VOGONS


Reply 742 of 763, by Robert B

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pshipkov wrote on 2021-08-29, 22:13:

epic.
+1

Thanks pshipkov. 😀 I try my best but sometimes certain stories and/or experiences are meant to be great from the get go. This was quite a ride.

chrismeyer6 wrote on 2021-08-29, 23:20:

Amazing job repairing and then fully restoring that beautiful Voodoo

I knew that this story was destined to be a good one even from the moment I accepted the job. 😁 My gut feeling was like SAY YES!!! but not to the dress of course. 😁

chrismeyer6 wrote on 2021-08-29, 23:20:

Amazing job repairing and then fully restoring that beautiful Voodoo

That card will provide many more parts that will live in many other 3dfx cards. Her purpose now is to make other 3dfx cards whole again. It still pains me to see it every time I remove it from the box but I know that it serves a higher purpose. 😁

In the works: The card from The Land of the Rising Sun.

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In case you are wondering what's the hubbub with the thread locker then all I can say now is this: I had so much fun with it so I had to be sure that I will have MORE fun with it at a later date. 😁

More later. Method Man, Redman - Da Rockwilder (Official Video) 😁

Reply 743 of 763, by Robert B

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Some spit'n polish! 😁

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The Canopus card is ready to have its story told. The pics have been sorted and edited. The only thing I miss is time. Lately I have so much awesome HW coming in that is kind of ridiculous. Some was sold, some was kept, but gone are the times when I had a few ongoing projects. Now, I juggle with 15+ projects, all in various states of completeness.

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Don't worry, I didn't forget about you, my faithful fans. 😀

Soon a new episode will be posted. I mean soon not that kind of soon. 😁

Reply 744 of 763, by pshipkov

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It's funny and mildly ridiculous how overdesigned the memory sticks became.
Looks certainly sell and many of us subconsciously fall for it.
Especially these days, within given class the mem chips are all kind of the same, so it is the "jewelry" on top that makes the difference.

The liquid in that bucket looks so rich on essential minerals it can probably spawn new life forms.

Keep 'em coming.

retro bits and bytes

Reply 745 of 763, by Robert B

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You are absolutely right.

Those sticks made me think of the DDR4 G.Skill Trident Royal memory 😁 As soon as I got them I really wanted to make that copper shine again. Took me about 45 minutes but in the end I got what I wanted. 😁

😀))) That container is filled with the primordial soup, the beginning of it all! 😁

Writing in progress ...

Reply 746 of 763, by Robert B

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Bombdogs - First Time (Original mix) (No House of the Rising Sun song here)

The card from The Land of the Rising Sun

There are a few cards that stick with you for a very long time. You might think that I'm referring to some mythical cards like the VooDoo 5 6K or something along the line, but that is not always the case. As we are different, or at least we like to think that we are, each of us resonate to certain things that for others mean absolutely nothing or they are just a footnote on their scale of "values".

Sometimes, a card that it is not sold in certain regions of the world due to the fact that it is simply destined for other markets, quickly achieves a status that can make many people hearts race.

For me, among many other things (as you probably know by now), the Canopus line of cards has a very special place in my heart.

Back in their hay day I'm not sure that I heard or read about them. Maybe I saw some ads with their 3dfx cards? My memory is a little hazy but what I can say for sure is that I never heard anyone close to me to own such a card when they were King of the Hill.

Fast forward to somewhere around 2010 I stumbled on some pictures with a few Canopus TNT 2 Ultra cards. I was awed by their presence and I was impressed by their design. They were simply stunning. They have a je ne sais quoi that speaks my language.

For the last 6 years since I started actively acquiring HW I never saw one in the flesh and truth be told I wasn't holding my breath for finding one anytime soon.

I was quite surprised in July 2021, when I received some pictures with a Canopus card from the guy that also found the VooDoo 5 5500 that I repaired in the previous episode.

How LUCKY can you be to score two awesome cards in such a short span of time?

The card was tested and it worked but as soon as I got the pictures I pointed out some problems. Due to the fact that I didn't want to spend money and buy it, I congratulated the guy for a job well done. For the last few years I'm not inclined to spend big money on many parts and I'm just waiting patiently for them to pop up at the flea market. 😁 Sure that they may come with some problems but my body is ready. 😁

That was it for the time being.

After I repaired the V5 5K I sent the card to the very happy owner and I didn't want something in return for my services. Soon after this, because he asked me, I agreed to receive an Abit KR7A-RAID motherboard as compensation for repairing the V5. The motherboard had issues but I still wanted it as I always like to challenge myself. What? An Abit mobo? Heck yeah! Send it! After I changed some bad caps I found out the real problem of that motherboard as it proved to have a shorted SB. Bummer. In the end I wasn't able to do anything with it. It can be repaired but it is a question of time and money, like everything in life.

But that wasn't everything. When I got the package, to my surprise, I found a few extras inside. A couple of Celeron Tualatin CPUs, a Diamond Fire 1K Pro AGP card and you guessed it, The Cherry On Top, the Canopus card. I called the guy to ask him if he wanted the card repaired or if it was for me. And so, I got my very own Canopus card. It had a lot of problems but the fact that it was still kind of alive made me want to do everything in my power to restore it. Where people see junk, where people see lost causes, I see opportunity. I can't remember how many times I was asked, what are you doing with those "corpses" and when I present the "finished product" the question quickly turns into: are they for sale? For sale? Not yet! They might be but I can't say for now. Even today I hear people saying that if a component has a few torn caps or other cosmetic damage, they aren't to be bought. That always makes me smile. Remember that these parts will never be manufactured again. Need I say more?

So, in the end, after I thought that the Canopus card was already sold to someone else, I was the lucky winner of yet another "unicorn". Looking back, that card had my name written all over it.

Let's meet the Canopus Spectra 5400R2 N17-AG-904!

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The signature feature of many Canopus cards is the SSH daughterboard. In essence that SSH daughterboard which stands for Signal Super Highway, together with other ICs that are present on the card, ensure a better video output from it or at least that is the gist of it. In practice I saw that indeed the signal output was crispier than that on some other TNT 2 cards I own. This was registered on an LCD. As I do not own any CRTs I can't say if the same difference could be observed on the good old cathode-ray tube monitors.

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The tip of the iceberg.

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The back of the card was full of scars and missing components. Not a pretty sight.

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The label that was present on the card had some very interesting information on it. Spectra 5400 Premium Edition or Spectra 5400. What? Spectra 5400 PE? The heck is that? A quick search has revealed that the PE edition is the well known TNT 2 ULTRA variant. What's the stuff with this sticker I wondered? Is it 0 or 1? Why would you put such a sticker on your product? Which one is it?

I already knew that this card was a regular TNT 2 but I still had a 0.0000001% hope that maybe it was the PE edition. I know I was greedy. 😁

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Let's focus on the problems of this card. Many missing ceramic caps, cracked ceramic caps and some deep scratches. Well, it could be worse I said to myself.

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Let's count the number of threads on those screws as I know that I'll need this information later. I really don't want to screw up something.

Left.

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Right.

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I was intrigued by the miniature cooling fan. It looked to be of high quality and it still spun silently even if it was looking worse for wear. Model Panaflo UDQFNKH01 DC5V 0.14A. Made In Japan. Well, it was to be expected that a high quality miniature fan made in Japan was to be used on a card made by a Japanese company. Elementary.

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I had some reservations in regard to this diminutive 3cm pygmy but in the end I was won over by it. It was looking a little under the weather, with scratches, dents and some black deposits inside.

Break it up folks! No PE in here! There's nothing to be seen!

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I never expected that it would be so tough to remove that tiny cooler from the card. Sure that a nut and bolt combination is way better than some crappy plastic push pins, but using thread locker on them was quite a sneaky move.

I had to be very patient and use a fine needle to remove some of the thread locker that was visible, then I had to use a pair of pliers to keep in place the nut, while I tried to unscrew the bolt from the other side without damaging the card. It was quite a tense situation as I didn't have a wrench that was so small and I knew that if my pliers would slip or if my screwdriver would slip I might have to add some more repairs on the already long list of stuff to do on this card.

In the end I prevailed and I managed to free the tiny cooler from the card.

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I took a close look at the cooler and at first I wanted to take it apart but I soon dismissed this idea. The cooler has a shroud that it is riveted to the heatsink so, I had to resort to a "key hole" cleaning procedure. A tedious thing, let me tell you.

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I could've submerged the entire thing in IPA 99% but as the fan bearing was still running smoothly I wanted to keep that way.

After I used about 15 cotton sticks dipped in IPA I took a close look at the results.

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Well, it looks kind of ok, I said to myself, BUT I WANT MORE!

The back of the cooler was in pretty good shape.

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To get into all the tiny spaces of the cooler I bought a set of small brushes and then millimeter by millimeter I cleaned the inside of that tiny thing. I was amazed at how much dirt and grime came out of it. I reckon it took me close to two hours to clean it.

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After this, I looked at the results and I played with the idea of using some sandpaper to smooth out the dents that were on the aluminum shroud and then polish it.

In the end I opted to leave it as is, as I deemed this operation to be well into the diminishing results territory. Some of the dents were simply too deep and I had to remove a lot of material.

After some more detailing and polishing I got these results.

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You might wonder why I spent so much time with this operation. Well, look at the card and tell me which signature feature is the most striking? Among, other things, that cooler screams Canopus all the way. This is why I wanted to do everything I could to give this battered thing a new lease of life.

After another inspection of the card I got more good news. Cough, cough. MORE WORK! For ME?! Oh, you shouldn've have! &^%$*#^($#%^!!!! 😁

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Ready to be made great again.

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It's ME the SSH thingy. I don't know about you, but all I see is just a PCB and some traces. Well, the Marketing Department needs some material, don't they?

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YAY! More bent pins and a few scars. YAY!

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The bracket has seen better days. I'm sure of it.

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Rust! A very nice flavor! You know! RUST! aka Rusty rust rust ... a very nice fellow ... not.

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Into the rust remover solution you go! NOOOO!!! Suffer and be reborn!

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OHHHHH!!! A torn pad! NICE! Look at that cotton sticking to that lifted trace that used to make contact with the missing pad.

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Joke aside, I was quite relieved when I saw that I had something to solder onto. That tiny bit of copper made my day. I CAN FIX THIS! Phew!

I scraped the copper trace as much as I could, using an X-acto knife, then I soldered a tiny piece of copper wire onto it. The connection was solid. Then I soldered the replacement ceramic cap to the wire. The ceramic caps was first soldered firmly on the other side. While I soldered the ceramic cap, the wire lifted a little but the result was still good and I was pleased with this fix. The rest of the ceramic caps were a breeze to replace. I must say that all of the replacement ceramic caps have been scavenged from donor cards.

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The flapping label on the back was secured with 0.2mm double sided tape. That thing was getting on my nerves. The originality of the card must be preserved at all costs.

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As something was still nagging me I secured the ceramic cap that had the torn pad with a little two part epoxy. Come high water you are there to stay!

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Bubble bath. Due to the fact that the card was already rusty and it was quite dirty I had no reservations in washing it with tap water and dish soap.

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Looking good!

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Look closely to the memory chips. I really am amazed that this card has survived.

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RGB anyone? If you wonder what's the use of these jumpers head over here: "Dual Filter System (DFS: patent pending). To allow the best performance on a variety of monitors, the Fine Filter was developed. In addition, a Super-fine Filter was developed to ensure the best performance on high-end monitors exceeding 21 inches. This setting can be altered via colored jumpers on the board itself. Fine Filter is set by default." http://www.hardware-one.com/reviews/5400pe/5400pe-3.shtml

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I already see the final result. 😀 All the hard work will pay dividends in the end.

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Poor memory chips on the back and a slightly damaged corner. How is this thing still alive?

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After the cleaning procedures with water and IPA, one of the paper labels on the back was on its way out. A black marker attempt made things worse. &$#*&$(#^$&!!!!

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The SSH daughterboard came out pretty nice but some rust was still giving me the finger.

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The bracket was looking awesome after some rust remover solution treatment and manual polishing.

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The SSH daughterboard was put through more stages of rust elimination treatment. In the end I had to stop as I simply could not get things to look better than they were apart from maybe changing the connector. 😁

Final results.

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You remember the paper label from above don't you? Well, I tried some white corrector on it but that made me lose my marbles. 😁 So I tore up the offending part of the label. Auch!

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I was left with a gap that had to be filled. Hmmmm ...

I wanted to print out a new label but the font was hard to identify, so I searched for a clear picture with another label. Then I printed that label on a piece of brown paper that kind of looked old.

After I printed the label I saw that I had to adjust the size of the writing a few times. Trial and error.

Once I got things perfect I rubbed my finger on the paper and you have guessed it. The whole thing came off ...

I could not use the entire label I found on the Internet as each card has its own SN ...

Back to the drawing board.

A new label and some nail varnish. Sure the paper is darker now but the ink is there to stay.

I slapped some 0.2 mm double sided tape.

DONE!

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After a lot of work came the best moment. All the parts have been made to look as good as they were ever going to get. Everything was set and ready to go.

I applied some AC MX-4 paste and I removed some of it from the four corners of the graphic chip as the tiny cooler does not cover the entire area.

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And now for the coup de grace. THREAD LOCKER!!!

But WHY?

WHY? I had so much fun with it that I had to be sure that I will have more FUN with it at a later date. 😀

Joke aside, that thread locker is vital as due to heat cycles, or just by handling the card, the nuts and bolts might come lose.

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If you have paid attention, you remember the two pictures from the beginning of this episode. Left and Right.

I counted the number of threads on each bolt to ensure the same exact torque specs as the original. Then, the thread locker was applied with a fine needle. Also I checked if the cooler wasn't too tight even if I secured it like it was before.

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Attention to detail is everything, at least for me.

So here we are, close to the end of this endeavor. The results of my work speak for themselves.

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Bask in the SUN my beloved! 😀

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Almost perfect. Some scars are there to stay but who can see them?

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After all the effort I was ready to power it up. The guy that gave me the card said that it was picky and it might not give signal every time. Well, with so many missing caps, I would also not give a signal from time time. 😁

POWER!

The card XPLODED!!!

Not literally of course.

The BIOS string made me smile. This thing has gone Supernova!

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After hours of testing I labeled this card to be @ 100%!

The satisfaction I felt was off the charts. This is a drug that is quite addictive let me tell you.

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There you have it. Another success story. 😀 Canopus, the brightest star in the southern constellation of Carina and the second-brightest star in the night sky. Quite a fitting name for this uncommon card I must say. Even if the Canopus Corporation is no more, its legacy still lives on in their electronic artefacts which will endure the test of time for many years to come. You are only forgotten when nobody remembers you.

This card has a very special place in my collection and as I always say, once something goes (will go) out of my collection, then all of them will go as I really am a binary person, 0 or 1, when it comes to certain things that are important to me.

Stay close for more thrilling adventures. 😀 You never know what life has in store for you.

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/6CwYzZF

More later.

Last edited by Robert B on 2021-09-22, 16:34. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 748 of 763, by Robert B

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You are spot on pshipkov but where would we be without marketing. 😁

Next episode in the works: Geforce 3 Ti 500 - An above and beyond adventure

This didn't pan out like in the manual. Well ...

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In other turn of events, stuff in need of rescuing is piling up but I'm not complaining. 😁 Many of them will receive the love and attention they need and also they may head to a loving home once I'll reluctantly be able to part with them.

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More later.

Reply 749 of 763, by Robert B

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Quasimodo - Let It Out

Geforce 3 Ti 500 - An above and beyond adventure

As any HW collector out in the wild, I too like to own the absolute high end of a certain line of cards or any other PC component. These evasive creatures aren't easily found in the wild and even if you manage to find them, they more often than not, cost and arm and a leg and we know that we need our body parts to function at an optimal level, so there aren't many of us that can pay that arm and leg in $$$ form.

As you know well by now, I'm a person that doesn't like to spend a lot of dough on a certain component and instead I choose to wait patiently for it to pop up at the flea market. These last years I've been quite lucky and I managed to score quite a few "unicorns" so it seems that my "strategy", even somewhat unusual, pays up in the end. This doesn't mean that if I see a good deal outside the flea market I don't pull the trigger and I take ownership of other strange creatures that happen to cross my path. NO SIR! Though, between me and you, these encounters aren't too common.

In May 2021 I was at the flea market and if I remember correctly, it was a slow day with little interesting stuff. I was relaxed though, as that meant that the $$$ would stay in my pocket!

Somewhere in the middle of the market I saw a big suitcase full of stuff. Old dismembered phones, chargers, junk and everything but the kitchen sink. On top of that pile of non descript stuff, my eyes caught a glimpse of a green AGP card that sported a green, square nVIDIA heatsink.

'the HECK is that?! Hmm ... a Geforce of some sort. Let's check the tricorder, ahem, smart (dumb) phone and see what's what.

* Loading ...
* Compaq ...
* WHOOOOO!!! A GEFORCE 3 Ti 500! WHOOOOOOOO!!!!
* Hmm ... for sure it had seen better days ... poor thing.
* How much is it? I asked politely.
* 1 EURO!
* Here you go!
* Thank You!

So I found another "unicorn" and of all places, at the flea market form my city. How friggin' cool is THAT!

I knew that it was going to be a PITA to restore this card but I was ready come hell or high water!

So let's get on with the show! Strap yourself in as this was quite a ride for me. For months I tried to get the maximum out of this whole situation and only in August 2021 I was ready to put down my tools and accept the outcome.

This whole affair took a long time as I worked on it sporadically. Some components took a while to get here and some were found at the flea market many weeks after I got the card. Also I wasn't ready to put an end to this story until I was absolutely sure that I had exhausted all the possibilities.

NO REST FOR THE WICKED!

This GF3 Ti 500, the star of this episode, is a model made for Compaq. At a first glance there weren't many tell tale signs that it was an uncommon card. No outrageous cooler, no eye popping color, no special PCB, etc.

The first thing that caught my attention was the string: MS-8853 VER:100, so it seems that this card was manufactured by MSI for Compaq. A good start I said to myself.

This is how it looked when I got it.

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Apart from the missing heatsink from the top video memory chips, some dings and a torn connector of the cooling fan, it seemed that she was all there. Looks can be deceiving we all know that, so for a sane mind we all should choose our women only at the light of day or should I say at night all the cats are gray!? 😁 Nevertheless, I bought this basket case in broad daylight so I had to deal with this situation no matter what!

nVIDIA 180-10050-000-C01 MADE IN TAIWAN.

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YIKES!!! Torn fan connector, cracked power inductor, missing various ceramic caps of unknown value. Well, I was sure that the Good Ol' Internets aka SERIOUS BUSINESS, will eventually help me out, so, I wasn't too worried. 😁

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The back of the card looked rather alright but I knew that I was in for a treat when I saw with what I was faced. Facepalm in progress ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... 😁 Why do you do these things?! said my inner self. Well, for funsies? Yeah right! And pigs can fly!

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A thorough inspection of the back of the card revealed a slaughter that was a carbon copy of a battle from the Civil War, many missing ceramic caps, a torn resistor, a shifted IC, and you name it. The problems were so many that I lost count of them.

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You might wonder why I bought this train wreck. I must say that I saw many of the problems before I bought the card and I knew what I was doing. Many of the repairs were a straight forward job and well within my skill level, so I said WHY NOT? You only live once!

Let's recapitulate the list of repairs that I was to perform.

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NVIDIA Corporation Model: P50 * Replace with Compaq Spare SPS-BD NV20 64MB W/TV * 254095-101 * 254216-002

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The bracket was a little bent but it looked quite okay. Ever since I saw the card, my gut was telling me that for sure this card was alive when it was tossed at the garbage bin. I couldn't help but to sympathize with the poor thing.

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Nuts and bolts, ahem, bits and pieces.

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The massive hit that took out the heatsink from the top memory chips also dislodged the cooler from the GPU. This was both a blessing and a curse. We all know why. Less work for me, more deadly for the card.

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I saw a GF3 Ti 500 GPU die only in pictures, so, the moment I laid my eyes on the real thing, was quite special. It remined me of the time when I got my first Geforce 256. Good times!

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After some cleaning. "A million dollars" shot! There is no replacement for the real thing. I sure hope that you are still among the living I said to myself ...

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The first task on my agenda was to clean the cooler until it was up to my standards. Some acetone and lots of IPA and cotton sticks were required plus an abundance of elbow grease. The cooling fan was still running strong with zero grinding noise, another clue that made me think that this card had just a few miles under its hood. I didn't disassemble the fan as it was easy to clean as it was. There is no need to intervene if things are just as they are supposed to be. This is the result of countless hours spent restoring various components. Experience is the name of the game.

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During a restoration process I take my time to make things right and no detail is overlooked. Be it a cooling fan or a tiny ceramic cap, all of them receive the needed attention. No detail is unimportant. Where does it hurt? Time for another sponge bath?

The power inductor with a cracked head received a prosthesis made from a two part epoxy that was later painted black.

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I scavenged the MIA heatsink from a dead GF3 Ti 200. The removal process was tedious to say the least. I tried various methods including heat but in the end I had to perform surgery with and X-acto knife.

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An ideal replacement, minus the color. Well, in life, you don't always get what you want ...

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At the end of the restoration process I was going to fix the silver heatsink with some double sided thermal tape. It seemed that this whole affair was to be a smooth sailing case for me. All the puzzle pieces seemed to fall into the right place. Little did I know ...

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The mighty GPU, the beating heart of any graphic card.

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I removed the various papers stickers that were kept safe in a plastic bag and I braced myself for what was to come.

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Even from the get go I hit a brick wall. The removal of the torn pins of the cooling fan connector proved especially difficult. Even my trusty 100W soldering gun wasn't able to get the torn bits out. I tried many things but the only thing that I didn't try was to gently heat the PCB a little with a hair drier or with the help of the sun, before I went on to remove the little pieces of metal. This realization came too late as I already started to feel the tell tale smell of burnt PCB.

So, while I tried to do good I did a lot of wrong. Minus points for me! I must say that I felt that burn like the time when I burnt my hand a few years back. Accidentally I dropped the hot 15W soldering iron on the back of my forearm. The skin was so sensible that the top layer came off under the water. Took me a month to not feel the pain and a couple doctor visits. The recovery process was slow but in the end there were no repercussions. I have just a tiny scar to remind me not to play with fire. 😀 The road to success is sometimes paved with hardship so I place this affair as something inevitable.

The only upside was that the damage I inflicted on the card wasn't something too serious and apart of the unsightly look, the functionality of the card was intact. Thank GOD! I scavenged the replacement pins from a donor card.

CPQ-GF3-Ti500-048.jpg

Among the many things that were wrong with this card, I also had to deal with many solder pads that were scarred, a clue of the bad treatment this card endured until it got to me. I did the right thing and I returned the areas to their former glory.

At this point I just couldn't stop and think of the amount of stuff that was wrong with this particular card. And this was just the tip of the iceberg.

CPQ-GF3-Ti500-049.jpg

A 224 resistor was scavenged from the same GF3 Ti 200 that also gave the silver heatsink. The many ceramic caps needed were also scavenged. The bent IC on the back was left in place as apart of it being out of position, there was nothing wrong with it. For peace of mind I just added some solder to all its feet. I couldn't find a replacement and I decided to keep it as it was. If some time down the road I was to find a replacement for sure I was to do a swap.

I knew that against all of my efforts this card will never be as it was but at least it had a chance to prove if it was still alive or dead and buried. 0 or 1.

The entire operation took some time but in the end I had something that looked as it should. Something whole that could be plugged into a motherboard.

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While I tackled the bent bracket I could feel that the time when I was to power up the beast was fast approaching. Anticipation started to build up.

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During the various restoration and repair procedures I managed to damage the golden MADE IN TAIWAN sticker. I wanted to repair it with some aluminum tape but in the end I gave up. Too much hassle.

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The only thing that kept me from powering up the card were two SMD OS-CON SVP 82uf 16V caps. The pictures I found on the internet indicated that these were an absolute must, so to ensure the best odds of success for this card, I placed and order at TME and I anxiously waited their arrival.

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If you closely look at the pictures you might already spot a problem.

The caps I ordered were a size too small. &*%()#&$#&$!!! The original caps were OS-CON SVP 82uf 16V with a diameter of 8 mm while the replacements were OS-CON SVPF 82uf 16V with a diameter of 5 mm. Damn! I didn't read the specs thoroughly and I did a mistake. DAMN IT!

After I read the spec sheets, as I should've the first time, I came to the conclusion that I had nothing to worry. the SVPF were superior to SVP and apart of the size there was nothing wrong with them. The order of the SVP(F) caps was made in a hurry. This was a mistake on my part. At first I didn't pay attention to the size factor and then to the fact that the new caps were SVPF and not SVP. All I saw was SVP 82uf 16V and I placed the order.

CPQ-GF3-Ti500-059.jpg

After this mix up in regard to the SVP caps, I looked at pictures of other GF3 Ti 500 cards and on a Leadtek I saw that regular 100uf 16V SMD caps were installed in the same location. Facepalm in progress ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Well that could've save me a few bucks ... No matter, only the BEST for my precious!

The tiny SVPF caps barely touched the solder pads but at least they filled the gaps. I really had to do something about this shortcoming ...

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Let's turn back the time and see if we can restore some zing to this beauty.

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The fruits of my labor.

CPQ-GF3-Ti500-064.jpg CPQ-GF3-Ti500-065.jpg CPQ-GF3-Ti500-066.jpg CPQ-GF3-Ti500-067.jpg CPQ-GF3-Ti500-068.jpg CPQ-GF3-Ti500-069.jpg CPQ-GF3-Ti500-070.jpg

Attention to detail.

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After a lot of work and commitment, I was ready to power up the card.

CPQ-GF3-Ti500-073.jpg CPQ-GF3-Ti500-074.jpg

Well?

Well, nothing. No beep, no signal ... I paused for a few seconds and counted my options. I soon came the the realization that this was it. The card is dead. Just a big fat zero.

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I tried various things but nothing worked, so I tossed the card in a box and I decided to try something else at a later date when I had a clear mind.

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My options were limited but of all the scenarios I could come up with, one stood out. I wanted to find the correct SVP 82uf 16V caps. I had one on a dead Leadtek GF4 Ti 4200, but I needed two. The last one came from another dead Leadtek card I found at the flea market.

So, after many weeks, as I wasn't ready to let go, I was back in business.

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SWAP COMPLETED!

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POWER!

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Still nothing. Bummer ...

For the 100th time I checked the card for other signs of damage.

To my surprise, I found something. Hope filled my sails once more. An inductor at the L84 position was MIA. The solder pads didn't have the obvious tell tale signs of a torn component so I overlooked that exact spot. I had to cross reference other pictures from the internet to be sure that the L84 was indeed present on this GF3 Ti 500.

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For the last time I pressed the POWER BUTTON and I was filled with joy when I saw the green led light up on my monitor.

The joy was short lived though. The card showed artifacts but also had instances when it showed a perfect image. Damn ... I checked the top memory chips for broken or unsoldered pins so I was sure that the problem lay somewhere else.

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At this point I threw in the towel. That's it I'm done! Troubleshooting the cause of this behavior was something out of my skill level and truth be told I was quite tired to deal with this card. Accepting that I was defeated wasn't easy but I had to let it go.

I'm sure that I'll find another GF3 Ti 500 one of these days. 😀

This above and beyond adventure had its moments of glory but also of despair but in the end I came out stronger and more determined. There is no limit to what you can do once you put your mind to it. It is just a question of how far you want to take things.

The only upside of this experience was that at least, in the end, I managed to make this sorry a$$ card output an image, so for a brief moment in time this card was as it once was. Shiny and whole, like it left the factory.

Up to this date I didn't try anything else and I intend to keep things like this. I don't want to poke the demon lurking below. I'm sure that if I just take this card in my hands I'll lose many more days, weeks, thinking of ways to recover something that has minute chances of survival. At least until I am able to obtain the tools and the expertise to tackle even more difficult cases. But this is for another time ...

Sleep my dear ...

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Who knows what the future will bring?

More later.

gallery: https://postimg.cc/gallery/5yJ8Tcg * https://postimg.cc/gallery/0vvsjfh

Reply 752 of 763, by quicknick

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Good job on the restoration, congrats! The card is not beyond hope, I think. On the back, behind each memory chip there are four "quad-resistor" packs, 15 ohm each (marked 150). The ones just above the big sticker look a bit damaged/scratched, check them with a multimeter. Needle probes required, but these can be improvised.
If no resistors are broken, downclocking the card can provide further clues as to where the problem lies. If the card is stable in Windows I think clocks can be lowered by using RivaTuner or Coolbits, else Ray Adams' X-BIOS Editor is your friend.

Reply 753 of 763, by Robert B

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devius wrote on 2021-10-01, 20:31:

Oh wow... So close! That must have been frustrating.

Great restoration nonetheless.

Frustrating and sometimes beyond that. 😁 Anyway, I knew what I signed up for, so I must not complain. 😀

Doornkaat wrote on 2021-10-01, 21:38:

So close! Still an awesome restoration and documentation! 😃

Yeah. As they say, the journey is more important than the destination but in this case I wish it would've been the other way around. 😁

quicknick wrote on 2021-10-03, 00:28:

Good job on the restoration, congrats! The card is not beyond hope, I think. On the back, behind each memory chip there are four "quad-resistor" packs, 15 ohm each (marked 150). The ones just above the big sticker look a bit damaged/scratched, check them with a multimeter. Needle probes required, but these can be improvised.
If no resistors are broken, downclocking the card can provide further clues as to where the problem lies. If the card is stable in Windows I think clocks can be lowered by using RivaTuner or Coolbits, else Ray Adams' X-BIOS Editor is your friend.

If I remember correctly, those resistor are still intact. A few are missing a bit of "paint" or top film with the markings, after a fender bender with God knows what. Truth be told I didn't check them out so I'll do this soon. Downclocking might be a viable option even if don't like it. 😁 I mean, this would make my GF3 Ti 500 not a GF3 Ti 500. 😁

***

In other turn of events I finally scored THIS baby. It took me many years but finally I got one! My very first Intel Venus VS440FX. Shocking Blue - Venus A little banged up but I'm not complaining. 😁

I'll pair it with my PPRO 180MHz I found a while back. Add to this some high capacity EDO SIMMs I also found a while back and I'm golden. 😀

Socket 8 in the house ready for action at a moment's notice IF the mobo or the CPU are still alive! So many unknown factors! The CPU has a damaged pin that I managed to fix but other than that everything is possible.

As usual you will be the first ones to find what happened!

More later.

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Reply 754 of 763, by Doornkaat

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Robert B wrote on 2021-10-03, 15:36:
In other turn of events I finally scored THIS baby. It took me many years but finally I got one! My very first Intel Venus VS440 […]
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In other turn of events I finally scored THIS baby. It took me many years but finally I got one! My very first Intel Venus VS440FX. Shocking Blue - Venus A little banged up but I'm not complaining. 😁

I'll pair it with my PPRO 180MHz I found a while back. Add to this some high capacity EDO SIMMs I also found a while back and I'm golden. 😀

Socket 8 in the house ready for action at a moment's notice IF the mobo or the CPU are still alive! So many unknown factors! The CPU has a damaged pin that I managed to fix but other than that everything is possible.

As usual you will be first to find what happened!

More later.

A few years ago I got one of those boards (at least I believe it's the same model) in a banged up case for 10€. I didn't know what I was buying, only saw the typical connectors of an AWE64 Gold on the back of the case so I got it. Sadly the HDD case had come loose in the case and the motherboard had deep scratches with several cut traces. AWE64 and CPU were in great condition though so good investment nonetheless. 😄
I still have the motherboard in my scrap pile I believe.

Last edited by Doornkaat on 2021-10-03, 16:10. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 755 of 763, by Robert B

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There are quite a few problems with this baby but I think that none of it is terminal. 😀 Some green stuff near the battery holder, and ISA slot that needs plastic surgery, a cracked PCB on top of the ATX power connector where I need to repair a torn trace(good think that there is nothing too important there), a SIMM slot with a twisted plastic part, a few bent pins on a chip, some bent pins and a few bits of plastic missing on the parallel port, but otherwise nothing missing. It's fine! Minty fresh! I'm sure that all of it will buff out. 😁

This motherboard had a tough working life and an even rougher retirement. Good thing that I got to it. The seller said many times that he had it but I lost hope of getting it as he kept forgetting about it. I was sure that it was minced meat as he deals with scrap and sells quite a bit of this stuff.

Reply 756 of 763, by bjwil1991

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I think Gateway used that particular board back then, but I digress.

Discord: https://discord.gg/U5dJw7x
Systems from the Compaq Portable 1 to FX-8350
Twitch: https://twitch.tv/retropcuser

Reply 757 of 763, by Byrd

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Long time lurker, always enjoy your rebuilds and stories, Robert B!

I like how you deal with the failure; that you've learnt new skills in the process and obtained better tools for future complexities - well done 😀

Reply 758 of 763, by Robert B

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bjwil1991 wrote on 2021-10-03, 18:47:

I think Gateway used that particular board back then, but I digress.

This summer I saw a Gateway 2000 PC on a local add site but I simply didn't have the $$$, so I lost it. It had the same motherboard inside.

Byrd wrote on 2021-10-04, 03:15:

Long time lurker, always enjoy your rebuilds and stories, Robert B!

I like how you deal with the failure; that you've learnt new skills in the process and obtained better tools for future complexities - well done 😀

Much appreciated Byrd. 😀

***

Today, over the course of a couple of hours I managed to address all of the cosmetic issues of the VS440FX motherboard. All that remains is to repair the torn trace and give it a deep clean.

I'm quite anxious to power it up but I have to be patient. The 180 PPRO with the glued pin entered the socket like a glove. I rescued it last year, lots of pins had to be straightened.

More later.

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Reply 759 of 763, by Robert B

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The Socket 8 motherboard is giving me the fits, as a lady she is ... As this threw a spanner in my works I have to change plans and prepare another episode.

NEXT EPISODE: Retr08right? What's the hubbub with the bleaching of ancient electronic artefacts?

I took the easiest route I could and to my amazement it really worked as intended.

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More later.