I noticed the problem today after I was done reorganizing my PSU cables. My 5850 use to stay in the low to mid 30s while idle and never went above 70 under long stress tests. It usually stayed in the mid to high 50s while gaming. Just this morning, before I reorganized, it was running fine. Today after stress testing it shot up to 90 in a few seconds. Even while browsing the internet it goes from an idle of 41-42 to 50 by simply loading a new web page (such as Facebook or Tomshardware). I'm pretty sure I screwed something up while reorganizing. The PSU cables seem to be plugged in correctly and the GPU as well to the motherboard. However, the PSU cables for the GPU are rather difficult to unplug so I'm thinking I may have screwed something up while unplugging the GPU and PCI E cables. I have taken it out before and put it back in with no problems though. Also, I didn't change any fans around today.
Is there anyway I can diagnose the problem?
The card is a Powercolor 5850. I used MSI Kombuster to stress test it.
Just reopened my case to check things out. Card seems clean, I did a thorough cleaning of the case about a month ago. Sprayed it with some air to be sure though. Any suggestions for cleaning the card? For the case fans I can take them off and wipe them down, I don't know if I can do the same with the Powercolor heatsink on the GPU.
I doubt the airflow has changed, most of the rearranging I did was on the back side of the case. And most of my cables are on the back side of the motherboard where they won't interrupt air flow. It's a possibility but the cables have always sat behind the motherboard and the changes I made today didn't affect any fans.
My guess at the moment is while taking off the PSU cables from the GPU I messed with the thermal paste on the GPU heatsink. I have to squeeze the card pretty hard to take the cables out. Could that be a possibility?
Blow out the card with compressed air.
You can take the heatsink off and clean everything.
I do that because I feel like I have to OCD
If you do this I would suggest cleaning of the thermal
paste and applying new stuff.
I solved the issue today. I took off the fan and heatsink to clean them. Also replaced the thermal paste. The old paste was pretty dry and didn't cover half of the chip. Running around 30-35 on idle and it didn't go over 62 while running the stress test. The only issue is that one of the screw heads broke off while I was unscrewing the heatsink. The rest of the screw is stuck with no way of getting it out. So I only have three screws holding the heatsink instead of four. It doesn't seem to affect temperatures though and I hope it won't cause future problems.