I recently purchased a XFX 6870 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) and it works great except I would like to drive the noise level down. I've set up a fan profile in Afterburner so the noise is reasonable at idle or low load. However it starts imitating a vacuum sweeper when I'm gaming.
My question is whether adding side fan(s) to my Rosewill Challenger Black case will help reduce the cards temp therefore noise or whether I would be better off adding an aftermarket cooler for the GPU? Please suggest specific models. My budget is absolutely no more than $30 (before rebates) but the lower the better.
there isnt much option(sorry wasn't there to say that the xfx 6800 series have loud fans, i usually do). the only way to effectively keep fan noise low is to lower gpu fan speeds, but that keeps temperatures higher, but I wouldnt know your load temperatures.
How hot is it getting at full load? Also how high is the fan going under load? I got a 7850 recently and its fan never has a reason to pass 70% but its temps mean i can set it to top out at 50% under full load and still have safe temps, if your temps aren't getting too high under load set the max speed a bit lower to quiet it down a bit, adding more fans won't help unless they can significantly decrease its temperatures under load.
Do I understand correctly that I don't want max temp anymore than 85C?
Graphics cards do run hot, but they are designed to do so. If they get too hot, and that might be 100c. they will throttle down.
Try it and see what happens if you limit the fan speed.
Within limits, I think you will be ok.
You could also reduce the load by reducing the resolution or eye candy that you are using.
I have the same card, if you can return it, do so and buy a card with a better cooler. I bought a fan, attached next to the gpu, gpu temp hasn't changed but does do a good job regards to the rest of the components within the case, you can noticeably feel hotter air blowing out the exhaust fans.