The AMD (formerly ATI) Radeon HD 3850 graphics card model runs at a moderate operating temperature out of the box. The graphic card runs at temperatures around 7.22 degrees Celsius hotter than the computer's CPU. The graphics card's high temperature makes it the hottest operating part of the computer.
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According to HardOCP's testing, the Radeon 3850 model runs at 46.1 degrees Celsius when idle under normal conditions. This idle temperature is considered low among graphics cards and is unlikely to damage the card over long-term use.
According to HardOCP's testing, the Radeon 3850 model runs at 85 degrees Celsius when running at full load under normal conditions. This full-load temperature is considered to be on the high end of cards that operate at normal temperatures. The 3850 experiences an over-80-percent temperature spike compared when it is under full load, compared to when it's idle.
The 3850 model might experience hotter or colder running temperatures depending on temperature and airflow conditions. A typical computer CPU burns out at around 71.1 degrees Celsius, while the Radeon 3850 starts running the risk of breaking at around 116 degrees Celsius. A graphics card is considered running at a dangerous temperature when it approaches 93.3 degrees Celsius. The graphics card will most likely break if the temperature reaches 124 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the graphics card will start experiencing minor operational problems including display glitches when it operates at temperatures higher than the boiling point of water -- 100 degrees Celsius. The Radeon 3850 can operate correctly at temperatures around 93.3 degrees Celsius, but will get damaged if it hits these temperatures too frequently.
Effects of Outside Sources
The room temperature can aid (or hinder) the graphics card's cooling. The 3850 runs at 85 degrees Celsius in a room that is 21.1 degrees Celsius; however, if the room temperature reaches 35 degrees Celsius, it lowers the room's cooling effect on the graphics card and can cause the 3850 to operate -12.2 to -6.66 degrees C hotter, putting it in the dangerous temperature range. Obstructed and insufficient airflow can also cause the graphics card to reach dangerous operating temperatures. The computer's fans constantly move air in and out of the case to cool the computer down. If this airflow is obstructed, the computer's interior temperature can rise -6.66 to -1.11 degrees C, pushing the 3850s temperature above 93.3 degrees Celsius.
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