIN FROZR 3GD5/OC (Personal Computers)
ASIC Quality is 88.6% via GPU-Z 0.6.4 - this is very high. This seems to be "new batch" 7950 chips which have higher ASIC quality in general. Higher ASIC quality should = better overclocks at the same voltage compared with lower ASIC quality.
The card I received is based on the 7970 PCB - it has 8 pin and 6 pin power in. This SHOULD be a very good overclocking card given ASIC quality, aftermarket cooling, 7970 PCB design. And is it?
Answer is, yes!
I used sapphire trixx for overclocking.
Stock core voltage was 1.031 volt for my board (set low!) and it ran of course at stock settings 880core 1250 memory great. I got 43.9 frames per sec on uningine benchmark, using default settings (2560x1440 resolution).
I was able to crank up the voltage to 1050, memory to 1700 WITHOUT ADJUSTING VOLTAGE. That's 1050mhz core on 1.031 volts! Upon cranking up the voltage to 1.100 volts, I was able to overlock to 1050mhz core and 1700 memory, uningine benchmark ran at 70.5 frames per second.
I then bumped the voltage to 1.10 volts (still very low, most of the review sites pushed their 7950 to 1.2 to 1.25 volts). was able to get Core to 1150mhz, memory 1700. At these settings, using the stock fan profile, running furmark to max GPU temp, Temp Max was 81 Celcius, fan speed running at 79%. It was loud and tinny sounding. Uningine ran at 78.6 FPS.
MSI - are you listening? please read this part - I then removed the heat sink and removed the old thermal paste, replaced the thermal paste with arctic silver 5. (this was really easy to do, only 4 screws removed). The temp max dropped from 81 celcius and 79% fan speed to 79 celcius and 75% fan speed, using furmark.
The difference in fan speed 75% to 79% is absolutely audible, not that I'm gonna furmark my computer all night. Temp max while running uningine with initial thermal paste at 1150/1700 was 72 celcius.
TL;DR? This is a great card. If you are willing to overclock a little it will boost performance a LOT (80% increased frames per sec on uningine benchmark for me). This IS the best bang for the buck today in graphics card. Change the thermal paste and you should get 2-3 celcius drop in temp at max possible load, and decrease noise. MSI - PLEASE USE A DIFFERENT SUPPLIER OF THERMAL PASTE. ARCTIC SILVER 5 ISN'T THAT EXPENSIVE.
CONS? The two fan design is noisy, and my overclock results have been hampered by undesired noisiness. Who knows how high this card can be pushed with better air cooling or under water.
Addendum: After my arctic silver has cured for 1 day, temp went from 79 celcius at max load to 78 celcius at max load. Fan speed 72%. Temps dropped 3 celcius with new paste.