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Baking with Humus
Saturday, August 22, 2009 | Permalink

Today we'll be baking a working GPU.

What you need:
1) One broken GPU
2) A crazy mind

Verify the GPU is still broken.


Remove heatsink and all detachable parts from GPU. Put the GPU on a few supporting screws in the middle of the oven and bake at 200-275C until lightly brown on various plastic parts.



Let it cool gently in the oven. Reattach heatsink and other parts. Put into computer and boot it up. Verify that the card is now functional.





Whooha, you actually did that? Yep.
So what's the deal? Well, I read a forum post where someone had resurrected a video card by putting it into the oven. Some people also claim to have resurrected their Xbox360 by putting it into a few towels and let it run for about 20 minutes. The reason why this sometimes works is that a leading reason for hardware failure is solder joints that crack over time. If you heat the device enough it will cause the solder joints to melt and reconnect. The melting point of commonly used solders are within reach for a regular household oven.

Some of you may recall I had a broken 3870 X2. So I thought I should attempt this trick on it. Just to give me a sense of how well this would work I first attempted this on an old SiS AGP card I found in my closet. I didn't even know I owned one, heh. So I put it into the oven and turned it to 200C. It didn't even reach that temperature before I heard something fall. Turned out some component fell off.



Lesson learned was to not put the card upside down. Seems kinda obvious afterwards, but with melted solder it will of course fall off if it's hanging under the card with only the solder joint supporting it. Then I tried it on the 3870 X2. I had to heat it much further before the solders melted. I opened the oven and poked a solder joint now and then to see if it was still hard. I had to go all the way to 275C before it finally melted. I turned off the oven and let it cool gently in there for a couple of hours before taking it out. Then I looked very carefully at all the solder joints to verify that nothing had melted too much and made a short circuit. This is of course a very important step if you're attempting this trick. A short circuit could potentially damage your whole computer or cause a fire, so don't try this if you're unwilling to take any chances. Keep an eye on the card during the whole process and double check the results. If you see any signs of any solders having flowed away from its attachment point, you may consider not attempting to boot it up. Everything looked fine on my card though, but I did at least make a full backup of my important files to an external drive before putting it into the computer. Booting up the card it now appears to work. I've been gaming on it for a couple of hours with no problems so far.

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tigerhoods
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

BTW, it's really a surprise that ATI cards ( event desktop ones) can also have the same BGA problem. I though it's just for Nvidia's mobile GPUs.

Meteor
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hahahahahaha....

Good thinking & good use of an oven :P !
Nevar would have thought of that!

Ash
Thursday, August 27, 2009

I know this seems kind of odd, but out of desperation, I'll give it a shot anyway...

Speaking of hardware... I've just moved to Sweden and since you're the only swede I know and the fact that we are in the same line of work, I thought I ask your opinion on a subject. Where is the best place to buy some computer hardware in this country? Is it cheaper to buy it from the stores or the internet? Where were you buying yours? I'm living in Norrkoping btw.

In case this question is too gay for your taste, my ass is all yours to kick!

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Humus
Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's generally cheaper to buy on the internet. I recommend the site www.prisjakt.nu to find the best place to buy.

cwillu
Thursday, August 27, 2009

I would be very surprised to see solder spreading anywhere it shouldn't. The industrial process used to make these cards (and basically any other circuit board that uses surface mount components) is nearly identical. The pads the components are placed on are literally smeared with solder paste, which when heated sucks in to the pads and leads.

The process works because the solder is pulled toward clean metal via the surface tension of the liquid metal. It takes quite a bit of excess before it'll overflow a pad (and only then potentially form a bridge), and is will never happen to an existing board if you haven't added additional solder.

cuacurie
Friday, August 28, 2009

Thanks so much for this idea. I just tried it on graphics card from my xps m1730 and it worked! This machine hasn't worked since January. I'm so pumped. Thank you thank you Thank you!!

voidmain
Tuesday, September 1, 2009

After reading your post I remembered that I have an old nVidia 6800 GT laying on my shelf somewhere. It had the same symptoms like your 3870 X2, and I was just using it for decoration anyway, so I though why not give it a try. Followed all instructions carefully, even cleaned the card thoroughly, in order to avoid any foreign containment interfering with the process. Although no smoke was visible in the oven or was coming out of it, you could smell the card getting crispy from miles away. At the end card looked promising and I was suffocating on the floor as I was inhaling noxius fumes vaporing from the card.
After I recovered myself I still though that it's a good idea to try my new litely brown 6800 GT out in my PC. I don't know why but curiosity was always my week spot.
Because I wasn't willing to take my chances by simply just booting up my machine with the card, I removed the hard drives, just to make sure that if everything should go wrong at least my data's safe.
Carefully insterted the card, pressed the power button, and ... I heard the vents turn on, but nothing actually happened. Tried the standard Microsoft troubleshooting by turning the machine off and on again a couple of times, but it seemed it wasn't my lucky day. I was totaly depressed. I put so much effort into this project, not to mention my beautyful green card which was brown now.
After cursing for some seconds I assembled my machine again, turned it on just to find out that one of my 1TByte hdd reduced it's capacity to 32Mbytes, discarding all the sensitive data which of course according to Murphy's laws was not backed up at all.
That's my short and said story. I don't know where this experiment went wrong...maybe should have used fewer baking soda.

Humus
Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ouch, that's pretty sad. Before you go and format that disk or anything though, there are good data recovery software out there, so unless the disk was actually electrocuted and fried I'm sure you can get most of your data back.

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