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Old 10-11-2016, 03:37 AM   #1
Th3_uN1Qu3
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Talking Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

Another oldie special here. I'll put up the pics and temperatures in a couple hours.

Picked this card up for free on Sunday, it was lying in a neighbors' yard. I reflowed it and added a fan some time back, but due to the messy state of their computer and the kids always playing GTA San Andreas on it, the fan got clogged up and the card died again.

So, after reballing, adding a fan and undervolting it, i get 52C full load (FurMark) with a single spike at 53C. So even with the bumpgate defect, i will be tossing this card in the bin long before it dies again. I wanted to just reflow but i nudged it too far when checking that solder is fully liquid so i had to take the chip off.

Still works in Windows 10, and does 720p on youtube with MS Edge and IE. Firefox doesn't pick it up tho, same happens with my AMD APU laptop so i just use Edge for youtube. 48C when viewing youtube and 45-46 at the desktop.

It's an old crappy card, but 1) it was free and 2) it's still better than the GMA 950 my work computer had onboard and i can watch teardowns on youtube without opening the links in an external media player. The computer is a HP Compaq dc7800 with a 2.8GHz Pentium D.
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Old 10-11-2016, 06:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

Here are the pics. Btw, the voltage reading in hwinfo is wrong. Stock voltage was somewhere around 1.33v, i managed to get it stable at 1.135. I tried 1.05 but it was not stable in any 3D application, booted to desktop tho.

If you want me to elaborate more on the voltage modification points, please ask.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_20161010_140412.jpg (1.23 MB, 84 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20161010_140515.jpg (593.5 KB, 68 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20161010_141834.jpg (1.21 MB, 70 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20161010_143744.jpg (1.30 MB, 63 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20161010_144631.jpg (1.16 MB, 55 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20161010_153312.jpg (1.09 MB, 61 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20161010_153329.jpg (1.28 MB, 50 views)
File Type: png 7300gs stock.png (29.6 KB, 39 views)
File Type: png 7300gs fan.png (29.9 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg 7300gs fan furmark.jpg (219.2 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg 7300gs fan + undervolt furmark.jpg (226.6 KB, 36 views)
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

I'm curious, do you have a stencil or how do you position the new solder balls?
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

I do this for a living so of course i have stencils for everything.
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:39 AM   #5
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

You want to do this Fake GT630?

It's some 8500 chip in there... Would love to see you re-ball it and undervolt it.

You can have it.
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Old 10-11-2016, 03:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

I never say no to free stuff... even if the chip is dead, i think i can source at least one from my parts bin. You have a PM.
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Old 10-12-2016, 12:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

Awesome work, uN1Qu3!

The under-volting is a great idea. I never understood why people overclock and volt-mod their video cards - the gain in game performance is usually insignificant.

Anyways, I love it when something (even if insignificant) gets re-engineered and fixed properly. Wish you were closer - I could send you some Xbox 360 heatsinks. I use them all of the time for my video card mods. This GeForce 7300 may be an old card, but still miles better than onboard video like you said, especially early Intel stuff. Heck, I think even my GeForce 4 TI 4400 I got a few months back will beat that.

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... and the kids always playing GTA San Andreas on it
On that card?! Must have gotten horrendous framerates due to that 64-bit memory bus.
Oh wait, why am I laughing? I was using an HD2400 up until this summer, lol.

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So, after reballing, adding a fan and undervolting it, i get 52C full load (FurMark) with a single spike at 53C.
Nice!
At what room/case temperature was that, though? I imagine it's a bit cooler now at this time of the year in Romania. Here, my house is already dropping below 21C/70F now. In the summer, though, my room can get as high as 29C/84F - now that allows for some real stress tests .
Most of my CPUs and GPUs run around 55C under load then.

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I wanted to just reflow but i nudged it too far when checking that solder is fully liquid so i had to take the chip off.
Wow, so you went "all the way" with this one.
My hat off to you, sir.

Speaking of reflowing/reballing... if you have some time to experiment (and I know you said you don't have time), try to get your hands on a gas (propane) stove/burner to use as the bottom heater and tell me what you think. I've been using our kitchen stove for most of my reflows now in conjunction with my heatgun, and the setup works absolutely amazing. Also, because the gas heats up the air and then that heats up whatever I am reflowing, I get ZERO PCB darkening/burning as a result. Can't tell at all that the board has been reworked.

Not sure if your 7300 GS looks a little toasty on the bottom due to hot regulators or your reflowing it (or perhaps the kids really playing too much GTA SA ), but I though I'd suggest the gas stove/burner anyways.

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You want to do this Fake GT630?

It's some 8500 chip in there... Would love to see you re-ball it and undervolt it.
That's crazy (and interesting).
Makes me wonder if some of these GeForce chips use the same pinouts for the GPU chip. Would be cool if we can swap chips, change a few resistors, and have everything work.

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The computer is a HP Compaq dc7800 with a 2.8GHz Pentium D.
Oh man. Is that a small tower or a mini "space heater" / Easy Bake oven?

Last edited by momaka; 10-12-2016 at 01:08 AM..
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Old 10-12-2016, 01:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

Quote:
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Awesome work, uN1Qu3!

The under-volting is a great idea. I never understood why people overclock and volt-mod their video cards - the gain in game performance is usually insignificant.
I used to do that too when i was gaming. Where do you think i got the idea for UNDERvolting? The gains are significant on cards that are starved for memory bandwidth provided you can get the memory high enough. With a bit of luck, you can turn a midrange card into a bit of a monster with better cooling and vmods. But we are talking about shiny new cards here, it is a given that the card will not last a long time if you overvolt it. And it doesn't make sense on something this old...

I actually tried to overvolt the memory on this card, but it didn't allow me to clock it any further even when grossly exceeding the ratings. It does like 10MHz extra and that's it. I think that's a first... I actually reduced the memory voltage to 1.75v from 2.1v (chips are rated for 2.0v nominal, 2.3v max), it still works fine.

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On that card?! Must have gotten horrendous framerates due to that 64-bit memory bus.
They are now playing it on a 6200TC. Enough said. It runs just fine tho - there was a time when the GTA series did not have absurd hardware requirements. When it came out i had a Pentium 4 and a GeForce MX440 and it played fine on that.

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Nice!
At what room/case temperature was that, though? I imagine it's a bit cooler now at this time of the year in Romania.
It is cold but we have central heating at work, and i'm either going to be soldering something or reworking BGAs, so it can get quite warm even in the winter.

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I have two GeForce 7900 GS/GT cards, but they didn't want to reflow. After 3 reflows, one now appears to have shorted GPU VCC, RAM Vdd/Vddq, and seondary GPU Vdd - all to ground. Balls look fine from the outside, so I think the bumpgate issue just got to it. Will remove the GPU chip one of these days just to see what's up.
Chip shorted internally due to too much heat, if you put another one on it should work.

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That's crazy (and interesting).
Makes me wonder if some of these GeForce chips use the same pinouts for the GPU chip. In addition to the two dead 7900 cards above, I also have two dead 7600 GTs. Curious what would happen if I swapped GPU chips from one to another.
Some are going to work if the memory is compatible, but you'll need to swap the BIOS chips as well and possibly edit the BIOS to work around the different memory. Worth a shot.


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Oh man. Is that a small tower or a mini "space heater" / Easy Bake oven?
It's a tower, a rather heavy one at that. Got plenty of cooling, even the flamethrower of a Pentium D runs in the 50s. Edit: The card is just dirty on the back, not burned. I haven't bothered to clean it properly, only dusted it a little with a brush.

Last edited by Th3_uN1Qu3; 10-12-2016 at 01:23 AM..
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Old 10-13-2016, 07:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

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I actually reduced the memory voltage to 1.75v from 2.1v (chips are rated for 2.0v nominal, 2.3v max), it still works fine.
Check the datasheet. Most manufacturers will typically also specify a certain minimum voltage too. IIRC, there was even one datasheet that stated that going above and/or below the rated voltage could potentially shorten the life of the memory chip.

Also, I often find that if the GPU chip runs cool, then so will the whole PCB, and that means the memory chips too (they are designed to cool through their power and ground pins.) RAM heatsinks aren't very effective if the PCB runs hot. Thus, my #1 focus is to always try to keep the GPU chip cool. I usually don't play with the RAM clocks or voltage (only exception was on a 7600 GT that had Qimonda chips that took 2V and the replacement Samsung only needed 1.8V).

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They are now playing it on a 6200TC. Enough said.


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It runs just fine tho - there was a time when the GTA series did not have absurd hardware requirements. When it came out i had a Pentium 4 and a GeForce MX440 and it played fine on that.
Yeah, GTA was never about the most stellar graphics, but rather the open city world. I never realized the requirements for San Andreas were that low, though. Vice City was the last GTA I tried, but for some reason, it didn't grab me that much. Mafia (the first one) was great, though. It could run even on a Pentium II if you had a decent graphics card or onboard if you had a powerful CPU.

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It is cold but we have central heating at work, and i'm either going to be soldering something or reworking BGAs, so it can get quite warm even in the winter.
So I would guess that would be about 24-25C max then. Not bad at all for the GPU temperatures you were getting.

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Chip shorted internally due to too much heat, if you put another one on it should work.
Actually, it probably shorted because I put a mini heatsink on top of the GPU and heated that. Why? Because I kept getting no video after the last several unsuccessful reflows, so I said, f*** it, let's see what this does. No the BGA balls under the chip did not get squashed at all. But I can't say anything about the BGA balls between the GPU core and the GPU chip substrate.

Anyways, it's a 7 series card. I've never been able to revive those so far. Bumpgate is a bitch.

Speaking of bumpgate, I also have a 8800 GTS that shows no video. So I was wondering, have you reworked one of these before? Should I remove the heat spreader on the GPU chip before trying to reflow? Or is it going to be too heavy and squish all the solder balls?

Quote:
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Some are going to work if the memory is compatible, but you'll need to swap the BIOS chips as well and possibly edit the BIOS to work around the different memory. Worth a shot.
Yeah, that's what I've been thinking too. But I'll leave that for when I really have more time or when I am very bored. Have a ton of other projects that need doing right now, so this is at the bottom of the pile.

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Edit: The card is just dirty on the back, not burned. I haven't bothered to clean it properly, only dusted it a little with a brush.
Ah okay. But I was talking about the darkened areas under the inductor near the crossed "PB" sign. I guess it could be that perhaps the inductor just runs hot.

Anyways. I still think you should try the gas burner/stove. Might end up liking it better than your setup, who knows.

Last edited by momaka; 10-13-2016 at 07:47 PM..
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Old 10-14-2016, 03:41 AM   #10
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

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Speaking of bumpgate, I also have a 8800 GTS that shows no video. So I was wondering, have you reworked one of these before? Should I remove the heat spreader on the GPU chip before trying to reflow? Or is it going to be too heavy and squish all the solder balls?
Removal of the heatspreader is optional but highly recommended. There is thermal paste between the heatspreader and the die that has surely dried out by now and you will get much better temperatures by cleaning all the old crap off and applying new paste.

Also, you will still need heat to remove it so as to soften the glue, otherwise there is a high risk of cutting into the substrate. Anyway, if you reflow it with the heatspreader in place it is not going to squish the balls.
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Old 10-14-2016, 05:21 AM   #11
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

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The under-volting is a great idea. I never understood why people overclock and volt-mod their video cards - the gain in game performance is usually insignificant.
Quote:
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I used to do that too when i was gaming. Where do you think i got the idea for UNDERvolting? The gains are significant on cards that are starved for memory bandwidth provided you can get the memory high enough. With a bit of luck, you can turn a midrange card into a bit of a monster with better cooling and vmods.
^this^. i heavily overclocked the memory on my pci radeon hd 5450 from the 333 stock to 472.5 without overvolting the memory. gives a nice boost in performance esp. in games.
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I actually tried to overvolt the memory on this card, but it didn't allow me to clock it any further even when grossly exceeding the ratings. It does like 10MHz extra and that's it. I think that's a first... I actually reduced the memory voltage to 1.75v from 2.1v (chips are rated for 2.0v nominal, 2.3v max), it still works fine.
i see from the pics, the video card has hynix vram chips, my fav video memory brand. undervolting the video memory is only necessary if u got infineon/qimonda video memory chips which dont like voltage. in fact, stock memory voltage causes it to artifact and undervolting is required to get rid of the artifacts.

memory only has a tdp of a few watts or so. undervolting the memory wont actually save much power. momaka also told me before NOT to get too aggressive with power saving as that can shorten the life of the hardware instead of prolonging its lifespan as it subjects the bga to too large of a temperature change during idle->load->idle transients which is bad for the bga.

lastly, i have an evga geforce 6200a (nv44) pci also with ddr2 sdram like your gigabyte 7300gs but it uses samsung 2.5ns ram while yours is hynix 2.5ns. i also only managed to overclock it to 405mhz or ddr-810mhz. so it looks like ddr2 sdram based video memory isnt very overclockable as it may be at the silicon limit of the technology. so thats why they went with gddr3 quickly and more or less skipped ddr2 at least for the high end cards. i.e. if u want faster than 2.5ns, u have to go gddr3.

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Old 10-14-2016, 05:56 AM   #12
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

There is 900MHz DDR2 from Hynix as well, but this is rated for 800 and it seems that's all it will do.

I used to believe the same about heat cycles but it is not true - the colder, the better. If the temperatures get too high it will still fail, regardless whether it has been subjected to thermal cycling or has ran continuously at that temperature. Either way, this has hardly any variation, there's 7C difference between completely idle and FurMark (45C-52C).
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Old 10-14-2016, 12:05 PM   #13
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

I was of the impression that thermal cycles are bad because they cause the chip to flex which can be an issue for the BGA package (the solder balls may break as a result of too much flexing) as it isn't tolerant of flexing. But then again, it is curious and jarring how so many cards with BGA chips conveniently decide to fail after they overheat and not before.

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Old 10-14-2016, 10:58 PM   #14
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

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Removal of the heatspreader is optional but highly recommended. There is thermal paste between the heatspreader and the die that has surely dried out by now and you will get much better temperatures by cleaning all the old crap off and applying new paste.

Also, you will still need heat to remove it so as to soften the glue, otherwise there is a high risk of cutting into the substrate. Anyway, if you reflow it with the heatspreader in place it is not going to squish the balls.
Cool, thanks for the info.
Was just wondering if this is any different from the PS3 GPUs that we did back when I did some work for a console repair shop. But I guess it's not that different: heat GPU a bit and pop-off the heat spreader, then proceed from there with reflow/reball. So looks like that's what I will be doing here too.

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There is 900MHz DDR2 from Hynix as well, but this is rated for 800 and it seems that's all it will do.
I guess Hynix did a pretty good job at the factory when they were binning their RAM.

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I used to believe the same about heat cycles but it is not true - the colder, the better. If the temperatures get too high it will still fail, regardless whether it has been subjected to thermal cycling or has ran continuously at that temperature.
Well thermal cycles can hurt the BGA, but only when the following two conditions are *both* true:
1) the difference between idle and load temperatures is rather large (something like 20C or greater difference between idle and load)
2) the GPU transitions between the above difference in temperature in a very short amount of time. Above 10C/second is dangerous IMO, considering most reflow profiles I've seen suggest not to go above 6C/s on the up *and* down ramps.

But you are absolutely right - high temperature is the worst enemy here. In particular, anything above 60C is bad for Pb-free due to elevated rate of tin whisker growth and the solder becoming more fragile. So it's not only the bumpgated nVidia GPUs we need to keep cool. Even non-nVidia cards can fail. (Hence why I spend so much time on making my big ghetto heatsink mods).

Last edited by momaka; 10-14-2016 at 11:00 PM..
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Old 10-16-2016, 08:28 AM   #15
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

Actually, nVidia cards have stopped failing for the most part (except for the GTX 400 series which actually had the same underfill as the bumpgate era chips), but we do plenty of ATI/AMD ones nowadays.

The older chips up to HD 5000 series hold up well after reballing, newer ones just quit working altogether and reflowing or reballing accomplishes nothing, they need to be replaced with new ones. It generally happens on low-end laptops or those with design flaws, it is always due to thermal issues.
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Old 10-16-2016, 12:23 PM   #16
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

Th3_uN1Qu3, you ok over there?
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Old 10-16-2016, 04:01 PM   #17
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

But where's Waldo?
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Old 10-16-2016, 04:10 PM   #18
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

Indeed, where is he?
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Old 10-18-2016, 09:07 PM   #19
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

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Actually, nVidia cards have stopped failing for the most part (except for the GTX 400 series which actually had the same underfill as the bumpgate era chips), but we do plenty of ATI/AMD ones nowadays.

The older chips up to HD 5000 series hold up well after reballing, newer ones just quit working altogether and reflowing or reballing accomplishes nothing, they need to be replaced with new ones. It generally happens on low-end laptops or those with design flaws, it is always due to thermal issues.
Cool thanks for sharing that! I was just about to buy an HD5770 with no video the other day and a GeForce 440, lol.

Also, looks like the R7 cards have MOSFETs failing as a common problem too, considering what I've seen in threads here and other symptom descriptions online.

Yes, I can confirm that at least the Radeon HD4850 cards have a really high success rate of working again after either reflow/reball. Got 3.5 out of 4 fixed already (5 more awaiting). They also seem to drop like flies, though. The way ATI designed the stock/reference cooler is retarded. I don't understand how you can put a single-slot cooler on a 110 Watt TDP card and think it will last. - It won't! But I'll save my rants for another thread.
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Old 10-22-2016, 04:22 PM   #20
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Default Re: Gigabyte 7300GS complete overhaul and modding

I was quite inspired to open forum today, already know that the second board to be repaired will be very close to this: a Gigabyte 7200GS.
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