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Curious & irritating freeze problem

Last response: in Computer Brands
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February 13, 2013 9:15:26 AM

Hi there, I've got a 4 year old HP 6830s (which has done me brilliantly with a lot of TLC). The reason I'm posting on the general HP category and not the bit for the part that is the problem is that I'm not sure what is causing my issue (so sorry about that).

Basically, since I did a fresh Windows 7 install a couple of months ago, I get seemingly random crashes to a screen with no sound and no way of returning to what I was doing without a hard restart. The screen is sometimes white, sometimes grey, sometimes grey pinstriped. It doesn't seem to happen under particularly stressful conditions (eg games), it just does it with no pattern. The frequency has increased since I started getting the problem - where it would happen once a weekish now it might happen as much as twice a day.

I've got up to date graphics card drivers and flashed my bios to the latest version, still didn't help. Was wondering if anyone has seen this before and has any suggestions? My friend suggested it might be my graphics card on its way out but if that were the case I wouldn't expect it to cope with hours of Modern Warfare 3 and then crash when I'm chatting on facebook. Strange.

Thanks for the help anyway, if anyone can do so!

P.S. specs are:

Core Duo T5670 1.80GHz
3GB RAM
Windows 7 32 Bit
250GB HDD + 1TB External
ATI Radeon Mobility HD 3430
a b α HP
February 14, 2013 2:16:46 AM

I might suggest here that you could be dealing with a loose or damaged graphics cable. If you're not afraid to get inside of the laptop, I would suggest checking the graphics cable. A very thorough cleaning wouldn't hurt either.
February 14, 2013 2:49:20 PM

Thanks for that. I've had a look around to see if I can get a new graphics card and as I can't find one anywhere I'm assuming its an onboard deal. If it is, will it still have a cable I can check? I'll give it a clean too because the fan has been working hard lately to be fair
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a b α HP
February 14, 2013 5:30:50 PM

You do have a dedicated video card in the Mobility HD3430, even without that, there would still be a cable which goes into the monitor from the motherboard. Can you adjust the screen angle to make it not do that, or have you tried that approach?
The problem with replacing that graphics card is that it is soldered onto the motherboard, replacing the entire motherboard would be easier and likely less expensive than trying to have the graphics card resoldered. The method is called reballing because the solder is in the form of tiny little balls that are put in place with a stencil, quite interesting (to me) there are youtube vids that show the process.

If the cable doesn't appear to be damaged, loose or broken there is still an option called reflowing that you can attempt at home - it is nasty and smelly and has no guarantee of working. Plus your oven will end up smelling terrible for a few days (I've read - I have never attempted reflowing). Basically, it's a modified form of reballing where nothing is replaced, simply remelting the solder to 'repair' any small cracks in the solder. Some have reported long term success, most I've read report a few months to a year of extended life from the process - just another option to consider (if it isn't the cable)
February 15, 2013 7:52:00 PM

I will try to adjust the cable and see what I can do. Not overly keen on the idea of putting my computer in the oven but hey, if it works!
!