Baking computers :)

My sister has a quite old ACER Aspire 5520G laptop. It was very decent in its days, AMD Turion X2 64bit processor, 2GB of RAM and GeForce 8400M GS GPU. Bought her a 500GB drive for birthday some time ago instead of original 160GB drive and it has been serving her well ever since. Until few weeks ago when the darn thing started acting up…

When it booted to Windows with Aero Glass enabled, whole screen got filled with vertical lines and eventually it locked up. So she had to use it without proper drivers, just with basic VGA drivers. That worked, but it was slow and Sleep mode was unavailable.

So I’ve decided to try the ages old trick. Baking components to fix the connections inside the chips. Disassembled the laptop, took out the GPU module, removed the protective foil stickers, screwed the screws back from the other side to make it raised and placed the module with GPU facing upwards to the baking tray.

Pre-heated the oven to 200°C and placed the GPU module inside for 8 minutes of baking. After the alarm went off, took it out and left to properly cool down. Re-applied protective foil, re-applied the thermal grease and reinstalled drivers, booted up the system with fingers crossed…

And guess what, IT WORKED! Aero Glass works perfectly again, no vertical lines and no lockups. Gotta love the good old improvisation 🙂

Few rules how to bake stuff:

  • clean up component and remove all the stickers and thermal pads
  • always place components with CPU/GPU facing up
  • components should never touch the baking tray, make sure they are raised
  • always pre-heat the oven (to 200°C or 400°F)
  • bake for ~8 minutes
  • let it cool down slowly

There is also some luck involved, but I’ve seen it fix such problems very often so why not give it a try. There is not much to lose, but you can gain so much. Like I did in this case with laptop. She doesn’t know yet that I fixed it, but I’m sure she’ll be very happy because I just saved her around 450€ hehe 🙂

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