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Solved: 6870 fan issue, return or upgrade?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Sorry for being a little long-winded...

So yesterday I received my open-box Sapphire 6870 from Newegg. The card runs great, no issues except for the fan (well other than me initially not cleaning out all of my old Nvidia drivers the first time around, but that's my fault ). The reason for the purchase is that I am setting up a second computer for my wife to game on and it didn't already have a discreet card in it so I decided to give her my EVGA GTS 450. Originally I'd have likely purchased a second one and then just SLI'ed them down the line when one of the systems got upgraded...but the open-box deal was too nice to pass up.

The problem is that the fan has a rather unpleasant sound. When the system is first started up it has a loud, almost grating, sound. It's sort of like the baseball card through the bicycle spoke kind of sound. After the initial few seconds it quiets down to a milder ticking. Now if I lean the tower over at say a 45 degree angle, or lay it down completely on it's side, the sound is gone. I can manually set the fan speed to anything (20% all the way to 100%) when it's on it's side and it functions and sounds perfect. I've monitored the fan and card temps on the second screen while playing a few games (Dawn of War II: Retribution probably being the most taxing) for extended periods of time and the fan functions fine and the card temps stay low (while the tower is on it's side). So I'm assuming this means the bearing in the fan is in the beginning stages of dying out on me.

My conundrum is...
  • To return the card and get something which is a lesser card performance-wise (I'd originally planned on only shelling out $100, I only opted to spend more for this because of the deep discount). Since they no longer have any more of these open-box to exchange it for and I'm not about to spend an additional $50+ to get a new one.
  • Return this one, get a lower-end $100'ish model like I originally planned, and use the rest of the credit for something else.
  • Or...and this is the one I'm leaning towards unless someone tells me I'm stupid/crazy... Just buy an after market cooler for it. I've been looking to get into water cooling for ages now anyways and this is as good an excuse as any to make the jump (plus I'm looking forward to overclocking the Phenom II I have coming in tomorrow from Newegg, and a full loop would help). Since after market air cooling (or a WC block) would cost nearly the same as just paying more to get a brand new 6870.
Thoughts...suggestions...?
Edited by talios - 3/29/11 at 6:23pm
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X4 B55 GA-990FXA-UD3 Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 1GB G.Skill Ripjaws 2x4GB DDR3 2133 
Hard DriveCoolingOSOS
WD Caviar Black 1TB Corsair something or another Win7 Pro 64-bit Ubuntu 12.10 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
LG 47" 1080p 120Hz Some Dell POS Raidmax RX-1000AE What case? I was supposed to put the parts in a... 
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Razer Naga Molten Razer Vespula 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X4 B55 GA-990FXA-UD3 Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 1GB G.Skill Ripjaws 2x4GB DDR3 2133 
Hard DriveCoolingOSOS
WD Caviar Black 1TB Corsair something or another Win7 Pro 64-bit Ubuntu 12.10 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
LG 47" 1080p 120Hz Some Dell POS Raidmax RX-1000AE What case? I was supposed to put the parts in a... 
MouseMouse Pad
Razer Naga Molten Razer Vespula 
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post #2 of 5
From your comments on leaning the tower on its side to eliminate the sound - the fan could be rubbing against the housing slightly. I've had this happen to me before on big cards where the only mount is the PCIE and the exhaust screws.

I improvised and routed my PSU cables so that there was a slight amount of tension "up" - leveling out the card so it was happier. The buzzing I was hearing stopped completely.

Before spending any dough, you might want to fiddle around in your case to see if you can get the card mounted more evenly. (This is the engineer in me speaking the card is cantilevered, and the small bending moment tends to warp the shells of card housings sometimes.

See if you can get an easy fix.
Rosemari
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 @ 4.0 GHz|1.26250v Asus P6T deluxe V2 XFX AMD Radeon 6950 2GB RF 12 GB G.Skill DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
WD 1 TB Caviar Black 7200 RPM Win 7 64-bit Asus 24" 1080p Corsair TX 750W 
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Thermaltake Xaser VI 
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Rosemari
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 920 @ 4.0 GHz|1.26250v Asus P6T deluxe V2 XFX AMD Radeon 6950 2GB RF 12 GB G.Skill DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOSMonitorPower
WD 1 TB Caviar Black 7200 RPM Win 7 64-bit Asus 24" 1080p Corsair TX 750W 
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Thermaltake Xaser VI 
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post #3 of 5
There could also be something inside the GPU. I have a 6870 and since my FT02 case has the card exhaust vertically I recently had a small piece of debris fall into my GPU. It would bounce around inside the fan housing whenever the computer turned on. I eventually took the card out and tilted it at all different angles and shook it and I heard something fall out of it and hit the floor.

I would make sure nothing is touching the fan or that there isn't a piece of debris inside the housing.
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 950 3.2 GHz at 1.0V Asus Rampage III Formula Asus HD6870 6GB Mushkin Redline 1600MHz 6-8-6-24 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 250 GB SSD,2X 1TB F3, 250GB WD Blue, 1T... Asus BD Megahalems black chrome edition Windows 7 Professional 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
2x Asus 24" Mac keyboard Enermax ERV950EWT Silverstone FT02 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 950 3.2 GHz at 1.0V Asus Rampage III Formula Asus HD6870 6GB Mushkin Redline 1600MHz 6-8-6-24 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 250 GB SSD,2X 1TB F3, 250GB WD Blue, 1T... Asus BD Megahalems black chrome edition Windows 7 Professional 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
2x Asus 24" Mac keyboard Enermax ERV950EWT Silverstone FT02 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Logitech MX518 Steelseries I-2 Onkyo 1000W 7.1 surround through HDMI 
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post #4 of 5
You can't fix fan rattle, it just gets worse. Return it to NE and go with option2.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the quick replies.

Prior to making my initial post I did give the fan some test spins by hand as well as tilting it around and jiggling it lightly. No sign/sound of anything loose inside of it.

I just tried supporting the card by hand slightly on it's far end by the power connectors as you suggested. No improvement.

Although the idea of the weight of the card itself possibly twisting things or throwing it out of alignment gave me another idea... Why not the weight of the fan itself since it is hanging there, face down, when the tower is upright in it's normal position. So I touched my finger very slightly against the center of the fan while the computer is running and the fan is spinning. The sound instantly goes away when I do. So apparently the fan is just a tad loose I guess and when the tower is upright it hangs down slightly further than it should and barely nicks the edge of the housing.

Now knowing that it's that verses the fan burning out or something I think I'll just keep the card. Where I keep my tower it makes zero difference if it's on it's side or upright. Plus I can just file down the inner edge of the housing later if I need to turn it upright. Thanks again all! Now time for some video games and beer...
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X4 B55 GA-990FXA-UD3 Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 1GB G.Skill Ripjaws 2x4GB DDR3 2133 
Hard DriveCoolingOSOS
WD Caviar Black 1TB Corsair something or another Win7 Pro 64-bit Ubuntu 12.10 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
LG 47" 1080p 120Hz Some Dell POS Raidmax RX-1000AE What case? I was supposed to put the parts in a... 
MouseMouse Pad
Razer Naga Molten Razer Vespula 
  hide details  
Reply
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X4 B55 GA-990FXA-UD3 Sapphire Radeon HD 6870 1GB G.Skill Ripjaws 2x4GB DDR3 2133 
Hard DriveCoolingOSOS
WD Caviar Black 1TB Corsair something or another Win7 Pro 64-bit Ubuntu 12.10 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
LG 47" 1080p 120Hz Some Dell POS Raidmax RX-1000AE What case? I was supposed to put the parts in a... 
MouseMouse Pad
Razer Naga Molten Razer Vespula 
  hide details  
Reply
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