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jaybe105
Bronze

Dell XPS m1530 will not turn on - narrowed the issue down to faulty motherboard - need advice on course of action

So recently, my m1530 has failed to turn on and I have an expired warranty. Upon pressing the power button, I get the normal LED light up and can hear the machine checking the disc drive - but there is no display. The Dell logo/BIOS options do not appear - completely black screen. I pull out the battery, put it back in and get the same result. I disconnect the hard drive, same result. I then try the Dell diagnostic test (holding the fn key down as I power button) - to which I receive 3 LED lights with the first LED light blinking and the other two remaining stagnant. I look up this code on the website and find this description:

Description:
The Microcontroller is handing control of the system to the processor. This code will persist if there is no processor detected.


Action That May Be Necessary:

1. Reseating the processor.

2. Replacing the system board.


3. Replacing the processor.

 

Then in my research I come across a post on this forum:


"All boards for the M1530 use either nVidia 8400GS or 8600GT chips - and though nVidia has said otherwise, there are many who believe that both lines of chips are all faulty -- that nVidia didn't (in fact couldn't) fix the basic problem with them short of redesigning the GPU, which it clearly did not do.

Since there's no way to know whether the GPU you buy is "fixed" or "faulty" - and since many believe they're all the latter, and further since no one warrants replacements for more than 90 days, it's a VERY big gamble with a couple of hundred dollars.


It seems
Dell is now offering replacement systems to many of those who've extended warranties on the M1530 - so they've either run out of parts, or have resigned themselves to the idea that there's just no way to fix this problem short of replacing the system with a newer model.

If you have to pay for a board for this model, don't bother - put the funds toward a new system."

 

I call the Dell support and talk to a support technician - explained the problem and they said it was likely to be a faulty motherboard. They quoted me at $520. I attempt to ask about the "Nvidia issue" - to which he tries to tell me that that could only be an issue with integrated GPU's, and because my GPU (Nvidia 8600 GT) was discrete and therefore could not affect the motherboard. Is there any validity to what he said? From my research it seems that even though the GPU is not integrated, it still generates too much heat and that is what damages the motherboard. Regardless - my next inclination was to look into buying a replacement motherboard myself and completing the repair. A replacement will run me close to $300. I guess my biggest question is to whether it would be too much of a gamble - as in, if the GPU has potential to cause the exact same problem, then why even bother?

Am I right in my initial impression that I am simply out of luck on this?

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20 Replies
ejn63
Diamond

Re: Dell XPS m1530 will not turn on - narrowed the issue down to faulty motherboard - need advice on course of action

There is no truth to what you've been told.  All of these chips count as "discrete" -- not integrated.  However, it is not heat that damages the system board when the chip fails - the chip fails because it wasn't properly engineered by nVidia.

There IS a 12-month extension that covers the problem (see below).  If it's beyond that, and you have to pay for a replacement system board, seriously consider a new system - though nVidia claims it fixed the chips in the later production runs, there are many who believe otherwise - and that a replacement will simply fail as well.

Given that nVidia has pledged $2M to settle these claims, I'll let you draw your own conclusions.  Mine is that they're about to wash their hands of a problem they known cannot be fixed.

The warranty extension details are here:

http://en.community.dell.com/blogs/direct2dell/archive/2008/08/18/nvidia-gpu-update-dell-to-offer-warranty-enhancement-to-all-affected-customers-worldwide.aspx

Note:  ONLY the video chip is covered - - the problem you're having sounds like it's not part of that issue, and if it isn't, the extension won't apply.

 

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jaybe105
Bronze

Re: Dell XPS m1530 will not turn on - narrowed the issue down to faulty motherboard - need advice on course of action

Thanks for the reply!

 

So what you are saying essentially is that a damaged GPU and a faulty motherboard are two separate things - as in, if I did have a damaged Nvidia GPU it wouldn't have caused the motherboard to be faulty. As of yet, there is no evidence of a damaged GPU, only evidence of a faulty motherboard.

You are also saying to weigh the risk of purchasing a replacement motherboard for a laptop when the GPU is a ticking time bomb. I guess it really depends on how cheap I can find a replacement motherboard. Even if my m1530 is at risk of having the GPU die - it would still be worth buying and installing myself a $150-200 replacement motherboard.

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ejn63
Diamond

Re: Dell XPS m1530 will not turn on - narrowed the issue down to faulty motherboard - need advice on course of action

It doesn't sound like the GPU is the cause of your problem, that's correct.

Yes, my sense (and I haven't seen any evidence otherwise - these GPUs simply fail at increasing rates on all systems - Dell, Apple, HP, Toshiba ... every manufacturer) -- and I haven't seen any evidence the problem was ever truly fixed.  nVidia was never very forthcoming with information about the problem - most of what's out there is gathered from people who've analyzed the problem from field failures.

There are even those who claim to be able to fix the problem -- though most of the engineering analyses I've seen say that's impossible.  Interestingly, most of the "repairs" are warranted for 90 days-6 months, meaning the repairers aren't backing up words with funds.

 

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KirkD
Diamond

Re: Dell XPS m1530 will not turn on - narrowed the issue down to faulty motherboard - need advice on course of action

Excessive heat from the GPU does not damage the system board. The faulty GPUs tend to fail from excessive temperature cycling. The design of these GPUs was OK, but some of the materials used in the fabrication were bad, and temperature cycling causes a mechanical failure of the chip; breaking a single IC trace can cause a failure.

Have you tried hooking up an external monitor or TV? You need to do this to see if it's the GPU or the LCD display. Most of these chip failures initially show some type of distorted display before completely failing.

XPS M1530, Win 10 CU Pro 32-bit
Inspiron E1705, Win 10 CU Pro 32-bit
Dimension 9100, Win 10 AU Pro 32 bit
Inspiron 660, Win 10 CU 64 bit
Inspiron 3668, Win 10 CU 64 bit
Asus T100 Tablet, Windows 10 CU 32 bit

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ejn63
Diamond

Re: Dell XPS m1530 will not turn on - narrowed the issue down to faulty motherboard - need advice on course of action

I would differ a bit - the design of the GPUs isn't OK - - it is faulty.  The engineering of the chip includes the materials specified - those came from nVidia.  Many of these chips were built by TSMC, which also builds ATI's chips - which have no such history of failure.

There are many reasons why this problem might have happened - some technical, and some economic.  They lead to the same end - nVidia screwed up the engineering big-time.

 

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jaybe105
Bronze

Re: Dell XPS m1530 will not turn on - narrowed the issue down to faulty motherboard - need advice on course of action

Thank you for the responses everyone,

 

I've decided to risk buying another board and installing it myself and risk the gpu problem. I feel that it would be worth the $150 dollar gamble - but would NOT be worth paying Dell $520 because the computer is already over 2 years old.

 

I have taken my computer apart in order to take the old motherboard out - what do I look at on this board to tell what motherboard I need to buy? Should I be looking at any certain number? Thanks for any help!

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ejn63
Diamond

Re: Dell XPS m1530 will not turn on - narrowed the issue down to faulty motherboard - need advice on course of action

It's on the board near the memory sockets -- starts with DP/N

 

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jaybe105
Bronze

Re: Dell XPS m1530 will not turn on - narrowed the issue down to faulty motherboard - need advice on course of action

Thank you for the quick reply!

I'm browsing ebay right now, looking for my model number - and they don't seem to be identified by the DP/N number - they seem to be using a P/N number - is there any other way to match up exactly what motherboard I need?

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ejn63
Diamond

Re: Dell XPS m1530 will not turn on - narrowed the issue down to faulty motherboard - need advice on course of action

There are two boards - one has the 8600GT and the other the 8400GS.  Within those types, all boards interchange.

 

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