HD Locking Up

I've been having a nagging problem with my laptop, in that my HD stops responding and freezes the computer for 1 to 5 minutes constantly. That is, my HD light is either solid at times and then the OS freezes, or is blank with a very faint, consistent blink. This started occurring after my nVidia 9800M GT failed due to an overheating burn but has subsequently been repaired.

First some quick specs:

Sager NP5796 (Clevo M571TU)
Intel Montevina P9500 2.53Ghz
nVidia 9800M GT
Vista Ultimate x64

Now the HD: Toshiba MK2049GSY ATA

After doing god knows how many updates to drivers and Vista, I ended up doing formatting, reinstall Vista from scratch with same problem. Even did ActiveDisk zero-fill, deleted the partitions, format, reinstall to no avail. So, the question is, is this really an HD issue, or a partially fried MoBo?

I've run HD Tune Pro, Seagate HD, and some other notable diagnostic programs, and they give mixed results. Most report my HD is in good condition, though one or two bad sectors crop up or the DMA CRC is reported very high on one program and not the other. Running chkdsk /r always brings up a few repairs, but the primary problem is persistent during that process as well. Also tried re-seating the HD manually a couple times. Does the fact that I am able to format and reinstall suggest that the HD is still in good condition but there is a connectivity or MoBo problem? Or should just replacing the HD do the trick?

By the way, interestingly enough, my laptop runs in native AHCI with BIOS defaults (oh yeah, I also updated the BIOS to try and fix the problem). After the graphics card fix, the computer would not boot past the black Windows screen with a solid HD light. When BIOS is switched to IDE, and then reformatted, it loads but is minimally operable given the above problem. Is this indicative of some other failure?

I've had this computer for 20 months, without any major problems until now. Oh and by the way, I'm in CHINA. I'd appreciate any help the community can offer. Cheers.
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  1. I'm going to offer my 2 cents, in that there's not a good way to tell remotely what the problem is. You've run diagnostics which lean towards some issues with the HD, but don't completely rule anything else out. I'd say that being able to reformat doesn't prove one thing either way.

    Probably the best bet is replace the HD. Is there a repair shop you can take it to, and have them test it before you buy a new HD? I bet labor rates in China are pretty low! :)
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