My videocard is rusty. What the hell, science? I thought we were friends.
January 18, 2008 11:44 AM   Subscribe

All the screw holes on my video card are corroded. Is it worth my time to return it, or should I just clean it off?

Today as I was replacing the heatsink on my new video card, I noticed that all the screw holes and some parts on the PCB were covered with this weird corrosion. Here are some pictures (sorry about the focus, I only have a dinky point and shoot). I've used the card for a few hours, doing some testing, but haven't tried anything graphics intensive yet.

Unfortunately I bought this card online, from far away, so I think it will be a lengthy RMA process if I choose to do that. Is it worth my time to return it, or should I just clean this thing up myself? Also, if I should do it myself, is 70% isopropyl alcohol good enough, or should the concentration be higher?

This is going into a brand new shit hot system, so my feelings will be seriously hurt if something goes wrong this soon. How should I fix this?
posted by tracert to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Sure they are corroded and not just copper?
posted by zeoslap at 12:32 PM on January 18, 2008

Best answer: Also i wouldn't worry about it.
posted by zeoslap at 12:33 PM on January 18, 2008

Response by poster: Definitely corroded. So you think the rusty bits on the PCB (last picture) will be okay?
posted by tracert at 12:39 PM on January 18, 2008

Best answer: Those are corroded- but those are structural rather than electrical solder joints. They're to hold on the thin sheet-steel covers that are over the outputs. (As far as I can tell. They may also function to ground those covers.)
posted by wzcx at 1:04 PM on January 18, 2008

As others have said it appears to only be where the covers connect, etc. not on the electronics or the traces. That being said though, if you're putting together a brand new shit hot system, why are you using an old video card? Whenever I do the upgrade thing, the three things that always get replaced are motherboard, CPU and video card (and memory if required due to changing architecture). I then take the old motherboard, CPU and video card and make a second workstation upgrade for my daughter's computer.
posted by barc0001 at 1:47 PM on January 18, 2008

Best answer: I'm sorry, I don't see any corrosion in those pics. Tarnished copper, yes; leftover flux, yes; cold (crystalline) solder joints, yes; overprinted lacquer, yes - but no corrosion.

Maybe 20+ years of soldering and board repair has left me with blindness & neurological damage from inhaling flux fumes and lead, but I don't think I'm that quite bad <tic ... twitch ... tic ...> yet.
posted by Pinback at 2:38 PM on January 18, 2008

Barc0001, he says it's a new video card in the question.

Regardless of whether the corrosion that you can see is a big deal, other parts might be damaged. I'd do a burn-in test with some benchmarking software or a game for several hours at the very least.

Just out of curiosity, why were you replacing the heat sink on a new card?
posted by dosterm at 3:01 PM on January 18, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the reassurance guys! I cleaned it up a bit, then continued my install.

barc0001: That's a Geforce 8800 GTS rev.2

dosterm: Stock fan's are always really loud, so I generally replace them when making a quiet system. I've installed an Arctic Cooling Accelero S1, then jammed a super quiet Scythe 120mm fan on there with zip ties. I haven't had a chance to test it out yet, but the results will hopefully match or beat the ones in this review.
posted by tracert at 3:42 PM on January 18, 2008

I will agree with Pinback - not quite the soldering quality I'd want from a mass-manufactured product, and I guess some tarnishing, but no big deal.

I'd give it a burn-in overnight, but not worry about it that much.

Also, I don't think you can suffer identity theft via the labels on your video card yet.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:55 PM on January 18, 2008

Response by poster: Hehe, I was more concerned about tech support googling this question if I did an RMA.
posted by tracert at 3:57 PM on January 18, 2008

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