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Dis / vid card issue?

Last response: in Windows XP
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December 26, 2010 6:55:18 PM

I was just using my laptop to view a website and the entire LCD screen went blank.
On restarting, there were a load of commas all across the bottup screen. SUbsequent screens show regula rpatterns of orange aquares and or flickering blue squares.
I cannot get to the XP login prompt to do anything else so I started it up in safe mode and could login and see the desktop but the screen still has blue squares across it but in the background (ie XP OS screen is overlayed successfully).
Any ideas on what this could be?

I have done 2 system restore to earlier points with no change.
I think the only options are a boot virus or more likely because of the safe mode operation that it is a video card or driver problem?

Images: http://img411.imageshack.us/g/img3788cg.jpg/
http://img524.imageshack.us/g/img3793k.jpg/

Edit: I just uninstalled the driver and started up in safe mode and the main display worked but still had those blue squares across the screen.
On trying to reinstall the dell nvidia driver, I got an error about the display imgmirror not working and to restart, still no luck after that.
Now on uninstalling the driver, I restart and just get a blank screen AFTER the Windows XP splash shows. So, I can use the computer in safe mode or without the driver but no other way.

Text file with report can be found here:
http://www.sidekicker.net/Report.txt

Any ideas what to try next?

More about : dis vid card issue

a b \ Driver
December 27, 2010 2:06:31 PM

Sounds like a video card hardware issue. I don't think you can fix this with any type of software. Your options would be to either see if the video card is one that can be removed and replaced or if the whole motherboard needs to be swapped out. It may possibly be just a heat issue, but since this is happening soon as you restart the PC, I doubt that.
December 28, 2010 11:08:40 AM

Could there be an issue with the CPU as well? I noticed sometimes that on starting up, the CPU runs at 488MHz instead of the 1.7Ghz max. I thought this might be related to the software Notebook Hardware Control but could also be an issue with the CPU.
I assume even though the drivers aren't installed, the video card needs to be in to display some sort of graphic on the screen, I can't just take it out and run with crap graphics in the meantime?
Related resources
a b \ Driver
December 28, 2010 12:41:13 PM

If you turn on the laptop with no power cord, you are probably seeing the CPU throttle down for power saving. There will be an option in the BIOS to turn that off if you want it to run at full power.

If you take out the video card you will have NO video display, crappy or not.
December 28, 2010 12:49:09 PM

No, it's with the power cord in and the battery removed.
Right now, it stays at 1.73Hz but often on a restart, the CPU will start at this and then throttle waaay down. The min throttle should be 800.
When it throttles down to 44, the system slows and is unresponsive. I have to retstart.
a b \ Driver
December 28, 2010 12:52:27 PM

You may have a heat issue, does the laptop get very warm? Too much heat would cause your video issues, and can also cause odd CPU behavior. Although at this point it looks like your video card is already damaged so reducing the heat won't do much at this point.
December 28, 2010 1:50:33 PM

hang-the-9 said:
You may have a heat issue, does the laptop get very warm? Too much heat would cause your video issues, and can also cause odd CPU behavior. Although at this point it looks like your video card is already damaged so reducing the heat won't do much at this point.


The laptop does get very hot but mainly on the GPU side at the back.
I monitored the temperatures a while back and they seemed within normal levels but whether they were correct or not.
Current CPU is 55.
However, the laptop would have been too hot to put on legs but it was designed as a desktop replacement performance system originally so not too much of an issue.
Anything I can use to verify that the CPU is ok?
a b \ Driver
December 28, 2010 1:59:40 PM

Run a stress program that brings the CPU to 100% load, Prime95 is a good one that many people use. If the laptop works for a while running that, your CPU is OK with the heat that is created.
December 28, 2010 2:21:38 PM

hang-the-9 said:
Run a stress program that brings the CPU to 100% load, Prime95 is a good one that many people use. If the laptop works for a while running that, your CPU is OK with the heat that is created.


Seems fine, CPU temp went from 55 to 58 but isn;t going any higher after 20mins of 100% load.

Next problem, I can't find a Geforce 6800 or a Radeon x300 anywhere for a cheap price to replace it. Best I could find was $200 for this card !!!
Newegg nor ebay seem to have any.

Any ideas? No point buying from DELL as it will have the DELL premium on top.
a b \ Driver
December 28, 2010 2:31:16 PM

You won't have much luck finding a cheap video card for a laptop. Small market + tough engineering = high price. If a web search does not come up with much, bite the bullet and get it, or replace it with a regular PC that can be easily upgraded/worked on.
December 29, 2010 5:55:16 PM

hang-the-9 said:
You won't have much luck finding a cheap video card for a laptop. Small market + tough engineering = high price. If a web search does not come up with much, bite the bullet and get it, or replace it with a regular PC that can be easily upgraded/worked on.


One on ebay for about $75 - bit of a rip off.
OOI, what sort of performance decrease would I see in a:
DELL XPS M170 / INSPIRON 9300 ATI X300 64MB VGA CARD

compared to the 256MB integrated that the current card was?
a b \ Driver
December 29, 2010 7:32:27 PM

If the card you have is intergrated, you can't replace it without swapping out the motherboard. Make sure your laptop has a card that can be removed by itself.

As far as replacing it with a different card, look for them here to compare http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car.... And once again, double-check to make sure whatever you get will work in your laptop.
December 29, 2010 7:39:13 PM

hang-the-9 said:
If the card you have is intergrated, you can't replace it without swapping out the motherboard. Make sure your laptop has a card that can be removed by itself.

As far as replacing it with a different card, look for them here to compare http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car.... And once again, double-check to make sure whatever you get will work in your laptop.

Sorry, I typed integrated but I meant the current one.
The current one (with something wrong with it) is a 256Mb stand alone - easy to remove.
Just wondering how a 64Mb would perform. Certainly won't be good for games but should be fine for office?
Can't believe a 5 year old era laptop card is $70 to $100 though.
a b \ Driver
December 29, 2010 7:50:34 PM

That price it not very high for a niche product. Just because it's old does not mean it should be cheap. Like I said earlier, not a high-volume product, pricy to begin with, and you get a high resale or old part price.

The less RAM part will run normal apps just fine, most of them are CPU and RAM dependant more than graphics.
!