Intel's Motherboards Bad Capacitors Resurface!

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

Looks like we will be in for another round of bad capacitors, if you
have a Pentium 4 motherboard.

http://www.digitimes.com/systems/a20041220PR204.html

<taken from link>

Mobo makers commented that equipping mobos with Taiwan-made capacitors
may lead to potential RMA issues after two years of use.
-----

Since we know that most of Intels own motherboards are made by Hon Hai,
as well as Dells, now might be a good time to reconsider AMD, Nvidia.
If you self build your systems I hope you have a three year warranty on
your MBs.

Also if your a business it might be a good time to get that extended
warranty from Dell, Gateway others if you purchased any Pentium 4 MBs,
in the last year or so.

Gnu_Raiz
11 answers Last reply
More about intel motherboards capacitors resurface
  1. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    On 20 Dec 2004 10:03:04 -0800, "Gnu_Raiz" <rthoreau@iwon.com> wrote:

    >Looks like we will be in for another round of bad capacitors, if you
    >have a Pentium 4 motherboard.
    >
    >http://www.digitimes.com/systems/a20041220PR204.html
    >
    ><taken from link>
    >
    >Mobo makers commented that equipping mobos with Taiwan-made capacitors
    >may lead to potential RMA issues after two years of use.
    >-----
    >
    >Since we know that most of Intels own motherboards are made by Hon Hai,
    >as well as Dells, now might be a good time to reconsider AMD, Nvidia.

    Uhh.. and AMD and nVidia based boards are not built with Taiwan-made
    capacitors?!? Ohh.. I see, it's because Intel chips have somewhat
    higher power consumption and the article is claiming that this will
    cause more failures. Could be, though I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

    In either case, my AMD/nVidia based board died due to leaky
    capacitors, so this is hardly an Intel-only issue, never was.

    >If you self build your systems I hope you have a three year warranty on
    >your MBs.

    I could do that, however instead I bought a board with a 1 year
    warranty that only cost me ~$40 US. At that price I can afford to
    replace it if it blows.

    >Also if your a business it might be a good time to get that extended
    >warranty from Dell, Gateway others if you purchased any Pentium 4 MBs,
    >in the last year or so.

    Same goes if you bought any AMD systems because honestly, there isn't
    any significant difference. The processor used means dick-all when it
    comes to this sort of design flaw. If your capacitors (or voltage
    regulators, or some other widgets) are not up to par, your board will
    die, end of story. Don't matter one bit whether it's a P4 chip
    sitting on that board or an Athlon64 chip or a Dorito.

    -------------
    Tony Hill
    hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca
  2. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    Gnu_Raiz wrote:
    > I agree with you, most mother boards are made in Taiwan, with Taiwan
    > capacitors. If I had poor case ventilation then I might be worried, as
    > far as I know the only manufacture that mentioned they have started to
    > use capacitors made in Japan is Albatron.

    Is this Taiwan capacitor issue still a problem, or is it now an urban
    myth? I know I suffered a couple of capacitor blowouts about 4 years
    ago, but the last board I got about 4 years ago is now still going.

    Yousuf Khan
  3. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    According to this website its still going strong: http://badcaps.net/.

    Now with the engineers admiting that in a few years they might have
    major RMA's it looks like round two is about to begin.

    Gnu_Raiz
  4. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    On Thu, 23 Dec 2004 15:44:52 -0500, Yousuf Khan <bbbl67@ezrs.com>
    wrote:

    >Gnu_Raiz wrote:
    >> I agree with you, most mother boards are made in Taiwan, with Taiwan
    >> capacitors. If I had poor case ventilation then I might be worried, as
    >> far as I know the only manufacture that mentioned they have started to
    >> use capacitors made in Japan is Albatron.
    >
    >Is this Taiwan capacitor issue still a problem, or is it now an urban
    >myth? I know I suffered a couple of capacitor blowouts about 4 years
    >ago, but the last board I got about 4 years ago is now still going.

    It has been an on-going problem, though at least now manufacturers are
    aware of the potential for problems and the costs involved. I know of
    some boards built within the past 12-18 months that have definitely
    suffered very high failure rates due to cheap capacitors, and it's
    likely that certain models of more recent boards will start showing
    the exact same issue when they start to go.

    Note though that I don't think it's really an issue with Taiwanese
    capacitors vs. Japanese capacitors, just an issue of quality. If you
    use cheap parts you can cut your manufacturing costs and continue to
    compete with the other guys. If you spend more money you get better
    quality but your costs go up. Engineering a commodity part (like a
    motherboard) has always been the classic balancing act between the
    two.


    FWIW I just checked my own dead motherboard with leaky capacitors.
    The ones that leaked were made by Lelon, one of the two main companies
    fingered for producing the problematic components (the other being
    Luxor). This board also has some perfectly fine looking capacitors
    made by Rubycon, who I guess are the big name in Japanese capacitors,
    and Teapo who apparently buy Japanese electrolytes instead of the
    cheaper and problematic Chinese electrolyte. Of the three main types
    of largish capacitors used on my system it's quite interesting to
    compare them, the difference is very obvious. Where the Rubycon
    capacitors (9 caps at 2200uF) and Teapo capacitors (5 of them at
    1500uF) all look perfectly fine, all 18 of the Lelon caps (1000uF)
    have visible signs of damage. For about half of them it's just that
    the tops have bulged up (not a good sign, but these caps probably
    haven't failed yet), while 3 have gunk leaking out the top and another
    6 or 7 have brown goop leaking out the bottom. There's some pics of
    the faulty caps here:

    http://home.earthlink.net/~doniteli/index27.htm


    -------------
    Tony Hill
    hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca
  5. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 04:37:48 -0500, Tony Hill <hilla_nospam_20@yahoo.ca>
    wrote:

    >On Thu, 23 Dec 2004 15:44:52 -0500, Yousuf Khan <bbbl67@ezrs.com>
    >wrote:
    >
    >>Gnu_Raiz wrote:
    >>> I agree with you, most mother boards are made in Taiwan, with Taiwan
    >>> capacitors. If I had poor case ventilation then I might be worried, as
    >>> far as I know the only manufacture that mentioned they have started to
    >>> use capacitors made in Japan is Albatron.
    >>
    >>Is this Taiwan capacitor issue still a problem, or is it now an urban
    >>myth? I know I suffered a couple of capacitor blowouts about 4 years
    >>ago, but the last board I got about 4 years ago is now still going.
    >
    >It has been an on-going problem, though at least now manufacturers are
    >aware of the potential for problems and the costs involved. I know of
    >some boards built within the past 12-18 months that have definitely
    >suffered very high failure rates due to cheap capacitors, and it's
    >likely that certain models of more recent boards will start showing
    >the exact same issue when they start to go.
    >
    >Note though that I don't think it's really an issue with Taiwanese
    >capacitors vs. Japanese capacitors, just an issue of quality. If you
    >use cheap parts you can cut your manufacturing costs and continue to
    >compete with the other guys. If you spend more money you get better
    >quality but your costs go up. Engineering a commodity part (like a
    >motherboard) has always been the classic balancing act between the
    >two.

    The cheap parts in the first round of this were made with a stolen patented
    electrolyte formula though... except the purloined formula was
    incomplete... reminiscent of the old tale about an early Japanese (stolen)
    ship "design" which turned turtle on launch - what goes around..... I've
    no idea what happened to those capacitor mfrs who were using the faulty
    electrolyte... whether they are still using it?... a change of name seems
    to be standard practice when you're business is ripping off others.

    >FWIW I just checked my own dead motherboard with leaky capacitors.
    >The ones that leaked were made by Lelon, one of the two main companies
    >fingered for producing the problematic components (the other being
    >Luxor). This board also has some perfectly fine looking capacitors
    >made by Rubycon, who I guess are the big name in Japanese capacitors,

    Are you sure they're Rubycon? Take a look about mid-page here:
    http://www.badcaps.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=22 for a comparison of a real
    Rubycon and the "Rulycon" rip-off - note even the vent stamp on the head is
    copied.

    Rgds, George Macdonald

    "Just because they're paranoid doesn't mean you're not psychotic" - Who, me??
  6. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 20:40:21 -0500, George Macdonald
    <fammacd=!SPAM^nothanks@tellurian.com> wrote:

    >On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 04:37:48 -0500, Tony Hill <hilla_nospam_20@yahoo.ca>
    >wrote:
    >>FWIW I just checked my own dead motherboard with leaky capacitors.
    >>The ones that leaked were made by Lelon, one of the two main companies
    >>fingered for producing the problematic components (the other being
    >>Luxor). This board also has some perfectly fine looking capacitors
    >>made by Rubycon, who I guess are the big name in Japanese capacitors,
    >
    >Are you sure they're Rubycon? Take a look about mid-page here:
    >http://www.badcaps.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=22 for a comparison of a real
    >Rubycon and the "Rulycon" rip-off - note even the vent stamp on the head is
    >copied.

    Yup, it's a real Rubycon, or if it's a counterfeit that it's a
    sufficiently good one that I sure can't tell the difference. Either
    way, those caps worked just fine, it's the Lelon ones that went all
    leaky on me.

    -------------
    Tony Hill
    hilla <underscore> 20 <at> yahoo <dot> ca
  7. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 20:40:21 -0500, George Macdonald
    >On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 04:37:48 -0500, Tony Hill
    >>On Thu, 23 Dec 2004 15:44:52 -0500, Yousuf Khan
    >>>Gnu_Raiz wrote:

    Ah: This is the perfect place to muse about bad caps :-)

    >>>> I agree with you, most mother boards are made in Taiwan, with Taiwan
    >>>> capacitors. If I had poor case ventilation then I might be worried

    I'm not sure if heat is a required factor in capacitor breakdown.

    >>>Is this Taiwan capacitor issue still a problem, or is it now an urban
    >>>myth? I know I suffered a couple of capacitor blowouts about 4 years
    >>>ago, but the last board I got about 4 years ago is now still going.

    >>some boards built within the past 12-18 months that have definitely
    >>suffered very high failure rates due to cheap capacitors

    Yes, I'm seeing that too - perhaps even more failures in the i845G
    generation than the older i815 crowd.

    >The cheap parts in the first round of this were made with a stolen patented
    >electrolyte formula though... except the formula was incomplete...

    I heard that as a rumour too, but from a reasonable source (IEEE I
    think it was). At the time, I thought; we've been making electrolytic
    caps for decades, surely the goo inside isn't still sekritt by now?

    Then I read something abour a "low ESR" requirement, and that made
    more sense. We've expected caps to cope with high frequencies and
    current for a while, but the combination of these may be new. It
    would be ironic if growth predictions based on Moore's Law faltered
    not on the chips, but on dull bread-and-butter parts like caps.

    What's interesting is that no-one has been able to maintain a list of
    affected motherboard brands, for fear of litigation etc.


    >---------- ----- ---- --- -- - - - -
    "He's such a character!"
    ' Yeah - CHAR(0) '
    >---------- ----- ---- --- -- - - - -
  8. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    On Tue, 28 Dec 2004 13:07:58 +0200, "cquirke (MVP Win9x)"
    <cquirkenews@nospam.mvps.org> wrote:

    >On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 20:40:21 -0500, George Macdonald
    >>On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 04:37:48 -0500, Tony Hill
    >>>On Thu, 23 Dec 2004 15:44:52 -0500, Yousuf Khan
    >>>>Gnu_Raiz wrote:
    >
    >Ah: This is the perfect place to muse about bad caps :-)
    >
    >>>>> I agree with you, most mother boards are made in Taiwan, with Taiwan
    >>>>> capacitors. If I had poor case ventilation then I might be worried
    >
    >I'm not sure if heat is a required factor in capacitor breakdown.
    >
    >>>>Is this Taiwan capacitor issue still a problem, or is it now an urban
    >>>>myth? I know I suffered a couple of capacitor blowouts about 4 years
    >>>>ago, but the last board I got about 4 years ago is now still going.
    >
    >>>some boards built within the past 12-18 months that have definitely
    >>>suffered very high failure rates due to cheap capacitors
    >
    >Yes, I'm seeing that too - perhaps even more failures in the i845G
    >generation than the older i815 crowd.
    >
    >>The cheap parts in the first round of this were made with a stolen patented
    >>electrolyte formula though... except the formula was incomplete...
    >
    >I heard that as a rumour too, but from a reasonable source (IEEE I
    >think it was). At the time, I thought; we've been making electrolytic
    >caps for decades, surely the goo inside isn't still sekritt by now?

    Yes the original IEEE story was here:
    http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/WEBONLY/resource/feb03/ncap.html and there's
    more at http://www.niccomp.com/taiwanlowesr.htm where it's mentioned that
    it was a double defection and theft - all info is coming from "well placed
    sources". There are many everyday products which are basically a secret
    brew - think of auto-engine lubricants where a single missing ppm additive
    can be the difference between excellence and total failure - a "new"
    formula there has also led to catastrophic consequences several times.

    >Then I read something abour a "low ESR" requirement, and that made
    >more sense. We've expected caps to cope with high frequencies and
    >current for a while, but the combination of these may be new. It
    >would be ironic if growth predictions based on Moore's Law faltered
    >not on the chips, but on dull bread-and-butter parts like caps.

    From an industry-naive chemistry viewpoint, water based electrolytes *do*
    seem like a bad idea with the current temps around a CPU & its VR on a
    modern mbrd. I think the OP was suggesting that this 2nd round of failures
    was related more to the increasing temps the capacitors were subjected to
    as the mbrd substrate itself becomes a part of the heatsinking "solution".
    Could be that the electrolytic's days are numbered but I've no idea what
    what the ramifications might be for mbrd circuitry if designers are forced
    to go to solids.

    >What's interesting is that no-one has been able to maintain a list of
    >affected motherboard brands, for fear of litigation etc.

    The two prime culprits/victims would appear to be Abit and MSI - at least
    their names seem to be mentioned frequently in the anecdotal reports in the
    forums at places like www.badcaps.net - the "kits" he has available are
    good clue I think and it doesn't take long to skim
    http://www.badcaps.net/forum/. Shuttle more or less dropped out of the
    U.S. market for a few years around the timeframe in question, so that might
    explain the lower incidence of their name; the surprising one is
    Supermicro.

    Rgds, George Macdonald

    "Just because they're paranoid doesn't mean you're not psychotic" - Who, me??
  9. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    On Wed, 29 Dec 2004 07:37:25 -0500, George Macdonald
    >On Tue, 28 Dec 2004 13:07:58 +0200, "cquirke (MVP Win9x)"

    >>Ah: This is the perfect place to muse about bad caps :-)
    >>I'm not sure if heat is a required factor in capacitor breakdown.

    >Yes the original IEEE story was here:
    >http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/WEBONLY/resource/feb03/ncap.html

    That's the one I read, too.

    >more at http://www.niccomp.com/taiwanlowesr.htm where it's mentioned that
    >it was a double defection and theft -

    Nice links from there...

    http://www.low-esr.com/

    ....seem to confirm what I see as a common failure pattern in 815G and
    845G (when built-in SVGA used); ripple interference effects on screen,
    which prompts a look inside that shows bulging or leaking caps.

    >From an industry-naive chemistry viewpoint, water based electrolytes *do*
    >seem like a bad idea with the current temps around a CPU & its VR on a
    >modern mbrd. I think the OP was suggesting that this 2nd round of failures
    >was related more to the increasing temps the capacitors were subjected to

    Temp is a factor, yeah, though the graphs seem happy at typical case
    temps (45C is common with Prescott).

    I followed a few links off Low-ESR.com and they make interesting
    reading. For example, they mention liquid-centered caps use ionic
    rather than electronic conduction which is slower; that implies a need
    to have the electrolysis effect, and thus a polar liquid.

    >Could be that the electrolytic's days are numbered

    The problem is getting the capacitance required. So far, combination
    liquid plus solid can't get up there, though they extend the range of
    the smaller purely solid capacitors.

    >I've no idea what the ramifications might be for mbrd circuitry if
    >designers are forced to go to solids.

    Well, they already talk about capacitor *banks* (of electrolytics) so
    to get the same capacity in solic caps is going to be ugly. They also
    note that liquid caps fail open-circuit, whereas solids can combust;
    that may be a safety factor, too.

    >>What's interesting is that no-one has been able to maintain a list of
    >>affected motherboard brands, for fear of litigation etc.

    >The two prime culprits/victims would appear to be Abit and MSI - at least
    >their names seem to be mentioned frequently in the anecdotal reports in the
    >forums at places like www.badcaps.net

    The ones I see here have been DFI, JetWay and Gigabyte - i.e. all of
    the motherboards commonly used or seen from that time.

    I've started using Intel motherboards (as opposed to motherboards
    based on Intel chipsets) in the 865G era, but it's too early to tell
    whether this will avoid the problem. So Far, So Good.


    >---------- ----- ---- --- -- - - - -
    "He's such a character!"
    ' Yeah - CHAR(0) '
    >---------- ----- ---- --- -- - - - -
  10. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    On Thu, 30 Dec 2004 23:46:52 +0200, "cquirke (MVP Win9x)"
    <cquirkenews@nospam.mvps.org> wrote:

    >On Wed, 29 Dec 2004 07:37:25 -0500, George Macdonald
    >>On Tue, 28 Dec 2004 13:07:58 +0200, "cquirke (MVP Win9x)"
    >
    >>>Ah: This is the perfect place to muse about bad caps :-)
    >>>I'm not sure if heat is a required factor in capacitor breakdown.
    >
    >>Yes the original IEEE story was here:
    >>http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/WEBONLY/resource/feb03/ncap.html
    >
    >That's the one I read, too.
    >
    >>more at http://www.niccomp.com/taiwanlowesr.htm where it's mentioned that
    >>it was a double defection and theft -
    >
    >Nice links from there...
    >
    >http://www.low-esr.com/
    >
    >...seem to confirm what I see as a common failure pattern in 815G and
    >845G (when built-in SVGA used); ripple interference effects on screen,
    >which prompts a look inside that shows bulging or leaking caps.
    >
    >>From an industry-naive chemistry viewpoint, water based electrolytes *do*
    >>seem like a bad idea with the current temps around a CPU & its VR on a
    >>modern mbrd. I think the OP was suggesting that this 2nd round of failures
    >>was related more to the increasing temps the capacitors were subjected to
    >
    >Temp is a factor, yeah, though the graphs seem happy at typical case
    >temps (45C is common with Prescott).

    I got the hint that it was (extra) heat+age causing drying out of the
    electrolyte more quickly.

    >I followed a few links off Low-ESR.com and they make interesting
    >reading. For example, they mention liquid-centered caps use ionic
    >rather than electronic conduction which is slower; that implies a need
    >to have the electrolysis effect, and thus a polar liquid.

    Hmmm, and water is err, free.:-)... well purify and dope it for the
    purpose.

    >>Could be that the electrolytic's days are numbered
    >
    >The problem is getting the capacitance required. So far, combination
    >liquid plus solid can't get up there, though they extend the range of
    >the smaller purely solid capacitors.
    >
    >>I've no idea what the ramifications might be for mbrd circuitry if
    >>designers are forced to go to solids.
    >
    >Well, they already talk about capacitor *banks* (of electrolytics) so
    >to get the same capacity in solic caps is going to be ugly. They also
    >note that liquid caps fail open-circuit, whereas solids can combust;
    >that may be a safety factor, too.
    >
    >>>What's interesting is that no-one has been able to maintain a list of
    >>>affected motherboard brands, for fear of litigation etc.
    >
    >>The two prime culprits/victims would appear to be Abit and MSI - at least
    >>their names seem to be mentioned frequently in the anecdotal reports in the
    >>forums at places like www.badcaps.net
    >
    >The ones I see here have been DFI, JetWay and Gigabyte - i.e. all of
    >the motherboards commonly used or seen from that time.

    I wish there was a clearer picture of how much the defective electrolyte
    was to blame globally and to what extent we're talking about low-cost
    capacitor mfrs who don't have any capacitor technology but turn out cheap
    junk... and to what extent the "expert" mfrs are just hitting the wall on
    current technology. There's just an apparent mix of things which went
    wrong, which gives an impression of pot-luck to us.

    >I've started using Intel motherboards (as opposed to motherboards
    >based on Intel chipsets) in the 865G era, but it's too early to tell
    >whether this will avoid the problem. So Far, So Good.

    I've been led to believe that Intel desktop mbrds are coming from
    same/similar PCB factories as everybody else... but if you get consistent
    quality that's what really matters. I have some MSI K7 mbrds coming up for
    2 years - I guess I'd better check them for capacitors with swollen
    tops.:-)

    Rgds, George Macdonald

    "Just because they're paranoid doesn't mean you're not psychotic" - Who, me??
  11. Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.chips (More info?)

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    Hash: SHA1

    In article <92t9t0d865ti27qajv1rlknkuch9lt998g@4ax.com>,
    George Macdonald <fammacd=!SPAM^nothanks@tellurian.com> wrote:
    >I've been led to believe that Intel desktop mbrds are coming from
    >same/similar PCB factories as everybody else... but if you get consistent
    >quality that's what really matters. I have some MSI K7 mbrds coming up for
    >2 years - I guess I'd better check them for capacitors with swollen
    >tops.:-)

    I had a couple of MSI K7N420 Pros (nForce boards with integrated graphics)
    that both needed recapping a year or so ago. Each of them started getting
    flaky and eventually wouldn't complete booting before it started wigging
    out. Some of the 1000-uF capacitors blew out the top or bottom, some only
    bulged a little bit, and a small number still looked OK. It was only the
    1000-uF capacitors (with 18 on each board) that appeared to be affected. A
    few dollars at DigiKey for replacements got both boards running again, and
    they've run fine ever since.

    I also had a K7D Master that started malfunctioning. I don't recall if it
    was a capacitor problem or if it was something else, but sometimes it'd only
    see one processor instead of two (it was a dual Athlon MP board). I bought
    a Tyan Tiger MPX to replace it, got it fixed under warranty, and sold the
    board MSI shipped back to me on eBay.

    _/_
    / v \ Scott Alfter (remove the obvious to send mail)
    (IIGS( http://alfter.us/ Top-posting!
    \_^_/ rm -rf /bin/laden >What's the most annoying thing on Usenet?

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