I bought a Power Color 7870 Myst the end of October 2013. Got it, installed and started using playing MMO's. Noticed that the temp jumped super fast (up to 92C) with the fan speed so high the noise made playing unpleasant.
In January I contacted PC requesting an RMA. After jumping through some hoops they issued one. I sent the card to them (and paid the $12 USPS) and about 5 weeks later got a replacement 7870.
Installed the replacement card (never got them to tell me whether it was new or refurb) and started playing MMO's again. Within 3-4 minutes the temp spike to 89C with the fan speed (on auto) at 68-70% making the noise loud enough that not only can I hear it through my headphones but my wife can across the room as well.
Case is mid tower with 2 120's and two 80's. I can use nVidia cards with no issue as well as other AMD cards (7790 and 260X tried). No temp issues and not noise.
I've contacted PC again and their response is to try it in another system and check airflow (like we did the first time around). They said they test every card before sending out.
I've looked at Gelid and Artic GPU cooling solutions but at $60-$100 it's just not worth the cost for the performance for the card. I would be better off spending the money on a 760.
Any suggestions or thoughts? I'm done with Power Color. This particular card has only a single fan and just isn't well designed for the gpu heat issues.
Zalman VF 3000 is also an excellent cooler. Less expensive than the AC. I have it on an OC'd 6850 @ 920/1200 and it stays around 56c under full GPU load with a moderate fan speed (* QUIET!)
If you decide to RMA the card, look at HIS, Gigabyte, XFX and Sapphire cards. They seem to have better coolers. You can also look at tom's VGA charts for ratings on both temperatures and noise for GPUs.
I don't think Power Color is going to refund my money nor do I think they want/will replace the 2nd card. Newegg shows a slightly different model number of the Zalman you noted for $70. I guess the question, in the end, is whether it's worth going aftermarket on a cooler or just selling the 7870 and moving on.
If you sell it, it'll be at a loss or unsaleable because of the problem and so you'll take a bigger loss. You need to try more to fix it. Go back to PC and watch them demo it in their case. Maybe you need headphones! Once fixed then maybe sell it. How did it stack up in reviews?