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In desperate need of quick advice

Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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May 15, 2012 4:26:01 AM

Specs:

nVidia GTX 260M
2.53Ghz Dual Core
4GB DDR3
320GB 7200 RPM Hd

This laptop is roughly 2.8 years old.

Here is my current situation.

I have a Sager NP 8662. It has been in and out of a local repair shop 4 times in the past 2.5 months. The problem is, when I turn the laptop on I immediately get a gray screen. This gray screen gradually gets lighter to almost fully white. I'm not sure what the repair shop was doing but they were only able to fix it for 2-3 weeks at a time. I eventually got a refund because they couldn't fix it. Today after getting my laptop back I turned it on and left it at the gray screen for over an hour and it eventually booted to the login screen. After it booted there was a windows message saying the computer had recovered from a blue screen. After watching about 30 seconds of a video it started to freeze up at which time I had to hold the power button to turn it off. Every time it had broke the past 4 times it was either while watching a video or playing a game. I can still hear the hard drive start up when the laptop starts up and I believe they also checked for faulty RAM so I don't think either of those are the problem. I have also tried hooking it up to an external monitor and that didnt work so I know my display is not to blame. My questions to you guys are:

1) What was the shop doing it to repair it for only 2-3 weeks at a time
2) What part is most likely to blame for the problem
3) How can I fix it?

I would consider myself somewhat knowledgable with disassembling my laptop so any advice or tips you guys have I would greatly appreciate it. Hopefully I can fix it myself as I don't want to spend another couple hundred at a repair shop. If I can't fix it myself I guess I'll have to take it back in tomorrow. It's just my luck my computer craps out the night before Diablo III..>.<

More about : desperate quick advice

May 15, 2012 5:19:47 AM

Sounds like a bad gpu
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May 15, 2012 5:33:19 AM

The bad thing is if it is the Gpu I don't think they make them anymore... At least I couldn't find it for sale on Amazon, newegg, or tigerdirect. How can I tell for sure that it's the Gpu and not the mobo?
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May 15, 2012 5:52:01 AM

Best way I know of would be to swap in a different video card...though that doesn't help much.

Does the grey screen occur before post(the beep) or after post but before windows loads?
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May 15, 2012 6:01:01 AM

Ermm.. I hit power. There is 2 seconds of black screen then immediately the gray screen. That's all I see.
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May 15, 2012 4:59:55 PM

Anyone else have any idea of what the problem is?
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a c 244 D Laptop
May 16, 2012 4:59:18 PM

Sounds like a defective GPU to me.Try searching for your card in ebay.That's the only place you may find it
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May 16, 2012 5:08:37 PM

There aren't any on eBay the past few days/weeks :( 
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May 16, 2012 5:16:05 PM

I third the above. It's likely the GPU is overheating, if the local repair shop can't fix it anymore, and the laptop mfg is gone (?) then you're out of luck. I've repaired an HP laptop with this issue before, the repair lasted about 2 months, and it quit again. For my fix, I had to dissassemble the laptop and melt the solder under the GPU without frying the components or having other parts fall off; we have a tool at work designed for doing exactly this, however people do it with HW store heatguns/etc.

You can try looking online to see if you can find a replacement motherboard (GPU is soldered to the mobo probably), if you can't find a replacement mobo I wouldn't bother with fixing it again, it's probably never going to fix it permanently, you'll just be patching it up each time it goes down again. If you do fix it though, don't game on it ever, because it can't handle the heat.

I would recommend you disassemble the thing and sell the parts on ebay (the LCD, the processor, the ram, the chassis, keyboard, hard drive, cd drive, etc) with some luck you can make a decent amount to put towards a new laptop. (Don't sell the motherboard, as it's defective, other parts though should be fine, but you should probably include a disclaimer).

Alternatively, you can simply list the thing on ebay as broken (bad motherboard/GPU), you'll get a bit less money for less work. People can use these things for parts for themselves or just to part it out individually to make a small profit.

Don't feel too bad, even name-brands have these issues (I think it tends to be nvidia chips, but they may have cleaned up their act too), and they usually cost quite a lot to repair when they overheat and die if they are out of warranty.
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May 16, 2012 7:55:51 PM

I also say GPU. Best thing is just put it online as a parts machine. Get a hard drive enclosure to put the old drive in so you have your data. Unfortunately nvidia chipsets were notorious for the heat problems. I have an acer laptop that also had heat issues but I actually bent the heatpipe, on purpose though, after removing the thermal pad in order to get the heatsink to make direct contact to the gpu. That along with new thermal paste dropped my gpu temps from 90 degrees celcius and above into the 60's. If it comes up again you may try that as a last ditch effort to save your laptop.
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May 16, 2012 8:00:28 PM

I was always vigilant about keeping dust out of my laptop and I replaced
thermal paste every 4-5 months or so. I always used my laptop with a cooler master storm cooler underneath it with 2 120mm fans running mid-high as well as a ceiling fan. The temperature in the room where I use it is always below 75 so im not quite sure how it could have overheated so easily...:( 
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May 16, 2012 8:04:50 PM

Hardware failure sometimes just happens despite your best efforts. I have to throw my cards in with GPU failure.
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May 16, 2012 8:04:52 PM

Oh and it's not soldered to the motherboard. If I unscrew 2 screws I can lift it up then slide it out at an angle.
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May 16, 2012 8:13:44 PM

I think the only other option I have is gtx 280m and I can only use the MXM 2.1? Not the 3.0 ... I believe
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May 16, 2012 8:19:53 PM

Then get a 260M/280M to replace it... or get a new lappy
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May 16, 2012 8:21:05 PM

I haven't been able to find a 260 or 280 they are all the 3.0 ones :( 
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May 16, 2012 8:35:16 PM

So what's that mean for me... I'm screwed? Lol >.<
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May 16, 2012 8:41:25 PM

I was told only a 260 or 280 MXM 2.1 would work though
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May 16, 2012 8:44:47 PM

the FX 3700M is the professional/enterprise GFX card version of the 280M. You can flash the bios of the 3700M to turn it into a gtx 280M.

New they run $1500+

on ebay... $200-$250
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May 16, 2012 8:51:00 PM

There's different ones. How can I be sure before buying which are compatible
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May 16, 2012 8:54:18 PM

Get the one that say MXM 2.1
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May 16, 2012 8:56:08 PM

Well on eBay searching FX 3700M MXM 2.1 yields results for over $1,600.00..... A bit out of my price range
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May 16, 2012 9:09:21 PM

just search FX 3700 there are some for less that are $200-$250
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Best solution

May 16, 2012 9:24:57 PM

I'm not sure if you should be fixing the issue. You can get a replacement laptop new for 500-800$. What you could do is part the laptop off on ebay to get some money back to put towards the new one. It is almost 3 years old and the prices of more powerful laptops haven fallen to the point where as i said, don't bother to fix it.
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May 16, 2012 9:47:42 PM

Any rough estimates of how much I could get for this laptop if it was parted out or sold together for someone else to part out?

Edit: Is that Michio Kaku As your avatar, dormantreign? I'm on a phone it's a little hard to see
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May 16, 2012 9:59:06 PM

Used laptops resale value sucks... I'd guess $100 to $200 tops for a broken lappy. A decent new laptop with a distinct graphics card like a 540M or 630M is going to cost > $750.
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May 16, 2012 10:01:24 PM

The next computer I'm getting will be a desktop anyway...hmm... I would have thought I could get at least 300 out of it
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May 26, 2012 11:58:46 PM

Best answer selected by Matt1990.
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May 28, 2012 12:13:36 AM

Unfortunately laptops are kind of disposable these days considering you can get a new basic laptop for 300.
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