Okay so I went to the electronics people again, and they found out there was no "hardware" issues... but was most likely a software issue. Then they swapped out the RAM, and tested each stick to see if either or both were defected. Neither of the two were defective. At this point, they said "oh, this could be a bit more serious than we thought," and went on explaining it could be a video card or motherboard problem. I brought the laptop back home, tested some stuff, managed to get it to work pretty well. I checked dxdiag, and only my intel integrated chip was running as my current display driver (the one on the CPU?). Usually, my ATI FireGL v5700 is the one running on switchable graphics mode when it is on high performance. So I downloaded all the drivers, and tried downloading ATI Catalyst software and it would not download because of the following error:
"AMD Catalyst Mobility cannot be downloaded due to incompatible hardware/software on your computer.
The version of your graphics adapter is not supported.
Please contact your notebook manufacturer for a graphics driver update."
From this, I suspect my v5700 or my motherboard is defective now. (Or maybe there was a corrupt file in the software installation?)
Any insights into my current predicament?
EDIT: By the way, my laptop is a Lenovo ThinkPad W500, the oldest model: 4058CTO (I assume the model number is my motherboard?)
Yes thats simple, its a custom version of the graphics chip so theres no fault in it, you just have to use the version that is on Lenovo's website and not the official AMD drivers since its a custom made Lenovo Chip based off the AMD reference model. This isn't a issue with the motherboard being defective, its a problem with the company you bought it from not supporting the latest drivers. Believe me i have the same issue with the HP laptop i bought a while back, official AMD drivers don't recognize the 6470m but the HP drivers do.
What drivers would I need to install then? I have been looking for what I need, but I cannot find it. Am I looking for a motherboard driver? GPU driver? Chipset driver? (which by the way, not really sure what that is... or is it just the motherboard?)
Also, I have been downloading and installing only from Lenovo. I THINK I tried Lenovo's and AMD's ATI Catalyst software, and neither worked.
I cannot find any drivers on the AMD official site for my particular model (FireGL v5700 or Mobility HD 3650). I also cannot find these specific drivers on the Lenovo site. I can only find switchable graphics driver and an Intel GM45 display driver. I installed the switchable already, but it does not allow me to switch to the ATI video card.
It would appear lenovo's site has ATI drivers for that model except they only supported the custom drivers for windows XP and not 7 unfortunately. You may have to buy another laptop or try and find some cracked ATI drivers which are hard to find as it is unlike nvidia custom laptop drivers. Apparently the v5700 that lenovo has in its laptops, is actually a custom made mix between a v5700 workstation card and a overclocked ati 3650m. So you could try drivers that say they are for the 3650 since windows recognizes the card as such on AMD's website.
1. Get Recovery Discs from Lenovo for your laptop, or else risk the RESTORE of the backup on your hard drive.
2. Create an IMAGE of your existing drive using Acronis True Image if possible (if you have a Western Digital or Seagate drive get this software from their site). Backup to a USB hard drive. (You can BROWSE the Acronis image to recover files if need be).
3. RESTORE the factory hard-drive IMAGE of Windows (will wipe out all your information, but that's why you made your own image). Usually you boot and press one of the FUNCTION keys like F10 to start this.
*Is the problem gone after restoring? If so, it's likely some corrupted software which might not be easily fixable. If you're working now I recommend updating from here and get your files of your backup. You could also RESTORE your backup temporarily to get off the files and figure out which programs you need to install.
1. Always make a backup IMAGE of your Windows partition on a new computer. Never delete the first one in case problems arise later.
2. Make new backup Images every month or two so you can RESTORE a working copy.
3. Try to copy any critical data to an external drive on a regular basis.
**Basically, consider the "what if" my hard drive suddenly died scenario.
I already did a factory restore before I had the "software" issue (or whatever it could possibly be). From what photonboy posted, my factory restore from the hard drive may in fact be corrupt? Would that really affect my graphics card? Is it possible my graphics card is pretty much dead? Or is it more likely the software issue... either way, my laptop's warranty is long past its coverage. Would Lenovo send me free Recovery Discs despite that? And also, if it is a software issue, would the new Recovery Discs sent by Lenovo be enough to fix said problem (this is assuming the graphics card is fine)?