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Gainward 7900GS AGP 512MB

pseudo67

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#1
Hello,

I've been having trouble getting this card to work. It boots up just fine and I'm able to access windows xp. First time I booted my computer with the card in place everything went fine. I was watching a movie with vlc media player and the movie froze with the screen. I was unable to get the card to boot with anything showing on screen after this event.

The computer crashes...screen becomes frozen. Then I'll remove the card from agp slot and replace. Then attempt to boot but I'm able to get any screen view at all during boot....I can't tell if the comp is booting at all since I can't see anything on the screen.

Sometimes the card works just fine and other times I can't get my computer to boot with screen views. But if I replace the 7900GS with my Gainward 7800GS my 7800GS card works every time without fail. This is my normal usage gpu...Bliss 7800+.

So Since the one time I was able to boot successfully into windows with the 7900GS I checked the idle temps and found them to be a tad bit high (52 degrees Celcius). I thought maybe the old thermal gel was affecting the card's ability to work. So I decided to take apart the card to apply new high quality thermal compound.

But I've removed all the parts/screws to the metal cover and the screws on the backside that hold the HS to the gpu. All the screws are removed but I still can't get the heatsink loose at all....it's like it's super glued to the GPU. The only thing I can think of is maybe I need to remove the 3 screws that hold the fan to the Heatsink?

Anybody know hot to take this card apart in order to remove old thermal compound and replace with new thermal compound to reduce idle temps? Pictures would be of great help.
I tried to find a hands on review of the card where they take the card apart to reveal the various components such as the gpu and bridge chip, but I've been unable to find any hands on reviews which show picture of the card being disassembled to identify the gpu, etc.

Any help would be truly appreciated. I don't want to use too much force and damage the aluminum HS. I thought about twisting the HS to get it to come loose from the GPU but have yet to try for fear of causing damage. How do I get the HS removed from the GPU?????
 
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#2
52c is WELL under the thermal threshold. My 8800 Ultra idles at 62c, and that was a card I baked to reflow the solder joints. I think you have a bad card, if your others work fine.
 

pseudo67

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#3
Hello,

If the card is faulty, what are the first possible technical causes that are usually responsible for flawed cards? I'd still like to apply new thermal paste to the gpu to get the temp down 10 degrees Celsius or so. Can't hurt. I can't imagine how the card could work for 20 min or so without any issues at all...high resolution movie playing for 15 min and be technically flawed. The screen just freezes but no artifacts or anything...just stops like a screen shot at the moment it freezes. No artifacts or anything. No visual anomalies.

I thought due to the time it was running, that heat might be an issue, esp since I was not getting any screen anomalies or artifacts at all. Maybe the temp monitor incorporated into the board is faulty and the card is actually getting too hot.

I've owned several cards and with Arctic cooling Ceramique thermal paste I was able to get the idle temps of all my cards down close to 10 degrees Celsius. All of my cards have idled at around 43 degrees Celsius with ambient room temp of 75 F. But of course I was able to get the HS removed without issue, unlike with this Gainward 7900GS Golden Sample AGP card.

If I could get the HS removed or find someone that has removed the HS from this card that could let me know how to get the HS removed, this would allow me to check the gpu integrity, apply new thermal paste and to clean the board so I can know for sure that the board is faulty.
 
Last edited:
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System Name Chachamaru-III | Retro Battlestation
Processor Intel Core i7 3770K | Intel Pentium II 450MHz
Motherboard BIOSTAR TZ77XE4 (Intel Z77 Chipset) | MSI MS-6116 (Intel 440BX chipset)
Cooling Thermaltake CLW0217 Water 2.0 Extreme, case fully populated
Memory 16GB G.Skill Ares 1600MHz (2x8GB) [30 10-10-10] | 512MB PC133 SDRAM
Video Card(s) MSI GeForce 1070 Gaming Z, Intel HD 4000 (for secondary monitors) | MSI nVIDIA Vanta 16MB
Storage 250GB SK hynix SSD (OS), Seagate 3TB (Storage), Toshiba 3TB (Steam), Samsung 1TB (Personal Files)
Display(s) Samsung 2443BWT-1 24" @1920x1200, Dell 1708fp 17" @1280x1024 & Eizo FlexScan L887 20" @1600x1200
Case Coolermaster HAF 922 | Beige box
Audio Device(s) Creative Sound Blaster Z (Speakers), Sound Blaster Audigy 2 (Headphones) | Yamaha Audician 32 Plus
Power Supply EVGA Supernova 750 G2 | 250W ASETEC
Mouse Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 v2.0 | Microsoft Serial Mouse v2.0A
Keyboard UNICOMP Classic | Dell AT102W
Software Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit | Microsoft Windows 98SE
#4
It might be some screws holding it down that you didn't find, or maybe the thermal paste is so old it's turned into thermal cement. Check for extra screws first, then try to force it if you can't find any.

With regards to the card being faulty, anything could go wrong. Maybe it has bad RAM and the OS tried to page to it whilst watching the movie, which caused it to lock up and crash.
 

tigger

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#5
Try heating up the heat sink with a hair dryer to get it off maybe
 
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#6
The 7800, 7900, and 7950 AGP cards are tough to keep alive. Most of the time the bridge chip is what fails. It's due to heat. I've gone through more than a dozen of these cards myself.
 

pseudo67

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#7
Hey Mr.Scott,

I tried the twist method to get the HS detached. Twisting the HS did the trick. I was right...the thermal paste was so old it had become like super glue. Hard and brittle and basically doing nothing to reduce temp of gpu I suppose.

I removed the old thermal paste and applied new MX-4 to the gpu and to the hsi bridge chip. I removed the tiny piece of thin grey thermal pad that was covering the bridge chip. Was not too much work to take apart the card to remove the HS. Just a bit of a learning curve without instructions....Gainward obviously does not want customers to take apart their cards as exemplified by the void your warranty policy regarding removing screws covered by paper (do not remove or void warranty).

Unfortunately I plugged the card back into agp slot and booted system to find same problems as before applying new thermal paste. So there must be a major flaw in the card. If I had to guess I'd say it was the HSI bridge chip causing the problem...probably a faulty bridge chip.:laugh:

So I'm stuck with a brick I suppose.

I'm still looking for a place to buy a replacement plastic fan plug guide. This is the plastic piece that comes attached to the graphics card board which is used to help guide the cooling fan plug onto the board. If anyone here knows where I can buy some replacement plastic guides, this would be of great help to me. I can't use cooling fan until I have a new plastic fan plug guide attached to the graphics board.

Thank you for all the great advice and suggestions regarding my issue. Cheers:toast: