ViperMagma
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Revisiting BOA (broken) alienware 17 computer

Hey I posted about this comp before but gave up and just ended up getting a different computer. The thing is it's essentially brand new (AND COST A LOT OF MONEY) and I know there could be a simple fix for it. Enjoy the mystery...

Essentially...

Brand new Alienware 17 purchased (unwisely) for mother. She didn't use it, sat in a closet. It was handed down to me a few months ago but found that it BSOD with the error code for hardware (0124) randomly and especially under any stressful circumstances (videos and games). I've done every type of reset, driver update, windows update, windows reinstall imaginable (BSOD permitting) to try and fix it. Nothing has worked.

At this point it's gotta be a hardware issue. What I need is a troubleshoot on figuring out what piece of hardware it is. I'm guessing it's something with intel because the BSOD will mention an intel folder sometimes.

I'm playing with the idea of removing either the graphics card to see if that's the issue or the memory sticks one at a time.

Let me know any strategies you can suggest

Warranty is expired

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9 Replies
9 Rhodium

RE: Revisiting BOA (broken) alienware 17 computer

The Dell diagnostics would be the place to start - F12 a few times at powerup.

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ViperMagma
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RE: Revisiting BOA (broken) alienware 17 computer

Ya, usually bsod when I did it. But got it to pass completely twice. Crashed at different parts (memory might have been the most common)

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9 Rhodium

RE: Revisiting BOA (broken) alienware 17 computer

Blue screens occur under Windows - run the 32-bit diagnostics from the boot menu outside of Windows.

F12 a few times at powerup to get to the menu.

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ViperMagma
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RE: Revisiting BOA (broken) alienware 17 computer

A little excited...

So, I have done this test a few times. The blue screen diagnostic I was thinking of in the previous post was for the alienware diagnostic. In the past the test always passed. In total I used the diagnostic 3 times. I should also say that the computer just had a fresh windows install so no drivers had been installed yet. In fact I hadn't even booted up my user yet.

1st diagnostic:

  • Everything passes except the CPU fan, which has never happened before
  • The memory test went fine (I did the extended) but at several points it would post a message saying "memory issues resolved". Maybe three or four times. That had never happened before

2nd diagnostic:

  • Ran it again to try the fan again... and it passed
  • But this time the memory test dedected an issue (or maybe it was the hard drive) they both had the testing symbol next to them but the screen was showing the memory test. I tried to continue testing but the message kept popping up
  • The error message read
    • Error Code 2000-0261
    • Validation 98836
    • Msg: System board - data errors

3rd diagnostic:

  • Same thing occurred as 2nd diagnostic, CPU fan passed but the memory issue came up again

Thanks for the prompt replies!

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9 Rhodium

RE: Revisiting BOA (broken) alienware 17 computer

Is the memory installed all from the factory, or was it upgraded later?

If you have not yet done so: 

Unplug the system, remove or disconnect the battery and hold the power button for 30 sec.  Remove and reinstall both memory modules and re-run the diagnostic.  If the same error shows up, try one module at a time until you isolate the bad module -- or the bad socket -- and then replace the corresponding part (the memory module or the system board) once you identify which is faulty.

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ViperMagma
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RE: Revisiting BOA (broken) alienware 17 computer

It is from the factory. I previously unplugged and replugged them in when I was trying to fix the issue.

Will try your steps. Do these permutations make sense? in this order?

  • both modules
  • module A in slot A only
  • module B in slot B only
  • module A in slot B only
  • module B in slot A only

Thanks

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9 Rhodium

RE: Revisiting BOA (broken) alienware 17 computer

That would be the sequence.

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ViperMagma
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RE: Revisiting BOA (broken) alienware 17 computer

Disappointing results:

  • tried original combo again: same error
  • tried all four combinations: everything passed

Notes:

  • A few times the test just ran through, other times the message "memory issue resolved" would pop up
  • I ran this test originally after a BSOD, My hunch is this error will only occur after a crash...
  • I did not run the full memory test as the error detection happened instantly on the basic diagnostic
  • I have not tried the both memory cards in switched slots

What next, any other ideas? Is this still a good indicator that the problem may be the memory?

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9 Rhodium

RE: Revisiting BOA (broken) alienware 17 computer

SInce it seems to be  more common with both modules installed, I'd lean toward calling it a bad mainboard rather than bad memory.

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