I was cleaning out the dust when I brushed up against the card and felt the heat, then I laid my fingers on the card it felt very hot, this was after it had been shut off and unplugged for about 2 or 3 minutes or so.
Yeah, your vid card is the hottest component next to the CPU. It has to be able to access cool air!
If it does not, it'll burn up and start throwing up crap pixels instead of clear pictures. It's really ugly. Then it quits forever.
The first thing to do is to clean the dust from ALL case fans, then clean the fan(s) and heatsinks on the vid card. Remember: a tiny bit of dust on the blades will reduce the fan's efficiency by 50% or more!
If your fans are clean, and your vid card still runs too hot, try leaving the sidepanel off the case for a while.
First of all, are there any open expansion slots on your computer? It may be counterintuitive, but leaving any of those slots open does not allow for proper circulation inside your case. If you really want to leave the panel off, make sure there's a fan blowing the air away from the system components.
Also, leaving the case open, make sure that any fans on the video card are working - if it has gone out or not working properly, you'll need to get that fixed. A fan's a lot cheaper to get replaced by a vendor than a whole new video card (usually). Don't forget to replace the case cover or supply ample air flow to the whole system if you leave the cover off.
Many great replies. First off, realize that modern video cards have processors in them that work as hard as the regular processors that run the whole computer. Because of this, they run naturally hot.
If your computer is brand name, and all the fans are working, then you should be fine.
Just make sure
all panels are on
the slot covers are on or taped closed.
All fans run and are dust free.
the computer is not in an enclosure.
If your computer is scratch built, you should check the airflow. the air travels like wind through the case. the airflow is to be sucked inward from the front bottom of the case. and blown out of the top rear of the case.
If you have a fan in the back center of the case, it is to blow outward.
If you have a blowhole fan in the top of the case, it is to blow up and out.
side panel fans are to blow inward, sending the air down onto the motherboard.
If your fans check out, and the computer is in a good location where it gets good airflow you should be fine.
Just keep an eye out for what we call artifacts. these are glitches in the picture. Flecks and blocks that flash across the screen. This is a warning sign and could indicate overheating.