November 4, 2010

The Death of a Video Card

It all started out on Halloween, of all days. My dual monitor setup would quickly blink on and off, eventually getting graphical glitches all over the screen, particularly when I was moving my mouse cursor around, opening programs, and moving windows. The system was becoming unusable quickly - but was it a hardware problem or a software problem?

I tried loading a Kubuntu live CD. I would get the blinking, but not the glitches. I tried upgrading the Nvidia drivers and XOrg. There was no difference, so that left it to the video card (an EVGA GeForce 8500 GT) or potentially the motherboard.

I purchased a new video card, but was hoping to find another one to test and verify if it was the video card before opening the package in case I needed to return it. Thankfully, a friend had one, but I could not get it to work. My monitors would detect a signal, but would not show anything.

At that point, a closer look at the EVGA video card brought attention to one of the capacitors, which had bulged and burst, pictured in this post. I plugged in the video card I purchased, and things were running again.

The EVGA video card ran my system for about 3.5 years. It's the first time I've had a video card fail on me.
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