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Memory problems? Video card gone nuts? Overheating?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by freshofftheufo, Aug 10, 2011.

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  1. freshofftheufo

    freshofftheufo Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
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    Hey guys this is my first post. I've used advice from techguy that came up in google before, but this time it seems that google isn't going to help much, so hopefully I can explain exactly whats going on. My laptop (specs below), is getting pretty old now, and though I've taken very good care of it, I'm worried that I may not be able to save it in its current condition. A serious OS error a couple weeks ago forced me to reinstall Vista, and as my lappy had no recovery disk or anything of the sort, I was forced to borrow a copy of Home Premium and use the serial number that had been given to me when I bought it. Long story short, I looked up all of the latest drivers for each individual part, had everything updated, and everything was operating as good as new, I was a happy camper!

    A couple days ago, my computer crashed (while running a video, the sound and video began to skip rapidly, repeating the same half-second clip over and over, and then either shut down or just stopped, I can't remember), and when I started it up again, the video card was obviously acting strange. Erroneous pixel "noise", even at the BIOS screen, nothing unreadable but obviously not normal. Windows was loading up normally, (the pixel noise stopped at the log-on screen) but the resolution was either limited, or Aero was disabled, and when I looked up the device manager, depending on when I looked at it, the video card was either completely undetected, or it gave the correct video card name with an "error" yellow exclamation mark on it. Also notable is that one of the PCI memory controller icons was also showing an error in device manager, notable mostly because this computer shares memory with the video card. So I'm not sure if it's a video card problem, or a memory problem.

    The error with the PCI memory controller MAY have been present before the computer started crashing, I can't remember. Also, the computer will boot well sometimes, or the monitor will be almost completely illegible other times, and as far as I can tell it has something to do with ambient heat (it works well at night, but at around noon I don't even bother anymore). I suspected that the lappy had been overheating after the first crash, so I installed a GPU/memory temp monitor, and it seems that overnight the computer will usually run at about 50-60 degrees, and the computer usually crashes when it gets over 70. I've always had a special gel cooler under the laptop, but now I have it sitting on tupperware filled with water, with the intakes exposed. It helps a little but not enough to keep it running during the day.

    Not much else as far as useful information goes. I have tried installing (slightly) newer video drivers when the computer was booting well and the video card seemed to have been detected properly, but the nVidia installer didn't recognize my card and I wasn't able to install it. Right now I'm stuck at a 600x800 resolution and no options, though sometimes I can up the resolution, and even hook up my second monitor, so it seems that some features are being disabled progressively as the damage gets worse?

    Installing memory seems like an option to me, but I'm not really sure if that will help, so I'm wondering what you guys think with my situation? Hopefully I can still boot up this thing tomorrow! Sorry for the long post, I couldn't think of any other way to explain things other than by telling you exactly what I've been doing this week^^

    Thanks for any help!
    - Gavin

    OS Version: Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Home Premium , Service Pack 2, 32 bit
    Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T7500 @ 2.20GHz, x64 Family 6 Model 15 Stepping 11
    Processor Count: 2
    RAM: 2045 Mb
    Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GS , 256 Mb
    Hard Drives: C: Total - 76316 MB, Free - 38247 MB;
    Motherboard: , , 00030D00550252E3, 1234AA782E
    Antivirus: avast! Antivirus, Updated: Yes, On-Demand Scanner: Enabled
     
  2. Tanis

    Tanis

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    Messages:
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    Hi and welcome to TSG

    It does sound, initially, like a heat related problem. Have you ever cleaned out heat sinks / fans etc inside the laptop? They are notoriously good (bad) at collecting dust and getting clogged up, far moreso than a desktop infact.

    If it is heat related, this the begs the question "Has permanant hardware damage already occured?", which is a possibility.

    Not sure if I like the sound of that, I do hope you haven't got it ontop of 'open' tupperware containers filled with water as that is just asking for trouble and inviting excessive moisure into the system.
     
  3. freshofftheufo

    freshofftheufo Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
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    I agree that heat was probably the initial issue, and I have (recently) attempted to clean out my heatsinks (after which I started monitoring the mobo temp), though I'll try that again to see if I can get a little more out of it. My main issue now is whether I should install new memory, or is the video card fried, or is there something else I can do? No matter how cold it is, there still seem to be some memory errors (though I haven't been able to scan for & find any errors of any kind while it is running smoothly... any other ideas on how I could check for that? the automatic windows scan after a bad reboot was a waste of time), and I'm pretty sure there's been some permanent damage.

    Don't worry, the container is closed. I'm just using it because it has a lot more heat capacity than my gel pack, and it keeps the laptop higher off the table.
     
  4. freshofftheufo

    freshofftheufo Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Sorry for all the posts, but I've just finished about 12 hours of memory scans with http://oca.microsoft.com/en/windiag.asp , which requires a boot CD, and it found no errors after 5 passes, so I'm kind of at a loss now. I don't think I can change the video card in this computer, and though I can still use it in the evenings when it's cool (15 degrees or so), it doesn't look like the computer is going to go back to full function any time soon.
     
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