Alienware m17x R2 - Bad Mobo? Powering On Issues

Discussion in 'Alienware 17 and M17x' started by Jake Muttz, Oct 1, 2020.

  1. Jake Muttz

    Jake Muttz Newbie

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    Hey there!

    This is going to be long, I want to provide as much detail as possible. I apologize if it's TOO long.


    About a year ago I came on here searching for answers/solutions to some problems I had with this old beast - whom I've since affectionately anthropomorphized (hence calling the laptop "him") and dubbed CRAIG, and he's become my Pet Project - that I eventually managed to slowly but surely figure out on my own over the course of about 7-8 months. I finally got him working great! Until one day I didn't.

    Everything was fine, operation as usual, trying to run Skyrim with a bunch of mods and I couldn't get any decent framerates. Max 14fps indoors.

    Decided I wanted to peek at the BIOS to see if there was anything I could change. Didn't think I'd find much, but got curious, so I shut him down.

    But then red lights came on. The Alienware text logo on the screen was lit up red, and the keyboard and mouse pad lights were faintly lit red as well. It's important to note this is not the color I had in my AlienFX. And there was no power, no fans, nothing. Pressing the power button made the left-hand (primary?) GPU fan start spinning at about half normal speed, but no other fans. I got the text logo underneath the screen (the rgb "alienware") flashing about 12-13 times and looked everywhere but couldn't figure out what this means. Frustrated I did a power cycle (unplugged, took out battery, ram, unplugged cmos, held down power button for 30-40 sec) and then upon plugging back in, he'd power up lights, normal colors finally back, and the one GPU fan at half speed, but nothing on screen and no external output either. No beeping of any sort. Nothing flashing, either. Pressing the power button would cause the fan to spin slightly faster and louder, but otherwise everything else remained the same. And holding down power didn't do anything. If I unplugged it, it stayed powered on battery power, once for over a day because I was hoping maybe if the battery died I could charge it back up and try to run it on a full battery, which didn't work. Only way to turn off was to remove battery.

    Since then, that's been my experience. Immediately upon plugging in, powering on, GPU1 fan spinning, power button not working, etc.

    I took him into a shop for a diagnostic and they concluded that it was likely the motherboard and it would be out of economical means for them to repair since the mobos for this laptop are too expensive.

    I have tried removing individual parts and seeing if anything changed. I discovered it won't power without the keyboard plugged in, which is strange to me but maybe its for a reason. So I've tried even powering with just fan, hdmi, cpu, and keyboard, and nothing changes. Immediately powers on upon plugin, no display, nothing.

    Is my motherboard really dead? I don't understand what could've caused this. Everything was fine prior. If my motherboard IS dead, what's the cheapest possible price I could get a replacement? Is there any way I could send this laptop to someone to figure out what's going on and possibly fix it? I don't have much money. Rough budget is $150...

    Thanks for reading if you've made it this far, I appreciate it.
     
  2. xKilXlerx

    xKilXlerx Notebook Geek

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    What is the specs of that laptop, or could it be the MXM GPU is dying?
     
  3. Jake Muttz

    Jake Muttz Newbie

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    Hi there, thanks for reading.

    I'm not very great with hardware. Not am I great describing specs. I'll do my best.

    CRAIG has an i7 920M cpu (I think) with 12gb RAM running two AMD Radeon 7970Ms , although I forgot, did have issues right before it died where it was only recognizing one card and telling me my crossfire cable wasn't connecting properly. And that card #1 couldn't be detected. I wouldn't think it would be a GPU problem though, just because I still have the issue of powering up upon ac power with both cards and fans removed. But I don't know.

    Edit to add: I did eventually fix the detection issue and both cards were detected and crossfire was running fine, up until everything went bad
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
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