Recently I've been having trouble with overheating. I've had my computer for nearly a year, and it is suddenly giving me problems.
a Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3 motherboard
an AMD Phenom II X4 955 - 3.2ghz processor
4 gigs of Patriot G2 series RAM
Windows 7 Home Premium
an XFX Radeon HD 6870 (of course)
Playing almost any games eventually leads to overheating within the GPU. I don't have any overclocking going on, and I have pretty sufficient airflow within the case. It idles around 131ºF (55ºC), but my card reaches about 219ºF (104ºC), and then it simply shuts off while I'm playing almost any game. I've applied two different types of thermal paste, Arctic Silver 5 being the one that is currently on my card, and neither has solved the problem. I've changed my fan speed, but it shows very minimal difference if any.
I don't think it's the airflow as it's been fine up until this point. It's probably the card, and, if it is a short within the card, would that mean that the thing needs to be replaced? I can't RMA it as the warranty is no longer valid, so would you recommend getting a new card?
Well the other things you should look at too are are you getting proper air flow in the case. If one of your case fans has died that could be an issue, but airflow alone is not going to be the only issue with overheating. I would get some silver gel and reseat the cooler on your card or send it back if it is still under warranty. The factor gel may not have been properly put on or it may have dried out and cracked if it had an instance of overheating due to lack of air flow in the past.
From my experience with my two 6870's, they do idle high. What I have to do is when I play games, such as BF3 MW2 ect., is manually adjust the fan speed while playing. For some reason, they will not go above 20% on thier own. They get really hot if I play BF3 without raising the fan speed. Download MSI AFterburner and try putting the fan on about 80% while playing very demanding games such as BF3 and Metro 2033. While plaing less intensive games, set it around 30-40%.