I typically use "Aggression = 7" parameter and GPU load is 96-97% procent, this way the hash rate do not drop too much and the GPU is much more stable and degrades slower. It's the same as using a fixed framrate at 50HZ in gaming, GPU is much less stressed and performance very consistant.
This would make me cringe. 50 fps in any first person shooter is terrible. I know the eye can only percieve 23ish frames per second but still, you can tell a difference. But back ontrack.
Do you have any proof the GPU degrades slower at only 96%?
Another thing is see how long your warranty is, and send the card back in faulty real close to your end of warranty. It depends on your integrity. A "mysterious" component malfunction could also be sent back for a warranty. Like, kill your fan by preventing it from spinning and let the card melt itself.