How to: Replace your broken (8600M GT) graphics card (in the [I]FL90)

Discussion in 'Other Manufacturers' started by Dr.Colossos, Aug 28, 2010.

  1. Dr.Colossos

    Dr.Colossos Notebook Evangelist

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    Okay, it has come down to this - your 8600M GT finally gave up. Well, look on the bright side, you are quite lucky that it survived quite long!

    Plus, you are lucky that your laptop has a replaceable MXM II graphics card.

    As I had the very same problem, and regarded myself as total newbie when it comes to "repairing" laptops, I figured, I write this guide to help other who are facing the very same challenge.

    The images in this post are clickable, relaying you to bigger images where you actually could see and identify something.

    1. Your options

    1.1 Get a new laptop

    You are done reading.​
    1.2 Bake your card

    This is no joke. There are several videos and posts on the net that show you how you can "repair" your broken video card by putting it in the oven for a while. Do a google search for "graphic card oven" and you find what you need to know. There are also videos at youtube.

    [UPDATE: 20th Nov. 2010]
    I also tried that myself. I baked two dead 8600M GT cards, one 512MB, the other a 256MB card. The first never had any signal, and baking didn't solve that.
    The 256MB had major issues, I saw my screen 6 times with a resolution of each at 200 x 300 or something like that.
    I turned on the oven, heating it up to 180°C, and put in the card for 10 minutes. After letting it cool of, I put it in, and it survived a FurMark and a complete 3DMark06 run. I removed it afterwards, so I can't tell on how long it would survive ...
    1.3 Replace your video card

    This is the fun part. You will end up figuring out which replacement card to get, you have to disassemble your laptop, hit in the new card, reassemble it, and hope it all turns out fine. Worried? No need for that. Several people here did it successfully, and I think many never did it before, including myself.​

    2. Which card to get

    Okay, there are several realistic options:
    • NVidia 8600M GT: This is the name of the model that came with your laptop. However, just getting an Nvidia 8600M GT MXM II card normally won't get you anywhere. The original came with no Video BIOS (vbios), which is rather unusal (your vbios is integrated into the mainboards BIOS). Most other 8600M GT's have a dedicated vbios, and as a result, just won't work. There are better options, namely ATI cards. Not necessarily because ATI would be better then NVidia, but NVidia cards just won't work out of the box because the described vbios problem. ATI cards do work out of the box!

    • ATI Mobility Radeon 4650: This is a rather powerful card. It's known to work as described in detail here. However, as stated in the linked guide, you might run into some PCI-E link throttling issues, which degrades performance badly, plus you might have problems with heat unless you perform (minor to moderate, from a newbies perspective) modding to your heat sink.

    • ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650: This one comes in two flavors. With 512MB DDR2 memory and with 256 DDR3 memory. It is said that the latter is performing better. I got mine for 90€ (August 2010), which was not very cheap (I spare you the long version of this story). So this is the card I am focusing on in this guide, whenever it gets 'card specific' which won't be too often I guess. This card will require also slight heat-sink modifications (I did it with a plain ordinary screw driver) when you plan to do gaming or other graphic intense stuff.

    • [UPDATE: 21st Nov. 2010]ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570: You can get this one from www.mxm-upgrade.com. I tried this card, too. It worked for me!

    • [UPDATE: 4th March 2011]ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3470: I got this from ebay. Nothing near an upgrade, but a cheap replacement to revive your laptop. More details in this post.

    • [UPDATE: 20th March 2011]ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3400: I got the card from ebay, from this seller - it works in one of my FL90s - see here for more details.

    • [UPDATE: 20th March 2011]ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2400XT: I didn't get this one to work.

    • [UPDATE: 22nd April 2011]ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650: I got a broken Acer Aspire 6530G with a ATI 4650. Removed it and put it into one of my FL90s (not the one with the ATI 3650 from this tutorial, but practically the same). It worked without problems. However, I needed to modify the heat sink a bit, same with the ATI 3650 shown in this tutorial. I used a thermal pad (had one left from MXM upgrade) instead of thermal paste, and I am getting good temps - max of 88° during gaming, but normally in lower 80s during games. I didn't see any PCI-E throtteling, I get great performance all the time.

    • [UPDATE: 19th Juni 2011]: NVidia FX 570M - I didn't get this one to work - see more details there


    3. Disassembling the laptop


    3.1 Thanks god there is a disassemby guide!

    Ever did that before? Not me! I build my own desktop systems, but this is tougher. I doubt I would have dared to do the replacement, and if so, much less successfully, if there was no disassemby guide floating around. Luckily there is one, so let's get started, shall we.​
    3.2 Dig deep ...

    You basically have to take out everything. First off, unplug it from the power and remove the battery. Here's what I did, in that order, close to what is written in the guide.

    1. removed the Battery Pack
    2. removed the HDD Module
    3. removed the DDR RAM
    4. removed the ODD (CD-ROM/DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    5. removed the Keyboard
    6. removed the Switch Board
    7. removed the LCD Module
    8. removed the Logic Upper
    9. removed the LED Board
    10. removed the Motherboard
    11. removed the CPU Thermal Module
    12. removed the Graphics Card Heat Sink
    13. removed the Graphics Card

    It is not really necessary to remove the CPU Thermal Module (CPU Heat Sink), but it helps when you do modifications to the Graphics Card Heat Sink without proper tools. If you have Dremel or similar tool at hand, you might get along without removing it. I did it by hand with a flat screw driver, and it was easier to remove it then.

    I did not remove the Wireless LAN Card (but disconnected the wires as described in the guide), the System Fan, the CPU, the Camera Module nor did I disassemble the Display and the Inverter Board, and I did not remove the Bluetooth Module nor the Robson Card as I don't have either one of these installed.

    The only real problem I faced when disassembling my laptop was the keyboard. You have to get under the connector and lift the connector, e. g. with a flat knife or a flat screw driver. Then you should be able to pull the cable out. I applied too much force and let the black bracket fly through the air - no harm done, though, as you can reattach it easily.

    3.3 ... all the way down to the graphic card
    Okay, when following the disassembly guide, you sooner or later will find you in a situation similar to this.

    [​IMG]

    The laptop is pretty much disassembled, I just took of the heat sink to get a look at the graphic card. Bear in mind that I took all pictures after I already installed mthe new HD 3650. I had to redo everything because temperatures were too high while gaming (+100° C), as the heat sink did not fit prefectly. So don't get confused to already see the HD 3650 in there.

    As a side note, I did some benchmarking tests with the casing all open. I had the RAM and HDD in there, I connected the three connectors of the LCD, the USB connector (for external keyboard and mouse) an of course had the GPU and its heat sink in place. You also need the switch board of course, as you need to turn your laptop on, somehow. You can connect it easily in this state, but better slide a piece of paper or something like that under it, to avoid short-circuiting with the main board.

    This worked perfectly and can safe you a lot of time! But be sure to never have the battery in there, when reassembling just partially, it might destroy your mainboard and/or battery!

    [​IMG]

    This should speed up things for you in case you want to do some tests before reassembling your laptop again, as you don't have to tighten the last screw every time.

    3.4 Removing the graphic card
    Assuming you got the GPU heat sink out of the way, you only have to remove two screws from the 8600M GT that holds it to the main board and then, pull it out of the connector.

    Now would be a good time to get the screwing plate of your old 8600M GT, unless you were lucky enough to have gotten a new screwing plate with your new graphics card - I didn't, so I had to use the one glued (quite tight) to my 8600M GT. I did so by laying the card in my left hand's palm and pressing onto the screwing holes, in turns one after the other with the rear of a screw driver. Eventually, it got loose and I could pull it off.

    [​IMG]

    Ehhhm, and yes, I wear my Itchy and Scratchy shirt. Good spot!

    3.5 Modifying the heat sink
    I really suggest you do the heat sink modifications in case it does not fit perfectly. It's not really hard to do.

    To get an impression of the problem, have a look on the following pictures, where you see my yet unmodified heat sink as it sits on the HD3650 - not a perfect fit, obviously!

    [​IMG]

    Really, that's not sitting on the nicely, does it?

    [​IMG]

    A closer look let's you see, where the problem is located. It's really just 1 or 2 millimeters.

    [​IMG]

    This thingy is the party pooper (R56 on the right side)!

    [​IMG]

    So, get your tool of choice, and start "modding". As said before, if you have a Dremel or something alike, you should be able to do the modifications in no-time, and should not even have to remove the heat sink of the CPU.

    I do not have such a nice tool, so I thought I'd try a screw driver and plain force. No worries, no real force is needed, as the metal which the heat sink is made off, is really "soft".

    Have a look on the following pictures to see with what I came up with. There is no need to fix the screws yet, we are not done with the card yet! But just put the card in while you are modding to see if it already fits nicely.

    [​IMG]

    The result looks much better.

    [​IMG]

    ... doesn't it?

    [​IMG]

    Sure does!

    [​IMG]

    Okay, but don't rush it. We first need to clean the card of old thermal paste, and reapply new one.

    Ehhhm, yeah, and there is also some strange soft black thingy in my card. As it is soft, the heat sink does not "interfere" with it, nevertheless, I show you some pictures. The heat sink compresses this, and looks like neither takes any harm.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    3.6 Removing old thermal paste and reapplying new one
    To get best results, you should remove old thermal paste before bringing on new one.

    I used Arctic Silver ArctiClean with handkerchief and Q-tips to remove thermal paste remains, but pure alcohol or similar things should work too and are cheaper as well. Consult google to learn more.

    before cleaning the heat sink and the GPU chip:
    [​IMG]

    after removing thermal paste:
    [​IMG]

    Of course you will need new thermal paste now, I went with Arctic-Cooling MX-2. Either the package or resources on the internet tell you how to correctly apply it. Do not use too much, but also, do not use too few - a layer of 1 mm should do, but better check back.
    3.7 Putting in the new graphics card
    You got your GPU and heat sink covered in thermal paste, and got your old (or new) thermal pads back on the memory chips of your HD3650?

    Fine, so now you can start thinking of reassembling your machine.

    Put the screwing plate under the card, and push it into the connector. Screw in the two screws that fixate it to the motherboard, and screw the heat sink back on top of it.

    Keep in mind, if you remove the heat sink again, you should again clean both the heat sink and the GPU chip of thermal paste and reapply new one.

    3.8 A first reboot
    To actually see if your system is working, you need to start it.

    In order to do so, you need to ...

    • fix the mainboard to the case by at least one screw (sure this is basically optional, but better be safe then sorry)
    • connect the LCD display, by plugging in its three connectors
    • connect the USB cable to be able to use USB mouse/keyboard (optional)
    • insert RAM (this should be optional if you only want to see BIOS for example)
    • insert HDD/DVD (this is needed of course if you want to fully boot you system, or want to boot from CD/DVD, obviously)
    • connect the switch board (lay something under it, so it does not short circuit with the mainboard!)
    • connect power plug
    • take a deep breath
    • push the button to the most left on your switch board
    • hear the system boot and preferably, also see the system boot
    • try to run some benchmarks, esp. temperature, as this should be your only concern by now (see drivers & tools section below)
    • shut down, remove power plug, continue in the guide if you were successful, else, revert and check if you forgot something

    3.9 Reassembly
    Go thru the disassembly guide in reverse order. Don't forget any screws ... nor connectors!​

    4. Drivers
    Windows 7 detected my new card automatically when I reinstalled Windows 7, so it may do this too on reboot.

    Alternatively, get the drivers from the internet, try google.

    For Windows XP, things didn't go so smooth, as you need modded drivers - but again, it's not hard to do!

    Go to the Mobility Modder site and scroll down to Installation step by step guide and follow these simple steps.

    After that, your system should have the latest drivers.


    5. Tools
    The most essential thing for me was temperatures. Performance also, but only a second priority.

    I do not only want to see my current temps, but also see the history, even better, be able to log it to a file.

    I used RivaTuner with my 8600M GT, but didn't get it working with my new card.

    The only tool I found that worked for me and was able to log temps, was the ATI Tray Tools.

    I also tried EVGA Precision, which did not work at all, as well as GPUTool, AMD GPU Clock Tool, PCWizard and CPUID HWMonitor, as well HWiNFO32 which were in parts able to show temps, but not to log them (maybe I missed the option!).


    6. Results
    Performance-wise, the card is okay. I am not sure if it is really performing better than my 8600M GT - my only benchmark is my subjective experience while playing ArmA - no numbers no nothing! So I could just be wrong.

    Temperatures range from low 50's while idling, mid 50's while writing this guide (for the last 3 hours), low 60's while playing videos, and a maximum of 88° C while playing, but also there mostly in the low to mid 80's though.

    This is without undervolting, just thermal paste and heat sink modification. I can live with that, and my new card as well, I think.


    7. vBIOS flashing
    I need to do this myself first, to be able to report on it.


    8. Problems
    • external monitor not working
      • this problem remains until now with the HD 3650 DDR3 (no other card had this problem, so the card might be damaged or incompatible!)
      • others have this problem too
      • a system BIOS upgrade from 1.16 to 1.18 did not cure it
      • the only way I could work with the external monitor was to remote-desktop-connect to the FL90 from a netbook that is connected to my external monitor, doing so allows me to work fairly decent with the FL90
    • external sound was not working
      • after disassembling it again, I un- and replugged the connector of the audio connectors, and it worked - I must have failed to connect it properly the first time - I kept this point in here as a remainder: always double-check your connectors

    Did I break something?

    Same for my original WinXP SP3, a newly installed WinXP SP3, as well as a newly installed Win7 system.

    Any clues?

    I would appreciate any help!
    9. Something missing
    You tell me :)

    10. Special Thanks
    To whom ever is running and moderating this forum, and a special thanks to anyone who took the time and helps/helped me resolving my problems, especially Daniel Hahn who pointed me several times in the right direction.

    11. Updates

    • up to now, I never got the ATI 3650 DDR3 256MB to give me a signal to my external monitor
    • ATI 3650 DDR2 512 MB worked instantly, also with external monitor
    • ATI 4570 works, too, also with external monitor
    • ATI 3470 works, too, also with external monitor
    • ATI 3400 works, too, also with external monitor
    • baking both of my 8600M GT cards for 10 minutes at 180°C got one card back to live
    • ATI 2400XT did not work!
    • ATI 4650 works, too, also with external monitor
    • NVidia FX 570M does not work

    Thanks everyone!
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
  2. yotano211

    yotano211 Notebook Evangelist

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    wow very nice guide, i was going to do one too. but i recieved a Ati 4650 ddr2 that i had to ship back, they shipped a MXM 3.0 version, i need a 2.1 version.
     
  3. Dr.Colossos

    Dr.Colossos Notebook Evangelist

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    Please, I need your help on this.

    I still don't get my external monitor to work. I now have yet another FL90 with a dead gfx, I installed my HD3650 in that one, and again, the external monitor of the "new" FL90 doe snot work either.

    So I suspect the/this HD3650 DDR3 256MB does not work with an external monitor (back light goes on, but stays dark, more or less).

    So, which other cards would work in the FL90.

    I know the HD3650 DDR2 512MB does, so does the 4650 and 4670, maybe with PCI-E down to 1x instead of the normal 16x.

    What else would work?

    Any MXM II that is not from nVidia?

    Maybe the ATI X1900?

    I would appreciate any help!

    Thanks in advance!

    Cheers
     
  4. NJoy

    NJoy Няшka

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    x1900 won't fit since it was only MXM-III iirc. x1600, however, might work, if you manage to find one

    i'd be looking for 4650 if i were you

    btw, have you tried baking your 8600?
     
  5. Dr.Colossos

    Dr.Colossos Notebook Evangelist

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    Well, yeah, but I never did. After all, it's just a temporary solution, as it will "fry and ie" again rather soon, right?

    Or for how long might this fix work in general?
     
  6. fnx

    fnx Newbie

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    Good morning,

    I have had the same problem with an ahtec xms1719 with the 8600m gt video card. I have been told that the recommendations for the fl90 applies to this computer.

    So that I have found 3 kinds of hd 3650 on ebay, new whithout been used:

    - 3650 1 gb ddr2 ( 200 us dollar but maybe I can get for 150 or so, even less)
    - 3650 512 mb ddr2 (70 us dollar)
    - 3650 256 mb ddr3 (100 us dollar)

    My question is which one to choose based on price vs performance, is it worth 256 ddr3 comparing with 512 ddr2 based on performance, what is your experience using one of this cards in games?

    Thank you very much for your help.
     
  7. Dr.Colossos

    Dr.Colossos Notebook Evangelist

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    The 3650 256 mb ddr3 would be the best choice, performance-wise, as the memory is much faster (DDR3).

    1GB DDR2 is a bad choice in my opinion, esp. for the high price. For 150-200$/€ you can even get a 4650/4670.
     
  8. fnx

    fnx Newbie

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    hi again!

    Do you know where to buy de hd 4650 or 4670 mxm II new brand condition?
    I have only found second hand or mxm type A on ebay.

    Any problem with this card to be taken into account if you compare with de 3650?

    Have you solved your problem with the external monitor? that means if you connect your computer via hdmi cable with a tv you are not able to see anything on the tv screen?

    this doesn´t happen with the 3650 512 ddr2 right?

    what kind of vbios had your card when you got it?
    Did you have to flash your card?

    Thank you again.
     
  9. Dr.Colossos

    Dr.Colossos Notebook Evangelist

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    You can get the from MXM Upgrade Home Page. But the 4650/70 might not work 100%. mxm-upgrade is investigating on this ... he'll let me know as soon as he knows more details. The PCIe link drops from x16 to x1, giving real low gaming performance!

    Yep, see above. It works great for some, and bad for others ...

    I only have VGA-out, and that still does not work. But I am sure it's the card, as I now have a second FL90, and again, the ext. monitor does not work with that one either. I never tried HDMI, I only have VGA-out. S-Video will not work, as far as I know, no matter which card you use!

    No idea, I think it's related to this, my card only, it might be damaged (got it from ebay). It works for others, but I know from one guy who had the very same problem - not sure about his card, 3650 for sure, but dont know if 256 DDR3 (which I have) or 512/1024 DDR2.

    No idea what to answer. It had *a* vBios, hehe. But what do you want to know? I did not flash it (yet) because I do not know to what to flash, I mean what to change ...

    Good luck!
     
  10. fnx

    fnx Newbie

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    Hi Dr. Colossos!

    Regarding what you told me, do you know someone with 3650 256 ddr3 without problems with the external monitor?

    And finally, do you know any place where to confirm the difference in performance between 3650 512 ddr2 and 3650 256 ddr3, it is clear that ddr3 is better, buy I am not very sure if I am going to notice the difference playing games, I dot know if you know someone with the 3650 ddr2 and you have played the same game to try to compare. I would appreciate some advice from you!

    To let you know the 512 ddr2 seller it is very well known, the card works in external monitor and it is 40 us dollar cheaper.

    On the other hand I do not know references from 256 ddr3 seller ( people known at least) and I do not know if it is going to be problems with the external monitor, but if it is worth the ddr3 because of the performace I would buy it.

    Than you very much again for everything, and I apologized if I have been too extensive with this subject, I want to take the correct card, that is all.

    Regards.
     
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