Dead AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT card brought back to life by drilling

Digging the problem out.

MSI Radeon RX 6900XT - Drilling

Repair shop KrisFix-Germany has once again shown high skills, fixing a broken RX 6900 XT card by making a hole through the PCB to pass a replacement wire.

KrisFix-Germany, the same guy who received Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6900 cards with cracked silicon die, has managed to bring a dead MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card back to life using an unusual fix calling for precise drilling and soldering, in order to bypass a fractured trace.

The card in question was powering on, i.e. fans spinning and RGB working, though nothing was displayed on the screen. Following some testing, KrisFix found that memory bank B on top-left side had training errors. To confirm the issue, he took a multimeter to probe for a broken connection between the GDDR6’s 180 pads and GPU.

While this could also be a result of a cracked solder ball, in this case, the issue was coming from a severed lane inside the PCB. Not making things easier, this broken lane was 13 layers deep, meaning the best way to reach it, to solder a replacement wire, was through the back where there are only three layers of separation.

To fix the problem, Kris had also to drill a hole through the PCB just behind the GPU to drive said wire across and connect to the problematic BGA pad. The 0.02mm-thick wire then needed to be hooked back into the GDDR6 lane found three layers deep, again requiring some digging. Needless to say, this is really precise work, requiring steady hands and a lot of know-how.

Unfortunately, during the process of milling the layers, Kris damaged two capacitors plus another trace that now also needed to be fixed – nothing impossible after what we saw earlier. After connecting both ends, Kris added some solder mask to fix the wire in place.

Now, with the hardest part over, what remained was a matter of reballing the GPU and memory chip before soldering them back on the PCB, while cleaning the card before sending it back to a happy customer. Kris said this problem isn’t that common, as he only encountered it about seven times so far.

Excellent work from Kris, allowing an otherwise landfill-destined item to return from the dead for we hope is a long time.