Having a graphics card fail on you is probably one of the worst scenarios for a PC, they’re not only expensive but pretty hard to find at the moment. So if you have the chance to repair a graphics card, it’s worth giving it a try. You can also encounter broken graphics cards online for cheap, people usually sell them for whatever they’re worth.
So, if you can pick up cheap graphics cards online, and manage to repair them, you essentially purchased a graphics card for a fraction of its price. So graphics card repairing is pretty lucrative if you know how to do it.
Answer: To answer your question, yes repairing a graphics card is possible, and you might get lucky if the problem isn’t something big. But most of the time, you need to be fairly skilled with electronics if you want to repair a graphics card. This is because you will encounter a lot of surface-mount devices (SMD) on the graphics card.
Determining Whether You Can Repair The GPU(Troubleshooting)
The first thing you should do when your graphics card is broken is to examine for any physical damages. This should give you an idea of what’s wrong with your graphics card. If you can’t find anything physically wrong with it, then the next step is to clean it.
First, you need to take the graphics card apart by removing the screws on the backplate. Next, you need to examine the PCB for any corrosion, and also check any SMD devices for corrosion. It’s important to examine these components carefully as damage can often go undetected. Also, examine the PCI-E fingers for rust and corrosion.
Lastly, check the ports for corrosion, sometimes this may be the reason you’re not getting a signal. The best way to remove corrosion from the output ports is to use a toothbrush and some isopropyl alcohol. Also repeatedly inserting and removing a cable can help remove corrosion.
Common Reasons For Failing Graphics Cards(Why a GPU fails)
When a graphics card fails, there are usually two possibilities – electrical or mechanical failure. Sometimes, a graphics card won’t work because it’s dirty, a little spring cleaning might do the trick.
Electrical failure is often caused by defective components, such as dead capacitors, water spillage, or short circuits. These problems can often be fixed by soldering new components onto the graphics card. However, this requires a lot of skill and knowledge to do correctly. If your graphics card isn’t dead yet, electrical failure may manifest as artifacts on your screen, these are the early signs.
Mechanical failures are usually caused by broken fan bearings, broken fans, or worn-out thermal paste. These problems are usually easier to fix and don’t require a lot of skill. But the most important thing is to identify what type of issue you’re dealing with, this is so you don’t waste time and money on a graphics card.
The process of repairing a graphics card
Hopefully, in the previous step, you were able to identify the problem. If not, then you can try cleaning the graphics card and see if that fixes the problem. Sometimes dust and dirt can cause problems with graphics cards. So the first step is always to clean the PCB to get any dirt, grime, and debris that can interfere with the GPU.
If cleaning, and removing rust/corrosion and debris didn’t solve the problem, then the issue is likely much deeper. Electrical failure is caused when there’s a defective component on the graphics card. This can often be fixed by replacing the component, but it’s not always easy to identify which one is causing the problem.
As previously stated, electrical failure requires a lot of skill, but there is an oven method that you can use to fix the graphics card. While it may not work, it’s worth a try, it involves you preheating your oven to 390F and then placing the graphics card on a cookie sheet and putting it in the oven for just over eight minutes. This is meant to fix any bad connections between the silicon and the PCB.
Replacing Capacitors(Electrical Issue) – You can replace capacitors on your graphics card, but it’s usually pretty hard as you have to be good at micro-soldering. If you’re up for the job, then you need to find the right capacitors. You can use a higher voltage capacitor as long as it has the same capacitance. So, if your graphics card is rated for 50v and you can find a 100v capacitor with the same capacitance, then it will work just fine.
Replacing The Fans(Mechanical Issue) – You can replace the fans on your graphics card pretty easily, there are aftermarket options available. You just need to make sure that the replacement fans are the same size and have the same connector. If you want to go the extra mile, you can also replace the thermal paste.
Reattaching The Output Ports(Electrical Issue) – If your output ports fell off, then you’re probably out of luck. You usually aren’t able to replace broken HDMI ports or DisplayPorts. So you’re better off replacing the graphics card at this point.
Cleaning the graphics card(Preventative Maintenance) – It’s always a good idea to clean your graphics card every once in a while. This will prevent any possibilities of your GPU breaking down due to dust or dirt build-up.
Tips For Preventing GPU Failure
Keep your graphics card clean – This is probably the most underrated method of maintaining your graphic card, this is because it’s pretty time-consuming. But, consistently cleaning your GPU will help prevent any dirt or dust from building up and causing problems.
Use compressed air – Another good way to keep your graphics card clean is to use compressed air. This is the best way to remove any dust that’s accumulated on your graphics card. Compressed air is probably the easiest and quickest way of cleaning your GPU
Reapply thermal paste – Over time, your graphics card will start to overheat because the thermal paste becomes less effective. So it’s important to reapply thermal paste to your graphics card to ensure that it stays cool. Heat is probably the main reason why a lot of components die.
Be Careful Around Your Computer – You don’t want any drunk people spilling their drinks into your computer, this is probably the last thing you want. Just ensure your computer is in a place where the chances of physical damage are nonexistent. This also means keeping any pets away from your PC.
Graphics cards can often be repaired, but it requires a lot of skill and knowledge. If you’re not confident in your abilities, then it’s probably best to just replace the graphics card. Or take it to a repair shop that offers graphics card repair services.
But prevention is always better than cure, so it’s important to take care of your graphics card and prevent any possibility of it breaking down. This can be done by regularly cleaning your graphics card and keeping it in a safe place.