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Tuning Radeon 7900 XTX

I replaced my 3070 with a 7900 XTX for that sweet, sweet AV1 encoding. 

Sure, a 4080 was tempting. I probably would have gotten one, but the thing is huge. I wouldn't fit in my case. As it is, the 7900 XTX has to be wedged in between the front radiator fans and the back framing. 

Needless to say, temperatures are an issue. It's the reference card, but all the 3rd party cards are overclocked and at least 30 mm bigger. At stock settings, it was ooookaaaaay... but it was hot. Looking on Reddit, people had bad cards that were getting to 110 C. I wasn't getting that hot, but it didn't seem that great. I couldn't get the same undervolt that everyone else could. 

Then I found THIS video by Ancient Gameplays. The key is to couple an undervolt (to 1060) with a counter-intuitive INCREASE in maximum power to plus 15%, AND and underclock maximum of 2500 mhz, minimum of 2400 mhz. Also increase VRAM speed to 2714 mhz. Seriously, the 14 is because there's a bug and to get 2700 you need to input 2714. 

I think the key is the GPU clock maximum lowered to 2500. To get those extra 400 mhz requires an additional 100 watts of power and at least 10 degrees C of heat on the junction. I can get 2500 mhz with 250 watts, but to get that 400 more mhz, I have to use 100 watts more of power, 2900 mhz for 350 watts. The efficiency falls through the floor, and the heat on this reference card becomes a major obstacle. 

Undervolting and underclocking has significantly decreased temperatures with a miniscule loss of performance, or none at all in some cases. I might be able to overclock my CPU with the heat savings from the GPU undervolt. 

the video:

6/2/2023 update: I crash at 1060, so I set it to 1100 which is what everyone else says their reference card can do. Min MHz 2400, max 2700. I didn't think the extra 100-300 MHz was worth the heat or power draw.

6/4/2023 update: 1130 voltage it is. 

6/5/2023 update: The default fan curve is broken, causing the card to heat up way more than it needs to, affecting performance. Proper fan settings are as follows:

ZERO RPM: disabled

FAN CURVE fine tuning controls:

P1 P2 P3 P4 P5

23 34 48 67 100

31 42 53 63 73

Greatly decreases temperatures. I tried lowering voltage to 1090 now that there's less heat. Memory at 2764 MHz with default timings. 

7/16/2023 update: With the 23.7.1 driver update, HDR was fixed to work now, lots of performance increases, better energy use. I lowered voltage to 1010 and increased max clock speed to 3000. It did OK in FurMark, so let's see how it idles. EDIT: fail. Back to 1130. 

7/18/2023 update: After getting artifacts in Minecraft, I figured that I was not smarter than the card, and I used the software to auto-undervolt and auto-overclock. Turns out, I was too aggressive with both my undervolt and VRAM overclock. When I used the recommended settings, all my problems went away. Really good drivers, 23.7.1. Good Job, AMD. 

9/19/2023 update: With overclocking and under volting, there will be crashes. When there are crashes, the video card resets itself to factor defaults. I got tired of changing all my setting every time there was a crash. I also found out that there is no need to overclock the video card. I have found the bottleneck is NOT the computation part, but the texture swapping part. The video card never reaches its max clock, but the memory is always swapping out old textures for new textures. In this case, I overclocked my memory to 2714 and used fast timings. I turned off all AMD Radeon extras, except for limiting frame rates to 120. This has smoothed out the rough patches in Minecraft while allowing me to set the view distance to 32 chunks, while leaving the fan to a bearable noise and controlling temperatures. It helps that the ambient temperatures are 10 C degrees cooler, too. 


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