I really wanted to try out Windows 7, so I installed it on a separate partition on my laptop's hard drive today. Everything seemed to be working well, until I went into Windows Update and downloaded + installed all the available updates, one of which was an update to my graphics card. I should have noticed something fishy, because it said the update for my card was for some Quadro FX model...and my card isn't a Quadro FX at all. It is (or should I say...was) an NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GTX. It was working flawlessly until I did these automatic updates, and even afterwards for a while.
It all went downhill when I tried to "rate" my system's performance. You know, when Windows assigns a number score to your system based upon how good or bad your hardware is. During the middle of this performance test, my screen went black. I had to manually power off the laptop. Upon trying to restart it, nothing would appear on screen...it just sat there. I was able to narrow it down to my Graphics card as being the issue. I plugged in an old, half-dead 7900 GS and the computer was definitely still working...apparently using the drivers from Windows Update killed my graphics card. I didn't expect this to happen....
So I kind of wrote all this wondering if this has happened to anyone else, and if there is any way to fix it...apart from replacing my card. But I also wrote this as a big heads up to anyone who may be using a similar setup - you may want to think twice before updating your graphics drivers, or you could find yourself in my situation. I suggest making sure the drivers you are updating to will in fact support your card...don't always trust Windows Update to always give you the correct ones...
Where on the Dell Downloads page did you find a Windows 7 video driver for the E1705? In addition, unless you replaced the video card, you have a 7900 GS, not GTX
XPS M1530, Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bitInspiron E1705, Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bitDimension 9100, Windows 8.1 Pro 32 bitInspiron 660, Windows 8.1 Home - 64 bitCompaq DX 4370G, Windows 8.1 Home - 64 bitAsus T100 Tablet, Windows 8.1 Home - 32 bit
It wasn't on the Dell drivers page, it was through Windows Update - it was a mislabeled driver, it said it was an update for my Nvidia Quadro card, which I don't even have - I didn't realize this until after the driver had been installed though, and the graphics card failure happened just moments afterwards. I do have a 7900 GTX - I have already had to replace the graphics card in this laptop twice before now. First, the original 7900 GS, then a 7950 GTX, and finally now this 7900 GTX that just died....it's depressing to think about, I don't think I'm going to buy an expensive laptop ever again, they cost too much to fix and parts die too easily (at least in my experience...)
DJ, I am shocked to find this post!!! Until yesterday, I had been using the Windows 7 beta and was pretty darn happy with it. Then, I decided to install the RC and planned to buy the full up this fall. I'm that impressed with it. However, I write to you now in safe mode. It's the only mode my computer will boot in, and at that all screens are covered in video garbage such as horizontal blips and dots in all the non-white areas. Yep sounds like a dead/dying GPU. I thought "isolated event" right? Until I find your post! I'm on a Dell XPS M1710 with a GeForce Go 7900 GTS. Mine too autodetected the Quadro driver and I hadn't even had an opportunity to look further into the matter. Everything seemed to be working just fine anyway. So then, some time last night I came to the computer to find a screen full of snow and after having to hard reset, I now get nothing but garbage followed by blank screens unless I force safe mode in Windows 7. Even my XP partition (with the most current nVidia driver) won't boot. EVEN THE DELL BOOTUP SCREEN is garbage'd up. Admittedly, I've had this laptop for around two years, and it served me well: to include in the Middle East while deployed, but I'm really frustrated because less than a month ago I shelled out the cash to up the RAM to 4GB and the HDD to 300GB over the paultry 80 that came with it. Sheesh, I'm pretty annoyed about this. SURELY Dell can help out? The spare parts page doesn't list any video cards for it anymore, to include the 7950, which is the only other option. Maybe they have one laying around somewhere they can send me? I really hate to can what has been a great laptop, especially since everything but the GPU works (err, worked) great. Best of luck!!
HEY DELL! FIX THIS FOR US!
WOW...I am glad I just found this post! I downloaded Win7 RC last week but hadnt gotten around to installing it yet. Are you using Win 7 64-bit or 32-bit? And were they clean installs or inplace upgrades? I wonder if a dual-boot Vista/ Win7 is possible when it ships! I doubt it though.
Aside from that...appears to be a driver issue. Gameshow, in the Safe Mode can you "roll back" the video driver? Or maybe a System Restore. Both those happened after the Auto Update so I would certainly assume its the driver not HD. You would think the RC would support a 2-year old video card though...Was it just the standard Forceware driver? I would suggest that if you do either of those laptops recovered short of full RESTORE...that you look on NVIDIA rather than letting MS auto-update again If you hadnt noticed....Nvidia Forceware now supports Mobile 7900 GO adapters rather than having to use Dell's 2-year old drivers!
BTW, I have had a similar experience with E1705 in Iraq 2006-2007! The only problem I had then was that DELL wouldnt ship direct to Iraq so I had to pay state tax and have it shipped from home :). But since I was buying the highest-end Inspiron dell sold then
E1705 T7400 2.16ghz 2GB DD2-667 160 GB 7900 GS (when 4GB of DD2-667 was $2000!) it may have cost 2400 with the Military discount....like 700 off
ALL I needed then was the Blue-Ray/ DVD player I just bought for this today!
It sure took a dust beating LOL. That 7900 GS is just feeling slower compared to Nvidia 9-series and DX 10 lol...
I have not upgraded the RAM from 2GB 667 but then that was so expensive until recently! I did just order the Blu-Reader Reader / DVD writer combo for this. The only issues have been replacing two different power adapters and just having to buy a new battery after 2 years of heavy use! It was top-end in early 2006 and still holds it own today....sure some quad-core lappys are faster but 5000 is a bit much aint it? And funny enough a lot of those new 18.4" screens still dont go as high as 1900x1200
I hope you can roll back those drivers, or that you have an easy restore back to Vista / XP!
It was Windows 7 32-bit, installed on a separate partition (with windows vista on the other parition). I just got my replacement graphics card today, (you can order them on ebay, just find a seller that has a reliable rating. don't buy them from dell, because if dell even sells them anymore, they charge much more). If you have an Inspiron E1705 or an XPS M1710, they are essentially the exact same system, so a graphics card that will work for one will work for the other.
Here are your choices, try searching ebay (search daily, they come and go).
NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GS 256MB (the one that comes with the e1705 - i DO NOT recommend this, it only has 1 heat pipe on it and they die easily...)
NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 GTX 512MB (this is the one that I replaced my 7900 GS with, it has an extra heat pipe on it and is more powerful all around, for about the same price.)
NVIDIA GeForce Go 7950 GTX 512MB (this is the best card you can get for either of these laptop models, both the e1705 and the XPS M1710, but it tends to be pretty expensive)
I found it best to search for "Dell 7900" or "Dell 7950". Including "Nvidia" in the search didn't yeild nearly as many results.
NOTE: If you buy a replacement graphics card that is 512MB, you will have to also buy a new AC power adapter for your laptop that is 130 watts (around $40). The AC adapter that comes with the e1705 is a 90watt adapter, which is fine for any 256MB graphics card, but not enough for a 512MB one. Don't buy it from Dell, they charge you about $100. As expected. Buy it somewhere else.
So, the moral of the story, as I have learned, is that if you're going to use Windows 7 on these laptops, that's great - it works good...but DO NOT update your graphics driver through windows update if it says a different model name than what your graphics card really is! It broke my graphics card in this laptop (which is the third time I've had one break). So just be careful of that, until they fix it, and you should be good to go :)
Also, I thought I should mention, if you buy a replacement GPU through ebay, and you get an offer email from SquareTrade for a warranty on your card, TAKE IT!!!! It saved my life this time, it only cost about 35$ for a full year of coverage. They couldn't fix my card so they refunded the $300 I payed for it, and I was able to buy another one with that money :)
unfortunately, rolling back your drivers will likely not solve anything :(
updating my drivers through windows update to the mislabled Quadro one destroyed the hardware- I put in a half-working 7900 GS and uninstalled all the drivers, put my 7900 GTX back in, and nothing changed- the hardware was dead.
of course, this was just my experience. it may work for you
If anyone has any questions or anything, just let me know- I have had many graphics card failures and other computer problems, so I may be able to help. At least hopefully more than Dell's horrid customer service, who won't even talk to you if your system is out of warranty. But that is another rant for another time.
Another thing, I want to mention which drivers I am using in Windows 7 for the E1705 (they're working great).
They are from laptopvideo2go.com (a website that mods desktop graphics drivers for use on notebooks). It has been a very useful website and these drivers are yet another example of that.
Read the FAQ on how to install them, it may sound complex but it's really very simple once you understand it.
I am writing from the safe mode aswell, as it only thing that boots. Restoration, repair, last known good configuration do not work.
Reinstall works partially. Meaning that you will get working windows screen until the updates. After that, no go. Keep in mind that squareish pixelation doesnt go away.
Confirming that Windows 7 RC, build 7100 (evaluation copy) kills GeForce Go 7900 GS with automatic updates enabled.
Waiting for a replacement of graphic card under extended warranty.
Ok.. .I have win 7 RTM build 7600
i have a geforce go 7900 gs on my m1710
i read your posts before installing win7 and DIDN'T update the graphic drivers through windows update.
3 flawless days later I got a blue screen and after a reboot I got lines on dell's boot screen and windows wouldn't start.
on safe mode I removed nvidia's drivers and afterwards i could run windows but with "standar VGA card" showing in devise manager. oh.. and the whole screen is filled with soft squareish red dots. Apart from those "minor" details, everything works fine.
anyone has news? on monday i'll ask for a replacement card under warranty aswell, but i would like it to last more than 3 days... is it win 7 's fault?? in my case windows update isn't to blame!
UPDATE: I managed to get rid of the red dots by setting color depth to 16. but i still get them on boot up along with the red lines
Be careful ZebraJumps, because I didn't say I had kept windows original drivers. I used nvidia's 179.48 (exactly the same I'm sure you are using now). I probably should have updated the drivers through windows instead because you said that they were misslabeled in Auto Update but when i checked, they weren't. Right now the recommended update is for geforce go 7900 gs, not quadro.
I don't think realizing this before would've made me trust win driver over nvidia's, but I can assure you now that 179,48 doesn't solve the gpu killing issue. When I get my replacement card on friday i'm installing win driver, which by the way has the later release date.
I have been running Windows 7 x64 Ultimate (RTM) for over a week now on my e1705 w/ the Go 7900 GS. Windows 7 did not install accelerated video drivers during installation. Windows Update said it had drivers, but I downloaded drivers myself from laptopvideo2go. I have had no video problems at all. In fact, my e1705 is 2.5 years old and I've never had a single problem period.
As a developer I'd say the chances of a driver breaking your video card are pretty much zero. The only thing I can't rule out is a firmware upgrade to the video card. I would also find it hard to believe that the firmware updating application would accidentally put the wrong firmware on a video card, but that would be more believable.
My theory is that before some of you upgraded you were using some other application to control the fans for the CPU and GPU. These applications might have disabled hardware control of the fans? Then when you ran Windows 7 you forgot or could not install the fan control software and the GPU overheated and this is when the artifacts start appearing (and don't necessarily go away since permanent damage may have occurred). It's a long shot, but thought I'd throw it out there. I'd say pay attention to your GPU temp and make sure your fans are still working properly if you are nervous about this issue.
As for GPU's overheating, I have to share an experience that many of us had with the IBM ThinkPad A31 (before they sold out) -- It's a high end "desktop replacement" machine. Mine died about a month after the 3 year warranty expired... Same type of issues as you guys are saying here -- started out with some weird horozontal lines, then kept getting worse. I found that if I kept a certain portion of the case pressed down (really hard), and then turned on the computer, it would be fine as long as the pressure was there. You release the pressure, the video goes to garbage....
Doing a lot of research turned up a problem with the solder contacts
using surface-mounting... apparently, the chip would 'desolder' itself
by getting too hot! This would happen over time, as the blower for the CPU and GPU were the same, and it would basically get clogged up with dust in the CPU heatsink...
Some people were able to solder it back down with a heat-gun... but for those of us w/o that option, and were out of warranty, IBM's answer at the time was to buy a new motherboard, which didn't make any sense financially..
I have a similar system to DJ. Bigger, faster hard drive and full
version of Win7 Pro are the main differences. Just for some history,
I've had my video card & motherboard replaced twice in the last
month due to other issues and I was running XP at the time (that's why
I have a different video card from the original, so it can be a GTX). I'm running the Notebook System Software and I
am also still running the standard 90w power supply, might look into that bigger one later on though.
Anyway, I just recently put a clean Windows 7 Pro install (32-bit) on both of my laptops, see the specs below. On the Dell support page, I changed my OS to Vista to download the drivers to work with Win7 (graphics driver was for 7900 GS but card properly recognized as GTX). After install both systems appeared to be running fine. It wasn't until I tried running a few games that I started having graphics glitches on my higher end system with the 7900 GTX (lower end system not tested yet). I noticed there was an updated driver for the nVidia card but it was for the Quadro NVS 510M. I installed it to see if it would make a difference. It seemed to run fine for a few minutes but then started having glitches too. I also get a glitch and the video locks up when I'm running the Performance Rating tool and I couldn't do anything to shut it down except for a hard shutdown. I also have DX11 & End User installed and I'll see if I can post pictures here. I uninstalled that driver and went back to the 179.48 driver but I think I'm going to try the 185? driver fix and see how that goes since I still have clear video.
I'd like to know if there is a better solution to fixing this. How many times does you video card have to go out before they'll stop replacing it and just give you a new computer? We shouldn't have to rig these laptops to make them work properly if its becoming a common problem. I don't think this is a one time occurrence type of issue.
Lastly, food for thought, I was able to extend my warranty online so buying these expensive cards hasn't been an issue... yet. I'll check back soon and post more on the other system when I test it out more.
PS Here's an interesting read on Quadro, if you wanted to know more about it...
E1705, 2.0 Ghz Core 2 Duo T2500, 2 GB 667 MHz RAM, 500 GB 7200 RPM Hard
Drive, nVidia Go 7900 GTX Video w/512MB - 179.48 Driver - 1920x1200 -
WUXGA, Windows 7 Professional
Inspiron 9400, 1.83 Ghz Core 2 Duo T2400, 1 GB 667 MHz RAM, 100 GB 5400
RPM Hard Drive, ATI Radeon X1400 w/128MB - 8.561.0.0 ? Driver -
1920x1200 - WUXGA, Windows 7 Professional
Agree somewhat with cmjensen. Temperature control of the E1705 by the BIOS is a joke. One of the first things I did three years ago was to install I8kfangui to control both fans. Got a much better temperature profile, and the fans never went to high except sometimes during shutdown (with Vista 32). When I upgraded to Win 7 32 (not a clean install), the fan control was still working OK, and never goes to high speed. I think the BIOS fan control program is a reason for some of the video problems. This program allowed the temps to get much too high before upping the fan speed. I8kfangui allows running both fans sequentially as the temps go up, so a very steady profile can be maintained. We do not game on the E1705, so I can't relate to very high loadings. When you replace the video card with a 7900 or 7950 GTX, even with improved cooling capacity, you are still fighting the rather low air flow possible through a laptop, and overheating is more likely.
Hey folks. Sorry to tell you but the e1705 and Nvidia cards eventually become something of an "oil and water" concoction. What I'm saying is that the BIOS fan controls do not adequately prevent the Nvidia cards from overheating, and the Nvidia cards inherently overheat in this system (first blame Nvidia, then blame Dell). This is a known issue that Dell simply is not addressing. Sure, they recently released a BIOS patch (December 2009) to address the problem but it didn't adequately solve the issue. My card has flaked out twice over the last 3 months. I've had to bake the Nvidia card in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes on two separate occasions. It works! But then it fails again 3-4 weeks later (and that's even when installing and maxing out the fan speeds via i8kfans. At this point, the only successfully remedy that I've determined is to completely replace your Nvidia card with an ATI x1400 card. I know I know...this sucks! The x1400 is slow as molasses in comparison...and you, like me paid top dollar to get this gamer card (Nividia). Unfortunately, that's the truth. I've been building and repairing laptops for resale for a decade now. I've been building PCs for 25 years. It's really a shame that this great laptop has this problem.
For now, I'm about to order my x1400 card or maybe just break the e1705 down and sell for parts on eBay. In the meantime, I'm switching to a Lenovo.