OK i dont know the exact details but the wife has just phoned to tell me that my laptop is playing up with BSOD's and a nv4_disp infinite loop error plus when she reboots the laptop not even the Dell BIOS screen pops up.
As the subject says the 9400 has a 7800Go GFX card which do run hot and i seem to recall from the past (had the laptop 2.5 years) that sometimes these did die.
So, as this sounds very much like a dying or dead GFX card and the laptop is well out of warranty;
1) Are these cards replaceable by the end user? (i do build the odd PC so i am used to messing with components).
2) Is it easy to change to another card and is there a user guide to changing to a different card?
3) What alternative card would work with the laptop?
4) Can you suggest a supplier of laptop GFX cards? (I'm in thet UK).
Thanks in advance for any help, no net access is gonna kill me (i'm at work atm).
If you are not able to get the BIOS screen right after BSOD's then it seems that it could be a driver issue. BSOD's are hard to diagnose at it could be any number of things (i.e. RAM, overheating, drivers, etc.) How many times do you have to hold down the power button to turn it off and then press it again to turn on before you get it to display anything on the screen? If you took out the hard drive and tried to boot up, do you have any problems with video?
If you are able to get to the POST screen, have you tried the Dell Diagnostics by hitting F12? And if so, do a check on the Video Card. If you are getting errors when checking the video memory, then your gfx card most likely has bit the dust. Does your screen look like it has artifacts, weird characters/colors, vertical lines/dashes going across the screen?
3) I went from a 7900gs to an Ati X1400 (pretty weak 3D now). I tried getting a Nvidia Quadro 2500 from ebay but I got it as-is and needless to say it was a dud.
4) Do a search on Ebay for E1705 or Dell 9400 video. But if you do pick one up from ebay, make sure it has a warranty or you'll end up like me, out $140 (US) and a DOA video card. Here's an example of one:
Well checked it out last night and i'm getting blocks/corruptions classic video card in its death throes type behaviour and it happens even on the Dell POST screen so it cant be software related. I tried running the Dell diagnostic but the screen was already corrupted with rubbish so was unreadable.
After a reboot it is usually a blank screen although the HDD light is flashing though i dont get any windows audio when its seemingly loading WinXP....makes me slightly nervous to say 100% its the GFX card.
Searched for a replacement card and best i could find was an X1400 for £100 from a website in the UK (card will be new) though i found a used X1400 from ebay in the US for £65....your post makes me nervous about this!!
I think i'm gonna bite the bullet and get a new lappy, take the 2Gb ram out along with the 120GB HDD and sell the lappy as faulty.
If you do decide to sell the lappy, just to let you know, on ebay, the unit is probably worth less than the sum of its parts. But of course it's a huge hassle to disassemble everything and sell the parts separately.
If you want to be sure the video is dead. You might be able to boot into safe mode (F8) key. Once you are in Windows go to device manager and right click the display adapter and disable it. Now reboot. You should be able to boot regularly but the video would be extremely slow. Also, the blocks/artifacts would still be there; however, you'll be able to back up your data. This is one way to workaround the black screen. Hope that helps.