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Is my GPU causing Bios & Windows Failures

By Walker1503
Feb 1, 2008
  1. Hi all, New here to TechSpot and am in seriuos need of some help with my laptop.

    I have an Aleinware Area 51-5700m, Windows XP, Mother board is the Uniwill
    P71EN0 with a 2.0 Intel Pentium M and a nVidia GeForce 6800Go (NV42M) 256 Mb DDR I (MXM-PCI Express) GPU

    My problem is that when I boot up I get vertical lines throughtout the boot image and then a garbled up bios, and Windows will not load. My question to you, Is this my GPU or motherboard causing this failure. Also, could this be a cause of overheating? I have been doing numourous searches on this issue and have found nothing. I can't even find where I can purchase a new GPU. Any help would be appriciated. Thanks.
     
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,715   +397

    Yep, sounds like GPU to me, or a bad wire to the display. It being a notebook I think you are screwed. Have you called Alienware?
     
  3. Walker1503

    Walker1503 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I did call them, they want me to send it in and it is out of waranty. Just for them to look at it is $75. I am positive it is not the display, when it starts to boot, you can catch a few sec where the screen is cyrstal clear. I am almost sure it is the GPU. I am having a hard time tring to find one that I can purchase. If anyone knows where I can find a GeForce 6800Go (NV42M) 256 Mb DDR I (MXM-PCI Express) GPU or something compatible, please let me know. I will post a video of what it is doing. Mabey that will help.
     
  4. Tarkus

    Tarkus TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 621

    Lines in the screen on post is 95% of the time the video board or power supply. Check your voltages.
     
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,715   +397

    The problem is, notebook/laptop/portables/whatever you want to call them aren't like regular PCs, they have to jam everything onto 1 board very tightly, and that means they integrate stuff physically onto the mainboard in many cases. So while I don't know for sure, I would say with about 90% certainty that your 6800Go is on the systemboard itself, meaning, unless you are very skilled at soldering there is no way you can replace it. This is also why you are having difficulty finding one.
     
  6. Walker1503

    Walker1503 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    It is a MXM-III PCI Express card. I have looked it over pretty well for any physical damage, but it looks fine to me. How could I go about checking voltage on it?
     
  7. Walker1503

    Walker1503 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Here are some pic of the GPU. Still working on the video.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Walker1503

    Walker1503 TS Rookie Topic Starter

  9. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    After looking at your video, I see you have a serious problem on your hand.

    No, it isn't the screen. You could verify this by using your external VGA port and a separate monitor. I've seen plenty of bad screens though, and this isn't it.

    As you are already pretty sure of, the system board and video card are reasonable guesses, but I don't think there's a very reliable way to pinpointing the issue. In fact, I wouldn't rule out your processor and memory either.

    This is just straw grabbing, but remove your memory modules and try them each on their own in both slots. It's not likely to be RAM, but it is certainly worth checking and definitely the cheapest way to go. :)

    Short of that, there's not much else you can do unless you have access to system parts to swap around and use the process of elimination.
     
  10. Walker1503

    Walker1503 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OK, so get this. I am trying to troubleshoot a little bit and start by connecting a external screen and it still does the same thing. Well after no luck there I decide to inspect the processor and all looked well. so I go to put everything back in except for some reason I decided to not screw in the heat sink to the GPU. Well I turn it on and of course it does the same thing, but all of a sudden it shuts off, I believe from the GPU Overheating. And guess what, It works now. So, Do you think it is possible that whatever the GPU uses to detect temp is failing. Well anyways. I have restarted a few times, and it is still working.
     
  11. bmaytum

    bmaytum TS Member Posts: 44

    Walker1503:

    Good to hear it has self-healed at least for now. I watched your video, couple of ideas on things that can cause the pixellated mutli-patchwork pattern displayed:
    1) As you suspect, an overheated GPU will look like that - replace the fan if you can (maybe Alienware will have an exact or near-match fan or fan+heatsink assembly) in stock, otherwise a good computer parts place should at least have a fan. Use thermal paste sparingly between GPU + video RAM chips and their heatsink (I like Artic Silver 5). You can clean off old paste with a QTip slightly wetted with alcohol. A paper-thin layer of new paste is plenty & be very careful to not get paste on any electrical parts. Be sure fan connector is solidly connected/ not loose nor damaged;
    2) Less likely is possibility that you had wrong video settings, esp. perhaps resolution was set too high - check settings now while videocards still works, set to native resolution for your laptop's LCD.

    Good luck, fingers X'd for you.
     
  12. Walker1503

    Walker1503 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    bmaytum

    Great advise, The fan seems to be working pretty good but the thermal grease was not really a grease but more of a pad. Should I try to replace the pads or should I go with the grease?
     
  13. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,573   +65

    Grease, all the way... Unless the chassis doesn't allow for much pressure applied. In that case, a pad would be best.
     
  14. bmaytum

    bmaytum TS Member Posts: 44

    Walker1503:

    I agree w/Rick to use thermal paste ("grease") PROVIDED the heatsink(s) mate up well with GPU + video RAM chips + motherboard chips (I hadn't noticed the latter before) when the heatsink(s) are laid on them and secured with hold-down screws (looks like 6+ screws from what I can quickly see). Only benefit of pads would be if there are gaps between heatsink(s) and chips + GPU that need pads to fill gaps and thus transfer heat. The heatsink plate(s) SHOULD mate up well without pads. After determining pad(s) are not needed to fill gap(s), use thermal paste (but first remove pads and clean off any prior paste from palte(s) and chips(s)).
    Keep us posted...
     
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