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Graphics Card issues(I think)

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by NateHodge, Oct 18, 2008.


  1. NateHodge

    NateHodge
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    My Dell XPS M140's display finally gave out on me. In about the last month or two, I was getting error messages pointing toward the graphics direction. I am in process of getting a display for it if I can find one since I know without a doubt it is bad. I am working with Dell and a place here in town, as well as looking online myself.

    I'm hoping the red flags were caused by the bad display, but if not, then it is more than likely the graphics card, which is soldered onto the motherboard. I figure if the motherboard is junk because of the graphics card, I might as well try to replace the graphics card first since it can't hurt anything. If it is possible, I'd like to get an NVIDIA graphics card.

    I have experience soldering small circuits and feel confident I can put the new card on myself if I have to. Can this be done by a professional? What are the steps to doing something like this? Will I have to download the drivers for said graphics card first, then attempt to replace the card?
     

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  2. IndyGunFreak

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    If the onboard graphics are bad, you should really either buy a new laptop, or send it to Dell for repair. That would be quite an undertaking trying to replace that. I've honestly never heard of someone soldering a new graphics chipset onto a motherboard, so I wouldn't even begin to know where to tell you to start.

    IGF
     

  3. IndyGunFreak

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  4. NateHodge

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    That is the display alone, not the motherboard. As for soldering on a new graphics card, all you do is heat the motherboard with a heat gun, remove the bad graphics card, set the new graphics card where it belongs, then re heat the motherboard again to get the sloder to take. The tricky part is that when you do this, you heat the solder on ever other circuit and chip too. So if you bump the board while the solder is soft, you'll more than likely move something that isn't supposed to be moved. But since I would be attempting to fix something that renders the whole board inoperable if it is indeed the GPU, I'll have nothing to lose.

    What I am concerned about is upgrading to an NVIDIA card and getting it to work. Dell won't fix it since it's not under warranty, and the are only going to try to sell me a new motherboard. I figure I'll try to fix it first and if that doesn't work, then buy new parts.
     
  5. IndyGunFreak

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    I don't know, could be interesting..

    Maybe I read the ad wrong, but I thought it was saying it was complete, except the screen was broken.

    IGF
     
  6. najaboy

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    It's the lcd alone.
     
  7. IndyGunFreak

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    Ah, Ok... :)

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  8. srhoades

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    Computers don't give error messages for bad monitors/lcd's. Unless it was the actual monitor giving the error message you probably just have corrupt video drivers.
     
  9. Big Al 24

    Big Al 24
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    No, I wouldn't do what you described here. If it is an onboard graphics controller you wouldn't be able to solder a new one on yourself. Don't believe me? Try it and post pics. The chip on the motherboard that controls your graphics is bordered by solder connections that are too close together so this process is usually done by machine. Even if you could get it off without breaking anything, getting a replacement chip itself would be "tough" to say the least. If the graphics card is bad it shouldn't involve solder or heat guns or zip ties or anything, just undo the screw that's holding it in the case and slide it out (after completely unplugging everything from the wall of course.) It should be the top slot in the motherboard closest to the processor. If it's an older PC you'll need a new AGP or PCI graphics card, if it's a newer PC you'll need a PCI express graphics card. If it's an onboard graphics chip I would say get a new mobo- if the mobo is really old, it may just be time to upgrade. And just so you know, modern graphics cards are very processor dependent- i.e. if you're trying to run a NVIDIA 8800 series card on a Pentium 2 or Athlon XP the money would've been better spend upgrading your computer's core components.
     
  10. NateHodge

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    My thoughts exactly. Thats why I am going ahead and looking at solutions for the GPU. My question wasn't whethere it was the display or the graphics card. It was whether I can get an NIVDIA card to work with my computer if I replace it as opposed to buying a new motherboard with the same Intel Mobile GPU that I have now.

    Thanks Big AL. It is in fact an onboard chip. The entire unit is less than 3 years old and was top notch when I got it, so it should be able to run an NVIDIA chip. Any idea where I can get an NVIDIA motherboard GPU and what it costs? If its cheap enough, I'd like to give it a try first. Like I said, I got nothing to lose. If I screw it up, then I just buy a new motherboard, which is what I would have to do anyway.

    As for the difficulty of getting it off and re-soldering a new one on, well thats a piece of cake compared to the chips I used to replace in cell phones:supergrin: My biggest concern is will it work.
     
    #10 NateHodge, Oct 19, 2008
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2008
  11. m2hmghb

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    It might be cheaper to call up Dell and try to extend the warranty and have them fix it. If you don't want to go that route I'd suggest you send it back and let them work on it. It might be better to get one of the build your own laptop kits and customize it.