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Help! M90 video issues


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Help! M90 video issues

  • If you managed to get three years out of an nVidia 7000 or 8000-series chip you've done very well.  There's nothing wrong with the system itself - they run just fine with ATI video cards.  It's the nVIdia chips that are faulty - not the system design.


  • Hi,

    I'm not sure what you mean 7000 or 8000 chip - apologies for not specifying, but my card is a nvidia quadro 2500m 512mb the other guys who have posted on this forum in the past, i believe i have a similar problem to them.

    I dont think its right to say - 'you've done very well' - do you work for dell? I have a pc that i bought in 2003, and thats still going...why the hell is one i bought 3 years ago for the same price dying on me now? I think, like the other gentlemen said, Dell should do something about this - my laptop was overheating lots, i had to use it in an elevated way to let the hot air out...thats a design fault or something surely? And the fact that it died less than 2 weeks after warranty is really fishy...

  • By 7000, he means the main processor. My M90, for example has the T7200 dual core processor, but the video card is the same NVidia FX2500M that you have.

    I have ruled out temperature as an issue with these video card issues. I have a utility that reads the temperature of the CMU, graphics card, memory, harddrive, etc... and all temperatures remain quite low compared to some of the heavy duty gamers reports. I can force both fans to high speed, and have also cleaned out all the lint in the cooling fans, too.

    The only thing I can figure is that humidity may play a part. Here in Florida, we have had a pretty dry spring. Our summer wet season started a few weeks back. I don't remember if it correlated in any way to the beginning of my video problems. With the economy being what it is, we have drastically scaled back our air conditioning use. Ie, we don't use it if at all tolerable. It may be that the card goes on the fritz a couple of days after the humidity goes up, and the card recovers a few days after we turn the air on. I have not been watching for this pattern long enough to know if it holds true or not, but just a thought.

    In any case, a computer that can't handle the ambient humidity isn't much use as a laptop. It's not acceptable to be able to only be able to use it in a hermetically sealed environment.

    Is there anybody out there who has SUCCEEDED in fixing this problem? All I have heard about are failures: nearly every component in the computer replaced and still the problem recurs again and again.


  • Ok so i rang dell tech support today, and obviously because my warranty ran out on the 22nd, and my laptop died a week later - there is nothing they will do to help.

    I think fair enough if it was just 1 occurance but there seem to be many people complaining about the same experience that i am having. I ran the diagnostics and it confirmed the error code 5300:0019 which translates to "video memory is dead". Dell quoted me £374 for a new quadro 2500m card delivered, or £430 for someone to come and install it. And i get 90 days warranty.

    I asked whether this was a refurbished card, but the guy insisted it is a brand new one - "as far as i know" he said. I have read on the forums that people have received refurb cards and they have packed up 2 weeks later - what if i bought one and it packed up 91 days later....i would have wasted £400. Also to buy an extended warranty it will cost £100.

    Timo, i'm not sure about the humidity theory...because in England its not so humid or hot ever! and mine still packed up - i think its most probably poor cards by nVidia (which i have always liked more than ati until now!) which only last 3 years. I think because so many are people are having the same issues, that Dell should really address this.

    Its ridiculous that people are finding that between 0-6 months after warranty running out the card just fails - my card has run beautifually over the time i have had it. Another thing is that in 3 years i have never rang the support line, maybe because this is my (and many other peoples) first time complaining they should do something about it!!!!

  • No, by 7000 and 8000 I mean the nVidia chip - though the Quadros are numbered differently, the core design is the same as the 7000 and 8000 nVidia chips that have been problematic in all notebook models from all manuafacturers.


  • Ah. Ok. So what solutions has any body else come up with?

    To summarize the situation as I see it: Precision M90s purchased around the latter part of 2006 and early 2007 seem to have the video suddenly become corrupted right around the time that the warranty runs out (ie, 3 years). All diagnostics point to video memory and only video memory being the culprit. Upon replacement with a refurbished (seems to be the only thing available here, even directly from Dell) video card, things will be good. At least for a matter of hours. Sometimes days or even weeks. Sometimes only minutes. Then the video corruption recurs. Successive repairs replace more and more things: first the video card again, then progressing to the motherboard, memory, harddrive, etc...  until people have replaced nearly everything in there, and still the problem recurs.  Has anybody managed to figure this out before getting to the stage of just replacing the entire computer? So far, my researches have been Dell specific. You are saying other manufacturers are seeing this issue, too? Are they having any better luck fixing it? How?

    So far, my own experiences have not progressed that far. My video card went bad. I talked to Dell, who offered a refurb for $700+. I told them I could buy an entire computer for that (I can, I just saw an M90 on ebay for that!). I found another refurb card on ebay for $220 or so. After plugging it in, I had 2 glorious trouble-free days before the problem recurred. Somehow, the new card is not as bad as my original one. My original one got to the point where the screen would just go blank as soon as the boot up sequence called for the video card to kick in. The second card never got that bad, but would leave artifacts all over the screen and worst of all, would start flashing on and off. On for 1/2 second, off for 2 seconds. I am sending back the second card. I now have my original card back in, but disabled. By booting either in safe mode or in VGA mode (when the prompt flashes in the upper right corner of the screen on boot-up to hit F2 for setup or F12 for boot menu or some such, hit F5 instead), I can still get in to my computer. Not much will run in safe mode, but it looks like everything will in VGA mode. It's just that nothing fits on the screen, and there's still artifacts all over. At least that infernal flashing doesn't occur.

    For what it's worth, it's been hot this week in Florida. We finally broke down and turned the air conditioning on last Wednesday. It's been running evern since. The second video card had been running flawlessly since Thursday. I know it's not temperature, but I still wonder about humidity? (I had always heard that England was always either warm & humid or cold & damp!) Anyway, a laptop isn't much use if it can't leave the house and requires that much more climate control than I do. It has to go to presentations, meetings and field inspections.

  • I have an update for the situation.

    First of all, just because your warranty ran out does not necessarily mean you are out of luck. I believe the standard warranty is three years, which is about the time that these cards croak. However, Dell is willing to extend the warranty to five years. After that point, then you really will be on your own. However, the good news is that they are willing to reinstitute an expired warranty. There's an extra charge for it, but hey, $260 to reinstate the warranty sure beats $700+ for a new card, plus it covers any other issues that might crop up. Besides, that's only a bit higher than what I paid for a remanufactured card from a third party (which failed within two days anyway).

    Secondly, I had a long chat with the Dell tech about this problem. I told him about what I found out about this problem recurring. While he was pretty closed-mouthed about the extent of the problem, he did acknowledge that "a batch" of the NVidia cards from that time period had this problem. Further questioning indicated that "the batch" meant that basically any original equipment card was likely to show the problem. They couldn't do a recall or anything else proactive, because they only got replacement cards from NVidia on an as-failed basis. The good news, if you believe what this tech told me, is that NVidia got the problem resolved with the remanufactuered cards about a year ago. I take this to mean that most of the replacement cards that are already out there in the world will probably exhibit the problem unless they have come through Dell within the last year.

    So I should have a tech out here to replace the video card in a day or two. We'll see how that goes. He also recommended some other upgrades related to cooling. He said that heat had proved to be important to the NVidia problem. Personally, I know I ran quite cool with my replacement card, and it still acted up. I'd buy that heat caused my original card to fail...  We had a hot snap. Didn't put the AC on yet. More importantly, I hadn't cleaned out the dust bunnies yet and didn't have any utility in place to tell me the internal temperatures.

    Of course we still have to wait and see it the fix will hold, that what this guy told me was the truth; however, I would recommend that your first step be to reinstate your warranty. That will make your problem into Dell's problem. Then if what the tech told me is true, it will also drastically increase the likelyhood that your replacement card will have the problem fixed, because it will have come straight from Dell and therefore NVidia. I guess you could also buy your card directly from Dell and get the fixed cards, but buying the warranty will be cheaper, so why go that route while the warranty option is still open to you?

    Let's hope they really have gotten to the bottom of this...


  • Ok, here is the situation... I have a Precision M90 workstation that I acquired a couple of weeks back when I bought out a lot from one of my sources. The laptop interested me, as I had been looking for a replacement for my Sony for some time. The laptop had no hard drive, and no power cord, so I ordered these parts from Dell. A friend of mine has an XPS, so I charged the battery using his laptop to see if I could get any response. The machine fired up, and I got the green vertical lines on the start-up screen, as well as the BIOS screen. Thinking I could maybe flash the BIOS and fix this problem, I waited for the new parts for the next move.... Well they came, (Western Digital 500 GB) for $59 from Dell, so I installed them and just for the fun of it, installed Windows 7 Ultimate. Everything went great until I tried to install the Nvidia 2500 drivers. The computer did exactly what you guys are saying. At this point I figured I had wasted my money, and was about to take the loss when I started researching the problem further.... which is how I found this string.

    Ok, here is the deal. I had nothing to loose, so I tried this very unorthodox trick that I found ...  now I have an M90 running Windows 7 Ultimate with a system rating of 5.2 out of 7.9.

    I followed the instructions to the letter, and it took all of the lines away, the video card works better than a new one. 200 degrees C. works out to 392 F.


    Remember guys, I personally had nothing to loose, but it worked for me. Good luck!


  • That's really interesting. If I have this problem recur after my warranty expires again, I will give that a try! Does anyone want to venture a theory as to why this might work?

    I just dropped by to offer an update: my new video card has been behaving quite well for about two months now. I have used the computer only in a (mildly) air-conditioned environment since the card replacement, and obviously the dust bunnies have been freshly removed during the replacement, so there has been no temperature (or humidity) stress on the card. However, if you believe some of the reports I had found earlier, the card had a good chance of keeling over dead by now and has not.

    Therefore, I can pronounce myself (cautiously) pleased with Dell's response to my problem. Every day that goes by without a problem adds credibility to what the Dell tech told me.

    I hope the rest of you are having similar good luck?

  • Hi Tim,

    thanks for coming by to update us Dell/Nvidia victims. Unfortunately i have not been as proactive as you, i think i got downhearted when i was told that a new card was £400 (with 90 days warranty on the card) and an extended warranty for 1 year was £100.

    I've just glossed over the rest of this thread and im glad i did because i found your report on booting up in vga mode...i got some documents i need to save! (not porn this time).

    So do you think i should extend the warranty and then get them to replace the card? The dell tech i spoke to said my options were only those i have mentioned in the first few lines. hmmm

    So since june my laptop has just been sitting in the corner gather dust :( :(

    I have been saving money to buy a workstation and normally i would have gone straight to Dell but i'm a bit nervous of spending £2k on something that may prove to die on my after my warranty - i know thats a little much, but once bitten twice shy and all that...

  • How old is your machine? I think they will extend your warranty out to five years. My warranty expired at three years. My card died about 9 months later. When I contacted them, my warranty options were to reinstate the warranty for one year (which would be from 3.75 years old to 4.75 years old) or for one year plus a couple months until I hit that five year limit (from 3.75 to 5.0).

    Here's how it broke down financially, to the best of my recollection:

    New (remanufactured) card purchased from Dell: $700+

    New (remanufactured) card purchased from eBay: $220 (I got lucky, most were priced higher)

    Reinstate Dell warranty: $260 (this includes a $100 fee for reinstating a warranty that had been allowed to expire. I'm not going to complain under the circumstances)

    I did try the eBay card first. It failed within 2 days. Fortunately, I was able to return this, so I was only out shipping costs.

    Knowing what I know now, if I was still under the 5-year cut-off, I would go right back to reinstate the Dell warranty and not bother with any third-party sources. Chances are the third party would have an older card and therefore would be more likely to have the same problem. The factory warranty gets you a new card for less money and better warranty coverage that simply purchasing the card.

    If I were outside the 5-year cut-off so I could not reinstate the warranty, I think I would give the oven trick a try mentioned in a link above. I have no idea why such a thing would work, and maybe it's all just an internet hoax, but at that point, what is there to lose?

    If that fails, I would shop around eBay and such for less expensive sources, but not buying anything that hasn't come fresh from Dell in 2010 or later (the tech didn't tell me exactly when the changes were made, unfortunately).

    If I can't find anything but older ones, then, as painful as it may be, I think I'd have to skip the third parties. I guess there are two options at this point:

    Go directly to Dell and shell out the big bucks for a new card, or shop around eBay etc, for an entirely new M90. While looking for a card on eBay, I did stumble across an entire M90 system for about the same price as Dell was asking just for the card.

    This is how it worked out for me. Of course, the relative pricing of the different options may not work out to the same advantage where you are.

    Good luck!

  • Thanks Timo, thats a really helpful response.

    My M90 is a May 2007 model, so its come up to 3 years now. So i think i will try to reinstate the warranty and extend it for however longer i can. I have never had a problem with it before so i cant complain really. It sounds like Nvidia are the real ones to blame, but Dell should have reacted to the dodgy cards.

    My card died literally 1 week after the warranty ran out, which was unbelievable. I hadnt even used it that week which was the gutting thing too.

    Anyway, i'll let you know how i get on, because i'm sure there are lots of other people interested or have found themselves in a similar position.

    Thanks again.

  • Many thanks to Tim for posting this information re the warranty extention for his M90.

    After reading Tim's posting I contacted DELL asking for a similar arrangement, but after a lengthy email exchange I have been told that DELL will not offer me any extention. They wrote that they where not aware of this case and the respective details and therefore could not comply with my request.

    It would be great to hear from others if they where more lucky than me.

    PS: I have a M90 with an FX2500M video card which went dead a few months after my warranty expired.

  • Those scurvy bilge rats!

    Since you say it failed just after the warranty ran out, do I presume correctly that you have not yet passed the 5 year cut-off? I was probably 6-9 months past my 3-year warranty, and they offered me reinstatement, but they would not carry the warranty past 5 years.

    When you told them you wanted to reinstate, did they know that you had an active problem? Don't tell them you have immediate plans to make use of the warranty until after they reactivate it!

    Where are you posting from? Maybe they have different policies in different parts of the world? I'm in Florida, USA.

    Maybe enough people have seen this and flooded the warranty group that they figured out what was going on and decided to put a stop to it? Seems doubtful.

    if I were you, I'd call back in a few more times...  Ask for a supervisor. Tell them you know people who have had their expired warranty reinstated and you'd like to do the same. Don't tell them you have an active problem (though if you did before, they probably recorded that information in your file). In any beaurocracy, you'll find more customer service people who are unhelpful than ones who are helpful. I'd try at least three different people before giving up. If the first tier won't help, go to their supervisors. Work your way up the ladder if you need to.

    Good luck! I hope others have been able to benefit from this info!


  • I bought my M90 in May 2006 so I still would have appr. 9 months till the 5 year cut-off.

    Yes, they knew about the problem. When the damage occured I contacted them and got a quote for a replacement card which was similar to yours and when I saw the price tag I obviously declined. So when I called them again after reading your post they knew about the active problem. Funny thing was that from the beginning they claimed that the M90 and its video card would not qualify for any warranty reinstatement. 

    I am posting out of Germany but they never mentioned anything about policy differences between various countries. They simply stated that your case was not known to them and therefore they couldn't help me. Furthermore they wrote that DELL hasn't confirmed formally any problems with the M90 or its video card so there is no reason for any exceptions. Maybe the M90 audience wasn't big enough to make an impact.

    I have been very happy with my M90 and have generally been very satisfied with DELL and its customer services people. But since 5 months I have a pretty expensive workstation (which is in perfect shape except for a dead video card) doing nothing except for getting dusty and I am left with the feeling that I am paying for somebody elses fault.

    I wonder whether there is any M90 around which is still working with its original nvidia video card. Must be though, otherwise Dell would have recognised that there is a structural problem with this part.