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  1. #1
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    Default Alienware Area 51 m17x Strange video problem.

    Hello everyone
    I have a Alienware 51 m17x, I am getting a wired video problem, only half of the screen turns on fadded white, and the other side of the lcd flickers once in awhile. Please any ideas,
    Things I tried..
    External monitor ( shows no picture at all )
    switching video card slots ( I noticed only one slot seems to be working )
    New lcd inverter
    Unplugging bios battery

    Other strange things I noticed
    Boots with no beeps ( even if I take out all memory No beeps at all )
    Laptop seems to boot up normally ( press caps key and it lights up ) No alien Head logo, No Bios set up..
    Both video cards I have work, I think, each one I install it gives the same thing ( but shows a half white screen ) a faded white screen, other side flickers
    No flashing leds codes

    I purchase this used, I think maybe someone did something to bios, If it is something to do with bios, is there a fix I can try? I am going to try a new lcd cable, just waiting for it to be delivered. PLEASE HELP!!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Alienware Area 51 m17x Strange video problem.

    If i recall that model has the 8800 GTX in SLI? those models (and any nvidia 8000 series anything) were part of a MAJOR recall one of the biggest in GPU history where similar problems to what you are describing occurred due to faulty solder on the cards. I know i lost 2 different laptops myself to bad Nvidia 8000 series cards and my wife lost a macbook due to the issue. I hope i'm wrong for your sake so maybe someone else can chime in with another diagnosis but if i had to bet (without being able to run tests on the machine myself) that is where i would put my money. You'll often see laptops with these video cards "rebaked" so the cards work for 1-3 months than people sell them on craigslist to a user who knows none the wiser than 1-3 months later b00m..
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    Quote Originally Posted by psxsage View Post
    If i recall that model has the 8800 GTX in SLI? those models (and any nvidia 8000 series anything) were part of a MAJOR recall one of the biggest in GPU history where similar problems to what you are describing occurred due to faulty solder on the cards. I know i lost 2 different laptops myself to bad Nvidia 8000 series cards and my wife lost a macbook due to the issue. I hope i'm wrong for your sake so maybe someone else can chime in with another diagnosis but if i had to bet (without being able to run tests on the machine myself) that is where i would put my money. You'll often see laptops with these video cards "rebaked" so the cards work for 1-3 months than people sell them on craigslist to a user who knows none the wiser than 1-3 months later b00m..
    You maybe right, I did buy the cards used, NVidia 8700M-GT 512 Card MOBL-VF17NB8ESE5SLV and before I installed the cards, the screen never turn on at all, so I figured the cards worked that maybe there was a problem somewhere else.
    I like to buy a brand new card, so I can know for sure, or even a used one that works, but I already put a lot of money into it, maybe I will just part it out on ebay..

    I did buy the video cards used but from 2 different places, before I installed the cards the laptop would boot to a black sceen, and if I install any of the 2 video cards, I get the same result, half white screen..

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    Default Re: Alienware Area 51 m17x Strange video problem.

    The 8000 series mas a massive issue effecting both laptop and desktop hardware...it's a major reason to this day i don't trust Nvidia quality control at all. the 600 series also had their share of issues as well,They make great performance hardware and i love their drivers but they have had so many quality control issues in the past if i buy used/refurbished i tend to look for ATI (Or if it's not for gaming) Intel based video. (Though ATI has had their issues too just not as many in my experience), Sorry to hear you got burned but it happens to all of us on one purchase or another eventually.

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    Default Re: Alienware Area 51 m17x Strange video problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by psxsage View Post
    The 8000 series mas a massive issue effecting both laptop and desktop hardware...it's a major reason to this day i don't trust Nvidia quality control at all. the 600 series also had their share of issues as well,They make great performance hardware and i love their drivers but they have had so many quality control issues in the past if i buy used/refurbished i tend to look for ATI (Or if it's not for gaming) Intel based video. (Though ATI has had their issues too just not as many in my experience), Sorry to hear you got burned but it happens to all of us on one purchase or another eventually.

    Cheers
    I assume you are trying to run the two cards in SLI? If so are you sure one is running a master VBIOS while the other has a slave VBIOS, and that they are each in the correct slot?

    Just to confirm when you try only one card in the master slot you still experience the same?

    You said the cards are good but how do you know they are? My first guess would be bad cards. Though two broken cards may seem like a coincidence, the 8800 were known to be VERY unreliable. Most users have replaced theirs with an AMD/ATI 3870. They run cooler and are known to last a LOT longer.
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    Default Re: Alienware Area 51 m17x Strange video problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by protivakid View Post
    I assume you are trying to run the two cards in SLI? If so are you sure one is running a master VBIOS while the other has a slave VBIOS, and that they are each in the correct slot?

    Just to confirm when you try only one card in the master slot you still experience the same?

    You said the cards are good but how do you know they are? My first guess would be bad cards. Though two broken cards may seem like a coincidence, the 8800 were known to be VERY unreliable. Most users have replaced theirs with an AMD/ATI 3870. They run cooler and are known to last a LOT longer.
    Not 100% sure there working, and when I install a card in the Master slot, I get Nothing, ( black screen ). When I install a card in the slave slot it shows a half white screen, I tried both cards in the same slave slot and I get the same half white screen..
    Both cards showing the same result., I figure they worked and it's was the screen, but I tried a different lcd and samething. Also I can't even get into the bios to make changes.
    External monitor shows Nothing.
    Please help, almost ready to give up, and part out.

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    Default Re: Alienware Area 51 m17x Strange video problem.

    The solution I would try involves spending more money, unfortunately.

    Buy the cheapest model of GPU that came with your laptop and use it to troubleshoot. You could have faulty GPUs, a faulty card slot, or even a faulty motherboard.

    Could you give more history about your problem? When did it start happening? Was it sudden or developed over time? Did you change anything prior to the problems occurring, BIOS/VBIOS flash, driver update, etc?

    From what you're describing, I'd say you need a new GPU though.
    Last edited by TurbodTalon; 20th May 2013 at 02:56 PM.
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    Default Re: Alienware Area 51 m17x Strange video problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by TurbodTalon View Post
    The solution I would try involves spending more money, unfortunately.

    Buy the cheapest model of GPU that came with your laptop and use it to troubleshoot. You could have faulty GPUs, a faulty cards slot, or even a faulty motherboard.

    Could you give more history about your problem? When did it start happening? Was it sudden or developed over time? Did you change anything prior to the problems occurring, BIOS/VBIOS flash, driver update, etc?

    From what you're describing, I'd say you need a new GPU though.
    I bought it USED like a fool, it was sold as parts, because it power on to a black screen. The seller knows nothing of history of the item. I was a good deal, I got the laptop, ac-adapter, battery holds a 2 an half hour charge, and all the recovery cd with the holder.
    Maybe a motherboard problem.. but the last I will try is a GPU.. However I seen on ebay 85.00 for new motherboards.
    Thanks for the reply, my friend.

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    Default Re: Alienware Area 51 m17x Strange video problem.

    Buying used isn't always a bad idea, but it can come with a considerable amount of work. Especially if the seller wasn't exactly honest about all of the flaws of the computer. Keep us updated on what you end up finding.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Alienware Area 51 m17x Strange video problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by TurbodTalon View Post
    The solution I would try involves spending more money, unfortunately.

    Buy the cheapest model of GPU that came with your laptop and use it to troubleshoot. You could have faulty GPUs, a faulty cards slot, or even a faulty motherboard.

    Could you give more history about your problem? When did it start happening? Was it sudden or developed over time? Did you change anything prior to the problems occurring, BIOS/VBIOS flash, driver update, etc?

    From what you're describing, I'd say you need a new GPU though.
    Yeah this is really the only way to figure out the problem. The 3870 is a good card though and can be found on ebay for around $100. If it still didn't fix your problem you could probably sell it for what you paid.
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