Calling on 3dfx experts....

Discussion about old graphics cards, monitors and video related things.

Calling on 3dfx experts....

Postby kanecvr » 2017-11-10 @ 02:25

So... my working V5 5500 died - while sitting in a machine, powered off, doing nuffin'. The rig wasn't even plugged it, and it's been sitting for a couple of months.

Symptoms - black screen with red vertical lines when launching a game, and the computer hangs. Any ideea what could have caused this? It was working great when I last used the computer the card is in - two months ago - and when I turned it on today, it seems to be broken. I tried the card in another machine - same symptoms...

2D works great, no artifacting in desktop or dos. The spinning cubes in dxdiag display correctly, but when I try to launch a game, the computer hangs. Are v5 5500 cards known for dying while not in use? Is anyone familiar with this sort of issue or these symptoms?
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Re: Calling on 3dfx experts....

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2017-11-10 @ 05:37

Disabling SLI in drivers helps?
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Re: Calling on 3dfx experts....

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-11-10 @ 05:47

kanecvr wrote:So... my working V5 5500 died - while sitting in a machine, powered off, doing nuffin'. The rig wasn't even plugged it, and it's been sitting for a couple of months.

Symptoms - black screen with red vertical lines when launching a game, and the computer hangs. Any ideea what could have caused this? It was working great when I last used the computer the card is in - two months ago - and when I turned it on today, it seems to be broken. I tried the card in another machine - same symptoms...

2D works great, no artifacting in desktop or dos. The spinning cubes in dxdiag display correctly, but when I try to launch a game, the computer hangs. Are v5 5500 cards known for dying while not in use? Is anyone familiar with this sort of issue or these symptoms?

I have a 3dfx collection and couple of 5500s (PCI and AGP), but I'm certainly not an expert. However, I haven't personally seen 3dfx cards fail this way. This sounds like what used to happen with cards from the mid 2000s when they sat in storage for years and the thermal paste solidified to the point that the card overheated the next time it was used. I'd be surprised if this happened with a V5 though... with heatsinks that tiny, they shouldn't instantly fry themselves when cooling is compromised.

I would take the card out and inspect it extremely thoroughly with a magnifying glass. Check every inch of it for debris, damaged components, bad\cracked solder joints, damaged traces, etc.

I've had other 3dfx cards that seemed to be dead that I resurrected by fixing dented\damaged legs on one of the ICs. Obviously with it sitting safely in the case with no prior problems, physical damage is unlikely, but its worth a check.

I've also had devices that looked fine that wouldn't function until I bushed off the surface with a soft tooth brush... then all was well. Presumably, some tiny piece of something conductive was wreaking havoc and just needed brushed away.

Not a very scientific response, but I hope it helps.
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Re: Calling on 3dfx experts....

Postby cyclone3d » 2017-11-10 @ 06:06

Maybe try cleaning the card contacts with a pencil eraser to get rid of any oxidation.
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Re: Calling on 3dfx experts....

Postby F2bnp » 2017-11-10 @ 11:54

That really sucks :(. I hope you find a way to fix it, cleaning the contacts is a good first step, although it usually fixes cards that refuse to POST.
In your case, try to underclock the cards with VControl and perhaps disable SLI to see if one of the chips died/is dying :(.
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Re: Calling on 3dfx experts....

Postby kanecvr » 2017-11-11 @ 00:15

Ok - so after a bit more testing, it seems the card sometimes works with SLI disabled (1 chip mode) - but not always. Cleaning contacts won't help, so not gonna bother. There is no damage on the card - no missing, chipped, swollen or dent components, no damaged traces, and the card is clean, nothing could be shorting. The chips don't get hot enough to crack the BGA balls under them, and said BGA balls are lead, not ROHS, so re-flowing or "the oven trick" is a waste of time.

It seems one of the VSA100 chips died. Is this normal? Did it happen to anyone else? (have 1 chip die while the card is not in use)
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Re: Calling on 3dfx experts....

Postby The Serpent Rider » 2017-11-11 @ 05:41

After just laying around for some time? No. I wonder if it's VRM problem.
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Re: Calling on 3dfx experts....

Postby meljor » 2017-11-11 @ 19:04

Oh man, that really s*cks... Never had that happen and hope it never will..

I think most voodoo's have been laying around for years, in or out a case. So one just going bad doing nothing is very strange. My first thoughts would be replacing the caps as it is the easiest job and those are the only things that can go bad without beeing used. Do i really think that is the case? No. But you have to start somewhere...

I would also look for things that could have been bad for longer and only stopped working just now like: bad connection in vga output or monitor cable, bad/not clean agp connectors on the card, check the pins of the power connector on the card and on the psu molex connector.

Good luck, hope you can fix it.

In this link from Vogons there was someone who had problems trying to run with the 2nd chip turned on. It was the motherboard and after using another board the v5 ran fine with 2 chips?
viewtopic.php?t=23985
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Re: Calling on 3dfx experts....

Postby Reputator » 2017-11-11 @ 22:14

The only thing I know of that can just fail after sitting around doing nothing are caps. Even if they're not visibly defective it still seems like the most likely culprit.
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Re: Calling on 3dfx experts....

Postby kanecvr » 2017-11-12 @ 02:09

Reputator wrote:The only thing I know of that can just fail after sitting around doing nothing are caps. Even if they're not visibly defective it still seems like the most likely culprit.


The V5 has very few electrolytic capacitors, and quality ones at that. The mainboard is not as fault, as I said I tried the card on other machines with the same result... I'll try swapping the caps but the symptoms point to a bad chip.
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Re: Calling on 3dfx experts....

Postby RogueTrip2012 » 2017-11-14 @ 00:57

Has someone tried pulling the heatsinks off the board? Maybe they damaged a chip pulling them off?

Could it maybe be a heat issue. I'd try putting a 90mm fan across the chips to see if it helps.

Although I can't confirm it. the epoxy used to glue the heatsinks to the chips could be old an actually not working well anymore just like thermal paste goes bad and dries out after time.
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