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Tonight while I was using my desktop PC, I heard a very loud pop from the inside of my case. After investigating I found that two capacitors on the graphics card had burst, and yellow fibers were poking out of them.

Now,

  • The capacitors were the newer solid-state type with flat tops, not the older type.
  • The computer seems to work fine regardless. I've shut it down now just in case though.
  • The graphics card is an Nvidia Geforce 8600GT if it matters.

As I mentioned the computer seems to work fine - maybe the capacitors are part of the card I don't use, like the analog output section...

Given that it seems to run fine, how safe would it be to use it for now until I get around to replacing the graphics card?

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Are you sure they were capacitors? 'yellow fibers' doesn't sound like capacitors. Are the markings on the components still legible? What would they say? –  pavium Dec 23 '09 at 11:02
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Please post pictures! exploding capacitors..love it! –  Moab Sep 18 '10 at 20:28
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Here's 2 more pictures I've found that show the same type of thing happening (and the same type of capacitors as on mine): rodrigo.sharpcube.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/blown_up.jpg 37prime.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/… –  thomasrutter Sep 21 '10 at 1:20
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5 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

If it's running fine now, it'll probably stay running fine for a little while. Eventually after another 1 fails the screen will get all squiggly looking, then the next one will fail and your computer won't boot...

Recommend replacing the card with something else. We've had probably a dozen Nvidia cards fail that way here. I've repaired a couple of them by replacing the blown caps, but eventually other parts on the card end up blowing up too.

I'll even go further and say that anyone with an Nvidia 8600 should just go ahead and replace it now. If it hasn't failed yet, it probably will pretty soon...

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I think ill get a 9500gt to replace it as they're similar performance but dirt cheap now... unless you know any reason they might be similarly unreliable? –  thomasrutter Dec 25 '09 at 5:45
    
The 8600's are the only ones I've seen problems with. My original guess was that Nvidia had a bad batch of capacitors, but after blowing up a card for the second time (after replacing capacitors), I'm guessing that it might be either a design or a voltage regulation issue. All just guesses though. –  Brian Knoblauch Dec 28 '09 at 15:00
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I would not recommend to use this card and replace it immediately.

It looks like you're not the only one - does this look familiar?

alt text

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Yes it looks exactly like that! –  thomasrutter Dec 23 '09 at 11:06
    
Wow, same number of capacitors blown and same graphics chipset too (8600GTS vs 8600GT). Interesting. Hmmm. Anyway maybe I will avoid using it until I get a replacement. –  thomasrutter Dec 23 '09 at 11:12
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Send it in for an RMA, if it's a known issue, they should fix it for you! –  Ivo Flipse Dec 23 '09 at 13:12
    
Unfortunately I had an aftermarket heatsink on it so not covered by any warranty. Not to worry though; I accepted that risk when I installed it... –  thomasrutter Dec 25 '09 at 5:40
    
Picture not loading and url broke for the picture : -( –  Moab Sep 18 '10 at 20:30
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It's safe to use, for now. It might BSOD at random, but if it hasn't yet, it might not. You could try replacing the capacitors yourself, or just use this as an excuse to upgrade. I've known people use laptops with blown capacitors for years without there being an issue, but I've also known cases where it killed the PC, so YMMV, but it seems like you should be fine.

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Why the downvote? Speaking from experience here, if it hasn't died yet, it'll last long enough to get a replacement card! –  Phoshi Dec 23 '09 at 12:04
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i didn't vote, but as far as i'm concerned, sound advice would be NOT to use this card. what folks do at their own risk is a different story though :) –  Molly7244 Dec 23 '09 at 13:34
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Well, I wouldn't recommend keeping it, but it should do for a while. Replace it as soon as one can, but it's not like you can't use your PC in the meantime :P –  Phoshi Dec 23 '09 at 13:39
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Not a smart idea to continue using the PC with that card while caps are looking dodgy. These days manufacturers lean toward board replacement rather than individual components on each. NVIDIA is a good brand of GFX card - just replace it; don't fix the old one, and you should not need a new PC (unless you want a faster one with a bigger HDD and more RAM/CPU plus a stack of other goodies).

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They don't look like actual solid caps to me. Real solid caps aren't available at 6.3V from what I know, and don't have a liquid electrolyte inside, and because of that don't need vents. These look like electrolytic capacitors without the plastic sleeve around them. The plastic sleeve is only there normally because it's easier to print on a plastic piece of shrinkwrap than the metal can. It's probably to lure you into thinking that they're good quality solid caps when they're actually cheap electrolytics. They need replacing, at any rate. You can't risk damaging the computer.

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