Originally posted by: Dagorath The problem is the 7970 doesn't seem to be runing at full speed and I say that because the exhaust air coming out the back is not very warm and the fan is almost inaudible which means it's running at low speed.
It all depends on the cooling solution of the card. You see, my Asus card with its excellent DirectCU cooling never goes above 40-50% fan speed, and is relatively cool (60-70°C) even during a long Furmark stress test.
It is not because it doesn't operate at full speed, but because the cooling solution is that good. If you happened to buy something similar, one with some nice custom cooling, it can be the reason why you experience what you do.
This is in contrast to my nVIDIA GPUs which all put out a lot of heat and the fans rev up to near full speed soon after the unit starts crunching a job.
That is what nvidia cards are infamous for (next to their prices). Infinite power consumption and and heat dissipation. It doesn't mean they perform better.
As I said, this is my first AMD GPU so I'm not familiar with apps andnutilities for it. ... Is there an application, even a CLI app, I can use to query the catalyst driver or whatever and get the fan speed and temperature?
Unfortunately linux support is almost non-existant. There are no monitoring tools whatsoever that I know of. You should look around for open source alternatives, if they exist at all.
Do I have to "unlock" anything to get that info or to allow the GPU to run at highest possibel clock settings? I ask about variable clocks because my NVIDIA cards all adjust the clocks and fan down when the GPU isn't being used. Or you can set them manually to run at maximum. Do the AMD GPUs have anything similar?
If everything works as it should, the cards work at their full potential out of the box. There's no need to unlock anything. These cards do the same as nvidia cards, set a low clock speed when idle, and ramp up the clock under load. It's all controlled by their BIOS, so it's OS independent.
If you ran windows, you'd have all these clock and manual fan speed settings. Unfortunately as I said, linux support is terrible at the moment, except for driver stability and ease of installation.
It might change in the future with more and more games and Steam coming to linux. AMD is forced to improve the linux situation. But it can take years. If you need all those things right now, a switch to nvidia is unavoidable.
CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 810 @ 3250MHz | RAM: Kingmax 2x2GB DDR2 800 @ 833MHz| MoBo: MSI K9A2 CF v1.0 (BIOS: 1.D)| GPU: Asus HD 6850 1024MB (DirectCu) @ 850/1100MHz | Display: Chili Green Vision L24FHD | PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad | OS: MS Windows 95 x64 Edition
CPU: Pentium 4 Northwood S478 @ 3200MHz | RAM: 1,5GB DDR 400| MoBo: Gigabyte GA-8S661FXMP-RZ | GPU: Abit Geforce Ti 4200 | Display: Dimarson 19" CRT | PSU: Noname 400W | OS: MS Windows XP Pro, Fedora 18