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Test Setup and Overclocking
My overclocking journey was a bit unpleasant. Right off the bat, I knew that the core should be able to hit GT speeds, while the memory should go well beyond 800MHZ. Theoretically, 2.2ns memory should be able to run at least 909MHZ, but we all know that's not always possible. Reading a couple of BFG 6800 OC reviews, they usually tend to hit about 800MHZ. I used Coolbits to enable the overclocking utility within the Nvidia drivers. Auto-detect resulted with a maximum of 390MHZ for the core and 780MHZ for the memory. It wasn't what I had hoped for, but it wasn't too shabby either. I proceeded to test the overclocked speeds only to find them unstable. Further testing made me realize that the core was only able to reach a stable 370MHZ, while the memory was only good for 770MHZ. I figured that it must be a cooling issue. I touched the heatsink with my finger and it was burning hot. I figured that cooling would be a bit better if I removed the pink thermal pad and used some thermal paste. I replaced the pink pad with some OCZ Ultra 5 thermal paste and it made a huge difference. Although there was no accurate testing involved, the temperature reading from the Nvidia drivers indicated a good 1°C drop after switching thermal interface. The amazing part is that I was able to overclock much higher. The core went up another 10MHZ to 380MHZ, while the memory went up a whopping 110MHZ to 880MHZ. The funny part is that I didn't do anything to the memory. I simply used the stock thermal pad. This time the card was absolutely fantastic running at 380MHZ/880MHZ without a hiccup.