Minor Upgrade to Byakko and Thoughts over Seiryuu

So my Geforce GTS 250 (512mb GDDR3) has had a bit of a history with overheating for the last week… So I decided to nip the issue in the bud and pick up a Radeon HD 5770 by Asus. Who’d have thought that a change to 1GB of GDDR5 would make a number of changes. To give some of you an idea of how bad the Geforce GTS 250 was overheating… Some days, the system would run about 50C – 60C (122F – 140F) on idle. While gaming, the temps would rocket to 85C – 100C  (185F – 212F) quickly. Sometimes the overheating was so bad it just plain locked up my computer and I’d just have to force it to power down and cool the card off before turning the machine back on.

Here are the benchmarks as of yesterday…

Dirt 2 – Before, I could only run it at high settings as in ultra settings the game just flat out crashes. I was clocking about 45 frames per second before. Now, I am averaging 57 frames per second on ultra settings
World of Warcraft – Before, 45 FPS; Now, 60 FPS. On things like 5-man heroic dungeons, I will average 49-52 FPS now and with the GTS 250 it was probably around 20 FPS.
Modern Warfare 2 – The game is based of the Id Tech engine just modified, so not a hardcore game engine… Before, 75 FPS; After, 95 FPS
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – Before (mid range settings) 45; After(max settings) 45. The same issue from dirt showed up on BFBC2 as well.
Team Fortress 2 – The Source engine is quite an old engine that’s tried and true… so not a hard game to crank. Before, 60 FPS; After, 90 FPS
Borderlands – Before, 45 FPS; After 62 FPS

For the stress test, I used World of Warcraft’s Dalaran under “busy” capacity to test. This place can show a lot of strain to even weaker machines… I should know as my old Dell laptop Suzaku would be lucky to even get 2-3 FPS if I could even log on. The Geforce GTS 250 scored about 5 frames average if I could even log-in. The new Radeon 5770 scored an impressive 20 FPS.

For the temperature ranges… I have been impressed that the graphic card holds steady at around 35C – 37C (95F – 98.6f) on idle and about 65C (149F) when under stress from gaming with an ambient air temperature in my dorm room of about 72F. The design of the card is really quite good. The card is smaller and lighter than the Geforce GTS 250 it replaced. Asus’s CUcore design uses a 5.8oz copper rod in the center of the heat sink to wick off the heat from the GPU more efficiently allowing for up to 11% cooler temperatures. The fan is plenty quiet on the automatic setting and should you want extreme cooling, you can precision tune the fan controls with the Smart Doctor program from Asus. For the enthusiast, Smart Doctor also allows voltage tweaking which can increase the speed of the graphic card by 50%. I haven’t yet been able to test this as I want to insure I can properly cool my system before doing so…

I have also been considering making a new gamer PC build as I think my machine is about due to be retired into the service/care of becoming a home-theater PC (HTPC). With the new AMD/ATi 890GX motherboards and the AMD Thuban Phenom II x6 processors, it gives a huge potential for spectacular gaming enjoyment. On retiring Byakko to HTPC service… I’ll be equipping it with a Radeon HD 5570 for video playback management while taking the 5770 to the new build… Below is a spec sheet on the potential future build…

Project Seiryuu (Azure Dragon)
AMD Phenom II x6 1090T Black Edition (6-core rated at 3.2 GHz on each core, to be overclocked to 4.2 GHz)
Corsair H50 self-contained water cooling unit with 2x 120mm Delta case fans
Asus Crosshair IV motherboard (890FX architecture)
4-8GB of DDR3-1333 RAM
Corsair 64GB SSD (for Windows boot data only)
2TB Western Digital Black Edition hard drive (primary storage)
Blu-RayROM/DVD burner drive
2x Radeon 5770 linked via Crossfire-X
Linksys dual-band wireless-N network card
Samsung 1080p monitor
Extra cooling fans
Cooler Master HAF 932 case
Cooler Master 700w power source

The build will be pretty solid. As for upgrading in the future, RAM, video cards, and additional hard drives will really be the only things needed. I can boost the RAM to up to 16GB. The Crossfire-X set-up of the Radeon 5770’s can be changed out for 2 Sapphire Toxic Vapor-X Radeon 5870’s rated at 2GB of GDDR5 RAM per card. As for hard drives, those will be slowly added as time goes on. The one last optional part for me is a Corsair 800D case, but that’s mainly due to the qualities of the case…

Trivia: For those wondering on the names Byakko and Seiryuu… Those are the Japanese names for Chinese constellation. Byakko is the White Tiger of the West, while Seiryuu is the Azure Dragon of the East.

5 thoughts on “Minor Upgrade to Byakko and Thoughts over Seiryuu”

    1. If they get cheaper on the by the time I build… I'll definitely consider that. At the time of speculating the build… It is better for the money to use the 2TB platter drives.

  1. i'm still surprised you ended up with a GeForce…

    Now that that's out of the way, i'm still wondering how you did a 'busy' stress test in Dalaran…

    1. The GTS 250 was a purchase of "new" technology. The Radeon's were in the 4000-series and on the time of purchasing (July 2009) there was word of a new 5000-series looming. Rather than buy a 4000 on the cheap and lament that my machine couldn't keep up, I opted for a cheap Geforce 200 series. Now that I have seen some folks complain that Nvidia is just plain overpriced (especially with the new 300/400 series) and the Radeon 5000 series cards are phenomenal, I opted for that. =)

      As for the Dalaran stress test… It was after finishing a 5-man Heroic and when I got back to Dalaran and it was everyone with their custom mounts and wandering around with their orphans for the Children's Week event… I reminded me of last year that if I came back to that, my Dell XPS m140 would just puke and log me out with a generic "Disconnected from Server" message because it couldn't crunch the graphic data.

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