I'm running two ATI Radeon HD 6870 cards in Crossfire. They work like a charm, but I have serious problems with heat. If I play Borderlands 2, Skyrim, or anything else that is intensive, the fans crank up to full, but the temps continue to rise. They generally hold in the 80s, but last night during a Borderlands 2 session (which only lasted 20-30 minutes) they both reached 99 (according to Afterburner). I think the main issue is that the cards are very close to each other. Technically, a slot is between the two, but with the size of the cards and the heatsinks, separation is minimal.
My question is this: would it be worth my while to try to develop some type of cooling solution? I bought the cards a little over a year ago, so they are still solid cards (read: they do what I need them to do). Also, I'd like a solution that does not make my end of the bedroom sound like a jet runway. I'd like to be able to game without headphones and without disturbing the rest of the house.
If cooling is not viable, what would be an equivalent-to-slightly better upgrade? I really don't have a lot in the budget ATM, but could possibly eBay/sell one of the cards to fund it. I am tending to lean this direction, since I think it would help both the heat and sound issues. Any recommendations would be great!
Also, FWIW, I'm not an ATI fanboy, so I'm good with either brand for recommendations.
I have top and rear fans. I tried a side fan, but it was hitting the cards, so I had to remove it. So I'm not really sure that's an option for me.
My first step may be to simply remove one card and see what that does for temps under load. No sense buying a new card if the temps will stay the same and will end up needing a new cooling solution. Thank you for the recommendations!
I can tell you about my experience codejunkie.
I was using a random Chieftec case which i bought for about 30-40 bucks and never thought about how it might affect the other parts of my system. Then a friend sold me his GTX 580 and i started to learn about overclocking and tried things again and again with the 580. The problem was that i could raise the GPU voltage only a bit and the card would rise to the late 80s cause of bad case airflow ( i had 2 fans, rear exhaust and top exhaust).
Then i decided to change my case to a Corsair 500R and oh man it was a game changer. GPU temps lowered by 15-20 degrees and CPU temps by 10-15 degrees. With the new case came a lot of fans (2 front 120mm intakes, 1 side 180mm intake and 1 rear 120mm exhaust). When combined with the others fans i had lying around it totaled at 7 fans. 4 intake and 3 exhaust.
The point is to get a case that can provide a good airflow and alot of fans to move the air inside.
Take what u will outta my rant.
Edit: I live in Greece and i was taking these temps in summer so u can imagine that i had about 40Celcius ambient temp a lot of the time.