New Laptop Video Card = Reset Blues.
January 25, 2010 8:26 AM   Subscribe

BrokenLaptopFilter. Bad News: the graphics card in my laptop died. Good News: the part is a Nvidia MXM II modular card and is replaceable. Bad News: I replaced the card (didn't forget the thermal paste) but the laptop does a hard reset about 5 seconds after getting to the desktop.

Before I replaced the card, the laptop would boot (as checked by ssh'ing into the machine) but the screen displayed a lovely pulsing pattern of colored lines. Now, it appears to display correctly when booting but in both Vista and Ubuntu it does a hard reset and reboots just after reaching the desktop. However, if I boot into Windows safe mode or the Ubuntu recovery terminal the machine does not reset.

What gives?
posted by to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Does the graphics card have a fan? If so, is it working? Overheating is one of the main reasons for spontaneous resets.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:34 AM on January 25, 2010

Response by poster: It's doesn't have a dedicated fan, but the system fan is working. Also, if it were overheating wouldn't it do it at least in windows safe mode?
posted by at 8:39 AM on January 25, 2010

Overheating a CPU usually results in a simple quick power off - your bios may do the same with the GPU. Do not expect a system to boot for long when it is overheating, safe mode or otherwise.
posted by DreamerFi at 8:43 AM on January 25, 2010

The fact that Windows or Ubuntu do not reset when booting into safe mode or the recovery terminal points to a driver problem that only crops up after switching resolutions to get at the desktop. Is it possible that the two cards were different, or of different variations? Have you updated the drivers to the latest revision? Can you reset the resolution to something innocuous and universally supported, like 1024x768? What brand/model laptop are we talking about here?
posted by deadmessenger at 8:49 AM on January 25, 2010

Response by poster: it an asus A8Jm, the card (Nvidia Go 7600) was what was sold by Asus as a replacement part so...
posted by at 9:08 AM on January 25, 2010

If it runs in Safe Mode/Ubuntu, I'd definitely start with drivers. For Windows, uninstall any old drivers in safe mode and download the latest available. For Ubuntu, --

Was what Google turned up,

After uninstalling, I would imagine you could use the GUI to re-install
posted by unvivid at 9:45 AM on January 25, 2010

Response by poster: what is strange is that if i boot from a fresh ubuntu usb drive, it still resets.

i just reflashed/updated the bios and reinstalled the windows nvidia drivers... didn't change anything.

maybe the new video card is a red herring.
posted by at 10:16 AM on January 25, 2010

I doubt the same drivers are in use in Ubuntu and Windows.

It could be a heat issue that is unrelated to the drivers. The graphics card will certainly be generating more heat at higher resolutions, which are probably what you're getting when you boot the OS normally. Windows safe mode will have a lower resolution by default, and thus not generate as much heat as fast.

Just a guess.

Did you use a lot of thermal paste? Too much acts as a blanket. You only need a very very thin layer to fill in the microscopic pits and grooves in the chip and give good contact with the heat sink. I'd try taking off the heatsink, cleaning it and the chip off gently, and trying again.
posted by Jupiter Jones at 12:24 PM on January 25, 2010

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