Legacy Support information

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Legacy Support information

  • Chris,

    As I returned home from work to compose an email to Legacy support, I notice that you've deleted my original post with the information I needed ... http://en.community.dell.com/msgs/default.aspx?MessageID=9#19746558

    Could you please provide that information again? Thank you!

    - Ryan

  • Did you receive an email from the Terms of Use team describing why a post was deleted? If yes, that email should have your original post? I sent you an email with the data.

    (Liaison for Desktops, Alienware, Monitors)
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  • DELL-Chris M

    Did you receive an email from the Terms of Use team describing why a post was deleted? If yes, that email should have your original post? I sent you an email with the data.

    Hey Chris,

    I did not receive an email stating that I'd violated any terms, and when I clicked on the link you sent to me, this is what I was greeted with ...

    Post Not Found
    The post you requested cannot be found or no longer exists. The administrator or moderator may have deleted the post

    If you could kindly repost the information you gave to me for Legacy support, or simply PM me, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you as always,

    Ryan Cool
  • Ryan,

    Check your friend requests.

    I wrote a post about fixing your computer ... would be nice if you could actually see it.

     


    Alienware Aurora ~ Intel i7-930 ~ 12gb ram ~ AMD HD-5870
    256gb Samsung 830 SSD / 1tb HDD ~ LG Blu-Ray ~ USB 3.0 PCIe
    Dell 24" UltraSharp u2410 LCD ~ Dell 22" LCD

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  • Tesla1856

    Ryan,

    Check your friend requests.

    I wrote a post about fixing your computer ... would be nice if you could actually see it.

     

    Hey thanks, Tesla. Unfortunately I don't see the post. Could you PM me the fix or post here? Hopefully this post doesn't get deleted ^_^

    Briefly, what was the fix? Hopefully it's something easy!

    Ryan

  • Easy? No .. but a continuation of what you have already done. I sent it by private message.

    Did you get the legacy support info Chris was trying to tell you?

     


    Alienware Aurora ~ Intel i7-930 ~ 12gb ram ~ AMD HD-5870
    256gb Samsung 830 SSD / 1tb HDD ~ LG Blu-Ray ~ USB 3.0 PCIe
    Dell 24" UltraSharp u2410 LCD ~ Dell 22" LCD

    All my Dell Machines and Specs

    Wiki-like Threads I've written and other Favorites

    Posting Tips:
    - Always provide machine make, model, specs and software versions.
    - Click the button if we answered your question.

    Registered Microsoft Partner
    & Apple Developer:

    Gaming when I'm not programming.

    I answer questions here, but
    I'm not a Dell employee.

  • Tesla1856

    Easy? No .. but a continuation of what you have already done. I sent it by private message.

    Did you get the legacy support info Chris was trying to tell you?

    Thanks for your input, Tesla. I did not get the information that I needed from Chris, no. I'm sure he will repost it when he has a chance.

     

    As to the solution that you sent to me, which involves removing the heatsinks on the GPU's and re-thermaling the cores, that's impossible to do or else I'd've already done it. It appears as though the heatsinks have been glued to the card. I can't get to the core to rethermal it, and it really stinks. Also, when you stated that the drivers control the fans and not the BIOS, that's what I though too. But I can't tell you how many times I've uninstalled and reinstalled the video drivers. I really think I'm just going to have to pull the video cards out again, grab the fans, and plug them into a 3-4 pin connection on a desktop motherboard to see if they'll spin up because other than that I'm not sure how I can test to see if the fans are working.

    If you have any other ideas Tesla, I'm all ears bud. Thanks for your help!

    Ryan

  • Greetings, fellow Alienwarers!

    I come to you today with a tale that deals with a grave situation, that hopefully someone here has already experienced who has some insight as to what to do considering this predicament.

    I'll start from the beginning. Being the avid gamer that I am, I purchased an M17x Area-51 (R1 – Ripley) on October 8th, 2008. After waiting 3 agonizing weeks to get my hands on this laptop, I was overjoyed when I finally received it, despite the many issues that I had with it when I first unboxed it. Being the overly enthusiastic guy that I was at the time, I was too excited to call Alienware and tell them that my case was cracked by the touchpad (minor) and that none of the drivers had been installed; the only thing that was installed was a printer that I didn't own. Weird. I was too excited after having received this laptop to want to send it back to have them fix these issues, so I continued on. It was only after my initial "out of box" warranty window expired that I asked to have it repaired, but that's not the issue. The issue at hand is far more dire indeed.

    As of last month and this (August 2010 to present), I've been experiencing random shut downs from my system. Odd, I thought. My system has always run fine without any issues. After checking the Event Log, I noted that my computer had shut down forcefully due to graphic related issues. After clearing the logs and playing a favorite game of mine, I noticed that my computer would kick me out of the game and force close it. It only happened about once or twice a week, but as time went on I found that this issue was occurring more and more frequently. The issue now affects my computer whenever I load a game. Within 2-3 minutes, my computer will boot me out of whatever game I'm playing and tell me that the program (game) that I was playing is now "Not Responding" and must close. Now I was becoming irritated. I ran a harddrive test, chkdsk, cpu, memory, and everything checked out fine. It wasn't until I ran Speccy and found that both of my video cards were running at 130+ degrees under no load that I was concerned.

    Following the instructions on the Alienware website on how to unseat and reseat your video cards, (sli setup, 8800GTX), I took the video cards out after removing the battery and tested each one individually. Both showed a normal load operating temperature of 130+ degrees. Now I know that NVIDIA cards run hot, but this is just ridiculously hot. To further test this issue, I turned on sli and went to grab some coffee and came back to see that my computer had shut down. "that's odd ... I don't remember shutting down my laptop," I said quizzically. After turning my computer on and checking the Event Log, I saw that again my computer had had to shut down because my GPU had force closed and the system was shut down to prevent hardware failures. With sli still enabled, I pulled up Speccy to see that my Master GPU was running at 158+ degrees and my slave was above 140+ degrees, and this was just with me staring at my desktop! After uninstalling the drivers and allowing Windows 7 (Ultimate x64) to install drivers for me, my temperatures dropped 10 degrees under normal load, however my computer would still crash after running Starcraft II on the lowest settings possible. This is not good.

    I checked each GPU individually and numbered each card separately so that I would be able to run individual diagnostics on each card. I saw no scorch marks, no metal fatigue, and no broken or shorting circuits. Bummer. At least, I thought, that if I was able to find something physically wrong with either card I could return them and get another, however that was not the case, sadly. After putting both cards back into the laptop, I turned sli back on and saw how long it took for the cards to heat up. It was at that moment that I realized that something was different than when I first purchased the laptop; I heard and felt almost no fan activity. That's it! My fans are not speeding up to counter the increase in heat from the video cards! After realizing this, I went to the Alienware website and looked for a fan application that would allow me to adjust the fan speeds manually, however I was disappointed when I discovered that no such application existed. I attempted to use SpeedFan, however it was unable to detect any fans installed on my computer (however I will note that the temp icons located next to my CPU and GPUs showed both components as "on fire.") After uninstalling the SpeedFan application, I bit the bullet and called Alienware Customer Support. I'd heard terrible, horrible things about their support, but I figured I didn't have any other choice at this time since I was unable to locate anything on the internet that would tell me what to do beyond simply taking out the video cards and reseating them. After waiting to speak with a tech for 75 minutes, I spoke with an "Alan" from Costa Rica who explained to me that he would not be able to help me because my laptop was out of warranty. I explained that I was not looking for warranty work and stated that I would be able to work on this issue myself and asked him for a field service manual similar to what's available to the R2, which, I must say, is very nice and thorough. He informed me that all the information I would need was located on the Alienware Forms / Support / FAQ sections on the website, to which I replied that the only information that's on the website is what I've already done. He stated again that he was not able to help me and advised me to revisit the website or send in the laptop. Finally, I asked him if there was an application or diagnostic that I could download or be provided that would allow me to adjust the fan speed, to which he replied that no application like that existed and that I would be better off sending in the laptop. Frustrated, I hung up.

    After scouring the internet for any possible solution, I was not able to find anything that directly addressed this issue. I have documented everything that I've done to my laptop, and have taken pictures of everything that I've mentioned above. The pictures can be viewed using the below listed links in no particular order:

    = : Hardware : =
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/camera/gpucard1.jpg – GPU 1
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/camera/gpucard2.jpg – GPU 2
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/camera/gpucardidentify.jpg – GPU Type (forgive my hideous nails)
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/camera/gpucardssli.jpg – Video Cards in sli configuration
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/camera/gpufamremoved.jpg – Fan Housing removed
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/camera/gpufancover.jpg – Fan Unit removed
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/camera/gpuhousing.jpg – Top down GPU housing with Touch Sensitive plate removed
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/camera/gpuhousingempty.jpg – GPU housing empty]
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/camera/gpuunderhsink.jpg – GPU under bracket / hsink
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/camera/identify.jpg – Make and model of my Alienware
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/camera/kbtpremoved.jpg – Keyboard and Touch Panel removed
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/camera/outercasecatch.jpg - Difficult to open case point

    = : Screenshots : =
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/jpgs/dmvc2w.jpg – Device Manager recognizing both video cards (non sli at this point)
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/jpgs/slidisabled.jpg – Sli disabled
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/jpgs/imagesetting.jpg – NVIDIA control panel setting cards to performance rather than quality (less GPU intensive)
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/jpgs/lotslinosc2.jpg – Playing Starcraft II non-sli with the lowest possible game settings w/o NVIDIA drivers
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/jpgs/sc2graphicsettings.jpg – Starcraft II graphic settings (cardboard shapes w/ no glow or shine)
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/jpgs/notsslino.jpg – Normal operating temps w/o NVIDIA drivers
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/jpgs/nvidiadriverinstall.jpg – No load (staring at my desktop) operating temperatures after installing the NVIDIA drivers
    http://www.geekneighbor.com/alien/jpgs/singlecardnot.jpg – Single card load temperature performance

    Now normally I don't like to involve money, but after dropping $5,300 on a laptop with bag whose graphic card / graphic card fans fail after almost two years, I'm disappointed. Perhaps some of you will tell me that this is normal, and if this is so, please tell me what you did in order to take care of it, because at this point I've absolutely had it with Alienware tech support in all avenues; phone support is laudable, Dell support simply forwarded me to Alienware tech support after I told them I had an Alienware laptop, the support and FAQ sections are bare and lackluster, and there is absolutely no field tech manual available because "Legacy" laptops are no longer covered under warranty, so the idea of having a service manual any longer apparently isn't required. I'm sure the techs at the Alienware headquarters in Miami have the service manual readily available, and why I can't be sent one of those is beyond me.

    What I would like to see from Alienware is a working Field Manual, so that I can take apart my laptop further without damaging my extremely expensive laptop. Hopefully this can be provided to me, or at least someone compassionate enough to allow me to return these video cards and have them tested. I really enjoy owning this laptop, but after this experience, I may not ever purchase another one again and would more than likely discourage others from purchasing one.

    Apart from contacting Dell Headquarters in Round Rock Texas (which is pretty close to me), I don't know what I have to do in order to convey my level of frustration, so I am giving myself freely to you, O' Mighty Alienware Support Forums group, in hopes of coming up with a solution for this dire predicament.

    Any and all commentary is appreciated and I thank you for your time in reading my rant.

    Sincerely from Plano Texas,
    Ryan H.

    P.S. Please note that I have owned and used a laptop cooler (Antec Notebook Cooler ZM-NC1000) since I purchased the laptop, and I've always have the laptop on the cooler, so this is definitely not related to heat issues caused by anterior heat soak.
    (Thanks to Ex_Brit for pointing out this forum out to me as I would've been forever lost on the Alienware Forum)

    (Liaison for Desktops, Alienware, Monitors)
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  • If you are sure that the fans are working, everything is clean (heat-sink vents especially), and heatsinks are attached properly and making good thermal contact ...

    1. Remove the heatsinks from the video boards.
    2. Notice where heatsink compound is applied (might also be on ram chips).
    3. Clean it off good and apply new (correct amount). I like to use silicone based non-conductive.
    4. Re-attach heatsink. Be sure it's making good contact.
    5. Re-install and test.

    For tips on how to do that properly ... it's just like doing it for a desktop processor (Google or YouTube for tips/vids).

    You might try doing just one at first and see how it goes. When testing cards ... see how they work individually in the main slot. A single 8800m should run StarCraft2 fine. Grab the Crysis demo (should run ok on all Medium as I recall).

    The nVidia drivers likely control the fans. The nVidia Quadro card in my Dell Precision gets cooled properly with just the normal drivers loaded. I used to have a desktop EVGA 9800gt (aka 8800gt) in my XPS-410. That thing ran really hot (like 175 F) but never gave me a problem (my brother still runs it in his XPS-410).

    If the heat isn't being transfered away from the GPU chips and into the heatsink ... the fans can't do their jobs

    Tesla1856

    (Liaison for Desktops, Alienware, Monitors)
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  • DELL-Chris M

    If you are sure that the fans are working, everything is clean (heat-sink vents especially), and heatsinks are attached properly and making good thermal contact ...

    1. Remove the heatsinks from the video boards.
    2. Notice where heatsink compound is applied (might also be on ram chips).
    3. Clean it off good and apply new (correct amount). I like to use silicone based non-conductive.
    4. Re-attach heatsink. Be sure it's making good contact.
    5. Re-install and test.

    For tips on how to do that properly ... it's just like doing it for a desktop processor (Google or YouTube for tips/vids).

    You might try doing just one at first and see how it goes. When testing cards ... see how they work individually in the main slot. A single 8800m should run StarCraft2 fine. Grab the Crysis demo (should run ok on all Medium as I recall).

    The nVidia drivers likely control the fans. The nVidia Quadro card in my Dell Precision gets cooled properly with just the normal drivers loaded. I used to have a desktop EVGA 9800gt (aka 8800gt) in my XPS-410. That thing ran really hot (like 175 F) but never gave me a problem (my brother still runs it in his XPS-410).

    If the heat isn't being transfered away from the GPU chips and into the heatsink ... the fans can't do their jobs

    Tesla1856

     

    Thank you Chris for reposting my original post.

    I will address each section of the proposed solution.

    "
    1. Remove the heatsinks from the video boards.
    2. Notice where heatsink compound is applied (might also be on ram chips).
    3. Clean it off good and apply new (correct amount). I like to use silicone based non-conductive.
    4. Re-attach heatsink. Be sure it's making good contact.
    5. Re-install and test.
    "

    As I've stated earlier, it is impossible to remove the heatsinks from these cards as they have been either soldered or glued to the board itself. I have attempted to see if there is any way in which to remove the heatsink, but it doesn't appear as there is any way to do so. I have really good ceramic paste to apply, too!

    "
    You might try doing just one at first and see how it goes. When testing cards ... see how they work individually in the main slot. A single 8800m should run StarCraft2 fine. Grab the Crysis demo (should run ok on all Medium as I recall).
    "

    I have screenshots that I've posted in the original post that I made (the giant wall of text) and one of them has a NOT of 130 degrees F sitting on the desktop. Once I go in game, the computer will shut down and temps will exceed 160 degrees, and that's without sli, physix, just with one card in the master slot and it happens with both cards individually tested. I own Crysis, so the demo won't be necessary.

    "The nVidia drivers likely control the fans. The nVidia Quadro card in my Dell Precision gets cooled properly with just the normal drivers loaded. I used to have a desktop EVGA 9800gt (aka 8800gt) in my XPS-410. That thing ran really hot (like 175 F) but never gave me a problem (my brother still runs it in his XPS-410)."

    I have uninstalled and reinstalled the drivers many, many times and there has been no improvement; the temps actually get hotter.

    I think at this point, I need to get new fans, but before I do, I'm going to have to test them to see if they're working because I don't think that they are. Any ideas on how to test the fans other than just plugging them into a 3-4 pin slot on a desktop motherboard?

    Thanks for all of your input!

    Ryan

  • GPU Chip Heatsink:

    Is there a picture of that above? If not, post a few so I can see what you are talking about. I've seen something like that, but not recently.

    Fans:

    The pic of the fan rating sticker is poor. If it isn't rated at 12v-dc, you can't connect it to a desktop (they use 12vdc fans). What's wrong with testing them in the laptop? Are they not turning?

    Drivers:

    Since it's a laptop (and a special one at that) you can probably only use the Win7 Alienware validated drivers. Are AW drivers that match your OS available? Uninstall old ones, reboot, run Driver Sweeper, reboot, Install correct drivers. You can also try the same procedure but let Windows install theirs (be sure machine can get to Windows Update online). If the Microsoft drivers install without an error, they should work and might be a good test.

    BIOS:

    Most HPs and Dells laptops (actually all latops with high-end dedicated nVidia GPUs) got caught in a problem a couple of years ago. There should have been a recent BIOS update that makes the GPU fan run more often.

    Warranty:

    So you are definitely out of warranty, right?


    Alienware Aurora ~ Intel i7-930 ~ 12gb ram ~ AMD HD-5870
    256gb Samsung 830 SSD / 1tb HDD ~ LG Blu-Ray ~ USB 3.0 PCIe
    Dell 24" UltraSharp u2410 LCD ~ Dell 22" LCD

    All my Dell Machines and Specs

    Wiki-like Threads I've written and other Favorites

    Posting Tips:
    - Always provide machine make, model, specs and software versions.
    - Click the button if we answered your question.

    Registered Microsoft Partner
    & Apple Developer:

    Gaming when I'm not programming.

    I answer questions here, but
    I'm not a Dell employee.

  • Tesla1856

    GPU Chip Heatsink:

    Is there a picture of that above? If not, post a few so I can see what you are talking about. I've seen something like that, but not recently.

    Fans:

    The pic of the fan rating sticker is poor. If it isn't rated at 12v-dc, you can't connect it to a desktop (they use 12vdc fans). What's wrong with testing them in the laptop? Are they not turning?

    Drivers:

    Since it's a laptop (and a special one at that) you can probably only use the Win7 Alienware validated drivers. Are AW drivers that match your OS available? Uninstall old ones, reboot, run Driver Sweeper, reboot, Install correct drivers. You can also try the same procedure but let Windows install theirs (be sure machine can get to Windows Update online). If the Microsoft drivers install without an error, they should work and might be a good test.

    BIOS:

    Most HPs and Dells laptops (actually all latops with high-end dedicated nVidia GPUs) got caught in a problem a couple of years ago. There should have been a recent BIOS update that makes the GPU fan run more often.

    Warranty:

    So you are definitely out of warranty, right?

     Tesla,

    I really appreciate your feedback, bud. You've responded more than I would have expected, which is refreshing. I have a picture of the card listed above that shows how the heatsink housing is fused to the card itself; trust me when I say that it is impossible save ripping the heatsink off forcefully to get it off.

    The drivers response is interesting, because I've been running Win7 for a while now and the fans at one point did work correctly. I downloaded the latest driver package straight from NVIDIA's website (http://www.nvidia.com/object/notebook-win7-winvista-64bit-258.96-whql-driver.html) and have installed it, but after I do, my card temps go through the roof and idle at around 135 - 140F, which is just ridiculous.

    The bios issue might be a better option and makes sense, but I can't find the bios version I need. Perhaps you could point me in the correct direction?

     Also, I thought you should know, that I did test my video card fans and found that neither of them are moving. I was able to test each card fan separately by using the ghetto method of taking the cards out, taking one of the fans off of a card, plugging the fan in (Master), seating the card in with the fan cable underneath and the fan sitting in the slave slot, putting the battery back in, and powering on the system. No fan movement at all. I did the same with the other card fan and received the same result. This raises some questions with me; is there a separate fan controller that acts proprietorially (independent of the motherboard), or is it controlled by the motherboard? Does it mean that the motherboard is bad? Are the cards bad? Are the fans bad? What are the odds of both fans going out at exactly the same time? It's a little bizarre and scary to me.

    Let me know what you come up with, Tesla. Chris, hopefully you might be able to shed some light on this as I'm sure I'm not the only one that this has happened to. If only I had some sort of document or manual that I could reference ... Stick out tongue

    - Ryan

  • Sure, no problem ... glad to help.

    As for correct drivers and BIOS, check your PM.

    With laptop video card drivers in general ... you almost always have to use the validated drivers from the builder (ie Dell). Next best would be the ones from Windows Update (if Windows even suggests you try them). Last would be the reference drivers from nVidia or AMD.

    Very doubtfull both fans went out at the same time (or any fairly clean fan for that matter). It would be cool if it's just the "control on the fans" because that would mean the non-removal of heatsinks becomes a non-issue. Also, a good chance the heatsinks and GPU chips are working properly.

    Like I said before ... the 8800 desktop chips run very hot and that is normal. I'm just not sure what the normal operating temperature parameters are for the mobile version  (but they are likely fairly high).

    If the fans plug into the mini-pcie video cards, the video drivers likely control the fans. If they plug directly into the motherboard, the MB drivers do it. Most of the time, the video cards are not removable and it's all on the MB.

     


    Alienware Aurora ~ Intel i7-930 ~ 12gb ram ~ AMD HD-5870
    256gb Samsung 830 SSD / 1tb HDD ~ LG Blu-Ray ~ USB 3.0 PCIe
    Dell 24" UltraSharp u2410 LCD ~ Dell 22" LCD

    All my Dell Machines and Specs

    Wiki-like Threads I've written and other Favorites

    Posting Tips:
    - Always provide machine make, model, specs and software versions.
    - Click the button if we answered your question.

    Registered Microsoft Partner
    & Apple Developer:

    Gaming when I'm not programming.

    I answer questions here, but
    I'm not a Dell employee.

  • Tesla1856

    As for correct drivers and BIOS, check your PM.

    With laptop video card drivers in general ... you almost always have to use the validated drivers from the builder (ie Dell). Next best would be the ones from Windows Update (if Windows even suggests you try them). Last would be the reference drivers from nVidia or AMD.

    Interesting, because Dell didn't make this laptop. It was built before Dell acquired Alienware. Does that matter? Anyhow, I will flash the BIOS and install the recommended drivers as soon as I get home and let you know what happens. Thanks, Tesla!

    - Ryan YesCool

  • Alright, here's the most recent development.

    Additional steps I have taken to fix the issue of my fans not spinning.

    • Flashed the BIOS to the most recent version (From alienware's website - My Hive area) 
    • Reinstalled the OS
    • Reinstalled all drivers Alienware recommends for its hardware
    • Cleaned and reseated the video cards
    • Reinstalled the video drivers (tried the ones that Windows 7 x64 recommends, the ones from Dell (wrong card, however, so I did not install - Dell doesn't have any drivers for the Area-51 laptops, and finally the one's from NVidia)
    • Called Alienware tech support and they told me either the heatsinks were bad (really? Those pieces of metal that sit on top the video card?), there's no thermal paste on the GPU's which is preventing the fans from spinning (again, really? Do these people even own a computer?), or, which could be the most likely answer, is that the motherboard ports where the fans plug into aren't working.

    So, where we stand now. The fans are working. I've done everything I can think of to get these fans to spin, and they won't. What's strange is that my CPU fan spins just fine. Does anyone, please, have any information that would help me in troubleshooting this issue? I asked again for a service manual for this laptop and was told that they do not have one. How can you not have a service manual for a product that you sell? How?! What do the techs that receive these laptops use as a reference?

    I feel completely abandoned here.