I've had my Sony VAIO for almost 4 years and it has been an awesome computer. I really thought it would last forever!
Last week when I was booting it up I heard one long beep, followed by two short beeps. After which the computer turned on as normal, except the screen was black and would not turn on.
I did a little research and discovered that those beeps are basically code for "video card failed to initiate."
The interesting part is, every other aspect of the computer still works. I use an app on my phone (GMote) which allows me to access and play media files from the laptop. So as long as I'm connected to the network, I can use Gmote to play music/video (with no monitor of course.)
Even when hooking up an external monitor via HDMI, there is no response.
I realize that the video card is integrated with the motherboard is there is a slim chance of replacing/repairing it on my own. VAIO customer support wants $450 to fix it (if they even can.)
Well, I could buy a brand new laptop for that price which would probably meet or exceed the specs on this one. So that is kind of pointless.
Before I gave up and shelled out some money for a new laptop I wanted to reach out and see if anyone could give me any advice, or perhaps some trick to fixing it.
For example: is it possible to network in to my computer (VPN?) And run it remotely from another laptop or something? Basically my Vaio was my HTPC and that was its sole purpose (besides some other, minor program running.) If I could somehow revive this functionality...
Maybe its a pipe dream and I should suck it up and buy a new one. But the computer was so good to me I feel like I should fight for it a little bit!
2.4GHz Core 2 Duo
NVidia GT 800 M
You can fix some GPU failures, but the fix is pretty gruesome and isn't really guaranteed to last, but you can do it yourself pretty cheaply.
Often times the issue is that the GPU overheats and weakens/melts the solder joints. You (or a laptop repair shop, given about 150$ usually) can fix this by heating the solder joints back up on the GPU (but not to the point that it destroys the GPU, or causes any other components to fall off).
There are plenty of youtube videos on how you can attempt this yourself using a heatgun (like you would find at a hardware store). A good laptop repair shop will use a hot air BGA reflow tool to do the same thing (be leary of anyone who would use a heatgun, a professional should use the proper tools for the job), most will not charge you if the laptop isn't fixed by the process; however they likely only guarantee that it'll work for as long as it takes you to go out the door. The fixes don't always last, I've done one myself with a BGA reflow tool (have one available at work), it lasted about a month.
It may not even be an overheat issue though, considering the age of the laptop, it could be simply dead. At the very least, it's fairly fun to disassemble the laptop without any real risk, if you get it working then kudos to you, and if not oh well.
If you don't game with your laptop, get a laptop with an APU (Intel HDx000 graphics, or an AMD equivalent A4/6/8-_ _ _ _ processor, and lookup what the graphics core is for that processor and make sure they don't have a seperate graphics chip). These options integrate the GPU into the CPU, and should be better managed thermally, and better connected (not soldered to the motherboard, so they are at least replaceable), I would expect they have lower failure rates than discrete GPU laptops but I am simply speculating.
Thanks for the responses! DJ-Scribbles... that was exactly the kind of "good news" I was hoping to hear! I put good news in quotes because even if I don't fix the problem, you're right, it is a lot of fun taking it apart.
I'm going to look into the viability of doing this on my own as a learning process. What tools do you recommend for the job?