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Display Driver Stopped Working--Google Hasn't Helped

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 4, 2012 1:18:44 AM

Hello! Before anyone suggest I check out the plethora of other posts elsewhere, I wanted to say that I've scanned dozens of threads that loosely fit my case. Unfortunately, I have not yet found a solution. I'm willing to try anything you throw at me!

My Info:

Dell XPS m1730 Laptop
Two 9800m GTs in SLI

Case-specific information:

-I've ran memtest only to find that my RAM is fine.
-My laptop will not recover from this unless it is plugged in to a second display. The screen will just go black and eventually blue screen.
-I have tried underclocking my GPU to no avail whatsoever
-I have done a clean install of windows 7 twice now. It prevents the problem from occurring for about two or three days.
-This happens even under low-stress situations (facebook open, nothing else, etc.)
-I have tried using the method found here (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2665946) to no avail.

I always install the latest driver possible for my cards immediately after a fresh install of windows, but I think that may be the problem. I don't think the drivers mesh well with the computer/windows 7, but I'm not too sure. I need to sell this laptop immediately in order to pay off a wedding ring, but I'd hate to sell it if it's faulty. Thank you in advance!
a b Î Nvidia
November 4, 2012 1:34:07 AM

Well with what you have done it looks like 1 of the video cards has failed. Disable sli and stress test them individually and see which one fails.
November 5, 2012 2:27:23 AM

bignastyid said:
Well with what you have done it looks like 1 of the video cards has failed. Disable sli and stress test them individually and see which one fails.


Just tried that. Both cards give out at about the same time.. so either it isn't the cards, or the cards have precisely the same level of damage to them.
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a b Î Nvidia
November 5, 2012 3:29:10 AM

Possibly a power issue either a bad motherboard or ac adapter. I doubt both cards have failed.
November 5, 2012 3:32:42 AM

bignastyid said:
Possibly a power issue either a bad motherboard or ac adapter. I doubt both cards have failed.


Power issue is possible.. how would I go about checking that? The previous owner told me they had the motherboard replaced and it did nothing.. The battery doesn't last long enough to take it out and test it without AC power but I'll try anyways.. thank you for your suggestions thus far! Keep 'em coming :) 
a b Î Nvidia
November 5, 2012 3:59:15 AM

Have you tried it with the battery removed?
November 5, 2012 6:18:22 AM

bignastyid said:
Have you tried it with the battery removed?


It seemed to handle a little better for a while.. but then instead of the screen flashing black and the music continuing to play, my music stopped and was replaced with an electrical buzzing sound and accompanied by a frozen screen for a few seconds.. then the black screen and driver failing message and music resuming. No luck! :( 

UPDATE: Shortly after posting this message, I got a blue screen saying:

"*** Hardware Malfunction
Call your hardware vendor for support
NMI: Parity Check / Memory Parity Error
*** The system has halted ***"

with the electrical buzzing noise greatly intensified. That kinda worries me..
November 5, 2012 6:41:57 AM

Could be the RAM then. The electrical "buzzing" could just be the continuous looping of what was buffered.

Multiple RAM sticks? Take one out and see how it works, then try the other by itself.
a b Î Nvidia
November 5, 2012 6:43:50 AM

Ok did a bit more research seems the video cards share a pcb and ram so you probably have bad video ram.
November 5, 2012 6:50:36 AM

jrmurph3 said:
Could be the RAM then. The electrical "buzzing" could just be the continuous looping of what was buffered.

Multiple RAM sticks? Take one out and see how it works, then try the other by itself.


I'll give that a try after class tomorrow morning.. I'd rather this be the problem than my video card... :'( 

bignastyid said:
Ok did a bit more research seems the video cards share a pcb and ram so you probably have bad video ram.


Poo :(  Assuming this is the issue.. are there any do-it-yourself fixes that might work? I know that's a very, very long shot.. otherwise, how would I go about replacing the cards? It seems kinda unlikely that both cards would simultaneously kick the bucket..
a b Î Nvidia
November 5, 2012 7:13:07 AM

Definitely test the ram first.. But if it was im thinking you have to replace the video card. Both gpus are located on the same board and share 1gb of ram rather than having two separate cards with thier own ram. Replacements can be found on ebay for ~$200.
November 6, 2012 11:09:42 PM

That was disappointing.. It seemed to work fine. I got on to post my success story and it just goes blank and turns the music off and sits there with the lights on. Sad. $200 is out of the question.. what's an acceptable price to try to get for it scrapped? Testing the other RAM module now..
a b Î Nvidia
November 7, 2012 12:46:26 AM

You could most likely get it sold on ebay for $250-300 in its current state.
November 7, 2012 12:58:09 AM

bignastyid said:
You could most likely get it sold on ebay for $250-300 in its current state.


Sweet.. ok that would be cool. I replaced the ram with some extras I had and it seemed to work perfect for a while, but then YouTube did it in. It doesn't ever recover now.. the screen just goes black and then a bit later the audio cuts out. Are we sure there's no other solution? :(  Thank you soo much, I really appreciate the continued support!!

Best solution

a b Î Nvidia
November 7, 2012 12:02:38 PM
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With the steps that have been taken bad vram is all that's left.
November 8, 2012 3:57:49 AM

Alright, I guess this big fella's off to eBay then. Thank you so much!
November 8, 2012 3:58:11 AM

Best answer selected by spinney.
a b Î Nvidia
November 8, 2012 4:59:09 AM

You're welcome
!