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M6400 Problems

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by nixx, Nov 17, 2008.

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  1. nixx

    nixx Notebook Enthusiast

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    After a few weeks I have noticed a few problems with my M6400 Covet. Here is an overview.

    1.) Random hard-locks. My M6400 will sometimes hard-lock... it will completely freeze up. CTRL + ALT + DEL doesn't respond.. Caps Lock doesn't respond.. Everything simply freezes up. This is usually after I switch "off" the WiFi switch on the side of the covet.. or when connecting to a new WiFi network. I've updated the drivers to the ones on Dell's site.. It works for a while then does it again.

    2.) Random video errors. My M6400's display will "freak out" every now and then. Seems to be completely random. Sometimes the machine is at idle, I come back and the screen has random artifacts on it.. sometimes it occurs when I'm working hard. It occurs when docked with an external monitor.. (however, it only affects the primary display on my docking station.. not the secondary display) and un-docked on the RGB LED E2E display. I think this is a driver error- but I've installed the drivers on Dell's website. Here is a screen-grab of the problem on the RGB LED E2E display. (Somehow I was *actually* able to prnt scrn it and save it in photoshop despite the horrible screen) My external monitor is fine and works fine with other computers.

    3.) My WiFi/Bluetooth lights on the Covet don't always work. Sometimes i'm connected viai WiFi and the light isn't on. Strange. Are there supposed to be on-screen displays with the Covet? i.e. when you turn up /down the volume should there be an on-screen display? My old M90 did this.

    Here are the vitals on my M6400 Covet:
    Intel Core 2 Dual Extreme Edition QX9300 2.53GHz, 1067MHZ, 12M L2 CacheDual Core
    8.0GB, DDR3-1066 SDRAM, 4 DIMMfor Mobile Precision
    1GB NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700M Mobile Precision M6400 Covet
    Intel X25-M 80GB SSD (main disk)
    160GB Hard Drive 9.5MM 7200RPM FFS (storage)
    17 inch Wide Screen Edge 2 Edge WUXGA RGBLED LCD, Blood Orange, for Mobile Precision M6400
    Vista Ultimate 64-BIT Service Pack 1, with media, English Mobile Precision
    Integrated megapixel VGA webcam with single digital microphone, Mobile Precision M6400
    Dell WLAN 1397 (802.11b/g) 1/2MiniCard for Latitude E/MobilePrecision

    I did a clean-install on the Intel X25-M SSD

    Any suggestions before I call Dell Support? Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Torht

    Torht Notebook Geek

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    Why would you hesitate calling Dell Support immediately? Did you follow the prescribed order of driver install that people had talked about in the owner's lounge thread?
     
  3. SiliconAddict

    SiliconAddict Notebook Consultant

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    Because there may be a suggestion that can be found on this board before he decides to start banging his head into the wall with India.
     
  4. jjgoo

    jjgoo Notebook Deity

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    get a mac, just kidding. This sound to in depth. I would just call up dell support and let them fix it for you.
     
  5. f4ding

    f4ding Laptop Owner

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    Dell Business Support is U.S. based.
     
  6. SiliconAddict

    SiliconAddict Notebook Consultant

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    First off. Run Diagnostics. Assuming you didn't nuke the partition when you reinstalled windows you should be able to hit F12 when you see the dell logo, then from the list select DIAGNOSTICS.

    If you did nuke that partition as well, use the driver and diagnostics DVD that came with the system. I'm trying to remember what the GUI is for the Precision's. I think you get a Memory test option then everything else. Start off doing a comprehensive test on the memory. Then move into a comprehensive test of the rest of the hardware focusing on MEMORY, VIDEO CARD, and CPU. Hard drive is also a possibility but I don't think so if you redid the system and are getting the same bahavior. (Read: The likelihood of the system putting the system file in the same bad location is unlikely.

    If you get ANY error messages along the way write them down, they bypass a metric crap ton of troubleshooting when you call up Dell.
    Also in Windows after a crash in your start menu right click on Computer and select MANAGE. Under SYSTEM TOOLS -> EVENT VIEWER you will see SYSTEM. Look in there for anything that has a red X. Don't freak if you see more then a few. Its a common thing. However look for something that occurred just BEFORE your crash. Frankly I don't think you will find anything because a complete freeze of the system suggests hardware, not software. But occasionally you do find something in the logs that point to what is going on.

    PS- If this is Vista go into system preferences. There is also a memory test in there that you can run.
     
  7. SiliconAddict

    SiliconAddict Notebook Consultant

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    Not if he got the basic limited warranty it isn't.
     
  8. bunta

    bunta Notebook Consultant

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    where is this prescribed order of driver install? I looked all over the m6400 owners lounge thread...:confused:
     
  9. misterbk

    misterbk Notebook Consultant

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    My sales rep assured me there was no difference between the two, except that ProSupport will cover software?
     
  10. Torht

    Torht Notebook Geek

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    bunta,
    I forgot where I saw it. It was in the M4400 Owner's Lounge.

    Here is the link for M6400 driver installation order.
     
  11. bunta

    bunta Notebook Consultant

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    thanks for the link,... just checked it out.

    I thought you had meant, there was a "very specific order" as to which driver to install first, like video driver has to be downloaded before audio or something like that...
     
  12. f4ding

    f4ding Laptop Owner

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    I have the basic limited warranty (assuming you mean the cheapest warranty available for business class notebook). It's U.S. based.
     
  13. Torht

    Torht Notebook Geek

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    bunta,

    There is a specific order. I cut and pasted from the link.

    1. Desktop System Software (DSS) or Notebook System Software (NSS) - A vital utility that provides critical updates and patches for the operating system. If you are reinstalling Windows or updating all drivers, it is important that this software be installed first. Currently, the DSS and NSS are not required for computers with Windows Vista®. This is located under the System and Configuration Utilities Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    2. Chipset - Helps Windows control system board components and controllers. This is located under the Chipset Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    3. Video Adapter - Enhances video performance. This is located under the Video Adapter Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    4. Network Interface Card (NIC) - Enhances the network controller for Internet or network access. This is located under the Network Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    5. Audio Adapter - Enables and enhances the audio controller. This is located under the Audio Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    6. Modem - Allows dial-up capability. This is located under the Communication Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    7. Wireless Network Card - Enables and enhances the wireless network controller. This is located under the Network Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    8. Touchpad, Pointer, Trackstick, Mice, and Keyboards - Enhances the pointing device features. This is located under the Mouse & Keyboards Category on the Drivers and Downloads page.

    9. Other Devices

    * Bluetooth® Module located under the Communication Category on the Drivers and Downloads page
    * Dell Wireless Mobile Broadband Cards located under the Communication Category on the Drivers and Downloads page
    * PCMCIA/Smartcard controller located under the Security Category on the Drivers and Downloads page
     
  14. bunta

    bunta Notebook Consultant

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    And what happens if you were to install the chipset driver last..?

    Slower boot times perhaps?
     
  15. Wallstreet

    Wallstreet Newbie

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    After reading your problems with the “random hard-locks” I felt the need to contribute to your thead because I have similar problems. In addition to random hard-locks, I have stalled shutdowns. I’v spent many hours trying to isolate the problem. Just so you know, I have contacted Dell’s tech support and after running diagnostic tests, they do not know what could be wrong.

    Regarding the stalled shutdowns, here’s what I’ve found:
    Stalled shutdown appeared random but I found that if I turn off Windows Indexing, most of the time I don’t have the problem. However, I still occasionally (so far one time a day, at least every day that I’ve used the computer) have a stalled shutdown. So far, I’ve found this problem to be linked to two possibly separate actions.

    1) if I put my computer to sleep or hibernate, then, after waking computer and normal use, shutdown occasionally stalls.

    2) if a program crashes or does not shutdown completely the system will definitely stall during shutdown. If I can find the offending Service running when I know it should’ve been stopped, I can stop the service and the consistency of the stall is decreased.

    For example, if I open Excel and it crashes during opening (a strange random problem in itself) I consistently find an Excel Service running even after shutting down Excel. If I shut down the computer without finding and shutting down the offending Service, the system will stall during shutdown.

    With regards to hard-locks where my mouse freezes and my only option is the on/off button, I found I could replicate this problem if I put my system to sleep while I was running Safari, while on battery power awake the computer and mouse would freeze after about 30 seconds of use, for about 5 seconds, mouse would then move for about 1 second, then totally freeze.So, I simply don’t put my computer to sleep while running Safari.

    I still do get the occasional mouse freeze, but it is generally infrequent.
     
  16. Wallstreet

    Wallstreet Newbie

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    After reading your problems with the “random hard-locks” I felt the need to contribute to your thead because I have similar problems. In addition to random hard-locks, I have stalled shutdowns. I’v spent many hours trying to isolate the problem. Just so you know, I have contacted Dell’s tech support and after running diagnostic tests, they do not know what could be wrong.

    Regarding the stalled shutdowns, here’s what I’ve found:
    Stalled shutdown appeared random but I found that if I turn off Windows Indexing, most of the time I don’t have the problem. However, I still occasionally (so far one time a day, at least every day that I’ve used the computer) have a stalled shutdown. So far, I’ve found this problem to be linked to two possibly separate actions.

    1) if I put my computer to sleep or hibernate, then, after waking computer and normal use, shutdown occasionally stalls.

    2) if a program crashes or does not shutdown completely the system will definitely stall during shutdown. If I can find the offending Service running when I know it should’ve been stopped, I can stop the service and the consistency of the stall is decreased.

    For example, if I open Excel and it crashes during opening (a strange random problem in itself) I consistently find an Excel Service running even after shutting down Excel. If I shut down the computer without finding and shutting down the offending Service, the system will stall during shutdown.

    With regards to hard-locks where my mouse freezes and my only option is the on/off button, I found I could replicate this problem if I put my system to sleep while I was running Safari, while on battery power awake the computer and mouse would freeze after about 30 seconds of use, for about 5 seconds, mouse would then move for about 1 second, then totally freeze.So, I simply don’t put my computer to sleep while running Safari.

    I still do get the occasional mouse freeze, but it is generally infrequent.
     
  17. jimbob1971

    jimbob1971 Notebook Consultant

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    I've seen the issue with the WiFi light not coming on as well. However, I've seen it on previous Dell systems too. Given I've done a complete reinstall I'm not too worried about it. It'll be a driver issue.

    Regarding the volume: Yes, the covet does show this like previous Dells. Sounds like some drivers haven't been installed.
     
  18. Kistebier

    Kistebier Notebook Enthusiast

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    I have the same problem, hardlock and grafical error. Tomorrow the will change the FX3700M, I hope that helps. How did you solve your problem?

    I tried many drivers, from the original Dell to the laptopvideo drivers.

    mfg
    Dirk
     
  19. Diecast61

    Diecast61 Notebook Guru

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    On my Covet -- I did a complete re-install of everything -- in the exact order specified in the various dell on-line tech bulletins --

    Since I loaded the 180.48 NVidia driver - I suffered a total of 1 BSOD in the past 3 weeks. No hardlocks - no graphics errors, etc.

    Not sure why -- but all is good. Running Vista 64, 8GB Ram, 128GB SSD, FX3700, QX9300 - Paging file turned off (don't need it with 8GB ram) - Windows indexing turned off (resource HOG), All the latest dell drivers and applications.
     
  20. Kistebier

    Kistebier Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hallo Forum,

    today the technican was here and switched the FX3700M. I had luck and the error happend during the technican was testing. Dell planed to change several other components.

    But after a short talk, they decided to swap the system. I hope the new system works without problems.

    mfg
    Dirk
     
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