Dell Inspiron 5160 display with lines everywhere Take 2

By darmatwil
Nov 21, 2008
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  1. After a thourough physical cleaning of the laptop, I had found that the main cpu cooling fins were plugged with lint. (I bought the computer used) I brushed, blew, vaccumed all the dust and lint out of the case. I still have a few lines on the display, so I figure I need to replace the graphics card.

    I am familiar with the heat issue in PC's, I assume it is a bigger concern with laptops. What should I look out for as indicators that the main board is flaking out? Would this do similar things as a PC? I have bee lucky enough to find a NOS graphics card. If I have to replace the main bord also, at some time, I feel like I would be better off scrapping the unit and getting a brand new one.
  2. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,451   +135

    This laptop should have a video chip on the motherboard, and not a video board. This is similar to on-board video in a desktop motherboard. with desktops, you can add a video card if the on-board video fails. With most laptops you would have to replace the motherboard. Does an external monitor show lines?
  3. darmatwil

    darmatwil Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 22

    There is a video card there. It is an XGI Volari-xp5. And yes an external monitor shows the lines as well. I have taken the laptop apart to blow it out. I do know for sure that there was a heat issue and that it has affected the video card. Now the lines aren't as bad as when the problem first started. At one point I couldn't read a thing on the screen. But after a good cleaning the screen is almost 100%. After running a while small dash type lines start to appear. I am used to replacing hardware on PC's but since this is the first laptop that I have messed with I am wanting to cover all bases.
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,451   +135

    Video cards take up a lot more room than a single chip... Laptop internal space is very limited. Once more, do these lines appear on an external monitor? If they do the video card is the cause. If they don't appear, it can be an inverter or the LCD panel itself
  5. darmatwil

    darmatwil Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Yes they appear on an external monitor.

    I know the card is causing the problem. I am asking if the mainboard will have similar symptoms as a PC mainboard, if the heat has damaged it.
  6. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,451   +135

    If the video lines are the only problem, the motherboard should be fine. If you can live with the lines leave it alone. I really doubt if you could get another video card at a decent price. You can save for a new laptop
  7. darmatwil

    darmatwil Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 22

    That was what I was thinking. I was being cheap and baught a used laptop. The next one will be new. Getting a little burn is better than going up in flames, I guess.
  8. photonthis

    photonthis Newcomer, in training

    I'm having the exact same symptoms with my 5160. Have you tried a new video card and did it help?

    thanks
  9. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,451   +135

    The video card will be expensive, and unless you are experienced in working on laptops you will have to take it in to a repair shop to have the "card" replaced
  10. photonthis

    photonthis Newcomer, in training

    They're about $50 on ebay and Dell has detailed instructions that look doable.
  11. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 20,451   +135

  12. darmatwil

    darmatwil Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 22

    Yes the video card fixed it. I got a NOS from notebookparts.com. Cost about $100 but it was worth it. It was very easy to do.
  13. photonthis

    photonthis Newcomer, in training

    Thanks for everyone's help. I ordered a R7729 XGI video card on ebay, which was defective or not compatible, although according to Dell's web site it should have been compatible. I spent nearly three days adjusting settings, updating drivers, reseating and checking connections, etc. The card worked fine on an external monitor, but not on my laptop display. I gave up and ordered a refurbished P6959 XGI from Dell. It has solved all of my video issues.

    BTW, the delivery from Dell was impressive. I ordered via phone on Wed pm, paid for 3 day shipping, and it arrived on Thurs am.
     
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