Save A Dying Video Card With A Quick Bake In The Oven

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?

Video Card Repair Oven Baking Technique to Repair Solder Guide [YouTube]


    I had the infamous HP nvidia graphics card issue and if you can't remove the plastic parts or are lazy or whatever you can try a high wattage light bulb or a hair dryer. This is pretty much only if the chip is the problem not something else because you point the heat at the chip

    This is a new one for me! i have had past successes by using mineral terps squirts or a water bath, but i have cards that still didnt recover (kept some) so perhaps worth a try, nothing more to loose, other than the solder flux evaporating... preheat the oven first.

    Another good point is to get a no clean flux (from Jaycar)and dribble it in on an angle under memory chips and the GPU to allow the re-flowing process to grab better.

    This process will fix YLOD PS3s as well!!! That's why I have three PS3s now :)

    This works for any circuit board, not just video cards - baking a dodgy motherboard is an old trick that works well. A few tips:

    -Really, really make sure not to overcook it. Resoldering an entire motherboard is not something you want to do.
    -Any sudden jolts when the solder is soft could ruin everything, so either remove it carefully or let it cool in the oven itself.

    Done for HP DirectJet LAN cards on the printers. Chip-side up; 205 degrees C for 5 minutes, BAM. working :D

    My 4870 is beyond redemption though, I think :(

    I managed to speed the whole process up considerably by using my microwave instead. Hooray for space age technology!

      I can only assume that last comment is a joke -- putting a video card in a microwave wouldn't result in anything other than arcing and damage, I'd have thought.

    This trick may or may not work for you, as pointed out.

    The thing I'm shocked that no one has mentioned is that you probably shouldn't do this in your regular oven, or any oven you intend to put your lunch/dinner in sometime shortly after.

    Electronics can outgas or leak all sorts of toxic goodies, especially if a component has already failed (which isn't always obvious).

    The risk may be low, but certainly non-zero and worth considering.

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