There's a tonne of articles online about fixing you graphics card by baking it in the oven. Supposedly this 'reflows' the solder to fix flaky connections. It's even been reported on sites such as Lifehacker. Does it work? Is it safe?
No, baking a broken graphics card will not necessarily fix it. It is not safe for the graphics card (may cause further problems), and may be a health risk.
It is possible to repair failed joints in a reflow oven. (Source)
This article discusses repairing consumer electronics yourself. (They also disclose that they are a "company that specializes in the repairs of electronics", and that they offer great service and fair pricing - not the most reliable of sources)
Problems with baking your broken graphics card in a standard oven at home:
In some cases this can repair it through causing solder to flow correcting any possible gaps. Occasionally a board can come from the manufacturer with defects such as cold solder joints (referenced to near the paragraph end) which can make a board prone to failure if it ever works at all.
There was a period where HP laptops suffered from a high rate of defects in their laptop video cards which would result in various symptoms. A search on motherboard baking or motherboard reflow will have a high count of HP models. Here they show a how to.
EDIT: To answer the "Is it safe?", I wouldn't do it with a card that is still functional as you can very well kill it. If it is done at low temperatures there is not likely to be any harm to the oven or baking person. The proper tool for something like this is actually more likely to be a heat gun however I am sure you are more likely to have an oven.
*I am in no way liable for any negative outcomes!
EDIT: I don't know why there would be a downvote since you are not going to find many sources on putting computer components in an oven. Anecdotal evidence is really all you are going to find.
A cold solder (or here) joint can be defined as "A solder connection exhibiting poor wetting and of greyish, porous appearance due to insufficient heat or excessive impurities in the solder. The condition can be caused by applying insufficient heat to the joint, inadequately cleaning the surfaces prior to soldering, insufficiently heating the part being soldered, improper tinning of the soldering iron tip, or poor heat control." which can actually occur in automated production. On a micro scale some characteristics described would be very difficult to visually see. This definition appears in IPC-T-50 (Interconnecting and Packaging Electronic Circuits - Terms and Definitions for Interconnecting and Packaging Electronic Circuits).
The HP nvidia graphics problem was wide spread enough to prompt a class action lawsuit (formerly at http://www.nvidiasettlement.com/ but referenced by http://fairnvidiasettlement.com/) which the complainants lost. They were seeking replacements with "similar value and kind" laptops however the judge ruled against them.
Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.
protected by Community♦ Nov 16 '12 at 16:16
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