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A problem I can't fix, need a VGA supergenius!

By baronmax ยท 16 replies
Jan 1, 2011
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  1. Hello. I have run across the first computer problem that I cannot fix. I've been building computers for 10 years, and in that time I've dealt with almost every problem imaginable, both hardware and software, but this one has me stumped.

    I have a video card here (Gigabyte [nvidia] 8800 GTS, 320mb) that has stopped working. It was working perfectly one day, then the next day I woke up and there was nothing. I tried turning my computer on and all the lights and fans came on for about 1 second, then turned back off. I started by taking all unnecessary items off the board, so that it was just CPU (heatsink/fan), VGA card, hard drive and keyboard/mouse. Same thing. At this point, I was thinking PSU issue, so I went and got another PSU, hooked it up to the motherboard, double checked connections, and the same thing happened (lights for a second, then back off). So I went and grabbed another video card (8600 GT), put it in and it worked flawlessly. I put the computer back together, leaving the 8600 GT in place and it ran fine for a long time. Recently I built another new computer, so I figured I'd give the 8800GTS another try with a different motherboard/psu/CPU combo, but the same thing happened... system kicked on for a second, then back off. So I took the vga out of the pci-e slot and hooked it up to a power supply by itself to see if the fans/lights would work, I jumped the power supply and the same thing happened... the psu fired up for a second, then kicked itself back off, even though it was hooked up to the 8800GTS by the 6-pin connector (which, on a normal card, would have caused the fans to spin up on the GPU).

    So I searched frantically for anyone else having this problem and found nothing really like it. I saw a lot of people who had obvious PSU, CPU, motherboard or other hardware/software issues, but none that were similar to my own problem.

    I know that these 8800GTS are pretty notorious for having cracked soldering joints, which caused problems such as computers not booting and people had been "cooking" them to get them to work again. I figured "what the heck, it's already dead anyway", so I stripped it down as per the instructions, cleaned it all up, then popped it in the oven at 385 for 7 minutes. Still nada.

    Now, I know that half of you are thinking "my god man, that's an old video card, stop being such a cheapskate and buy a new one!", and I can see the logic there, but it's not about buying a video card anymore, it's about the ONE computer issue that has hounded me for over a year and I refuse to admit defeat at this point in time. So, it's basically being stubborn.

    Ok, the system I had it in originally was an Asus P5K Deluxe WI-FI, with 2gb of OCZ DDR2 pc2-8500 RAM (2x1gb), Q6600 (both overclocked and non-overclocked, depending on my mood), Western Digital Raptor 74gb 10k HD and an OCZ 750W PSU.

    I tried it in a similar system with an MSI P6N Diamond motherboard, 2gb of Patriot DDR2 (2x1gb), a different Q6600 and a western digital 250gb SATA hard drive. 600W OCZ power supply.

    The latest system I tried it in was the Asus MA89GTDPro/USB3 with AMD Phenom II X6 1090T, 4gb of G.Skill DDR3 RAM and numerous hard drives, 1000W Enermax PSU.

    I have looked over the whole thing with a magnifying glass to see if I can see any issues, and I see nothing out of the ordinary. The gold pci-e "fins" at the bottom are clean and unscratched, there's no obvious problems with the board or the components, visually, so I'm just really unsure what the issue could be at this point.

    Before you ask, I've never taken a bath with the card and used it as a supertanker to haul around lesser GPUs (although it is ridiculously large and would probably float very well due to all the plastic). Afaik, the card has never been exposed to direct sunlight, water, solvents of any kind and with the exception of the "oven trick", it's never even been exposed to high heat. I did not overclock it, no overvolting, no serious gaming (some world of warcraft, perhaps), no 30-day furry donut contests or anything insane like that.

    The fact that it won't post leads me to believe that it's not a software issue (duh), so we can throw out all the driver talk. It's not a PSU, CPU, RAM or Mobo issue, at least not that I can figure out, since all these motherboards work flawlessly with other GPUs. So, anyone got any ideas?

    Honestly, I wish i could offer some amazing prize for the person who comes up with the solution, because they deserve it, but other than dog biscuits and frozen pizzas, or very old PC hardware (athlon xp days), I don't have much to offer. The one thing I can offer is to join your seti team, if you have one. I have several computers that crunch seti units non-stop, although that's not much of a prize. You will, however, get my eternal, heartfelt thanks for helping me beat this GPU in a battle of wills. :)

    Thanks in advance to those of you who rack your brain trying to come up with a solution.
  2. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,437   +145

    Not to be rude, but maybe it's just dead and the best solution is to throw it away and buy a new card?
    Based on the rest of your system, it sounds pretty old.
    Since it won't post, it's likely that the GPU is not working at all, maybe the die itself is damaged.
  3. baronmax

    baronmax TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I think there's about a 99.9% chance that you're right hk, but I need to exhaust that other 0.1% before I can call it a day.

    Basically, this card would be for seti anyway, not for gaming, so it's not really as dated as it seems. I mean in seti, a card like that will still go through a huge amount of work per day, more than a modern multi-core CPU even. I'm already eyeing an NVidia 580GTX though, as a replacement (just don't tell the 8800 that). :)

    Ty for your reply.
  4. Xecutor

    Xecutor TS Enthusiast Posts: 118

    There is a history with the 8 series gpu's where their soldered components get "loose" with time. If you won't be able to use the card anyways and would like a last-ditch solution to fix it, maybe you should consider "baking the card".

    It involves literally placing the card in an oven for 10 mins and letting it cool for 4+ hours, while removing certain things before you start.

    Here is a link on youtube on how you could do it:

    Only do it if you have exhausted everything else, and at this point don't mind risking the card beyond recovery. Also, in the video, it doesn't say to let it cool, but please do let the card cool down before putting it back in your system.

    Hope this helps.
  5. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,437   +145

    Maybe you saw the wall of text and got lazy.
    Bump, I'd like to hear if there is anything you haven't tried.
  6. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Have you tested the 8800 as a secondary card with 8600 as primary? Some cards display a message on the screen if you don't plug in the PCI-E power connector, does the 8800 do anything? Do you hear any buzzing from the PSU when it tries to power on?
  7. baronmax

    baronmax TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, I tried it with the 8600 as primary, 8600 as secondary, radeon hd 5870 as primary and secondary as well. It still did the same thing... startup for a second, lights/fans, then back off. I tried the 8600/8800 combo in 2 different motherboards w/secondary/primary switching, still no go.

    I just tried letting it go w/o the 6-pin PSU cable in the back on 2 different motherboards (2 different computers entirely), both with and without the 8600. Still same thing.

    It's been my experience that if a component lasts through that first few days, it's likely to last for a very long time, barring any damage to the card itself (overheating, overvolting, etc), which is why I have been reluctant to give up. This card worked flawlessly for quite a while. Never had any artifacts, bluescreens or issues whatsoever, then I woke up one morning to see that computer shut off and the GPU has never worked form that time forward.
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +32

    Tried taking the HSF off and checking the caps on the card? I've had similar problems with an acquaintance's 8800GT, which turned out to be some bulging caps on the card. As a last-ditch effort, I tried re-capping the card, and it worked fine. Maybe you could try it?

    Just make sure you use high-quality caps with a high ripple current rating and low ESR, and preferably solid polymer caps, rather than electrolytic ones. Rubycon, Nippon Chemi-Con, Sanyo and Panasonic caps are what I prefer. Also, you need to add the caps in PARALLEL only, and be sure of the voltage and capacitance ratings (either match the ones already there, or go higher; do not put a lower-rated cap in there, or it'll blow).

    I'd suggest reading up on cap modding as well, if you're new to it all.
  9. baronmax

    baronmax TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Before and after the "oven trick" I went over every square inch of the card with a magnifying glass. There were no burns, bulges, cracks or other deformities anywhere on the card.
  10. Khanonate

    Khanonate TS Booster Posts: 126   +15

    I've had a similar problem with a vga card many years ago but my card was overheating that's why it shutdown and the culprit was the fan. It wasn't spinning fast enough. I changed the gpu fan and it runs good again.
  11. baronmax

    baronmax TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hmm, I'll give that a try, I have a water block around here that will fit the card, I'll temporarily add it to my wc system to see if it's a fan issue. Doesn't seem very likely that it is, but I want to rule out everything I can before I admit defeat. I mean it's possible that the fan is causing some sort of feedback into the power supply that causes everything to shut down. Seems unlikely, but possible. Ty for the idea, I'll post back when I know more.
  12. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,437   +145

    It seems like it would still post if the fan wasn't fast enough.
  13. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,028   +53

    Sounds as if something is drawing a lot of current, and the psu is shutting down to save itself. If there are any electrolytic caps, can you check them for a short to ground? A multimeter on ohms should show a very high resistance across the 2 pins of any good cap. If a cap has gone short inside it will pass a great deal of current to ground, (if decoupling). If there are only a few, I would change them just to rule it out. Before you put a multimeter on a cap, touch a 4k7 resistor across the pins for 5 seconds to drain it.
  14. baronmax

    baronmax TS Rookie Topic Starter

    ty for the suggestion. I will give that a try, I just moved and I don't have my multimeter over here yet, but as soon as I do, I'll give this a check, seems like a logical and reasonable thing to try.

    I went ahead and ordered 3 gtx 460s for seti, so I reckon the mutlimeter is the last thing I try before putting the card in the garbage. That's probably what I should have done to begin with, but I'm stubborn.

    I will post back when I find out the results of the test. Thanks again for your suggestion.
  15. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,437   +145

    You can only SLI two. That's what the GTX465 is for.
  16. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157

    Like HK said, you can only SLI two GTX 460' your going to have to be very stubborn to get that to work.
  17. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,437   +145


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