Now that I got my main issue resolved I can work on what I've been wanting to do more experimenting with. Let me preface this by saying I bought these cards used, they were not in the best shape as far as coolers go (they needed cleaning, badly, which they got, to the best of my ability with q-tips & air cans), and they were previously used for coin mining of some sort, with temperature limits on them supposedly to avoid overheating, and they passed all benchmarks with no issues.
The reason I mention that is the ladder part of my title: It seems the guy using them for mining in his wisdom, messed with the BIOS of one card but not the other. Now I know they have a dual BIOS switch, this is how I discovered he'd done it. What he did, as far as I can tell, is move the "UBER" stock BIOS to the "Quiet" setting, and then put a new, foreign BIOS on the "UBER" switch setting. The "Quiet" setting on that card reads out as the exact same XFX BIOS as is on my other card in "UBER" mode. They run the same on these BIOSes together & have no issues what so ever.
The other BIOS however, is labeled plainly "ATI" and I cannot tell what to think of it, as it caused so many issues when it came to me trying to fiddle with the card's clocks that I immediately switched back to the other one (I of course did uninstall, clean & reinstall drivers each time I messed with things... long process but worth it to avoid issues).
So to the point of the ladder part of my title, is there a place I can A: get the original BIOS for the "Quiet" setting and then swap them back to where they should be according to the switch on that card, or B: get a possibly nicer, more overclockable BIOS that I can replace the weird BIOS on that one, and the "Quiet" BIOS on the other card with? What program would I use to do this that you guys would recommend?
I've done BIOS switching before but never on AMD cards, only on NVidia.
And that leads me to the other part of my topic:
Overclocking: Who here has experimented with OCing their cards, what software did you use, what clocks were you able to achieve & with what settings? Currently I am using MSI Afterburner, now 3.0.1, and in the bits of testing I've done (keep in mind these are XFX Core Edition cards, so they run pretty warm, but I keep'em cool, load temps have never seen past 74C, and rarely go upwards of 70C for long) I've managed to hit:
+25% Power Limit, Core: 1050MHz, vRAM: 1375MHz
+50% Power Limit, Core: 1080MHz (+50mv in AB), vRAM: 1375MHz
I can't seem to get the vRAM to budget much higher than that and get artifact-free benchmarking. I'm doing the overclocking mostly for benchmark scores, so they aren't for 24/7 stability, I just don't want to submit scores for leaderboards that have artifacted-runs in them.
CPU: i7 3930k @ 4.6GHz 1.29V (Corsair H110-cooled) ~ Motherboard: Asus RoG Rampage IV Extreme
RAM: G.Skill Sniper Gaming Series (4x4GB 2133MHz, CL9) ~ PSU: Corsair AX 1200W ~ Case: Enermax Fulmo GT
GPUs: 3x HIS R9 290X Reference (Core) Editions in TriFire, Max Load Temps: 71C/70C/71C during OC testing :-P