AMD XFX 6950 intermittent crash

Hi all i'm hoping someone can answer this for me. I have a problem where my graphics card will crash after starting a game, soon after starting windows. Once it's spazzed out for a bit (screen goes black flickers on/off etc.) it will then run fine for hours can start stop games etc. it's almost as if it crashes when the card isn't (warmed up). xfx haven't been very helpful, i think the card is out of warranty (it's older than 1 year) so i'm a bit stuck! i'll paste my build below. Any help would be much appreciated it's driving me nuts! i've tried removing drivers etc. (used driver sweeper) i'm getting to the stage of rebuilding the machine...

XFX HD 6950 2GB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDMI Dual DP Out PCI-E Graphics Card
Coolermaster CM690 II Lite with Coolermaster GX 650W PSU *Special Offer Bundle*
OCZ 120GB Vertex 2E SSD 2.5" SATA-II Read = 285MB/s, Write = 275MB/s 50,000 IOPS
Gigabyte GA-P55-USB3 P55 Socket 1156 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard
Western Digital WD6401AALS 640GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache - OEM Caviar Black
Intel Core i7 870 2.93GHz Socket LGA 1156 8MB L3 Cache Retail Boxed Processor
Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1333MHz Memory Kit CL9 1.5V

*** UPDATE ***

I have checked the temps and it basically ranges from 35ish to 70ish deg depending on load. I thought a 650w PSU would be perfectly adequate for this sort of card? Thanks very much though i will take your advice and hopefully figure out what the problem is. Can you recommend the right wattage for a 2GB graphics card? I have also checked event viewer and not getting much info it just says something like device driver stopped responding or something like that... I also don't think it would be overheating because it would be crashing constantly? The card seems to run fine for hours once it gets going...
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More about amd xfx 6950 intermittent crash
  1. Assuming your power supply is functioning well and providing the necessary power to the card:
    Might be the fan is not working properly and the card is overheating.

    Ways to check:
    a) If you have 2 or monitors, monitor the card temperature through catalyst on one monitor while playing a game.
    b) Another option might be to watch the fan to make sure it is spinning
    c) You could also max out the fan speed to see if that makes a difference (should be able to hear the fan).

    Of course, if you are having cooling issues, there is always the possibility the card was damaged due to the issue.

    I have a similar (if not the same) XFX card that was also exhibiting random crashes while gaming. The card would normally be in the mid 60 deg C while gaming. When it would crash, the temperature would be at 106 deg C. To verify the fan, I had the case open and could see the fan was not spinning as the temperature went up. My card is currently in the RMA process right now. A little cheaper then replacing the the cooling unit with an aftermarket.
  2. If I remember correctly, XFX normally has limited double lifetime warranties on their cards. So it should still be covered under warranty, assuming you registered the card on their website.

    One thing you could do is check the Windows Event Viewer and see what error messages it records after the game crashes. If the files are related to the graphics card you will at least know that's probably the component.

    I do question the PSU you're using. It looks like one that was bundled with a case. Generally speaking case bundled PSU's are of poor quality. Cooler Master isn't known to make quality PSU's either (I do love their cases though). I recommend purchasing a PSU from Antec or Corsair. I can't emphasize enough that having a quality PSU is very important. Its the heart of your computer. That brings us to your current situation. Its difficult to pin down what the cause of the issue is due to PSU. All PSUs do degrade over time, but a low quality one has low grade parts and maybe that's what you're experiencing right now. Event if the Windows Event Viewer points to the graphics card it could be the PSU isn't providing enough power to the card.

    A few things to try:

    Windows Event Viewer- see what it says and keep that in mind
    Reinstalling Windows- rule out software problems, and its a cheap solution since it only costs your time
    Swapping Power Supplies- rule out its the PSU causing the problem, and I'd recommend you get a better PSU for a gaming computer anyway
    Swapping the graphics card- If you can trade out the graphics card, even with something temporary that would help narrow things do

    I hope that helps and I wish you luck!
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