After doing a lot of searching online, I was able to come up with a reflow solution that works very well for my needs. I have had no issues with my video for a month now, so if you are out of warranty and want a DIY, you might want to give this repair a shot. Many of you may be familiar with this and might be able to add some details. I also know there is a cool mod for the xps1330 on this site that bears looking for heat dissipation issues.
3. Grab the tools: I used an ordinary heat gun, a digital timer, and old-fashioned bulb oven thermometer.
4. Remove the motherboard and cover everything but the chip (heat sink and paste removed from the chip surface) you want to reflow in aluminum foil to deflect the heat from damaging any sensitive surface mounted parts.
5. Place a small coin (dime) on the chip surface to help the solder of the ball-grid array flow properly. Place the oven thermometer in close proximity to the chip (but not touching!). It is important that once the heating process begins that the GPU chip does not move to avoid shorting any circuitry on reflow.
6. Start the timer and heat the chip area using the Altera profile above, holding the gun about 6" from the chip surface. I used a slow, steady circular motion.
7. While cooling, be sure to avoid any contact with the board/chip. Let cool to ambient temperature.
8. Reassemble the chip's heat sink with appropriate thermal compound. Some people also add a 2 mm plate of copper between the chip and heat sink (sandwiched with thermal paste) for additional thermal dissipation.
Couple of comments to consider:
i) This is NOT a cure-all. Chances are the chip will fail again...although it's debatable how long this will take. I've seen success stories range from days to months online. Mine is still going after a month. This is merely to prevent you from having an expensive paperweight in your possession as well as buying an expensive GPU/mobo replacement for older models out of warranty.
ii) Do not let anything bump the chip during heating as a precaution against shorting the ball-grid array below.
iii) I now monitor my GPU with a temperature program and make sure my fans are always running.
iv) The obvious caveats apply: try at own risk and realize any remaining warranty is void (but you knew that already!).
By the way, if there's a sticky for this mod elsewhere on this forum site, I apologize for duplicity....just wanted to help add a few more details for those considering this approach.
Last edited by brianstretch; 22nd December 2009 at 07:25 PM.
Reason: Fixed URL
Same problem here, having a dv9000 series. My video card is GeForce Go 7600 with 256 MB memory. I had it first reflowed using heat gun at a local mobile shop, but it only lasted for 3 or 4 days. I added thermal paste between the foil of the heatsink and GPU with no results. The screen became full of artifacts, lines and colours under heavy load. I don't know what temperature it had.
I gave another try and reflowed it again at the same store for ~$3 and now it has been working for 3 weeks with no heavy load (I only removed Vista and installed XP and I now use it only for music with software processing which takes ~25% CPU and internet surfing). I hope it will last longer, but I'm afraid to pump games onto it. It is currently under testing, I monitor my temperatures with SpeedFan in idle and low/normal load and here they are:
GPU - max 45C IDLE, avg 50C LOW LOAD
CPU - max 35C IDLE, max 55C NORMAL LOAD
GPU CORE - max 57C IDLE, avg 60C LOW LOAD
HDD - max 40C IDLE, max 46C NORMAL LOAD
I haven't aplied any thermal paste on the GPU this time. Isn't 57C a little too much for the GPU in IDLE ?
I have another notebook, a dv9500 series (with GeForce 8600M GS) and the GPU CORE temperature in IDLE is even bigger (up to 65-70C, when the cooler starts and stops when it goes down to 52-55). More than that, the T7300 CPU is a lot hotter (45-50C in IDLE) than my T5500 on the notebook with the problem (30-35C in IDLE). Dispy all this, I haven't got any problems with it so far and hopefully not in the future.
On my problematic dv9000, the cooler runs permanently at VERY LOW speed and it only starts faster when I put the CPU to the work. Video goes up to max 57C in idle and 60C in LOW LOAD. As I read on the internet, this is perfectly normal for this model and it's a lot better for the cooler to run permanently at low speed than to start and stop at few minutes distance. But the video seems a little bit hot.
I also heard about the thin 2mm aluminium foil to be applied between GPU chip and heatsink as well as the thermal paste. What's it's purpose ? It's only about heat dissipation or it also prevents the chip from moving when it gets hot and of course making the solder no to break ? I forgot to mention that my GPU doesn't have the red epoxy underneath anymore. I bought this notebook used and I think it has been repaired before.
I also read about resoldering the GPU chip by removing it and redoing the BGA structure with infrared equipment. What's your opinion upon this ? Do you think it's worth to spend ~$100 to do this in my country or should I think about buying a refurbished motherboard from ebay when my GPU will(HOPEFULLY NOT) break down again ?
I am looking forward for the answers to my above questions. Thanks in advance.
P.S. : Many thanks for the home reflow guide. I can avoid going to the mobile shop in the future
Yes, my laptop is still working without any problems! Granted, I don't use the laptop everyday, but it still gets its fair share of use. If there's any advice I can lend, please feel free to post. Good luck!
LordWalrus: Thanks so much for posting this! I came across this page via google and tried what you recommended to reflow the 8600gs on my dv9540us. I wrapped the nice bits on the board in foil, and checked on the temp with an oven thermometer. Now it's working perfectly!
It's been running for about 2 weeks now, playing games and such, and it's been fine!
I just wanted to thank you for posting what worked for you, without that info I probably wouldn't have fixed it. I'm not a regular on this board, but I subscribed to this thread. If anyone has any questions about how my repair went, reply here and I'll let you know.