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I think my gpu is fried in my Precision M90, need help troubleshooting

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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August 5, 2010 8:52:19 PM

Ive owned this dell precision for over 4.5 years and its been used almost every minute of that 4.5 years, I have used it every day for work and then every night and weekend gaming or anything else you can think of, this poor beast needs to be put down :D 

last friday I was playing wow and the screen went totally black (there were massive particle effects on screen when it happened), I could still hear my audio and playing with the keyboard and mouse I could hear all of the alerts and notifications which tells me that my system just didnt lockup, the screen just went black.

I booted it up and was greeted with a lovely BSOD, I no longer have the codes with me but they indicated both a memory problem and a video card problem.

I can boot the laptop just fine in safe mode but as soon as I try to load windows with full drivers, it BSOD on me.

while its booting up, there are artifacts on the screen in a distinct pattern, almost a partial checkerboard and when it attempts to load windows, I get vertical artifacts in multiple colors.

ive formatted and reloaded windows just for giggles and no dice there.

the laptop is fast enough and does what I need right now to almost make it worth me fixing, I can get a refurb quadro 2500 for around 250.00-300.00 and since it still has plenty of power to do just about anything I need, id like to squeek out another few months before I just replace it, but I would like to pass it down to my kids to use.

before I spend the 250.00 for a new card, I wanted to get everyones opinions on whether or not its the root cause of the trouble, I would really hate to buy the card, have it not be the problem and then not be able to send it back.

any thoughts?
a b D Laptop
August 7, 2010 2:54:35 PM

Could have been overheating. Have you cleaned the heatsinks out? Have you physically inspected the board? Look for blown caps. You might want to consider the oven/heatgun trick for dead GPUs.
August 9, 2010 4:13:17 PM

Thanks for the reply and suggestions, I really appreciate it.

I took the M90 apart yesterday and pulled the mainboard and removed the GPU looking for any visual signs of physical damage (blown caps, ect) the heatsinks were perfectly clean, in fact the entire inside of the case showed very little signs of dust.. I could not see any signs of damage whatsoever. (i combed it with a magnifying glass, but im still a novice and dont know exactly what im looking for)

so hypothetically speaking, if the inside of the case was 90% clear of dust, the heatsinks were all clean and no visible signs of damage, would you come to the conclusion that all I need is a reflow? im alittle nervous to try the heatgun/blanket/ect trick, I dont want to further damage anything. but if it appears that it just needs a reapplication of arctic silver, copper pads and a professional reflow, I would probably take the gamble and go that route.

ill still probably get a replacement laptop, but if I can get this M90 running again, it would be the perfect at home workstation for the kids.
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August 9, 2010 4:25:20 PM

I just found what you were talking about (the oven trick) I was thinking it was something completely different, ill try that tonight and see how it goes and ill report back.. keeping my fingers crossed
August 13, 2010 4:14:23 PM

well, I cant believe that worked... its too crazy.

after sitting on the fence on whether to bake my GPU, I ordered some IC Diamond and some repalcement pads (the ones on my GPU looked like they could be replaced)
took everything apart and baked it in the oven at 385 at 10 minutes, it seemed to have at least temporarily fixed the micro fractures in the solder joints because I am no longer getting artifacts and its running better than ever.

so, now that I got myself all revved up to buy a new workstation, I cant justify it anymore. :pt1cable: 
this M90 will handle most everything I need it to do, including games still 4 years after I bought it, and when I bought it, it had been on the market for some time..

looking forward to replacing it in a few months with a new Precision workstation.

thanks again for the suggestion, you saved my bacon!
!