Fan failing? ati rad xfx 6870 2gb 6 mos old

Hi everyone, so I bought a really great graphics card about 6 months ago, namely a XFX Radeon 6870 2 GB .. It was the brick with the single fan, $219 from Newegg (here's the link for reference: ... It was a really aweseome card when I first got it in and could seriously play any even resource-demanding game with no problem... The problem is in the last month or so, the fan which is attached to the graphics card started to whine.. first it was only making slight helicopter noises, which I actually mistook for a very old case fan I have which does this from time to time and which I'm planning on replacing but due to there being no outward need to I haven't done so yet.. About a week ago a got a single crash, where the computer during gta 4 froze on a high-speed turn, gave an error msg, black screen, then the PC shut off.. that was my sign there could be a problem, so I started to watcht the card performance with hwmonitor... well even just sitting on the desktop w/o doing anything, i could see that the heat was beginning to spike, and it seemed tied to the sound of the grinding/helicopter noise... actually had a family member watching the hwmonitor readout while i was away for a minute, family said, temp spiked from 68c to 89c and idle and out of fear she shut off the machine.. again this was only on an INACTIVE DESKTOP.

So when I turned it on again the fan wouldn't completely start, just stop and jerk. Out of fear I turned it off.

And I cleaned the snot out of the fan without removing the plastic cage assembly that holds the fan on. I got an old tiny paintbrush and a can of air and wrist strap and went at it. Actually was NOT that much dust, or at least I've seen much worse on things such as my CPU fan or even case fans. But it was a sticky type of dust.

ALSO noticed three sheets of removable plastic on the card's fan-face side that I swore I'd removed in the beginning but apparently never did, pulled those off.

Anyway I cleaned it the best I could and stuck it back in, fired it up. The fan was spinning again, and in fact the temps on startup were beautiful, 42 c when before it would idle even in the beginning at 58c.

However, after about two minutes of operation, OR about 50-55c re-established, it seems the helicopter noises come back... I'm at a loss to make a good guess as to WHY the helicopter noises keep coming back at the same POINT in the process.. either a few minutes operating, or about 55 C... if I leave it on with the helicopter noise, under idle (desktop) load it will eventually rise back up to about 65 and then kind of hover there. . However my fear is that darn helicopter noise... It's not the same as it was before I cleaned out the fan, it's much less of an abrasive sound, but it also phases now, as in, the noise will start and stop, on and off, almost as if it's going to correct itself and the problem go away.. yet it doesn't seem to.

Now I'm bummed because I don't normally spend so much money on a graphics card as $219, and after only 6 months' use I'd be bummed to have to spend that cash again to beat games I haven't even finished and things like that.. I've never done a warranty return with a company like xfx and i'm nervous about it but will attempt it if it's my only option.. on the other hand if I thought I had a good chance of being able to pull off the fan cage and install my own VGA cooler to the card, I'd be willing to do that... I've had good luck so far the last couple years trying things I thought were beyond my tech skill, like replacing a PSU and a GPU, cleaning and replacing a CPU and a cooler and aftermarket fan, things like that... maybe there's some chance I can pull that off and not lose my $219 value?

I'm not too adverse to the idea of buying another card in that price range but i would really feel too stupid buying the SAME card again.

Also does anyone buy these cards when the fan is dead but the GPU is still working fine, maybe at disc. rates but a way to recoup some of the money?

Thanks for your help guys! I'm really willing to try anything here.. but I'm leery to build an AC vent with a case fan strapped to it for this card, like the crazy rednecks on youtube suggested ))))

Oh, other specs - Pentium QuadCore, MSI p45 Plat board, 8 gigs ram, 500 gb hdd, can't think of what else might matter, vista 64 os... Please, masters of all things tech, advise me!! I really appreciate your guidance.. Ask me if I forgot any detail that you need... thanks so much
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More about failing 6870
  1. Contact XFX ( and arrange to RMA your card for repair or replacement. It is in warranty and do not try to pull it apart yourself. Might void the warranty. The fan is going going gone bad so you need to have the factory take care of it.
  2. Hi man, exactly same thing happen to me, I was running gta 4 on xfx 6870 1gb with Morphological filtering and then I got the helicopter noise a lot of time and then My fan stops working, now my idle temp is about 65c =, If you know a fix please pass it on bro
  3. The noise is the fan rubbing. These fans are a common point of failure. Send it back to the company for replacement. Often you can work a swap where you pay for a new card and they send it to you then you send the bad one and they credit you so you are never without a system.
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