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4870X2 suddenly overheating

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  • Radeon
  • Fan
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 18, 2009 9:07:19 PM

I've had my 4870X2 for nearly 8 months now and it's been running fine at normal temps, I ran it at 45% fan and it achieved really low 44°c idle temps which was nice. Until when a few days ago (or at least so I noticed) it started idling at 55-60°c on the same fan speed, and in game it starts going to 97°c and the fan spools up like mad, I had this happen 2-3 times and turned off the PC to check by hand and it was indeed this hot. Last time that happened was playing an old game from 2003 (ToCA race driver) which shouldn't even make this card move. The PC was quite full of dust so I gave it a bit of a clean. No dice. Then I got fed up and took the entire card out, disassembled the entire cooler and everything and blew it out with a fan and cleaned out the rest with a brush. Put it all back in. Then I noticed that the thermal grease was pretty bad and rare by now, maybe this is the reason? Assembled it all back in, no dice, maybe temps even went up 1-2°c due to even less good grease on. Is something about to blow or is this a cooler problem? The stock Sapphire cooler is really terrible...I'm looking at an Accelero XTREME with 3 nice 92 mm fans to keep things quiet and cool at the same RPM (advertises 50°c less temperatures... -10°c idle? Don't think so :) ) )...
I still have warranty but, should I send it in now? Really painful procedure over here, takes a few weeks at least, and then I might even have them say this is normal...or should I wait out a few more weeks and if it dies I'll get another one for sure, and if it doesn't slap on that rad fan when it's available and hopefully solve the cooling issue? I'm afraid to start up any games for the moment now, I probably won't till I get the new fan on. 97°c is pretty dangerous. The case is a Coolermaster Stacker with 5 fans and really good airflow...
Thanks

More about : 4870x2 suddenly overheating

April 19, 2009 8:54:02 AM

If you disassembled the card and didn't clean away the old thermal paste and re-apply new paste, then that was mistake number one. It'll never make as good a contact as was present prior to your disassembly without all new paste applied.

I'm not sure if tampering with the HS/Fan of the card would void the warranty with Sapphire or not. Some companies allow it, others don't. I'd submit a ticket via the ATI support site (as ATI handles initial tech support for Sapphire) explaining the sudden increase in temps, then ask if you should in fact disassemble it, clean it, and re-apply new thermal paste to see if it would help. Or, if installing an aftermarket cooler would indeed void your warranty. That or try Sapphire directly, skipping the initial step.
April 19, 2009 2:29:22 PM

Winter is over, it is possible you had a draft of cold air and the ambient was cooler then it is now.
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April 19, 2009 3:13:47 PM

I keep my room temperature about 20°c regardless of time of the year so I don't think that's it.
April 19, 2009 4:03:37 PM

Hey, ive had my 4870 x2 for about same time as you. Ive cleaned it a few times before (fan, and outside of card) but then i suddenly got temps over 100 C. So I have dissasembeld the cooler on the card and found that the dust has clogged in the area with copper cooling ribs. Clogged in that way, that was preventing almost all air output. I have cleaned it out, applyed new thermal paste on the GPU's and the temperatures went back to normal. I guess every 6months or so i will be forced to do this until i change the card. Its a very good card and im very happy with it.
April 19, 2009 6:22:21 PM

Ugh, this is odd as hell. Today, it was mild temperature during the day outside and my card's temps were really high at 45% fan; 58°-60°. Then it started raining. I opened my balcony door and mildly cold air entered the room, the card is at 42°-43° for 2-3 hours now at same fan speed, which is how it was when I bought it. The room temp is only about 2-3 ° lower than normal.
During gaming of some not really intensive games (Desperados) I got about 60°C which is what I remember normal...so can it really be problems with air? I'm thinking of swapping this case for a Coolermaster HAF 932, that one has so many fans and has everything I'd ever want in a case...maybe that will help. I'll try to keep my room temps low from now on, at least till the Accelero gets here. He shouldn't have such problems I hope :) 
April 20, 2009 5:54:44 AM

Sounds like your case isn't venting air properly and/or has a "dead" zone in it that's trapping and recycling warm air. You could try simply adding fans, such as a side-fan blowing upon the expansion slot area, or replacing your existing fans with ones that would provide balanced intake and exhaust. It is important to get intake and exhaust rates as close as possible. Fan addition/replacement would be a much cheaper solution than getting a new case. You'd also avoid having to move all your equipment over.
April 20, 2009 7:51:37 AM

Perhaps, I don't see how though with all the fans. Still, the case is not very good and I only took it because it was the only good one on offer at the store where I was buying everything else. Whoever thought of those grills everywhere is a moron, the holes on them are huge and everything gets covered in dust in just weeks, and it's in essence an open case which means it's really loud...I'm definitely gonna sell it and get a HAF no matter what, especially since I plan to add a water-cooling solution and I don't like hand-drilling holes.
April 20, 2009 10:48:43 AM

Sometimes too many fans is a bad thing as they can create crossing airflows and swirls which can lead to dead zones. Easiest way to test if that's happening is to open the case up and aim a fan directly at the expansion cards, then compare temps vs the fully sealed case temps. If they drop, you've got a dead zone.

And man! Do I ever totally feel you on the "perforated" case design comment. My CoolerMaster RC-690 (sort of a lil bro to the HAF) is fully perf'd front and top, so I've had to deal with the same dust issues. But, not so much anymore as I modded my case a little...

First thing I did was seal off all my unused 5-1/4" bays, the unused side vent, and the vent beside the expansion slots. This was to ensure all intake air was only entering through the filtered front and side fans. I should add that I put my own filter on the side intake fan, as well as a hand-made plastic "scoop" that prevents it from pulling any air from the rear where the PSU vents. With the front perforations now sealed, all my exhaust air is forced to leave either through the exhaust fan or the perfs in the top of the case.
April 20, 2009 2:42:48 PM

Temps vary throughout the day, they're stable at about 47°ish now though...quite an odd case.
Right, so far the only thing that I did was cut out a piece of cut-to-fit chainsaw air filter sponge and put it in the holes besides the floppy disk drive... :na:  But I won't really be bothering with it anymore...The HAF also has one grilled side but it's a lot smaller plus it already has very good airflow out of the box, tests show it's at least 2° cooler than most other performance cooling cases out there. Many say it's ugly, I actually quite like the design since all my other computer components are black, unlike the Stacker which is the black, or shall I say silver sheep on the whole desk :p  With the Accelero on the 4870X2 and a nice watercooling setup on the Q6600 it should be a nice little freezer.
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