If your PC or laptop's graphics card is making a lot of noise, it may be bad news for the card, or just part of it. Our Helproom Editor explains how to repair a graphics card, and why it may be worth simply replacing it.

QUESTION My ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card makes a screeching noise for around 10 minutes following startup. I think the noise is coming from the graphics card's fan, which still spins and seems to operate normally once things have quietened down. What can I do? Sarah

HELPROOM ANSWER It sounds as though the bearing in the fan may be on its way out. While the HD 5870 is now rather old, it's still powerful enough that attempting a repair may be worthwhile.

Depending on how good you are at tinkering, you may like to consider replacing the card's cooler and fan. If the new part runs cooler and quieter than the original, you may also be able to eke out some extra performance through overclocking.

You'll need to check that the new cooler is compatible with your particular version of the Radeon HD 5870. Such products are designed to fit standard AMD reference boards, but third-party manufacturers often customise their design and can offer altogether different coolers.

Zalman's circa-£30 VF3000A cooler is designed to fit the Radeon HD 5870. Fitting the cooler may take some time, since a few small heat sinks will have to be individually applied to components on the board. A good place to look for a replacement cooler would be QuietPC.com or any other vendor that specialises in quiet PC components.

If you don't fancy fitting a new cooler, replace the card with a faster and slightly cheaper Radeon HD 7850.

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