I finally built my new PC (keeping my 3 year old PSU and GPU). Specs:
Windows 8 Pro (I actually like the new OS)
Intel I5-3570K (stock for now)
16GB Crucial Ballistic Sportx Ram (1600 MHZ, cas: 9, 9, 9, 24)
ASRock Z77 Extreme4 Motherboard
Antec 300 Hundred Two Case
Samsung 830 Solid State Drive (128GB)
Toshiba 7200RPM Hard Drive (1TB)
Corsair VX550 (41 Amp 12v)
HIS IceQ4+ 4870 512MB
Anyway the thing would be very quiet except for the fact the GPU's fan was constantly on medium to high. It was running at:
I tried using compressed air to clean out the dust, but this had little effect. This model should be cool (50˚C idle, 65˚C Load according to HIS). I don't ever remember getting these low temps on this card so I also suspect the thermal paste was not applied right from the beginning. So I decided to take it apart to clean out the insides of any dust and re-seat the heat sync using Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound.
This is what the heat-sink and CPU looked like:
Here is the amount of thermal paste I used: (about a rice grain size, probably too much actually for this sized processor):
Pics of the thermal pads (white ones are disintegrating, hopefully not doing anything about these won’t cause problems – see how part of it separated to the chips in the last pic):
Arctic Silver 5 takes up to 200 hours and many thermal cycles to break-in. Once done I can expect 2-5˚C improvement. Here are my current results:
I'm not getting anywhere near 50˚C for idle. But it does stay quite at least. Once the fan gets above 2200 RPM it starts being noticeable. Above 2600 it's annoying. At 5000 (like before underload) it sounded like a hairdryer!
My Load temps are only 4-6˚C less then what this model should be doing. After thermal break-in of the paste, I may well be at the 65˚C mark (and maybe 62˚C for idle). Also GPU-Z puts the DISPIO, MEMIO, and SHADER temps in the 70s (idle or load).
I'd say the improvement was worth it. Hopefully this card will last me another year before I need to upgrade.