Introduction: How to Fix a Graphics Card?

Did your graphics card die? Computer turns on but there is no picture? Or after a while of gaming blue-screen appears? And this all happens few weeks after the warranty runs out? If the symptoms leads to a failure in graphics follow this guide.

This method works with every graphics card. Even with laptops.( i will make another instructable about fixing a laptop in the oven very soon!)

There is an easy way to save a lots of money by fixing the problem by your self!

Remember to attempt this fix in good ventilated area. The solder fumes aren't something to smell for fun!

For this easy fix you will need:

-Heat gun

-A screwdriver

-Thermal paste

-Patience

In these four simple steps you could have a working graphics card!

If possible do this in ESD protected area. ie. ground your self to something that has true ground.

Remember that if the graphics card is broken, you don't have anything to lose!

Step 1: Disassembly

Remove the heat sink from the graphics card.

Nothing special. Unscrew the screws from the bottom so the heat sink drops off.

Remember to remove the fans power cable.

In this case the faulty component is the big grey slap in the middle of the card. This is the graphics processor and under it is hundreds of tiny solder points. Some of this points are broken due to a heat caused by a bad heat dissipation what is mainly caused by a poor and dry thermal paste or a fan full of dust. Or both.

To fix this bad solder the main chip must be heated to a point the solder melts and rejoins the own solder point.

Step 2: Cleaning

Clean the old and dry thermal paste whit rubbing alcohol OR borrow your special ones nail polish removal.

Use a cotton swab and cotton cloth if possible. Toilet paper works fine too.

Clean the chip until the markings are clear from the thermal paste.

Also clean the heat sink.

Step 3: Heating

This is the critical part of the fix. How to heat the chip so it won't burn?

The chip must heat up to almost 200*C but not over it. Simple thing is to put the whole chip in to oven for 10 minutes at 200*C but with the heat gun you cant see the temperature on the chip.

Start heating the graphics chip whit the heat gun. Do not point it just on the main chip or it will burn. Make a slow rotary motion over the chip with the heat gun from about 10 cm over the card.

If you have lots of soldering experience, you know what a solder smells like when the solder melts. And for those who aren't familiar with soldering, the smell is like a burned glue and metal. The burned "glue" smell comes from the flux in the solder.

While heating the chip keep an nose on these smells and look if somewhere is liquid solder. This is the point when the heat is enough to fix the chip. Do not heat over this point or the chip will burn.


After these smells (hehe) let the chip cool for a while. DO NOT TOUCH the chip until it is completely cooled or the chip will move because the solder is liquid and it wont work. EVER!

This is the part where you will need patience. Rush in this and forget the idea about working card.

Step 4: New Thermal Paste and Assembly

It's time to apply a new thermal paste and assembly the heat sink.

The thermal paste i used was nexus TMP-1000 witch is cheap and easy to find paste. The paste is silver based so it will conduct heat really good. Also it wont dry out easily. The factory paste can dry completely in about a few months after applying but this won't. I once had this paste in heavy duty overclock PC for a year and it was still in liquid form. The paste is not the ultimate best in the market but it does it job very well.

Apply a small ball of the paste in the middle of the main chip. Use the right amount of the paste or it wont dispense heat properly. Too much paste does the same effect than a too little paste.

For the right amount of the paste is easy to apply. You can make a thin film from the paste all over the chip OR do it like i do. Put a small ball about a size of 3-5 mm in diameter in the center of the chip and press down the heat sink on to it. The paste will make a large circle in between the chip and the heat sink and it will spread evenly.

Assembling the heat sink is just the opposite of the earlier step.

Step 5: Testing

This graphics card is my friends old card that wasn't working after overheating. So i had to test the card in my own test bench. In the first picture you can see the fixed card on the table and my own card in the PC case.

In the next picture i have removed my own card and put the fixed card in to the case.

REMEMBER to remove the power cable from the PC BEFORE removing anything. AND use ESD protection to prevent static shock to the fragile parts of electronics.

In the last picture the fixed (and working. Wohooo!) graphics card is in the PC case and my own graphics card is on the table in front of the screen.

Install all the drivers on to the PC if needed and test it with Furmark or heaven benchmark to see that it functions properly and the heat is at normal levels.

Links: Furmark and Heaven benchmark

Both of these are free and made for testing graphics to the limit!

I hope you fixed your card whit these easy steps! :)

I will make an another instructable about fixing a dead laptop with the oven in a few days!

Stay tuned!

Comments

author
JamesR425 made it!(author)2017-05-11

I'm hoping this is still active. I believe there is a problem with my graphics card (Nvidia GeForce 760 ti oem). Every time I play a game, I can play for about 20-30 minutes tops until my screen goes black (Second goes white) or my screen goes black and then my PC reboots. Is there anything I can do to fix this? I can literally do /everything/ else except play games, and I don't have the money to replace my card or send it in to get repaired right now.

author
HomeroB2 made it!(author)2017-02-06

Not everybody has a heat gun laying around, so a used a hair dryer and applied on it about 20 min and it brought an old GTX 560 back to life!

Thank you so much!

author
automatter made it!(author)2017-01-08

hello,i have nvidia geforce gt 220 after two years i got strange glitches and patterns but it disappers when i ran razer cortex and close explorer and after few months when i ran gta 4 eflc as the cinematics came my computer restarted and when it opened a dialog box appeared saying windows has recovered from an unexpected shutdown and when i started searching about this error the screen turned black and after a couple of seconds it recovered saying "the graphic driver 342.00 has stopped working and has recovered" i rolled back the driver and installed 341.44 but the problem continues.can this be fixed?

author
VinayS66 made it!(author)2016-12-01

​Sir I Have A Serious Problem. My Graphics Card (Nvidia GT610) Is Running Perfectly Without Drivers. But When I Install GPU Drivers My Pc Does Not Boots.

I Have Tried All Of The Drivers On Nvidia Site And Already Performed Clean Install Of Windows But Nothing Happens....

author
ShehzK made it!(author)2016-12-06

I'm having a similar kind of problem with my Geforce 970. A day ago during normal operation I got a white screen and I had to reset the PC manually. After boot up and sign in with 2-3 mins the white screen appears. If I uninstall the drivers i can function for the long duration. Already tried reinstalling windows and drivers but to no avail, the problem still persists.

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2016-12-28

Sounds like a damaged gpu. There is no really a fix for it if the re-soldering wont work.

The reason that it works without drivers is that the drivers are generic witch means that the driver knows how to get the picture from the card but pretty much nothing else. when the legit drivers are installed the pc starts using the card in correct way and the pc crashes if there is a problem.

If possible download a program on your pc and check out the temperatures of the gpu. If it runs too hot it can do that. Also check out your HDD for damages and run memtest to test your RAM just to circle out other components.

author
AndreR74 made it!(author)2016-07-01

hi... i m from Brazil and i buy a Gtx 970 GPU Gigabyte. When i put the gpu in my x79 board nothing happen and it long beeping. I update my firmware, and test the gpu in another board and nothing. so, exist a fast test to be sure that gpu is burned? the amazon not change the product and send to usa by fedex its 120$ !!

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2016-07-04

Hi!

What kind of PSU do you have? That is mostly the case that your PSU does not have enough power for the card to operate properly.

author
Jack-sparrow53 made it!(author)2016-08-26

AnderR-74:
Hi
Clean the golden contact pins of your graphic card by rubber , and the slot of motherboard so by very soft water sandpaper or folds coarse piece of paper two or three layer to 0.5-0.8 mm thick, and cut its edge to be straight by scissors , then insert it in the PCI-EX slot and move it straight back and forth straight , this move clean oxidize and dust layer on the golden slot contacts

author
ewanh5 made it!(author)2016-07-08

So, ive been getting vertical green lines from my 7850. what should i do

author
RomanP35 made it!(author)2016-08-23

then its either the cable or the psu is just too weak to handle the graphics card

author
marulians made it!(author)2016-07-26

I have the same sympton with my 7950, should I try this? did you recover your 7850?

author
WilliamC208 made it!(author)2016-06-19

Hi my graphics card (gtx 670) crashes on the menu of overwatch and other games it says display driver has stopped, but if i use my older card (gtx 460) everything is stable and doesn't crash they both use the same driver. so im not sure what problems im supposed to be looking for with the 670.

if you could lead me in a direction would be great :)

author
DakotaH14 made it!(author)2016-08-10

My old R7 Series cards did this because I had overclocked them and then uninstalled the overclocking program, thinking it would go back to normal but it didn't.

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2016-07-04

Have you tried to reinstall the drivers?

author
UzayrG made it!(author)2016-06-16

I must say, this really saved me so much trouble. Thank you author for making an easy to understand guide and share with us.

I had followed the guide, my gpu does work. However after a night or two of inactivity the problem comes back. And i again heat the gpu and it works again.

is there any advice anyone of you could give to fix my problem on a more longer term?

I do know for a fact that my GPU's ram contacts are weak.

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2016-07-04

Hi! Try to use some flux on the solders. You can buy a flux on stores that has soldering gear for sale or order it online. Spread the flux around the part that you are going to solder and then heat it up. The flux purify's the soldering surface and makes the solder stick to the board more easily.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flux_(metallurgy)

author
ammarn5 made it!(author)2016-01-17

Yesterday my r9 290x directcuii burned. When i turn my pc on i smell something burning, and there is little spark that comes on, what should i do ?

author
RLB2 made it!(author)2016-05-14

that is a sign of a bad capacitor...... check the card if there are any bulging or burnt capacitors....

author
Ahanaf+SararS made it!(author)2016-04-22

Can this fix a graphics card that has gone through overclocking?

author
Twilightwolf made it!(author)2016-04-06

Is this due do a graphics card going bad? I took it in to get checked they said my motherboard fried on my laptop. But wouldnt that mean my laptop wouldnt turn on?
Im not a huge computer "nerd" so im not intirely sure. Im just looking for a second opinion. The laptop works perfect my only problems is the display. Even on start up the once blue start up hp screen is green.
Any help is appreciated! :)

1459977890510910061851.jpg
author
AlejandroB47 made it!(author)2016-04-04

Hello! do you know if this method works on laptop's graphics card? i have a gtx 860m that does not work at all, black screens, blue screens and lag, so the only way to work correctly with the computer is disabling the gpu driver.

I tried everything with software solutions, from installing every driver in the nvidia website and reinstall the original windows of my laptop (this problem started when i upgraded to windows 10) to take the laptop to a technician.

I appreciate every advice that could help.

author
AdnanA45 made it!(author)2016-03-30

Hello! Everyone my gtx 460 gives me no display just a black screen i thought maybe the power supply problem but I've changed my psu from 450watts to 650 it works for some few hours but now there is black screen

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2016-03-31

Take out your RAM and test if those are faulty. Test one "stick" at a time. Sometimes RAM can cause that kind of behavior you mentioned.

author
M%C4%81rti%C5%86%C5%A1K7 made it!(author)2016-03-30

Hi! Thanks for the guide! I repaired my gigabyte gtx470 soc. My hot air gun melted solder after 40 secconds. Before i did it on my gpu i tested it on an old motherboard. I blew air for 40 sec. on chip from about 10cm high. And now it works! No crashes! Thanks!

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2016-03-31

Great to hear that you got it working! Make sure you use a good thermal paste for best results! :)

author
JoopA made it!(author)2016-03-16

What if your graphics card mostly works but fails after 30-60 minutes with a bunch of lines on the screen. I have the idea the problem lies in the pin connectors. Don't need to take apart my entire card when the problem lies there

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2016-03-19

You have a heat related problem on your card. If you have warranty left on it i suggest to take it there. Otherwise just change the thermal paste from your card and work it from there. If the problem still exist try this fixing method and it should work just fine.

author
NeoL7 made it!(author)2016-03-08

can i use microwave for the toaster method

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2016-03-08

no you can't.

author
MulticabI made it!(author)2016-02-10

Can I use oven toaster with this method?

author
MohitV10 made it!(author)2016-02-02

Hi...I have an old gt-240 it runs for some second then then after that screen blinks 3-4 times and windows give an error and collecting information please help how can I repair mycard I can do some complex things too NP about that please help..:(

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2016-02-07

Try the oven method if you do not have a heat gun. It is not too difficult to try out. And face the facts. If the card is broken you don't have nothing to lose. If it works then great but if it doesn't work you will be at the same spot where you started.

author
JustinE27 made it!(author)2016-01-27

My R9 270x is dying, showing green lines and would not boot with AMD drivers installed. I'm going to use the oven method because I don't have a heat gun. How long did the card last after reheating it?

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2016-02-07

Hi. The card is still fully functional :)

author
fahadfrz123 made it!(author)2016-01-13

hello there...
yesterday my R9 290 just died on me:(.
graphics card's fan is working but no display on my tv...
is there any other way or do i have to go through this process??
thnak you

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2016-01-13

If you suspect that the graphics card is not working because of overheating this is the thing you can try out. Look first for a failed component that could be the cause. Also check that your power supply is working properly. Try it out with different graphics card if possible to narrow out the possibility of all the other components. The fault could also be from RAM memory so be sure that the PC starts up before doing this to your graphics card.

author
jerbear1978 made it!(author)2015-11-15

So using the oven method, do you leave the door open to smell for melted solder or do you just put it in for the 10 minutes flat.

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2015-11-15

Hi. Just close the owen door. The smell of solder will come out of the owen even when the door is closed. you can also try to look inside the owen through the window and look for a molten solder. That is a clear sing that the solder is melted almost everywhere on the board. The molten solder turns really clear silver color when it is molten.

author
jerbear1978 made it!(author)2015-11-15

Will this produce a lot of smoke or harmful fumes? Shoild i open a window. Will this make my oven have an odor. Sorry for all the questions. Thanks for the instructable and the advise.

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2015-11-15

No problem man! :)

The solder fume is something you do not want to your system. In small amounts for an adult with good lungs is not a problem. In this process there is no smoke or anything like that involved only the solder to melt causes the solder "fume" witch is mostly just the smell of molten solder.

Having a good ventilation will help you out nicely. If you have a cooker hood turn that on to suck out the fumes.

I't is also a good idea to clean out your oven from time to time. If you know you have some oven cleaning to do melt the board firs and then clean the oven. I do not have noticed any odor etc after burning the PCB in the oven but there is no straight reason not to have an clean oven.

Keep me informed how it did go! :)

author
ChristianW19 made it!(author)2015-11-08

If 0.00 Hz GPU Then it's not working?

author
mattcintosh made it!(author)2015-10-18

Why is it that you can hold a soldering iron on high heat on a joint for 30 seconds and it won't even melt? I had a mishandled card and one of the "through the board" capacitors got pulled off. After spending an hour trying to unsolder the two leads from the old one and nothing would work, even a wire brad heated to red hot with a lighter, this is what happened to the video card. Of course there was some choice words said while doing it

firegl.jpg
author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2015-10-18

Hi.

There is a simple explanation to that why the capacitor sticks to the board so well. Especially on the cathode side of the capacitor. If you look closely you can see that the copper area on the PCB is very large. The large cooper plated cathode area is really typical in every PCB.

The larger the cooper area is the more it needs heat to keep the solder melted. The copper area acts as an heat sink and with typical soldering iron it is hard to keep it warm enough.

The best way to remove those sticky components (in my opinion) is to cover the whole board with aluminium foil except the part where the component to be removed is. Then heat up the components legs with heat gun as long as the solder is fluid. Be careful not to fly the PCB with too much heat :)

The aluminium foil helps to keep the other components safe as it reflects the heat.

Also small pencil torch can be used to heat up the area. This is just to be done in extreme despair since it will fry the PCB in few seconds :)

I have said more than plenty well chosen words with these also :D and ruined a few PCB's in the process. But practice makes perfect. I suggest to try out these techniques on some scrap PCB's to make your working technique good before trying it out to the real board.

author
G.S.P made it!(author)2015-10-08

With regards to using an oven - are you saying that the bare card with the chip on it should go into the oven? The pcb and other components will not be affected by the temperature (assuming 10 mins max exposure to heat)?

author
JanelL3 made it!(author)2015-08-11

can i use soldering iron instead ? because i dont have a heat gun.. thank you :)

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2015-08-11

Hi. You cant use soldering iron for this. Check out my other project "how to fix a laptop without pixture" . It is basicly the same thing but instead of heat gun you use your owen to heat the chip up.

author
JamieR16 made it!(author)2015-08-08

How long on average does it take to melt the solder with a heat gun using this method?

author
mkarvonen made it!(author)2015-08-08

Hi,

It depends what kind of GPU you have. If the die is covered the same way that in the project it will take about 5 minutes. If your GPU die is uncovered it will take about 2 minutes. This also depends how powerful heat gun you are using.

To be precise, when the heated area smells like old solder you are about done heating that. Let it cool down and assemble. If it does not work, heat it again a bit longer.

author
JamieR16 made it!(author)2015-08-08

If this doesn't work - Is there anything else I can try? Its currently cooling down after getting the strong smell of solder.

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Bio: I am 26 years old engineering student from Oulu in Finland. Currently living in Joensuu. I make these projects as a hobby, and it would ... More »
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