I think my new laptop might be fried

Posted this in the wrong forum, move as necessary

I've had it exactly 3 days, and I've got a serious problem. It shipped with a GeForce Go 7800 GTX, which has been giving me some sweet performance. 1920X1200 rez on HL2 without breaking a sweat.

Something happened this evening. It has been in standby, with the lid closed. My wife opened the lid and appearently, instead of coming back up, the system started making a rapid clicking sound. The caps lock, scroll lock and num lock lights were flashing rapidly. The screen remained black. I held down the power button until the system shut down completely.

Since then, I've re-booted and everything seems to be fine. Except when I try to launch a game. I went from gettin 90 fps on everything to 10. I've tried several games. I can't think of anything else that could be an issue. Which is why I think something happened to the video card.

Does anyone know of any tests or diagnostics I could perform to confirm figure out the exact problem? GameGuru, I'm looking at you.

Thanks

I don't profess to know much about hardware but here's what I know from experience. When I bought my first laptop it worked fairly well. It was a Toshiba Satellite. Then about 2 weeks after I got it, I opened the lid and was greeted with a blank but still backlit screen. I would on occasion see the screen flicker back to life running at a few frames per second. After taking it in I found out that there was some problem with the video card (or motherboard). As far as getting it fixed there was no distinction made between it being broken video card or mobo, either way it had to go to toshiba. After that it's a six-month long story of loss, courage, and a boy becoming a man, which I will save for another time.

Maybe the videocard overheated or some component of it was damaged. Some laptops have vents built in parts that are covered up when the lid is closed. Mine still has pretty big ones in other places so I've never had a problem. If your laptop has as many panels on the bottom as mine does, open one or two up and see if anything inside is... you know... melty.

Start -> Run -> type in "dxdiag"

Let the little progress bar finish at the bottom left.. then check the "Display" tab and see if there's anything mentioned in the "Notes" section that looks bad. There should be buttons to test the DirectDraw and Direct3D also.

You might also want to check Nvidia's website, download, and reinstall the latest drivers.

Hopefully it's not a hardware issue, but since the laptop is so new if nothing else seems to resolve it you'll probably want to ship it back instead of messing with it too much. If it was me.. the clicking sound would worry me (unless it was just normal harddrive activity noise.. is your wife familiar enough with PC's to recognize what's normal and what's not?). Either way, the clicking and the flashing lights all seem to point to "something bad" and even if things suddenly start working again... it may be better to exchange the laptop now than wait until later when it happens again or something worse.

Well, I think I panicked.

I called tech support and while I was on hold, I decided to re-launch HL2 again. Everything was fine. Like nothing happened. Maybe some process was running in the background earlier, I don't know. I've never owned a laptop before, and I'm kind of nervous about the potential for something going wrong. Strange sounds + sudden massive drop in framerates = my assumption that the vid-card burned out somehow. Maybe it was just overheated.

Problem solved for now, though. I guess.

Good news - The ticking noise is disconcerting though.

Its lulling you into a false sense of security and confidence in your machine. Training you not to worry about that ticking sound (these aren't the droids you're looking for) Finally, years from now when you've long since blocked out the disturbing noises your laptop is making..... BAM! it runs off with your wife.

I'm buying poly's version.

Plus in about 10 years you'll find out that your children (yes, the ones you took to liking and all) were really fathered by your laptop.

You're pretty much doomed methinks.

clicking noises are usually Hard Drive related.. or perhaps a fan issue.. which may explain why your FPS were wonky.. since without proper cooling it could be the GPU was throttling down.

If its a Dell.. then I'd be thinking about having it serviced onsite.

oh and I've cracked the Dell code.. NEVER EVER call on the phone.. use their online chat support from another PC (if your PC is dead) you can usually get a tech dispatched within 10-15 minutes.

Also, I'd recommend getting programs like speedfan to keep an eye on your system's temperatures and controlling the fan speed.

I have an aluminum base with two additional fans for my laptop.

It's fed through a simple USB cable and helps alot.

Shouldn't cost you more than 20-30 bucks, and if the laptop spends a lot of time at the same place as in my case, it makes sense.

Getting a GAMING Laptop is attractive, but the heat issues do give me pause. That, and how mobile is it, really? I could see myself lying on the couch with the laptop on my prodigious belly playing an RTS, while my sweatshirt blocks the vents until it overheats and blows up. I think I'd end up prety much leaving it where my desktop is.

Yes its a Dell XPS. Yes, I know what I might be getting myself into with a Dell. I always swore I wouldn't get a gaming laptop, but it was time to get a new computer, and Mrs. Duffman really made the hard sell for going with a laptop. The price was acceptable so I decided to give it a shot.

I've been really impressed with performance. So far it hasn't even broken a sweat, running things at 1920x1200. The screen is absolutely stellar. Heat hasn't been too much of an issue yet, but I haven't tried a 4-hour Oblivion marathon or anything like that yet.

And for the first time, I think I can actually say that bloatware was not a major issue with this computer.

So, the only real problem is that I'm totally paranoid that it's going to randomly break and I'll have to spend a king's ransom to have it fixed. I've had for less than a week, so I think I might look into upgrading the warranty.

Duffman wrote:

So, the only real problem is that I'm totally paranoid that it's going to randomly break and I'll have to spend a king's ransom to have it fixed. I've had for less than a week, so I think I might look into upgrading the warranty.

Back in my Dell days you could extend the warranty at any point before it expired. After it expired though you had to pay a recertification fee before you could extend.

GameGuru wrote:

use their online chat support from another PC (if your PC is dead) you can usually get a tech dispatched within 10-15 minutes.

I agree. I had a problem with shipping on my XPS (They shipped the power cord but not the power adapter. Brilliant). Tried calling and couldn't get anywhere for 30 minutes. Hung up, went through the online support and had the problem solved in 10 minutes.

I've been really happy with mine. Heat hasn't been an issue at all so far, and I've had a few extended Oblivion sessions with it. Mine is surprisingly quiet, so I'd be a little leery of any loud clicking noises. The fans do ramp up for a second when it comes out of sleep mode, so that might have something to do with it.

Duffman wrote:

So, the only real problem is that I'm totally paranoid that it's going to randomly break and I'll have to spend a king's ransom to have it fixed.

Kind of like owning a 360. They seem so...fragile.

Well, the clicking sound isn't persistent. When it occurred before, it was very brief, only a few seconds before I shut everything off. Overall, the machine is surprisingly quiet and cool, given what I was expecting with the 7800 GTX in there.

Just wanted to brag that the 7800 GTX was a free upgrade. Thanks Dell.

But if it happens again, I think I might have a serious issue on my hands.