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 Post subject: Alienware M17x R3
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:37 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:46 pm
Posts: 3
Laptop Make: Alienware
Model: M17x R3
Purchased From: Direct From Manufacturer
Amount Paid: 1038
Date Purchased: 01 Nov 2012
Date Failed: 08 Jan 2014

I was just pointed to this forum by a friend on a mailing list.

I have an Alienware (Dell) M17x R3 laptop which I bought on November 1st 2012. I got it from the Dell Outlet as a reconditioned machine so it only came with a 3 month warranty. It has an nVidia GTX580m. It appears to have the 120Hz monitor option.

I run both Windows and Linux on it and Linux is my main OS. About 3 months ago I started to get crashes where the screen went totally black with the display-panel illumination going out and the machine hung, requiring a long press on the power button to shut down. It always restarted every time and was generally stable for days afterwards. It didn't seen to do it in Windows so I thought I might have a driver issue. It continued and got more frequent until it did start doing it in Windows too. I investigated the Linux system logs and found the error:

NVRM: GPU at 0000:01:00.0 has fallen off the bus.

This is the same error you would see on a desktop if you pulled the graphics card out of its slot while the machine was switched on.

I tried reseating the graphics card in a static-safe environment and it starting working. It lasted a day then degraded so the machine was totally unusable. The GPU works in the BIOS and while the machine is booting but the display goes black and it hangs as soon as the OS comes up and the resolution shifts to 1920x1080. This happens 100% of the time now his a in both Linux and Windows.

Would a GPU of the approximate age of mine be affected please and does this sound like an nVidia defect issue?


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 Post subject: Re: Alienware M17x R3
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:25 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:54 pm
Posts: 7864
Graphics Card: 8600M GS
Purchased From: High Street Store
Amount Paid: 0
Hello Papa and welcome to my forum.

The problem you describe sounds typical of the Nvidia defect though the problem in your particular case is probably due to the BGA.

"What is a BGA?" you may ask.

BGA stands for Ball Grid Array and is the term used to describe the little solder balls that are used to bond the GPU to the mainboard.

Due to another one of those crazy EU laws the ROHS Directive (Restriction Of Harmful Substances) required that manufacturers remove certain metals from their products.

These metals include mercury, cadmium and, most importantly, lead.

It is as a direct result of the removal of the lead from the solder that is causing premature failures in laptops such as yours.

Like the Nvidia defect this is also an inherent problem and you would be able to pursue a resolution from Dell.

It does not matter that the laptop was sold with a three months warranty so please do not let Dell try and fob you off with the tired old "sorry sir but the warranty has expired and there is nothing that we can do."

The Limitations Act 1980 and the Sale Of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) as there for your protection and so you should inform them that under the Limitations Act of 1980 you have up to six years in which to file a claim when the goods in question contain an inherent defect.

Have you contacted Dell yet with regard to this matter?

How did you pay for the laptop?

Please let me know and I will advise further.

Best wishes

The Admin Team

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 Post subject: Re: Alienware M17x R3
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:00 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:46 pm
Posts: 3
Laptop Make: Alienware
Model: M17x R3
Purchased From: Direct From Manufacturer
Amount Paid: 1038
Date Purchased: 01 Nov 2012
Date Failed: 08 Jan 2014
Hi Paul,

Thank you.

Assuming there was nothing I could do, I called them and asked how much a new graphics card would be (£400!). I've not asked them to do anything.

I paid for it on one of my cards, probably the Amex. I don't know if this complicates it but I have since terminated my Amex account after they hiked my annual fee higher than I was prepared to pay.


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