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HellBound Hackers | Computer General | General Computer Problems

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Video Artifacts Inspiron 8500 ATI


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Posted on 27-12-08 01:09
OK, here's the problem.

I have a friend's Dell Inspiron 8500 with integrated ATI video processor. There are what are apparently video artifacts all over the screen. It's worse in BIOS and before OS boots, but very problematic after OS boots, too. I have booted XP (native install) and an Ubuntu disk and both OSes have roughly the same problems, so I am thinking it is a hardware problem.

However, when the problem occurred, Dell support told my friend to buy a new AC adapter, which doesn't help. Actually, when AC is plugged in, artifacts increase. I'll get to this point in a moment.

He replaced the motherboard (the GPU is integrated) to no avail.

I changed the clock speeds with ATITool; the cleanest I could get it was around 50MHz on Core and Mem. Higher than about 150 for either and the screen is unreadable. At default speeds, the machine becomes completely unusable.

I think the problem with plugging in the AC power is that the laptop increases GPU performance when powered. Otherwise it is in battery mode.

Here's the info from GPU-Z:

ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 (M9 GPU)
150nm technology
ROPs: 4
Bus: AGP 4x
Shaders: 4px 1vert
DirectX: 8.1
Pix Fill: .4GP/s
Tex Fill: .4GT/s
Mem: 32MB DDR 64bit
Bandwidth: 1.8GB/s
Driver: ati2mtag 6.14.10.6371 / XP
GPU Default Clock: 240MHz
Mem Default Clock: 195MHz

Current @ boot: GPU: 110MHz
Mem: 110MHz


Do you think this is a hardware problem, e.g. bad gpu memory? That is what I suspect, but since the motherboard was replaced, it's unlikely that that is the problem, I think. My friend did mention that Dell said something about there being a chip between the motherboard and the lcd, but that would not be the problem, would it? I'm about to test output through the VGA port, I'll reply with that information. According to my friend, Dell saw his problems through remote desktop, so it is not simply a problem with his monitor, I think. The output is full of artifacts, which implies a problem with the GPU or, more specifically, probably video RAM. I'm not a hardware person, so anything anyone has to say will help. Thanks!

I haven't been here in a while and I feel like I ask for help too frequently; yet again I find myself requesting aid. Thanks for putting up with me. I'm trying to become more active on HBH. Thanks, guys (and gals)

K edit. Attached to a VGA monitor, artifacts on monitor. Video output has artifacts.




Edited by on 27-12-08 01:15
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RE: Video Artifacts Inspiron 8500 ATI

websniper
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Posted on 27-12-08 01:42
Sounds like the vid driver may need reinstall. Have you tried uninstalling the driver and reinstalling it.




Edited by websniper on 27-12-08 01:45
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RE: Video Artifacts Inspiron 8500 ATI


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Posted on 27-12-08 02:02
That is probably not the problem, since the same artifacts occur in Ubuntu as in Win Xp. I have use a linux distro on this computer in the past with no problems, so it's highly unlikely that the installed win drivers _and_ nix drivers on the liveCD would both be bad. I'm trying not to make any software changes until I get a better idea of what the problem could be, as after a few minutes there are so many artifacts on the screen that it is completely unusable.

If I could reinstall them I would, but I don't want to change anything if I can't see what I'm doing, because if I make it worse it would be hard to fix.


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RE: Video Artifacts Inspiron 8500 ATI

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Posted on 27-12-08 02:12
Try doing what you said about hooking up an external monitor


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RE: Video Artifacts Inspiron 8500 ATI


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Posted on 27-12-08 02:28
Heating issue, maybe? You said the problem gets much better when you decrease the clock speed of the GPU... try putting some direct air (like a fan) pointed towards the GPU when you use the ATI tool thing and see if you can get the speed higher. Also, is it one of those that just has a sink on top, or does it have one of those massive fans on it?


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RE: Video Artifacts Inspiron 8500 ATI


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Posted on 27-12-08 02:30
K edit. Attached to a VGA monitor, artifacts on monitor. Video output has artifacts.


Already tried that, I've verified that the video output, and not the LCD, is the problem.


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Posted on 27-12-08 02:51
Zephyr, as far as I know it is only heat sink. I have to go somewhere now but I'll be back later.

I do not think it's a cooling issue, as the artifacts are present from power-on. If it was cooling, they would not be there. From what I know of GPU issues, it is most likely the vRAM, but I have no idea how to be sure of that right now. The artifacts are the same type that are displayed when heavily overclocking the RAM of any video processor. The difference is that I cannot completely eliminate them with any setting. Setting the memory frequency of the gpu to below about 50MHz resulted in massive horizontal streaking artifacts and essentially rendered the machine unusable, requiring a hard reboot.

I'll be back with more info later tonight. Until then, post everything that you want me to try or to find out. I'll get back to you tonight.

Thanks.

Oh, one more thing. Heating _could_ be a problem, as this machine was used for a few years in a hot outside environment with no cooling. However, as the motherboard was replaced, it would have to be something else if cooling is the problem, I think. Since the replacement, it has not been used in extreme environments, as far as I know.

Until I'm back and can look into it more deeply, that's all I know. Again, thank you for your time and expertise.


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RE: Video Artifacts Inspiron 8500 ATI

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Posted on 27-12-08 05:00
Heating problem or memory is on the way out.


i.imgur.com/qBWHo0R.png
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RE: Video Artifacts Inspiron 8500 ATI


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Posted on 28-12-08 00:23
I left the machine off for several hours and powered on in several instances. Each time, the BIOS info displays properly, but about 15 seconds into the boot process (a few seconds after windows splash logo) the video begins demonstrating massive artifacts. If this is a heating problem, it would not happen that quickly, would it? If it's memory, how would it display the image correctly at first? The machine _would_ be using the video ram the whole time, right?

Hardware people, any advice? Whatever it is it's a hardware problem, and I think it's extremely unlikely that my friend got a bad motherboard to replace the bad one he had...


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RE: Video Artifacts Inspiron 8500 ATI

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Posted on 28-12-08 03:11
Ok Thors who replaced the mobo and did it come with a video card???
The Inspiron 8500 does not have an integrated video card. I have 2 in the graveyard for parts and double checked my memory and it is separate. I found a tut on Disassembling it this one has a nvidia card but it's the same:
http://neodon.blo. . .sy_29.html
I would take that bitch apart and make sure it's seated properly before going any further.


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RE: Video Artifacts Inspiron 8500 ATI


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Posted on 30-12-08 06:43
Thank you, I'll check that it is properly seated. The 'repair' was done by whomever Dell had, so I guess "by Dell"...

It would seem, I think, that that would not be the problem, since the artifacts do not appear until a few seconds after power-on and then do not disappear at all. I probably should have checked this earlier, anyway, so I'll do that first thing tomorrow morning. Thanks again, mate.


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Posted on 31-12-08 19:01
OK I think we found the problem

The graphics card is from ATi, and it is definitely seated properly. I noticed when I turn the machine on, the GPU and CPU exhaust fans twitch at beginning and end of bios screen but do not run at all once the OS boots. Within 10 seconds the CPU heatsink was too hot to touch. I bet the GPU has overheated. The computer was routinely exposed to 40C+ ambient temperatures for at least a year, and was left running for 8 hour or more periods at that temperature. Without the fans, it became very hot (sometimes too hot to touch the bottom, in fact).

So, right now, I'm thinking that the GPU has overheated. That sound reasonable enough?

Thanks everyone. He already replaced the laptop, but I'll see if he wants to buy a video card. It was really expensive when he bought it, and he doesn't seem to mind spending a little more to get it working properly.


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Posted on 01-01-09 00:31
That actually makes sense. A bad mainboard could cause the fans not to function. Check an extra fan you might have lying around on the board and, if it works, it's the fans; if not, it's more than likely the board.


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Posted on 01-01-09 15:23
I think I have a few fans from a pair of iBooks I scrapped, they should work with it. If not, I can at least tell my friend something he didn't know before.

Even with functional fans, I would not be surprised if it had overheated. We worked together in the summer out of a small trailer which contained our supplies (car paints, cleaning solutions, etc.) and the laptop sat on a towel which blocked the fan output.

I'll try a fan if I can find one. If not, I'll just give it back to him and tell him what I know.

Thanks again, everyone.