My L502X, which I spent $2000 on when it was new (what a huge mistake), ran out of warranty last month. As many people know, this laptop is known for video problem when equipped with an nVidia GT 540m. My laptop is no exception (and has had its motherboard replaced twice, and that's only because I've been able to go months without playing games, otherwise I would've had it fixed more often). So today I was on the phone in an effort to get the stupidly high repair cost brought down (my hard drive also died, so I was finally forced to get my laptop fixed; it's had yet another bad motherboard for months that I had been putting off fixing), and both of the representatives from Dell that I talked to claimed that there is no known problem with this laptop (even claiming to check this forum while I was on the phone) and also stated that if there was a problem, that Dell's engineers would recall the laptop and fix the defect (no, that's what they SHOULD do, not what actually happens). I'm a computer engineer and don't need to be told that I'm making up a problem; I would not inconvenience myself to this level for a made up problem. When asked for an email address that I could send examples to, I was told that Dell does not give out email addresses (What? I've used email and phone support before). Dell should have found and corrected this problem in testing their product before releasing it. I was actually offered an L521X at one point (which I didn't want because they were going to give me a weaker system and that laptop is known for throttling issues due to...surprise! heat problems), but I turned it down, which I now regret as I could've sold it for more money and gotten rid of this money and time-sucking headache.
Anyways, I'm supposed to talk to the highest level support that Dell has soon, so seeing as I can't get an email address, I'm going to post a large number of examples in one spot here on the Dell forums both of my own benefit when I talk to Dell and hopefully as a helpful resource to others with this problem.
First off, the problem is caused by the GPU overheating. If you have an L502X with a GT 540m and you game on it, it will eventually happen to you. There are a number of things that people have tried that help contain the problem a bit and make it more manageable (sometimes eliminating it), such as underclocking or undervolting the GPU. This is done through a custom BIOS. More info (and plenty of people talking about L502X's crashing problems) can be found here (you'll see some other mods as well such as removing the dust filter to increase airflow, adding heatsinks to voltage regulators, etc.):
Here are a few video examples of the problem:
Next, here are a few forum threads with info on the topic:
I could find more, but you get the idea.
Lastly, just to add insult to injury, since one of the people I talked to claimed that he could not find any info on this problem in the Dell community, here is some info on the problem in the Dell community:
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/laptop/f/3518/p/19426371/20022831.aspx (problem claims to be fixed, which it is when you get a new motherboard...until that one burns out too)
I apologize if I come off as a bit rude, but I have had to deal with 3 years of headaches from this system and have been refused compromises that I have suggested (I asked for an Alienware 14 and offered to pay 100% of the difference between the L521X that I was offered and the system I wanted), and I was even once told that I might be able to just get cash back from my system. That turned out to be too much to hope for. Anyways, I hope that some people find this useful.
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