One evening I was sitting watching TV in another room with my wife. We heard some 'pop' noises. Well, more like several loud 'cracks'. My wife asked me what the sound was. I thought it was the ice maker in our fridge. Suspiciously, though, the graphics on my computer started having problems. I began seeing artifacts here and there. Then, more pops and the display become incredibly garbled and unusable. I pulled out the graphics card and what you see above is what faced me. Numerous aluminum electrolytic capacitors had exploded. You can see the paper separator(the yellow fibrous stuff) spewing out.
To fix the 8600, I purchased some aluminum electrolytic capacitors from Digikey with the same values as the exploded ones. Generally, caps that large have their values and ratings printed on them. I needed some 1500uF 6.3V, 1000uF 6.3V, and 470uF 16V capacitors. The footprints for the capacitors were generic and supported multiple sizes, so I just got the cheapest ones in approximately the same size. Radial capacitors have 3 dimensions to consider. Lead spacing, diameter, and height. In retrospect, the replacement 1500uF caps are a lot taller than the original, but they still fit in my case. I wouldn't worry about stressing too much about matching ESR or any other features other than capacitance and voltage rating. Odds are that the originals are on the cheaper side.
I busted out my heat gun, and replaced the exploded caps with new comparable ones. Using my heat gun (a $25 Amazon special) and some patience, I pulled the old caps and immediately slid the new cap in the empty holes, noting polarity. I used the heat gun to keep the solder molten while putting the new caps in place. I touched up the leads with some fresh solder using my soldering iron and trimmed them with some diagonal flush cutters. Here is the finished product compared to the original. I may post a video tutorial of the fix.
I am currently typing this post out using the 8600 with the replaced caps. It seems to be working flawlessly. I even successfully stress tested it with my favorite graphics intensive video game.
Cracked FanMy newer card, the EVGA 9800GT failed after about 18 months of use. While I was at work, apparently the computer started making a bad rubbing sound. I was not notified of the sudden change, and noticed that it was slightly louder than before. I tried to open my favorite video game only to be disappointed by the graphics performance. Suspicious of the louder than normal fan noises, I downloaded a hardware monitoring program and discovered my GPU core was at 99C! Burning hot!
I quickly shutdown my computer, opened it up, and pulled out the graphics card. I removed the fan with molded airflow director from the heatsink. Upon discovering the sticker was loose, I remove it to find something surprising. The molded impeller body had cracked in half!