Breaking the 20k Mark in 3DMark Vantage

By on September 19, 2009
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As this is my first blog, I thought of posting about something extreme, so here goes…

As this is my first blog, I thought of posting about something extreme, so here goes:

It all started with me wanting to build a system with Crossfire capabilities so I could run a Crossfire setup anytime with any ATI card- I admit, I am fan of their cards. The reason I prefer working more with ATI cards than NVIDIA is simply because I have a water cooling setup with two Dangerden Maze 5 GPU blocks connected in the loop. This block can be mounted on an ATI X800 GTO, 1900XT, 1900XTX, 2900XT, HD 3850 , 3870, 4850, 4870 and the 4890. Basically, the water block is compatible with almost all ATI cards due to the positioning of the four mounting holes around the GPU staying unchanged throughout the years.


This is very much unlike NVIDIA, where almost each generation or series of cards has its own uniquely sized holes, making it hard to upgrade.

Having said that, let’s take a look at my gaming rig’s specifications:
• CPU: Intel QX 9770 Extreme Edition
• Motherboard: Asus Maximus Extreme X38
• GPU: 2x Asus EAH4890 with Voltage Tweak
• RAM: 2x Corsair CM3X1024-1800C7DHX + 2xOCZ OCZ3P16001G
• Sound card: Creative Xtreme Music
• PSU: Enermax Galaxy 1000w
• Hard Drive: 2x Seagate 320GB @ RAID0
• OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 32-Bit SP2

Before making any changes to my system, I first removed the heatsink from both 4890s and installed only the red heatsink with the fan on it and mounted the Dangerden Maze 5 GPU block. I saw temperatures of approximately 30° C at idle and around 40° C at load.


I started to benchmark my setup with the default settings to see what the score would be, and the result was a total score of 15755, comprising of 17011 as the GPU Score and 12899 as the CPU Score with 3Dmark Vantage.


It’s actually pretty impressive considering the setup is faster than a single 4870X2 or two 4870 cards, on default settings. So I chose to overclock the GPU’s first and kept the CPU at stock. To do that I used Rivatuner v2.24 with a registry hack to enable overclocking on the 4890 with Voltage adjusting.

After hours of tuning to see what the optimum voltage setting would be with best clock speed so I don’t throttle the GPU and bring down the scores, I managed to stick with 1.5v on the GPU running at 1050MHz and 1200MHz on memory. I managed to obtain a total score of 17342 Mark, comprising of 19393 GPU Score and 13165 CPU score, so that’s an extra 1587 points achieved by simply overclocking the GPU’s.


But I wasn’t done yet; I still had the Qx9770 CPU to overclock, so I went back to the BIOS to adjust the multiplier to 10x, FSB to 425 and CPU Voltage to 1.62500v, after which CPU showed 1.52v in the Windows screen. RAM speed was set to 1700MHz by running it at1.94v which enabled the Quad core CPU to run fully stable at 4250MHz. This is despite the X38 motherboard limiting me- I’ve tested the same CPU on the Asus Rampage Extreme and managed to gain a stable 4.4GHz.

Anyway, I benchmarked the setup and I was left with 19983 Mark on Vantage which made me go crazy as I was only 17 marks shy of hitting 20k, so I restarted the setup, went back to Windows, but this time, I cleaned unnecessary applications using the Task Manager and increased the memory speed on both of the 4890’s to 1210MHz. I started 3Dmark Vantage and closed my eyes, hoping to cross the 20k score…

Once 3Dmark Vantage had completed, I opened my eyes to see the 20124 Mark on the screen with 21406 on GPU score and 17057 on CPU score which made me ecstatic!


Now I am ranked #9 in 3Dmark Vantage with Performance settings along with 4890 Cards among the rest of the benchmarks! Validation:


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