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I think my video card just kicked the bucket
#1
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I have a Dell E1705 Inspiron laptop with a nVidia GeForce 7900 GS graphics card. It is 4 years old and no problems at all until now and I have been doing some serious gaming on it over that time. Elder Scrolls Oblivion, and PCSX2 and other emulators as well as Fable and Halo. I am over at my parents house doing laundry and playing Final Fantasy 7 on pSX then suddenly I get the blue screen of death saying that there was a hardware failure, memory parity error. When I restart the screen has sets of 4 vertical lines all made up of blue dots. It gets past the BIOS, then crashes with the same NMI Memory parity error before Windows can boot up.

After googling the problem it seems like the graphics card is the likely culprit. I was thinking it could be an overheating issue too but even after letting the laptop sit for awhile the same thing happens. If it was overheating and dust then the laptop would work fine for a bit before crashing.

Although since monitoring my computer temps since I first played PCSX2 the CPU has always been consistently around 50-55 C which is a tad warm but manageable but the graphics card has always been a little warm at 65C so maybe the Graphics Card just finally crapped out on me.

The vertical dotted lines on the screen gives me a hint it is likely graphics card related. Although since the BIOS boots up but not Windows it could possibly be the RAM. After 4 years it has been out of warranty for a while so I am hopeful that worst case scenario I send it back to Dell and they install a new Graphics Card or RAM and it costs less than buying a new computer.

Strangely enough if I boot in safe mode with the command prompt the vertical lines are gone and everything appears to be normal.

Has anyone else encountered this problem? Seems to point directly to the graphics card. Either the hardware itself or the drivers. If it is the drivers I am assuming that is why the computer boots up fine in safe mode because the nVidia driver is not booting up.
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#2
You could use the safe mode to uninstall and reinstall the video card drivers just to make sure it's not the driver's fault. If the screen still looks "like bugs" then you can think about a new graphics card.

And yeah. mobile GPUs can break or loose some contact on them BGAs (ball grid arrays) when overheating under abusive usage. You're mosdef not the first one with that problem.
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#3
I can boot in safe mode just fine and navigate my files and everything which tells me it is not an issue with my computer hardware or overheating but a GPU issue either with the GPU itself or the drivers.

Worst case scenario I can just disable the graphics card and use the generic VGA device until I can get a new card. That would just mean no gaming on it for a while.
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#4
Have you atleast tried to get the driver reinstalled?

I know this kinda pointless thought if it's a possible driver issue. But it could atleast fix 'broken' settings in it also cause better drivers with bugfixes aren't easy to get for laptops.
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#5
Well it definitely is the graphics card. In safe mode I disabled the graphics card and the computer is able to start up normally though.

Unfortunately when I tried to uninstall the driver the computer hangs at the shutdown screen.

Oh well, hopefully if I get the job I applied for as a database technician I can celebrate by getting a new computer. I survived the first couple of screenings and feel pretty good about being called in for final interviews.

If it is not the drivers but the graphics card itself then I pretty much have to buy a new computer since the card is onboard.

The basic VGA display driver is so slow.
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#6
It's most likely a damaged GPU, yea.
The other chance is that the drivers are messed up.
You should be able to simply reinstall a new driver set in safe mode.
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#7
just be thankful it lasted four years I don't have any parts on my computer that lasted four years, cuz most em that Ive had barely makes it to two or three years well except my CRT monitor which is about more than 6 years now which broke down a few time too over the years from bloated CAPS, burned out resistors and broken power output all fixed by yours truly all thanks too my Dad being a TV technician for 3 decades so I could get my hand on Parts and tools very easily although he hates it when the only reason I visit is to steal some parts and Borrow his tools LOLTongue2
My New PC
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#8
Yep it is definitely the graphics card. Uninstalled the drivers, then reinstalled and I still get the same blue screen hardware failure after the BIOS boot up and before Windows can boot up. One last possible resort is to open up the laptop and blow out all the dust but if the card is indeed fried the damage has already been done.

As of now I just have my graphics card disabled. I can still use my computer except for playing video games on it. The generic VGA display driver sucks. low screen resolution and I can't put my computer to sleep. I have to shut down and start up the computer each time.

In order to replace the graphics card I would have to send my computer back to Dell and pay all costs since it is out of warranty. Plus I don't think the GeForce 7900 is made anymore. Basically I would need a new computer.

Since I have the Intel core 2 duo processor doesn't Intel have their own mobile graphics card on the motherboard? Under display adaptors I only see my nVidia card. No other options. If only I could just switch to one of the Intel Mobile cards. Wouldn't be very good for video games, but still better than nothing.

Oh well I get that job and core i7 here I come.
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#9
Check the power your pc is getting from your psu, it could be your psu giving in rather than the card.
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#10
I haven't even thought of the power supply. How would I check how much power is going to the components? Specifically the graphics card? Would the speed fan program do the trick?

When I went into dell diagnostics I just found out my laptop is still under warranty for 3 more months. When my parents got me this computer in college they must have selected the extended warranty. That is good to know.


If however I get the job I want as a database technician then I can celebrate by getting this instead and retire my current laptop. I prefer laptops right now since I travel a bit and will travel occasionally with the new job and it is nice to play games on the go. One of these days I will get a solid desktop but not until I move out of my apartment into a regular house.

http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-m17x/...17x&~ck=mn

I will probably get it as is with the standard price with no customization aside from the graphics card. Both the ATI Radeon 5870 and nVidia GTX 285 are outstanding cards and I can't decide on one right now.
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