Random, colorful stripes on screen

By webmisterz
Jul 20, 2010
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  1. It all started when i was watching a video on megavideo when suddenly the screen blocked, but i could still hear the sound. At first i thought it was a problem with my O/S (Ubuntu), but i figured it's probably due to a graphic card failure.

    After rebooting a few times everything went back to normal, but when i tried to continue watching the video (I know, bad choice), it blocked again and it never went back to normal.

    The screen is full of purple stripes and once in a while i see smiley faces with random colors. A few times i've been given this error:
    Picture of the error
    It said: Failed to initialize the Nvidia graphics device PCI:1:0:0

    Then i was able to start in safe graphics mode, but otherwise the screen just goes blank and either it reboots automatically or i have to reboot manually.



    It's a GeForce 8600M GS on a Packard Bell easynote.

    Right now i'm doing a memtest and so far no errors.

    Any help?

    A few more pictures:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,421   +217

    To clarify, if you start in safe mode, the screen goes blank after awhile? How long?
  3. webmisterz

    webmisterz Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    No, everything except the graphics are fine when i boot into safe graphics mode.
    (I'm guessing the safe graphics mode disables the graphics card?)

    The problem is when i boot the pc in normal mode it doesn't even reach the login, it either goes blank and reboots after a while or it just goes blank and does nothing. Every once in a while though, it gives me an error: Failed to initialize the Nvidia graphics device PCI:1:0:0.

    I'm not sure if i've explained it well. If something's still unclear, please tell me and i'll try to explain it in more detail.

    EDIT: The memtest completed with 0 errors.
  4. Zilpha

    Zilpha TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 349

    Sounds like a kernel bug to be honest. I'd post on your distro's forums (Ubuntu has a really good forum group) and see if anyone else has had an issue with that card and the version of X you are using.
  5. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,421   +217

    If it's like Windows, safe graphics mode disables the Nvidia drivers. If it disabled the graphics card, you would get no image. While in safe mode, try uninstalling the old graphics driver and reinstall a new driver.
  6. webmisterz

    webmisterz Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    But wouldn't that only affect Ubuntu?


    Even when i tried to change some settings in BIOS, the screen was still displaying weird stripes.

    The packard bell logo on startup displays those stripes as well.


    I used something like: sudo apt-get –purge remove nvidia-*
    This deleted everything that was nvidia related. After that i installed everything again from scratch. Still didn't help.
  7. Zilpha

    Zilpha TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 349

    The problem is that it's not really like windows and it's rarely that easy.

    First, are you using a proprietary driver? Or are you using whatever was bundled with the distro's kernel (open source)? That will largely determine how you proceed from here and the best place for you to get help is going to be Ubuntu forums. What version are you using, 10.04 and is it a recent upgrade?

    I'm 90% sure that the problem lies in software rather than hardware. A good way to test it out is to download a version of Knoppix Live CD and boot up with that. If your graphics look normal (Knoppix Live CDs are really good about detecting hardware and having appropriate drivers bundled in the kernel) then you need to figure out what FUBAR'd your Ubuntu drivers.
  8. webmisterz

    webmisterz Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I really hope it's just software.

    I'll download it right now and see what happens.
    Thanks for the advice.
  9. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,421   +217

    If you are getting graphics problems before and after the operating system starts, that would point to a bad graphics card.
  10. Zilpha

    Zilpha TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 349

    Then you probably do have a hardware failure. I don't see where this was mentioned before, so my interpretation was that you were having the issue while within the OS (after X server loaded). Apologies.
  11. webmisterz

    webmisterz Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Oh ok. Any idea how i should locate the video card?


    So we've concluded that it's the graphics card. Now is it best to replace it (if it's replaceable) or is it possible to fix it at home?

    The laptop is right next to me, so if you guys have some experience with a packard bell easynote and don't mind giving me instructions to locate/replace the graphics card, i'd be really happy.

    EDIT: Or should i leave this up to a professional?
     
  12. Zilpha

    Zilpha TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 349

    Before declaring it a failure try taking out one stick of RAM and booting it, and then try with the other. Apparently that model uses shared memory and it could be that a stick of RAM has gone bad.

    It's worth a shot anyway, since most notebooks use integrated chips on the motherboard and it's not going to be something you can just replace.
  13. webmisterz

    webmisterz Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Are those the two sticks on top of each other in the center of the picture i provided?

    So if this doesn't work, it means i have to buy a new motherboard? How much do you think it'll cost me?
  14. Zilpha

    Zilpha TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 349

    Yes, those are most likely the RAM sticks. They are very small - not like the desktop RAM. If you gently push on one it may *unlock* and tilt upward to be removed. The bottom one might be only removable by taking out the keyboard.

    Make sure to ground yourself before touching that stuff.
  15. Zilpha

    Zilpha TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 349

    Also as an aside - if this doesn't help at all, you might try looking for the cable where the LCD plugs into the motherboard and reseating that. Blow out any dust.

    I don't suppose this is under warranty?
  16. webmisterz

    webmisterz Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    No, warranty expired earlier this month. Talk about bad luck...

    I'll try the two things you mentioned and i'll report back here.
  17. webmisterz

    webmisterz Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    I've plugged one of the sticks out, still the same problem. Put it back on then pulled the second one out and still the same. I guess the video card really is the culprit.

    Though i've noticed something. The orange metal thing (shown on the picture) got extremely hot even though it was only running for 5 minutes. Is this normal?
  18. Zilpha

    Zilpha TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 349

    The orange *fingers* are a heat sink structure, so yes these will heat up rather quickly.

    You might try giving HP customer service a call. I know it's not in warranty anymore, but they might be able to give you some insight or at the least tell you where to buy a replacement systemboard.
  19. webmisterz

    webmisterz Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Alright. Thanks a lot for the help.
  20. webmisterz

    webmisterz Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    How much do you think i could sell it for? (Without repairing it first.)
  21. Zilpha

    Zilpha TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 349

    I guess the phone call to HP didn't go very well.

    To be honest, you sometimes see "parts only" systems going for quite a lot. The LCD's on them are usually what fetches the premium, and it sounds like yours is in good shape.

    Do a quick look on Ebay or some such site for "as is" "parts only" systems and see what others are selling them for. It's hit or miss, but it should give you an idea. You might also want to see what others have up there for parts - maybe you can get a replacement motherboard cheap and not have to get rid of the notebook.


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