so first thing i did was remove the video card and boot up the system without it to confirm that was the video card. sure enough the system was quiet without the video card.
i put the video card back in and then lowered the fan speed of the video card to the default setting, 30% in riva tuner. i had it running at 80% since i put the video card in because the rig has bad airflow. after restarting the system with the default fan speed, i thought it was fixed, as i didnt hear the noise, but a couple minutes after that it started acting up again.
so this time i took out the video card and cleaned the fan, thinking the fan on the video card was making the noise. put it back in and same thing. so i took it out again and cleaned it more. took off the face plate and cleaned the fan more. removed the heat sink and cleaned off the thermal paste/pads, replacing it with fresh thermal paste. put the video card back in and to my dismay, still made the same sound. however this time instead of only lasting for 5 - 10 minutes like it usually does it lasted a lot longer. plus now when playing games the sound starts up. prior to this it didnt make any sound when playing games only when booting up.
im thinking its not the fan on the video card but the video card it self.
i got the video card from newegg and the RMA for a replacement is still good til February 09. but id first like to hear if theres any advice on fixing it without having to replace it.