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Graphics card problems

Yesterday I had a problem with my computer. I noticed that some games that used OpenGL was very slow and some programs didn't work at all. I had to restart the computer to make it work again. When I left my computer for some time and came back later it was all black and I couldn't do anything but pressing the power button (The screensavers use OpenGL).

Then it got worse. During bootup the graphics was messed up, with vertical lines and characters that was not correct, but it was still easy to see what was going on. After the Ubuntu loading screen it all went black and I couldn't do anything. This made me worried.

I have had problems with the graphics card before. The problem that time was that there were too much dust in the fan, but the symptoms was not as serious as they were this time.

Today I cleaned the inside of my computer and now it appears to work again. I guess I should clean the graphics card fan more often. I don't do it very often because I'm lazy and I have to disconnect it to clean it properly.

8 blog comments below

I would also clean the other fans on the system as will, especially when I already have the case open.
darthrevan on Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:46 pm
Yes I clean the other fans more often. They are easy to clean where they are, so I cleaned them as well.
Peterssidan on Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:24 pm
Yep I just cleaned my machine today, heatsink of graphics cards are a big problem once dust gets in there you basically have no air flow. I recommend monitoring your temperatures and knowing what is normal and what isn't. Also if you have a filter in front of your in fans take that out individually and hoover through it.
Josso on Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:33 pm
Now it isn't working again and it doesn't help cleaning it. I will just have to buy a new graphics card.
Peterssidan on Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:08 pm
What graphics card do you have? As a last resort, you could try baking your card in an oven to try to reflow the solder. It often works, and yours looks like a classic example where it could be successful.
william on Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:29 am
That's an amazing solution William, but one of those rare practical ones that I'm dead certain will probably work well! How long does one put it in the oven for and at what temperature?
deanhills on Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:24 am
It is a GeForce FX 5900, but I have already bought me a new card (GeForce FX 5500) so everything is back to normal.
Peterssidan on Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:17 pm
Ah, I'm kind of not surprised it happened to an FX 5900. Still, it lasted for a fairly long time (much better than my FX series cards).

As for baking, it's pretty simple. Take the heatsink/fan off the card. Then take a tray and cover it with tin foil. Take a little bit more tin foil and make a few balls out of them to support the card on each corner. Preheat the oven to 350-400 degree Fahrenheit (I think 385 is most commonly accepted) and place it in the oven for about 5-10 minutes. You may need more or less time, but 10 minutes generally takes care of most repairable cards. Much like cookies, you'll know when it's done by the delicious smell (of soldering, in this case).
william on Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:16 pm

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