Artifacts and lock up followed by black screen

By imprezagoatee
Aug 20, 2008
  1. I have a Dell Inspiron e1705, with a nVidia video card, a 7800 or 7900 go I think. Yesterday when launching a game, the computer locked up, and when trying to restart, the screen stayed black. Today, I tried booting up again, it seemed to work fine, so I tried the game again, this time I saw some artifacts in the form of small colored squiggly lines, and again it locked up. The computer then gave some more black screen, but a little while later it's willing to start again. This time I get the same artifacts in Firefox, followed very shortly by another lock up.

    Now it won't start up, most of the time the screen's back light will not come on, but it did come on once. The time the back light came on it also booted far enough for me to hear the windows start up sound, but the sound skipped a bit, and at no time did anything appear on the screen. I've tried using an external monitor, but nothing there either (though I am not sure how to set it up without being able to see my screen, I did try Fn+F8). The time it booted with only the back light on, both fans did kick on.

    Any ideas? I'm new to laptop troubleshooting, but maybe the video card has gone out?
  2. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,495

    The big problem with a laptop with a high end gfx card is heat. Even with the GS, which is a mobile version of the 7900, it still gets toasty. There really could several things that went out. Overheating could of ended the life of the GPU. You could also have a problem with the actual physical connection to the screen.

    I am not familiar with dell laptops and if they use MXM cards or not. But I'm almost sure they do not. MXM is a format that has been kind of accepted that allow you to actually take out a mobile GPU and replace it. If the laptop does not support MXM, and the GPU is indeed what failed, you are in a bit of a hard place.

    Did you try to overclock the card?
  3. lamo

    lamo TS Rookie

    this is dead videochip. you should replace the videocard or replace the videochip.
  4. AtK SpAdE

    AtK SpAdE TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,495

    As I said before, replacing a GPU in a laptop is not always possible. Some chips are just soldered onto the mainboard.
  5. imprezagoatee

    imprezagoatee TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I found step by step instructions for replacing the video card in my laptop, so yes, it's replaceable. I just wanted to be sure that's the problem before I spent $100 bucks on a used card that's slower than the one I have.

  6. lamo

    lamo TS Rookie

    imprezagoatee, be careful with used nvidia videocards! sometimes they contain hidden defects! if you're not gamer, try to buy new videocard with ati x1400 chip.
    atk spade, particularly, in this laptop, the videochip placed to videocard, which you can replace. moreover, e1705 laptop has same motherboard with XPS M1710,so you can find the videocard with 7900gtx chip(and with two heatpipes!),buy a 130wt AC adapter and transform your laptop to XPS 1710! :) well, at least...
  7. millerro

    millerro TS Rookie

    If you have your external monitor attached and turned on you can power up your notebook and as soon as you see the power light come on close the lid. This will force it to go to the external video port and if you see the same artifacts on the external screen you likely have a bad video chip. I have seen some models of laptops that use a separate video board but that's not common. Here's another thought as well in diagnosing, does the BIOS screen come up okay? If it does hit F2 to enter the BIOS if the screen looks okay it may also be a corrupt driver in Windows. Good luck and I hope this helps.

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