Video Card Testing

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These are instructions for testing video cards. PC cards are not hot swappable, so make sure the computer is off before starting the testing process. If you have any questions, check in with your instructor. Be sure to check the whiteboard for exceptions to the store box rules. If the instructions tell you to send it to the store and the whiteboard says they don't want them, recycle them.
Sort by memory size
  • PCI-Express with 512 MB or more for the STORE
  • PCI-Express with at least one VGA port and 256 MB for Build
  • PCI 128 MB or more for the STORE
  • AGP with 256 MB or more for the STORE

If the memory size is not on the card you will have to look it up.

Check for Damage Visually inspect card for blown capacitors, missing fans, jammed fans, and missing backplates. Blown caps automatically mean the card is DOA. For missing or jammed fans, replace the fan with one located under the table. They are organized by connection type. For missing backplates, attempt to find a replacement through other failed cards. If no replacement pieces can be found, you can test the card... very carefully.
Seat Card into Mobo Place The Video Card into the appropriate AGP, PCI, or PCIe slot on the motherboard. If the card has an extra power connector(s), plug in more cables from the power supply.
Plug In & Turn On Attach the monitor cable to the video card, if required ask for an adapter. Turn the computer, let it boot to the network menu then select Hardware Testing >>> Video Card Testing and let the program run until it tells you what the card is. Look for abnormalities on the screen. (lines on the screen, colored display, weird text, etc.) If no heat sink or fan exists, you can still turn it on for a few seconds, as long as you touch behind the GPU. If it gets too hot, kill the power.
Determine Card Status

Recycle in the yellow bin IF:

  1. the card does not post
  2. the card's display is unusual
  3. the card is incomplete (missing a fan or faceplate)
  4. it is an AGP that is under 256 MB
  5. it is a Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS) with model numbers 661/741/760 if PCI/AGP, and 662/761Gx if PCI-e

Keep IF:

  1. the card posts
  2. is a PCI or PCI-Express regardless of size
  3. is an AGP 256 MB or bigger

Send all cards that say Macintosh to Mac Land without testing, including the following:

  • Nvidia geforce 6600 (model A386)
  • Nvidia geforce 7300 (model P345)
  • Nvidia geforce 7800
  • Nvidia quadro fx 4500

There is a picture of these above the video card testing station.

Salvage fans If you recycle the card, try to remove working fans and heatsinks that are unusual, are held together with screws rather than pins, or appear flashy. Look under the table for examples. Try to remove backplates for future use.
Create Card Label Record what the screen says on a label. Make sure to include: Vendor, Model, and Memory.

It should say something like: (GeForce4 MX 440 64 MB) or (Radeon X300 128 MB) or (Nvidia gf2 gts nv11 64 MB) or (Radeon 7000 R100 64 MB). This Label is to be placed on the Video Card.

The software sometimes lies, check the list of cards if you suspect a slow read on a nice looking card may be incorrect

If all else fails, find a model number on the card and search for it on Google.

Power Down Turn off the computer and remove the video card. It's faster to turn off the computer with the power supply switch rather than using software controls.
Put it away Bring to appropriate area determined by the type of card it is.
  • AGP with 256 MB or more go into the STORE BOX
  • PCI 128 MB or more go into the STORE BOX
  • PCI-Express with at least one VGA and 256 MB go to Build
  • PCI-Express with 512 MB or more go into the STORE BOX
Do it again! Thanks for your good work!