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Old November 19, 2013, 04:34 PM
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Smile Radeon R9100 recap

A long time ago I get this old card. It was, even back in his day, low end card. But it was capable of running fanless and as backup AGP card it was usefull. And exactly that is the reason, why I ended up recapping the card completely. That is, because of the problems I having with the MSI PM8M3-V mainboard stability in gaming, I need a rock-stable and 100% reliable AGP graphic card.

However this card was unlucky from the day one. First it was unlucky, because it got known bad Licon caps. These 470uF 10V suxxkas show good capacity, yet terrible ESR. 60mOhms is way over what is usable:



...not to mention the little 100uF 16V SMD caps having lost chunk of their capacity and ESR starting to pump up to whooping 890mOhms...

Therefore it is no surprise, that the card crash during SoF2 gaming. Almost always the game crash when level loading...

Also the card was unlucky, because when I decided to upgrade it's cooling with half of the Zalman ZM80A-HP vga heatpipe cooler. But there are no holes near the chip. So I decided to glue it to the chip. And during this the weights slided a bit and the result is, well, not optimal and ughly...



So I decided to give the Radeon R9100 much better caps (as you can see already the caps are replaced), completely polymer (and ceramic) ones and add few and bump the capacity a little too:



All these caps are Nichicon polymers, that have quite much better specs that the original crap caps. Even the SMD caps are Nichicon polymers now and their capacity was, with the 470uF exception, bumped from 100 to 330uF (220uF in the 6.3V case, as the bottom cap run at 5V, not 3.3V as the rest):



That is the bottom cap - look at the shocking number of places, where caps might be! If there is cap everywhere, then the card will be probably designed to take far much powerfull graphic chip that the R9100 is:



Near the ram chips I added 4 22uF 6.3V SMD ceramics to four empty places near the ram chips and I also added another two 330uF 4V Nichicon CK caps for better ram stability (having overclocking also in mind):



Two of these ceramics are added to the bottom of the card:



When the heatsink are screwed in, then the whole fault is revealed and... it did not looks nice at all. But at least it fit into the AGP slot w/o any issues...



So, to recap this unknown Radeon R9100 card, you need:

Radeon 9100
-----------
4x 470uF 10V d10 Licon - 1x 1200uF 4V Nichicon F5 (d10x13) RR50G122MDN1 - 3,3V (top one, near coil)
- 3x 1000uF 2.5V Nichicon LF (d10x13) PLF0E102MDO1 - under 2.5V
4x 100uF 16V d6.3 SMD - 1x 220uF 6.3V Nichicon PCK0J221MCO1GS - 5V (bottom one)
- 3x 330uF 4V Nichicon CK PCK0G331MCO1GS - (3,3V)
1x 470uF 6V d8 SMD (3,3V) - 470uF 6.3V Nichicon HA (d8) SMD RHA0J471MCN1GS
2x 22uF 16V d4 SMD (2,5V) - 22uF 6.3V Murata X5R (1206) JMK316AB7226MLHT
- added 2x 330uF 4V Nichicon CK PCK0G331MCO1GS (near rams)
- added 4x 22uF 6.3V Murata X5R (1206) JMK316AB7226MLHT (near rams)


The result?
Well, when I put it into my MSI PM8M3-V mobo, it at first show ram errors (heartbreaking, after so much work and so many polymers and added caps...) on the screen, so I have to pull it off and check.
Fortunately, I managed to find the bit of tin, that ended up on one of the bottom ram chips and after cleaning - removed and - hoooray, all works like a charm!

Immediatelly the card go into AGP 4x mode (!) and despite being TAD slower that PNY 6800GT, the system feels notably faster. That is, because, PCI mode DO SUXX BADLY. Therefore the card is now used now to test, what is wrong with the mainboard :)
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Old November 19, 2013, 07:23 PM
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Good job trodas. Reminds me of the time I cannibalized an old PII motherboard to replace a bulging cap on an Radeon 9550 ebay special. I have never seen such cheap crap, I hope never to again.
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Old November 19, 2013, 07:34 PM
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LOL, love the dedication for such a low end card. If you ever want to get rid of that thing, drop me a PM, I'll gladly get it so cold that it cries in terror.
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Old November 20, 2013, 02:01 AM
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IRQ Conflict - thank you :) Of course some cheapo cards having crap caps - but at least it seems to be a bit better now, when people realized, that this is designed to fail. But in my case - I just need to be damn sure that this card is not the problem :)

Also I find wery interesting the PCB design. I mean... there are 25 empty places (!!!), where SMD d6.3 and d5 caps should be! (And another two I just added, bringing the missing total to whoooping 27...) Also notice the readiness for a floppy style additional power connector. To me it looks like that someone took a higher end Radeon PCB and just slap the R9100 chip there, removing most of the components :D
At least I got A-Data rams! ;)



Rasparthe - well, it is a dedication but also a necessary recap to be sure that the problems I experiencing are in the mainboard, not with the graphic card. So I had to do it properly and well. Therefore never expect that I even want to geet rid of this card - it is very likely to be the most reliable Radeon R9100 that even exist, lol. Value of the polymer caps is like x10 the value of the card, so... This one will stay with me as reliable testing AGP card forever - at least till there are no AGP boards that need to be tested.
Also it make my computer faster, as AGP 4x is much better that PCI mode for graphic speed, even in 2D it is quite noticable. But that was valid only till the game crashed, now I'm back where I was with the PNY 6800GT - PCI mode:



But I know now for sure, that this is not because of the card... :)
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Old November 20, 2013, 02:12 PM
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Its hard to put a price on a project of love. I only run benchmarks on AGP for HWBOT, you should run the benchmarks they have there to see if you indeed have the very fastest R9100. Of course, I could do it for you.

You can even have it back after! My cards almost always survive and still good for parts even then.

I always read your posts with interest, even if I don't have near the skill to try one of my own. Keep up the good work.
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Old November 21, 2013, 10:16 AM
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Well, there is no way to put a price on what you MUST HAVE in order to be able to determine, where the fault is with your mainboard, that I trying to fix. Therefore even borrowing it out of the question, not to mention that I live in Czech republic, witch is quite far from Canada :)

Benchmarks and overclocking are ATM out of the question too, when the card run in PCI mode. That hurt the performace like nothing else. 6800GT perform like 1/2 of what it was on even slower CPU in 3DMark, so... Go figure. Untill the AGP port is fixed, then there is no overclocking or benchmarking.
And even after it will need a serious CPU and cooling to be able to produce some good scores. Most benches are very CPU driven and P4 is anything but fast.
Even if I get 3.8GHz P4, it will not stand a chance against some overclocked C2D CPU's in good boards, that still had the AGP slot on them. If I manage to source such board (even if I have to recap it or slightly repair it), then it will be quite interesting how far the GPU can be pushed. Look... the A-Data rams are crap.
Only Sapphire and Club3D actually lower the memory clocks from 250MHz to 200MHz:
Video Bios Collection | techPowerUp

Normal are 250/250MHz, just like the Radeon 8500:
ATI Radeon 8500 | techPowerUp GPU Database
...it should be just 250/250MHz...
(XT version was 300/300MHz, tough: ATI Radeon 8500 XT | techPowerUp GPU Database )

And surprisingly, look, the same PCB are used on Radeon 8500 cards - just with all the caps!!!



...damn them :) (but it give me ideas, where to add another caps... but that is probably not worth it, as the A-Data rams are slow and the card is not intended for overclocking, but for stability testing.

Of course I would love to overclock it, but the dying mosfets on my mobo will prevent any serious overclocking :( It cannot even make the card running in AGP mode, so... forget overclock. I know that suxx. Go ask Digikey, when they plan to getting the SUD50N02-06P-E3 mosfet. They say 12.3.2013...

It would be great, if I can just stick there temperature probes on these mosfets and read the temps, as I play SoF2 game, till the point of crash. That would be proof, that overheating one of these mosfets cause this crashing... possibly saving me the hassle to replace all there? Dunno. I'm, basicaly, out of ideas about what to do more, if this (replacing the AGP mosfets) fail.
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