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Performance loss after replacing hardware.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 31, 2007 4:41:51 AM

Sorry if this is long, but I want to be as thorough as possible.

I bought this laptop from Gateway through the college that I am attending. They got the best that was available at the time (about 2 years ago). Here are the stats of what it used to be:

Gateway M680
Intel Pentium M 1.86ghz processor
1 GB of ram
Geforce QuadroFX go1400 (256megs ram 16x PCI-e)
Windows XP w/Service Pack 2

I have been using the laptop these last 2 years with no problems. I never changed any graphics drivers. I could run just about any game decently. Even Oblivion with some settings turned down. I used to get about 25-100 FPS in World of Warcraft depending on where I was. Cities like Shattrath I would get about 25-40FPS with no "choppy" feeling. I had most settings turned up and was using 1152*864 resolution.

One day a few weeks ago while playing World of Warcraft, my computer screen froze and I got blue wavy lines across the screen. Nothing was responsive, so I manually rebooted the PC. I went back into World of Warcraft and about 5-10 minutes into the game it did the same thing. Screen froze and blue lines. Manually turned off the PC thinking it was overheating. I tried cooling the laptop for 10-15 minutes. I turned it back on and the boot up screen was blinking. The logos/text were all messed up (letters missing, items blinking downward on the screen, etc.) It would go to the windows loading screen while blinking and you could see the progress bar. After a few seconds the screen would go completely OFF and nothing else would happen. The HD activity light would blink off and on like the laptop was running but the screen was off.

I called Gateway tech support to find out what was wrong. We tried different things like using a different monitor, but the same thing happened. I thought the video card had died (maybe from overheating). I found out I am still under warranty for another year, so the tech person put in an order to have someone come to my apartment to replace the hardware. I was under the assumption that they were replacing the motherboard and graphics card because, as the guy put it, "they are the same unit". That however isn't true.

The next week the local person showed up with a new motherboard and new processor. The processor is the same exact speed and I assume the motherboard is the same model, as it looks the same and it fits the same in this laptop chassis. However, this did not fix the problem. He put in an order for a new video card and came back the following week (a few days ago).

The card he came back with was a GeForce go 6800 (compared to the QuadroFX go1400 I had). After looking up the card it seems that it's the same hardware. The memory on the 6800 is clocked slightly higher, and I read that the go1400 version was more geared towards applications. The 6800 was more for home use (i.e. gaming). (That's my understanding of the hardware, right or wrong I dont know.) I do have a new mobo, cpu, and vid card. I thought maybe I would be better off.

This fixed the problem at first glance. The computer boots to Windows properly with no graphic glitches. However, my performance in World of Warcraft took a huge hit (and other games). It feels like maybe the laptop is running it at 50% of what it was before. FPS is REALLY low at times. 8-20 in cities and feels really laggy/choppy in mouse movement as well. NOTE: I mention WoW because it's a game I play frequently and I monitor my FPS quite often, so it's easy to measure performance for me.

I tried uninstalling the nvidia drivers (which were like 73.** something), rebooting, and going to Gateways website and installing the drivers listed for the M680 laptop model. They also were 73.** drivers. It did nothing for the performance. I found the website laptopvideo2go that uses modified drivers so that you can install the lastest nvidia drivers. (You get an error when using mobile graphics cards and trying to install from nvidia's website. While installing it says it can't find any drivers for your current hardware. These drivers fix that so that you can install.) So now i'm currently using the 163.** nvidia drivers, and they improved my performance minimally if at all. It's still nowhere near what I was getting before.

So my question now is: what is wrong?

1. Is there some driver that I need to change since my mobo, cpu, vid card are new...even tho they are supposedly same models.
2. Did they give me inferior hardware?
3. While installing did the tech person "shock" the hardware with static discharge and cripple the hardware somewhere? (I heard a long time ago that this was possible, and that's why you are supposed to be grounded while building PC's.) <----I really think it's this.
4. Is it something else?

What can I do? Do I need to call Gateway back and complain and have them try again? Am I S.O.L?

I have more than average experience with hardware. I've built 3-4 desktops of my own in the past. If there is anything else I can add that would help, please let me know. I can even e-mail you my dxdiag file if that can help. I'm willing to try pretty much anything within reason.

Please help. I don't know what to do. Please don't be vague in answers. Thanks for any help, in advance.


EDIT: I thought this was important. The first tech guy that installed the motherboard and processor, used a pad on the table that I assume is to protect against static discharge. He did however use a screwdriver that was magnetic. The second guy that came that installed the video card did not use a pad and also used a magnetic screwdriver. I'm guessing one of them crippled my hardware somehow.
a c 130 U Graphics card
August 31, 2007 9:04:11 AM

Your still under warranty right? check the policy but i would expect it says some thing about replacing with similar or better in case of replacement or it should do.
As you have been left with an unacceptable loss of performance i would call them and tell them that you are not happy that the repair has left you with an effectivly crippled pc compared to the one you purchased and ask for a new one.
You shouldnt have to be running around trying to fix it yourself its down to them you paid for the warranty somewhere along the line so make use of it :D 
Mactronix
August 31, 2007 4:16:39 PM

have you tried formatting the hdd and reinstalling windows?
!