Real Hardware Reviews

Everything Computers and Support => Repair Guides DIY => Topic started by: trodas on November 19, 2013, 05:28:20 PM

Title: Radeon R9100 recap
Post by: trodas on November 19, 2013, 05:28:20 PM
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 :)
Title: Re: Radeon R9100 recap
Post by: trodas on November 25, 2013, 10:05:41 AM
As I stated above, it was mainly attempt to get my AGP working - finally. It sadly failed, but with the 100% good and recapped with very high quality caps R9100 I'm now confident, that the problem must be on the mainboard, with the voltage regulating mosfets. That make sense, because it works, till it heat up and crash. 4h gaming from cold state, about 45min when heated up to the crash.
Therefore the main and only one purpose of this recap was the testing of the MSI mainboard and these cursed Nikos mosfets!

I recapped the mainboard completely long time ago ( ( ) and recently around the AGP, I even exchanged the good Nichicon 1000uF 6.3V electrolyte caps for polymers (except for the two that are for 5V) - 2x2200uF 2.5V and 2x 1200uF 4V. Still absolutely NO help. Absolutely NO improve. Therefore it cannot be in the graphic card (it fact, it last longer during gaming that with the PNY 6800GT) or in the caps - so the next one in the line are the mosfets. And after the crash, the card is back to PCI mode, grrrrr!


Then there is NO PERFORMANCE to speak off. It absolutely and completely SUXX. (from my measuring, it give about half the performance it should do, so no 7850 3DMark01 marks, but about 14k it should yield: ( )

Also it is sad, that the rams are crappy (witch is why Sapphire run them at 200MHz, witch is deviation from the standard 250/250MHz clocks for GPU/RAMs for R9100: (
So the card is somewhat disadvantaged speed-wise from the start.

Normal are 250/250MHz, just like the Radeon 8500:
ATI Radeon 8500 | techPowerUp GPU Database ( 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.