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PowerColor HD 7770 Non-Display Fixes Itself!

  • 7770
  • Non-display
  • PowerColor
  • Mouse piss
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
October 1, 2013 7:48:32 AM

Hi, I've been a lurker for a while, but decided to post this story because a.) it's friggin' awesome, and b.) it's making me paranoid.

TL;DR: I RMA'd the graphics card in my title, got my warranty voided because of "corrosion," I take it back home to sulk, only to find out that it works! However, I am a little paranoid and I still want to know what the problem was.

UPDATE: Not sure if heat might be the problem, running at a consistent 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) at idle.
UPDATE2: Ran FurMark GPU stress test, and it settled at around 95 degrees Celsius (this is after disassembling the unit). Not once did I hear the fan spin as fast as it did before it fails. O.o

---------------LONG STORY

I bought a PowerColor HD 7770 last December 31, 2012, but it apparently "failed" on me on the first week of September 2013.

I felt like crap at first, because I do know my tech and all I will end up with now is an AMD A4-3400 to play games with. I bore through vanilla Skyrim and finished it using this and a mere 2GB of Kingston 1333 RAM at 14fps. I can still play a great game of Dota 2. But yeah, 1360x768 resolution only.

Anyway, that September I remember hearing it spin at maximum speed for the first time (it is amazingly quiet at idle and at load combined with the fact that I have a less-than-stellar CPU). But it returned to normal speed so I gamed a bit then slept for the night. The next morning, it won't work. Complete non-display. Fan doesn't spin, but PCB heats up.

After an hour of diagnostic procedures, I excluded every other part to end up with only the video card as the problem. I even took it back to the worst PC retailer in the Philippines (more on this later) for a test on another computer. Same errors.

The so-called techs took a quick look at it and deduced marvelously that it was due to corrosion! They apparently noted some rust forming on the mounted screws. I wanted to reason it was maybe galvanic corrosion or the humidity in my tropical country (that you can't even completely remove with a dehumidifier). However, none of the pins or any other components exhibit this rust, so it was quite the questionable diagnosis.

I, on the other hand, would think it was a power issue, as the fan would work sometimes but then die. It would also work for a bit when I boot up using my APU, then plug it in for a reboot, only to have it do the same maximum fan speed thing and die moments later. This is why I also included possible mouse piss as the culprit. Hey, anything can happen!

So I sent it back for an RMA since it was still covered in my 1-year warranty. It took around three weeks to get it back, only to have them state that my warranty was void due to customer-induced damage. From rust corrosion. On the screws. Hey, I could get that they would think I don't care about my equipment. But seriously. It hasn't even been a year.

I waited for them to text me to come pick it up, and I just did today. When I got home I decided I would fix this myself and even opened a bunch of tabs on how to disassemble video cards to diagnose hardware problems (see picture). I hot-plugged it into the motherboard while it was still on (I was miserable) and this caused my computer to shut down. So I continued plugging it in and rebooted my system.

The fan works. The monitor was a non-display at first (was still connected to my motherboard) but then I inserted the plug into the DVI port. No problems. I even took a shot that it was detected properly using CCleaner, CCC, and dxdiag. No maximum fan speed then dying. I even played a bunch of games to stress it out a bit.

One would think the guys who handled the RMA could have tested it. By the way, it was PC Express.

So what really caused the problem? How likely would it happen again? O.o

More about : powercolor 7770 display fixes

October 1, 2013 8:11:41 AM

I'll reply to my story with a story of my own. My father worked at a sewing machine and vacuum repair shop. 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Year in and year out. Whenever anyone would bring any kind of machine in, he'd have it working again within a week. I always thought it was a particular brand of genius he had. One day I asked him how he knew how to fix everything. He said, "I don't. I just have the right tools to take anything apart. If something is physically broken, I replace it, but that is almost never the case. Most times, I just clean them. Sometimes, even taking it apart dislodges something that was stuck and that's all it needed. People just don't try because they don't have the right tools, or their scared they'll break it worse, or they have more money than energy. I don't have those 'problems'."

It sounds like you had an overheating issue. If they took the cooler off the card and put it back on, they probably re-applied TIM and made sure the heat spreaders were properly seated.

tl;dr: Never underestimate the power of taking something apart and putting it back together!
October 1, 2013 8:36:26 AM

jdon said:
tl;dr: Never underestimate the power of taking something apart and putting it back together!

Great story, you even squeezed in a bit of quotation right there. Thanks for your input!

As for an update, I decided to disassemble the card as the warranty was void anyway. The rusted screws would have shown dislodging if they were removed (or they would at least feel a bit loose, not crispy), which they didn't, so it means it was never taken apart. I did a couple of dust removals on my own and noticed there was nothing reapplied to the heat sink. So, yeah, the techs took a look at it and did nothing.

Hopefully this does the trick. Your story made me more confident about taking things apart.