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3DPiper
Silver

Help! M90 video issues

I have a Dell M90 notebook computer.
 
Recently I've noticed the computer would pause for a second or two, then go right back to working. I didn't immediately pursue the cause.
 
Now it's getting to where the computer not only pauses, but when it does the screen goes black (like it has no power) for about 40 seconds. Although it looks like it has paused and the screen is black, the hard drive light continues to blink and show activity. Then it comes back on and quickly catches up to any keystrokes/mouse clicks I may have done through frustration while the screen was off.
 
This morning I woke up and moved my mouse to turn it on (I turn on the '1min monitor turn off' at night) but it didn't turn on. I turned it off and back on, and noticed during the Dell boot splash screen there were rows of dots all over the place. The dots were also over the Windows logo. It wouldn't boot normally, so I booted into safe mode. I went to Bitdefender and Panda Software and got two online scans. Both found viruses (Bitdefender finding the offending file) and cleaned it all up.  I was then able to reboot normally and work most of the day, but I just had another pause where the screen went dark/off.
 
Is there anything else I can do to diagnose what is causing this? It seems to be random, although it didn't happen while I was in safe mode.
 
-Matthew
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34 Replies

Re: Help! M90 video issues



3DPiper wrote:
I have a Dell M90 notebook computer.
Recently I've noticed the computer would pause for a second or two, then go right back to working. I didn't immediately pursue the cause.
Now it's getting to where the computer not only pauses, but when it does the screen goes black (like it has no power) for about 40 seconds. Although it looks like it has paused and the screen is black, the hard drive light continues to blink and show activity. Then it comes back on and quickly catches up to any keystrokes/mouse clicks I may have done through frustration while the screen was off.
This morning I woke up and moved my mouse to turn it on (I turn on the '1min monitor turn off' at night) but it didn't turn on. I turned it off and back on, and noticed during the Dell boot splash screen there were rows of dots all over the place. The dots were also over the Windows logo. It wouldn't boot normally, so I booted into safe mode. I went to Bitdefender and Panda Software and got two online scans. Both found viruses (Bitdefender finding the offending file) and cleaned it all up. I was then able to reboot normally and work most of the day, but I just had another pause where the screen went dark/off.
Is there anything else I can do to diagnose what is causing this? It seems to be random, although it didn't happen while I was in safe mode.
-Matthew





You're lucky that you have an M90. An M90 comes stock with a 3 Year Warranty. It sounds like you should contact Warranty Services and do the walk through with Tech Support so that they can officially assess your M90's problem and determine whether what needs to be replaced.
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3DPiper
Silver

Re: Help! M90 video issues

Well, I don't feel lucky. I'm right in the middle of a project and can't afford any downtime. I do all my work on this computer.
 
Now the problem has progressed to a blue screen of death on normal boot. After a Dell splash screen with green dots and the Windows logo with green dots, it BSOD's on me with his error:
 
PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA
(etc)
(etc)
*** STOP: 0X00000050 (0XBBB0B64C, 0X00000000, 0X8052AC8C, 0X00000002)
(etc)
 
I can still boot safe mode (but can't get any work done). Memory? Video card?
 
EDIT: I pulled out each of my 2G memory sticks one at a time. It still booted with green dots, then errored out saying the memory had been changed. I assume it isn't the system memory (although it was hot).
 
-Matthew


Message Edited by 3DPiper on 07-31-2007 11:05 PM
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Re: Help! M90 video issues

If you Google "PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA", you'll find some Microsoft articles of what could be faulty, ranging from your RAM, CPU L2 cache, your hard drive, video memory, or other stuff.

You should really get on the horn with Warranty services to have them walk you through all the Dell Diagnostics (that you've probably already done on your own), so that they can begin the warranty repair or replacement process.

If (for whatever reason) you're not covered under warranty, the best thing you can do right now is concentrate on recovering the data on your hard drive. If you have a corrupt NTFS volume, or a defective hard drive, getting that information backed up is critical. You might want to explore getting a hard drive enclosure for your 2.5" SATA laptop hard drive, and then transferring the data off to another computer.

Once you get your information backed up, then you can start figuring out how to get your M90 back up working. It sounds like you already tried isolating your RAM. Have you run the Dell Diagnostic tools during bootup? (i.e. pressing F12 during boot-up?)
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3DPiper
Silver

Re: Help! M90 video issues

I called the Gold tech support number.
 
This computer has no warranty, because it never made it to it's original destination. And here I thought I was buying a new computer with warranty!
 
So, I can't get a warranty. I have to figure this out myself.
 
I'm thinking it's the video card. Does the Dell M90's video card share the system memory? If not, then a new video card may be all I need.
 
Here is what I see when I boot up:
 
 
 
 
 
Edit: ran the Dell Diagnostic tools, and in fact it DOES fail on the video memory test. I assume you can't just buy video memory, but have to buy a whole new video card, right?
 
 
 
-Matthew


Message Edited by 3DPiper on 08-02-2007 11:38 AM

Message Edited by 3DPiper on 08-02-2007 11:50 AM
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Re: Help! M90 video issues

Yes. You'll have to order a new video card.

You can call Dell Spare Parts to order one.
In North America : 1-800-357-3355

There are three cards available for the M90.
Quadro FX 1500 256MB - equivalent to a GeForce 7900 GS 256MB
Quadro FX 2500 512MB - equivalent to a GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB
Quadro FX 3500 512MB - equivalent to a GeForce 7950 GTX 512MB

You *could* buy and install the GeForce cards into your M90 if you wanted to, however if you're using your Precision Workstation for Open GL applications, you're better off getting the Quadros.
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henrytaber
Bronze

Re: Help! M90 video issues

This is the identical problem I've had on my 2-1/2 year old M90. Dell has sent two replacement sets of motherboards and video cards (Quadro 2500), but after a few days the same problem happens again. Dell has sent me a whole new (refurbished?) M90. But has anyone figured out what causes this?
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3DPiper
Silver

Re: Help! M90 video issues

I hate to re-visit this thread (boy, do I ever), but my NVidia Quadro FX 2500M video card just went out AGAIN.. Same problem as before (video card memory error).. I blow the vents out and make sure all air flows are clean, is there something I'm not doing?
 
I'm tempted to get another one because they are very good performance cards, but I see I also have the option of a Nvidia 7900GS.. It has half the memory (256M), but they claim it is a better performance card than the 2500.. Should I stick with the 2500, or get the faster 7900GS? Is the 7900GS in fact compatible with my M90?
 
I can't believe I'm going through this again 6 months later.. Smiley Sad
 
 
EDIT: Wait, I went back and read the above posts.. Looks like its better to stay with the Quadro 2500..
 
-Matthew
 
 


Message Edited by 3DPiper on 01-25-2008 08:30 PM
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3DPiper
Silver

Re: Help! M90 video issues

Strange:
 
while waiting for my new card to arrive, I rebooted my system out of safe mode (thinking it would stay in safe mode) but it rebooted normally.. Everything booted up fine into hi-res.. I rebooted again and went back into the dell system diagnostics to scan the video memory.. Now it says the video memory scans fine! What gives?
 
-Matthew
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henrytaber
Bronze

Re: Help! M90 video issues

Piper, I saw a Nvidia 2500 on ebay today. You might want to check it out. Maybe it is the engineer in me that needs to know the "why" of my old M90 failing three times in less than a month, but it has been on my mind near constantly since. This replacement M90 Dell sent has been working flawlessly, so no complaints there. And definitely no complaints in how Dell jumped immediately in trying to repair my old M90. They were great! But I can't help feeling that maybe it was something on my end that caused the problems... though I can't think of what it might have been. No virus's. No new software. No new hardware. No extra heat before they went out. The fans and heat exchanger were all clean. In fact this replacement runs slightly warmer than the old M90. Not hot, just a bit warmer. The computer swap was complete...entire old computer went back to Dell. I cloned my old harddrive in the new hardrive, so software should be identical as in the old M90. And it has been working beautifully for months now. Is there anything in the old hardware that could have kept destroying the videocards? Bad system memory? Bad anything? The computer was never dropped but was used daily several hours for Solidworks.
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