well, so I have had the card in for about 3-1/2 months and had some problems.
So after I put the fan in the front, things did not get any better. I was getting a lot of weird lines across the screen to the point where menus were not even readable. This would carry through even when I exited the media player. The heatsink was really hot to the touch.
Last night I cut a hole in the top of my beautiful case and moved the fan from in front of the case to on top to blow directly down on to the card in an attempt to cool it better. That did not work. I am pretty confident it is the card overheating because the anomalies on the screen only show up after watching a bit of hi-def content (like shows recorded on hi-def over-the-air channels). It also seems to overheat even when watching DVDs. The TV shows are on a local hard drive; the DVD's are stored on the server.
So, last night I bought an A6 processor, motherboard, and 8GB of ram. Not sure what I am going to do with this card. the MOBO I will probably use to rebuild the server since I am borrowing some hardware from work to test out how I want to set up the network.
What is to be learned from this?
- The card overheating may not exhibit problems for several weeks or months.
- Be sure to have plenty of air flow in the case to begin with
- How quiet do you really need it to be. I chose the silent card when I probably could have gotten away with any one of the vendors with a decent (quiet) active cooling system on the card and never heard it from my couch.
So now I am out the price of the card plus $300 to upgrade the system (which was probably needed anyway).
Well, if you already spent the money and can't return the stuff it's too late but:
1. You can check the temp of your graphics card in the AMD Catalyst Control Center in the AMD Overdrive section. Most cards will misbehave somewhere above 90c. Any time you build a new system you should be running one or more programs to monitor temperatures and address any problem areas.
2. If the card is overheating and is passive the best option is to strap / tie / suspend a fan on or near the cards heatsink. Doing so doesn't require adding a front case fan or any kind of top or side hole with fan. Depending on the orientation of the fins on the card you might tie it to the video card or you might hang it from something else in the case that is near there (I have a system where I'm hanging a 120mm fan down by the video card, one end is tied off of another other 120mm fan that is on my CPU heatsink, the other end is tied to a hole in the back of the case).
3. If you are having problems with heat and aren't good at custom hanging a fan near your video card or just think that looks tacky you are probably better off getting a card with active cooling at least in the low end video card range. It may be different if you get into the SilentCell or GoGreen style cards that are in the $100 to $200 range. Even the sub $100 cards must be working for a lot of users.
But even with all that I wonder what specific video card you have and what specific case it was in?