First post, by Kahenraz
I was given an S3 Virge/GX that had been sitting in a box of random parts for several years. It was very dirty and covered in dust and grime. Despite multiple attempts to get it working and several reseats, it was confirmed dead.
I first tried to attack the problem by going after all of the low hanging fruit. This included a thorough cleaning in the sink, resetting the BIOS chip, and applying DeoxIT to the pins. The card was still dead.
The next and easiest choice would have been to try and replace the capacitors, but I've noticed that a common failure mode for cards of this age with large quad flat pack chips is for a defect to appear as a cracked solder joint on one of the legs. A very close inspection under a microscope revealed nothing out of the ordinary, although the break can still be impossible to see.
I applied a gratuitous amount of flux and cleaned off all of the legs before applying fresh solder. I then inspected the area several times for bridges and found some, cleaned the area with isopropyl alcohol and found some more, carefully cleaned and inspected the legs once again with a fine brush and found one more.
On the first boot, the card sprung to life. Another card saved.
Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of this repair. So you'll have to use your imagination.