If you've booted up your computer only to find red lines and other graphics issues, you might be able to save that graphics card by putting it in the oven.
Lines across your screen and other graphics abnormalities are called artefacts, and they're likely to occur when your video card is failing. If it's really dying, you might even get a blank screen or program crashes due to overheating.
It turns out a bit of heat can be the perfect medicine. Things you'll want to be careful of:
- Make sure to remove the heatsink and any other plastic parts from your card. Melted plastic all over your card is bad news.
- Place a few balls of tin foil on a tray and rest the card on them so it isn't touching the tray. Make sure to put the card in chip side up, otherwise the chip will fall off.
- You'll want to bake it for around 8 minutes at 195°C. The time is flexibile; the general consensus is that anywhere between 5 minutes and 12 minutes should be OK.
- Obviously, let it cool off before you stick it back in your machine.
The science behind this simple: often, video cards fail due to loosening solder joints. Thus, an oven is the perfect saviour: by heating those joints back up, they'll turn to liquid and melt back together, giving your card another shot at life. This isn't a brand new trick by any means, but we just discovered it and thought it was pretty cool (not unlike the "save a failing hard drive in the freezer" trick).
Check out the video above for a demo by my favourite hardware guru, Linus Sebastian of NCIX Tech Tips. It didn't work for him in the video, but it's actually a well-documented fix, and he does a good job of explaining the process. Your mileage may vary, of course, but if your graphics card is about to bite the dust, what do you have to lose?