How to Fix a Graphics Card?

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Introduction: How to Fix a Graphics Card?

About: I am 27 years old engineering student from Oulu in Finland. I make these projects as a hobby, and it would be fun to also make these as a full-time job. I have a 6 year old son. My goal is to make these inst...

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!

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    61 Comments

    One more question I have, where does this problem come from ?

    hi i got a problem with my amd radeon r7 240, i dont know why but my vga card fan is spinning at first when i start my computer but the fan only last in 2 seconds and then i started touching my vga and then suddently my vga starts getting hotter and hotter.and there is no display what so ever. can some body help me solve this problem pls

    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.

    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!

    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?

    ​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....

    2 replies

    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.

    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.

    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$ !!

    2 replies

    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.

    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

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

    2 replies

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

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

    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 :)

    2 replies

    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.

    Have you tried to reinstall the drivers?

    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.

    1 reply

    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)