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How did my graphics card "explode" like it did in the picture I have here? And if I was just plugging into my on-board graphics, why wouldn't the PC boot up like it normally would? It wouldn't come up until I opened the cover and removed the card, that's when I found it like this.

enter image description here

EDIT: If the card was trying to still operate like this for a while, did it run the risk of damaging the PCI-E slot?

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Wow, good thing it wasn't a exploding haduken. –  hydroparadise Jun 19 '12 at 14:35
    
I just replaced a PNY 8400gs with an extremely noisy fan on one of my users computer. It's the third dead fan in 2 years, I think those PNY's just suck, at least compared to their fanless Zotac and ASUS counterparts. –  Kyle Jun 19 '12 at 16:26
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Upvote for using the word exploded not as a metaphor. –  ChimneyImp Jun 19 '12 at 17:10
    
do you watch Michel Bay's movies more often? –  Donotalo Jun 20 '12 at 7:48
    
Did you overclock your card or fan's rpm? –  Nima Jun 20 '12 at 15:14
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2 Answers

up vote 23 down vote accepted

Why did my graphics card explode?

Looks like your fan exploded, not the card. Maybe it was old or running under excessive load for long periods of time.

Why did my computer not use the internal graphics?

Because a defective electrical component was still plugged into it.

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Likely it did come up with your cable connected to the onboard graphics, you just got no display because the broken video card was still primary. –  David Schwartz Jun 19 '12 at 13:41
    
Zoom in on the picture, the actual fan base is 'floating' in the picture as if something from below made it break free! –  HaydnWVN Jun 19 '12 at 14:01
    
@HaydnWVN: I would assume the fan is glued into a frame and that it came off due to the explosion. –  Oliver Salzburg Jun 19 '12 at 14:14
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It didn't really "exploded", your cooler fan just got problems on it's coupling(ok, then you could think that it exploded, but it just uncoupled). Your video card probably is still running because it is still dissipating heat over the cooler fins, however, it will not work when it hit high temperatures due the fact that your fan is not cooling the fins anymore. I would keep it turned off until you change your VGA cooler because you can permanently damage it with overheating.

To get your onboard graphics, check on your BIOS settings if it is enabled, probably when the manufacturer installed your offboard VGA, they disabled it on BIOS.

You could easily change it for a new one just such this one and(probably if no permanent damage on chip was made by heating) everything will run ok again:

enter image description here

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While you are changing the fan, inspect all of the capacitors on the board. My last Nvidia 8600 died a slow death, first causing glitching on the screen, then random, moving, blinking ASCII, and then nothing. Several of the capacitors on the card had bulged out and opened up. –  Bratch Jun 19 '12 at 15:03
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The two larger brown caps directly to the left of the heatsink look suspect to me. It could just be the light but they look to be bulging. –  paulbeesley Jun 19 '12 at 16:23
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