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Inspiron 9400 intermittent crash

by tonkaroy / September 18, 2009 9:13 AM PDT

I have a 3 yr ol
d Inspiron 9400 which regularly, but after varying lengths of time, crashes with an audible 'ooph'
The power light (& num lock) remains on but all programs are stopped & the screen is black.

Thought it may be due to overheating at first - but it can happen after 30secs

Any suggestions?


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Bad news.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 18, 2009 2:05 PM PDT

This Dell Inspiron 9400 with Core 2 Duo and Nvidia 7900 GS is your typical gamer's laptop. You expect trouble in year 2 and beyond. At this point you get an estimate for repair (usually a motherboard or video card) and decide if its worth it.

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Inspiron 9400 Video card problems
by nmorgan1 / September 22, 2009 8:03 AM PDT

I can tell you that most likely your video card is failing. This is a very common problem with this Dell Inspiron 9400 laptops. I have a repair shop that only works on Dell laptops and we have to replaced 100s of those video cards.

Symptoms can vary, but most of the time you will get lines, weird colors and scrambled video, or just a blank screen.

Most of time when this starts happening the card is going bad or is already bad and will need to be replaced. Prices range from $200-$500 for a new card.

Things you can try first:
1. Reseat the video card. Overtime video cards can develop a bad connection to the motherboard/main system-board. This is cause by the heating and cooling of the card and the fact that it is a mobile device that gets moved. Reseating a video card is not an easy thing to do if you are not technical. This requires you to disassemble the laptop and up-plug the video card and plug it back in. Dell has dis assembly instructions on their website. Link to instructions:

2. Flash your laptop's BIOS firmware with the newest update. You can download and install this from Dell's website.
Also download and install the latest video drivers from Dell's website. Here is a link:

3. You can send it in to They specialize only in Dell laptops and stock every part needed to repair it. They only charge a flat $100 for repair. People ship their Dell laptops from all around the world because they specialize in them.
Here is a link:

I hope this helped you.

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