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Repairing a Cracked Gigabyte 30 or 40 series

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Repairing a Cracked Gigabyte 30 or 40 series[edit | edit source]

Cracked Gigabyte cards can seem intimidating to fix, but with the right tools and a steady hand, you may be able to bring your Gigabyte card back to life. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to repair a cracked PCB at the PCI-Express tab. Please note the overall success rate of such a repair is low if not very low.

The following guide is mainly aimed at Gigabyte 3080s, 3080 Tis, 3090s, 3090 Tis (Vision/Eagle/Gaming OC) cards. Some tips included in this guide may be useful for other cards or other issues entirely.

Regarding the root cause of cracked Gigabyte cards we do not currently have a definite answer as of the time of writing but here's my take: It appears that they decided to make a lot of traces go through this edge of the PCB and for signal integrity they added lots of ground planes above and below those traces. Thing is, copper isn't as good structurally as fiberglass at handling shearing force and so as you would expect it shears due to the nature of today's graphics cards having a center of gravity towards the back of the cards and a huge weight overall.

If you have unsteady hands or no experience with micro soldering it is practically impossible for you to succeed at this repair.

Necessary Tools and Materials[edit | edit source]

You'll need the following items to repair your cracked Gigabyte card:

  • Handheld rotary tool with a 3mm shaft, pointy diamond-encrusted tip
  • 0.02mm enameled wire / 0.1mm enameled wire for larger traces
  • Tacky flux (non-hazy and non-colored)
  • JBC C115 or similar soldering iron with a 0.15mm tip or smaller
  • A bottle with a needle (for water dispensing)
  • Fine-point tweezers (preferably new and high quality, avoid Aliexpress titanium ones)
  • Multimeter with fine point probes (for testing)
  • 0.8mm or smaller (un)leaded flux-core soldering wire
  • Microscope (at least 45X magnification, stereoscopic recommended for spatial awareness)
  • A scalpel type fixed blade
  • A toothpick
  • UV resin or JB-Weld type compound
  • At least four hours of uninterrupted free time
Description of the traces you will find inside a cracked Gigabyte 3080, 3080 Ti, 3090, 3090 Ti (Vision/Eagle/Gaming OC):[edit | edit source]

Layer 1 (from top):

   Solder Mask

Layer 2 (from top):

   GND Plane

Layer 3 (from top):

   Line 1, 0.1mm (from outside): PS_NVVDD_PWM1
   Line 2, 0.1mm (from outside): DP_PWR_EN
   Line 3, 0.1mm (from outside): PS_1V8_EN
   Line 4, 0.1mm (from outside): PS_1V8_PGOOD
   Line 5, 0.1mm (from outside): 3V3_RST
   Line 6, 0.1mm (from outside): GPIO8_FBVDD_SEL
   Line 7, 0.1mm (from outside): GPIO11_LOGO_LED_POWER_BRAKE

Layer 4 (from top):

   GND Plane

Layer 5 (from top):

   Line 1, 0.4mm (from outside):   PFM_CH1_SH_IN_P1
   Line 2, 0.4mm (from outside):   PFM_CH1_SH_IN_N1
   Line 3, >=0.8mm (from outside): 3V3_AUX_CON

Layer 6 (from top):

   GND Plane

Layer 7 (from top):

   GND Plane

Layer 8 (from top):

   Line 1, fat, not sure of size, >=0.4mm: GND
   Line 2, even fatter: 12V_F

Layer 9 (from top):

   GND Plane

Layer 10 (from top):

   Line 1, 0.1mm (from outside): FBVDDQ
   Line 2, 0.1mm (from outside): GND
   Line 3, 0.2mm (from outside): IOVDD_PROT
   Line 4, 0.1mm (from outside): PS_MSVDD_PGOOD
   Line 5, 0.1mm (from outside): PFM_ADC_IN_N
   Line 6, 0.1mm (from outside): PFM_ADC_IN_P
   Line 7, 0.1mm (from outside): GPU_MSVDD_SENSE_R
   Line 8, 0.1mm (from outside): GND

Layer 11 (from top):

   GND Plane

Layer 12 (from top):

   Solder Mask

While this issue is seemingly present on 40 series of Gigabyte also I do not have a trace description as the one above for them.

Repair Process[edit | edit source]

Here is a step-by-step guide to repair your cracked Gigabyte card:

Step 1: Preparing for Repair[edit | edit source]

Clean the PCB using isopropyl alcohol (IPA) to remove any dirt or residue. Ensure you're working in a well-lit environment and consider using a microscope or a magnifying glass for better visibility of the tiny traces. If the PCB has a crack that spreads beyond 4mm it is highly recommended to remove and re-install the core and the three closest memory modules before repairing the crack.

Step 2: Dremeling the Layers[edit | edit source]

Use a Dremel with a 3mm shaft pointy diamond-encrusted tip to reach the traces. Always start from the edge and move towards the inside of the card in a radial manner. Dremel away the layers one at a time. Ensure you have a constant flow of water dispensed using a bottle with a needle while dremeling to prevent obstruction of your view which may cause additional damage. Be very careful not to press down on the PCB as this may damage connections under the core or memory modules.

Step 3: Tinning the Traces[edit | edit source]

With your soldering iron and a bit of solder, gently tin the tip of the exposed traces. Use a 0.15mm small iron tip or smaller. The JBC C115 would be a good fit for this task. Remember to apply a fair amount of tacky flux to ensure good solder flow, which will ease the tinning process. Avoid hazy or colored flux as it might obstruct your view.

Step 4: Connecting the Traces[edit | edit source]

Use the 0.02mm enameled wire to reconnect the traces. Place one end of the wire on the tinned trace and gently heat it with your soldering iron until the solder melts and secures the wire. Cut the remaining length using a scalpel. Repeat the process on the other side of the crack. Once your are done connecting the traces of one layer and are sure the wires are connected where they should you may glue them using a toothpick and your resin.

Step 5: Inspecting and Testing[edit | edit source]

Inspect your work carefully. If you've managed to reconnect all of the damaged traces, that's a great start, but the card might not be fully functional yet. Do not power on the card in any way if there is any chance water or copper debris might have found it's way under the core or memory modules. Some circuits linked to the traces of the crack may have failed if the card was powered on while the PCB flexed. Use a multimeter to verify the integrity of the repaired traces and the related circuits.

In the event that the card still isn't functioning, consider seeking professional help. The repair process is delicate and complex and sometimes, professional intervention is necessary.

Closing Words[edit | edit source]

Remember, patience and precision are key when repairing a graphics card. Even the smallest of errors can lead to non-repairable damage. If you aren't confident in your ability to conduct these repairs, it's best to consult with a professional. Nonetheless, the above guide should provide a solid foundation for anyone looking to bring their cracked Gigabyte card back to life. Happy repairing!