Monitor or Graphics card problem ???

  Mjones68 22:31 26 Jul 2006

Hi, My Dell laptop suddenly died today. The screen just went dead and I thought that it had crashed, but when I rebooted it, before the windows logo came up there was what appeared to be a white mist all around the screen that crept to the middle of the screen……very eerie. This continued throughout the day, but once it booted up OK, but for the entire 30 minutes that the machine was on there were purple vertical lines down the screen!!!

Very luckily, my wife has a similar machine (Inspiron 8600, mine is an 8500) and I was able to change the hard drives, so that I could finish some important work today. I called Dell and found out that the 3 year warranty ran out 11 days ago and Dell told me that they thought that the monitor had gone, my thoughts were the graphics card, but of course I couldn’t be sure. They advised me to try an external monitor and I’ve tried this with both machines (LCD TV) but I just cannot get either to work with the monitor, so I can’t test this.

To make matters worse, no small PC repair shop will look at repairing a Dell and amazingly, Dell have told me that I have to agree to a replacement monitor (£400) prior to them collecting the machine and checking it over as there not prepared to take the machine in and then advise me as to what's wrong with it!!

Can anyone please help?

  DieSse 23:05 26 Jul 2006

The purple vertical lines (in addition to the other fault) make me think more of a graphics chip problem, or even a cable problem between the base and display. Note what it says about overheating problems with graphics cards in this model - adds weight to the faulty card suspicion.

The Inspiron 8500 actually has a replaceable graphics card, so it's possible that a new card may fix the problem - don't know where you would get a card yet - but it must be possible. Guide to doing it click here Other tips on better graphics card card cooling for this machine on the same site.

Don't ask me how you can prove whether it is the display or the graphics card - because that'll be very difficult if you don't have another graphics card to try in it.

  Stuartli 23:06 26 Jul 2006

It could be lack of power or a failing PSU.

  phono 23:27 26 Jul 2006

There is usually a key combination which you need to use in order to use an external monitor, on some laptops it is the Fn key and a key with a square on it resembling a monitor, pressing this key combo will cycle through the various options, such as laptop display only, laptop and ext monitor, ext monitor only and so on.

Apologies if you already knew or have tried this.

  DieSse 23:30 26 Jul 2006

Have a look here - no fix no fee click here (they say).

  Mjones68 23:31 26 Jul 2006

Hi, thanks for the quick response. I actually forgot to mention this, but the laptop was in an incredibly hot environment over the last week or so and on 12-16 hours a day and became very hot. Yes, I know that this was a bit stupid, but as you know, the weather has been very hot and it was the only place that I could do my work. Does this point to the graphics card problem again do you think?

  DieSse 23:34 26 Jul 2006

Inspiron 8500 graphics cards click here

  DieSse 23:37 26 Jul 2006

As phono pointed out - if you can get it to run an external monitor - that'll help you see whether it's the card or a display problem - well worth trying first.

  Mjones68 14:35 27 Jul 2006

Thanks everyone for your help. I used the responses in this thread during another conversation with Dell today and they've agreed to take the machine back and check it over

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