Overclock.net › Forums › Graphics Cards › NVIDIA › [GUIDE] Hot to fix an artifacting GFX card if you cannot RMA
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

[GUIDE] Hot to fix an artifacting GFX card if you cannot RMA

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Many of you may have been unfortunate enough to buy a BFG graphics card right before they went under, as I was. Others of you are simply outside your warranty policy or have done various modifications that void your warranty and thus exempt you from being able to get your failing card RMA'd. Never fear for there is a solution that works on a great many of these failing cards.

first a little history for those who are interested. if you're not just skip to the guide and I won't hold it against you

<history>
Graphics cards (and indeed all circuit boards with BGA chips these days) have a falling standard of longevity. Ever notice that a computer built in 2004-2005 is still alive and kicking and has very little in the way of failure, even laptops and such, while more recent laptops and various other devices of high-heat and limited cooling have a horrid track record for failure? This is due to what we in the biz call "RoHS" or the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive. You'll see the logo for this on just about every piece of complex electronics you own these days, because it has become a federal standard. The idea is they reduce or eliminate hazardous materials, like lead, cadmium, mercury, etc., from major electronics manufacturing, because we, being lazy Americans, throw all our crap away rather than recycle it, and all those nasty chemicals leech into the soil of landfills. now while it was officially inducted in 2001, a lot of companies cheated on it or found loopholes to avoid removing these materials because they made electronics cheaper, and more durable. 2006 was the year the hammer came down and pretty much everyone had to stop cheating and using lead in their solder. This is the primary factor that is behind the failure of Xbox 360's, PS3's, laptop video chipsets and a host of other devices, including your expensive graphics cards!
</history>

The problem you're experiencing is that one or more of the pins under the main graphics chip of your card has either micro-fractures or is only loosely contacting its pad on the circuit board. This happens because unleaded solder is brittle, instead of malleable, and constant heating and cooling causes the solder balls under BGA chips to fracture at the microscopic level.

This can be fixed (for a while) by doing something called a "reflow" of the BGA chip, which basically means we reheat the solder til it partially liquifies and reconnects to the pads on the chip and the board.

Here's a step by step:

Things you'll need:
Heatgun 1200W+ (variable temp is better)
IR temperature gun or a Multimeter with temperature sensors
Flux in a syringe
Isopropyl Alcohol (minimum 70% purity, 99% is better)
Kapton Antistatic high-temp tape
Aluminum foil
Plastic Grocery bags
PATIENCE

1: Remove the shroud, fan, and any silicon pads or heatsinks from around the main video chip. It's best to clean around it with alcohol (Isopropyl 70%+. I use 99%) and make sure there aren't any particles or remnants of thermal paste on or around the chip.

2: Mask the board. Take a couple plastic grocery bags, and a sheet of tin foil. Lay the foil out flat and use some kapton anti-static thermal tape to secure the bag to one side of the aluminum. Fold the whole thing over so you have a couple sheets of aluminum with plastic sandwiched between them. Secure the open edge with more kapton tape. Make 4 of these about 4-6" long and at least 4" wide. Bigger is better here. Next secure the flat edges of these sheets to the circuit board around the main video chip (as close as possible without letting them touch the chip itself) and make sure they stay put by making a loop of kapton tape on the bottom of the sheet so it sticks to both. Be sure to take the tops of the aluminum sheets together where they meet so they stay secure.

3: Heat regulation. If you have a variable temperature heatgun then this will be much easier.If you do NOT have a variable temp heatgun you will need to regulate the temperature by how close the gun is to the chip. If using a Thermal IR gun to check temps, be sure to get the sensor as close to the chip while heating as possible to get the most accurate reading. If using a multimeter probe, be sure to tuck the wire under the aluminum mask to prevent melting the rubber sheath. Keep the board as level as possible, use paper or something ceramic to prop up any uneven edges.

4: Reflow process. Firstly draw a line of flux along 3 of the edges of the chip. when heated, the hot escaping air will draw the melted flux under the chip by itself. You may need to put a secondary line of flux after the first has been flowed inward because the GTX280 chips are fairly large. When using the heatgun make sure to move it in small circles or in back-and-forth motions, keeping the heat as even as possible across the chip. Use the lowest speed on the fan. If you have access to a BGA diffuser tip for your heatgun this motion is unnecessary. First heat the chip (slowly) to around 140°C, and hold steady at this temperature for 60 seconds. Increase the temperature to 200°C and hold steady for another 30 seconds. You should see the flux boiling out from under the chip at this point, and this is normal. If you see smoke or vapor, do not be alarmed as it is usually the flux vaporizing. Next ramp the temperature up one last time to 260°C and hold for NO LONGER than 10 seconds. After the ten seconds bring the temperature down slowly, no more than 6-8°C per second, until it is back down to around 160°C at which point you can shut the heatgun off and let it cool. Leave the card as it is for about 15 mins so that it can completely cool down.

5: Cleanup. Remove the aluminum masks from the board. Using a baster or if you have access to an empty thermal paste syringe, squirt some alcohol under the sides of the main video chip to clean out the excess flux. You may need to do this several times. Be sure to wipe the whole PCB down and keep it clean before reapplying thermal compound and reassembling.

6: Boot it up and cross your fingers!
post #2 of 4
repped!
Dream PC 2012
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i3/i5/i7 MAXIMUS V FORMULA Gigabyte HD7970 Corsair Vengeance 16GB 1866 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Intel 320 Series SSD 160GB LG Blue Blu-Ray RW Corsair H100 Windows 7  
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung SyncMaster 244T Logitech G110 Antec TruePower Quattro 1200W Corsair 650D 
MouseAudio
R.A.T. 5 M-Audio Firewire Solo 
  hide details  
Reply
Dream PC 2012
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i3/i5/i7 MAXIMUS V FORMULA Gigabyte HD7970 Corsair Vengeance 16GB 1866 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Intel 320 Series SSD 160GB LG Blue Blu-Ray RW Corsair H100 Windows 7  
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung SyncMaster 244T Logitech G110 Antec TruePower Quattro 1200W Corsair 650D 
MouseAudio
R.A.T. 5 M-Audio Firewire Solo 
  hide details  
Reply
post #3 of 4
Thanks. I've already baked a 9800 GT back to life .
No Bottlenecks
(21 items)
 
 
File Server
(10 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
6700K @ 4.8 GHz 1.35V Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7 GTX 1080 Reference @ 2.05 / 11 GHz 32GB G.SKILL Ripjaws 3350 MHz 15-14-14-34-2T 1.35V 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Intel 750 400GB PCIe WD Red 8TB NAS 10 * 6TB HGST Desktar NAS (RAID Z2) Go away 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
EK-FB GA Z170X Monoblock EK-FC1080 GTX Waterblock/Backplate 2 * Dazmode Darkside LP360 MCP355 DDC @ 7V 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
9 * Corsair SP120 Quiet Edition @ 7V 8.1 Pro 12-bit Asus VG27HE 27" 1080p @ 145Hz Corsair Vengeance K60 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
SeaSonic SS-520FL2 - Fanless Fractal Design Define S Logitech G502 Proteus Core XTRAC PADS Ripper XXL 
Audio
Asus Xonar DSX 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4770K @ 4.7 GHz 1.39V Maximus VI Gene MSI GTX 1070 Seahawk EK X @ 2.1/9.0 Ghz 16GB G.Skill Sniper 2600 MHz 11-14-14-14-2T 1.65V 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB WD Green 6TB I will end you Dazmode Darkside Maple Leaf Special Edition 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
EK GTX 1070 Seahawk Feser TFC Admiral 240 Black Ice GTX Xtreme M92 6 * Silverstone SST-FN121-P 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
2 * Noctua NF-B9 Redux 7 Ultimate 64-bit Samsung U28D590D 28" 4K Overlord Tempest X270OC 27" 1440P 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Corsair Vengeance K60 EVGA SuperNova 750 G2 NZXT Vulcan (With Attached Handle) Logitech G500 
Mouse Pad
XTRAC PADS Ripper XXL 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
E5-2670 Supermicro X9SRA 64GB Samsung ECC 1333 MHz Mushkin Ventura Pro 32GB (Boot) 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
10 * 6TB HGST Deskstar NAS (RAID Z2) I will harm you Corsair H60 FreeNAS 9.10 
PowerCase
Corsair RM650 (Passive) Fractal Design Define R5 
  hide details  
Reply
No Bottlenecks
(21 items)
 
 
File Server
(10 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
6700K @ 4.8 GHz 1.35V Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7 GTX 1080 Reference @ 2.05 / 11 GHz 32GB G.SKILL Ripjaws 3350 MHz 15-14-14-34-2T 1.35V 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Intel 750 400GB PCIe WD Red 8TB NAS 10 * 6TB HGST Desktar NAS (RAID Z2) Go away 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
EK-FB GA Z170X Monoblock EK-FC1080 GTX Waterblock/Backplate 2 * Dazmode Darkside LP360 MCP355 DDC @ 7V 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
9 * Corsair SP120 Quiet Edition @ 7V 8.1 Pro 12-bit Asus VG27HE 27" 1080p @ 145Hz Corsair Vengeance K60 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
SeaSonic SS-520FL2 - Fanless Fractal Design Define S Logitech G502 Proteus Core XTRAC PADS Ripper XXL 
Audio
Asus Xonar DSX 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4770K @ 4.7 GHz 1.39V Maximus VI Gene MSI GTX 1070 Seahawk EK X @ 2.1/9.0 Ghz 16GB G.Skill Sniper 2600 MHz 11-14-14-14-2T 1.65V 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB WD Green 6TB I will end you Dazmode Darkside Maple Leaf Special Edition 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
EK GTX 1070 Seahawk Feser TFC Admiral 240 Black Ice GTX Xtreme M92 6 * Silverstone SST-FN121-P 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
2 * Noctua NF-B9 Redux 7 Ultimate 64-bit Samsung U28D590D 28" 4K Overlord Tempest X270OC 27" 1440P 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Corsair Vengeance K60 EVGA SuperNova 750 G2 NZXT Vulcan (With Attached Handle) Logitech G500 
Mouse Pad
XTRAC PADS Ripper XXL 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
E5-2670 Supermicro X9SRA 64GB Samsung ECC 1333 MHz Mushkin Ventura Pro 32GB (Boot) 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
10 * 6TB HGST Deskstar NAS (RAID Z2) I will harm you Corsair H60 FreeNAS 9.10 
PowerCase
Corsair RM650 (Passive) Fractal Design Define R5 
  hide details  
Reply
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
oh ghod could mods please fix my typo in the title?!

@PCWIZ ty!

I'll try and get some pics up for the method in the next couple days
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: NVIDIA
Overclock.net › Forums › Graphics Cards › NVIDIA › [GUIDE] Hot to fix an artifacting GFX card if you cannot RMA