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Question re: What Kind of Video Card to get

by Grape Gurl / July 19, 2004 4:00 PM PDT

I would appreciate any help you guys can offer...

I have a Dell Inspiron 8500, have only had it for a year, and after 2 months of haggling with customer service, they determined that my video card was sour. We tried reinstalling the driver, flashing the BIOS, completely reformatting the hard drive and re-installing everything, and nothing worked.
My video card is an ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 32 MB DDR 4x AGP (not quite sure what any of that means). I have searched for it on different websites to find it, and can't (I assume it's outdated already). Dell wants to charge me an arm & a leg to buy it from their spare parts department.
Here's my QUESTION(s):
#1)Do I have to buy the same one that came with my computer? Since I have to buy a completely new one, can I get something different? How will I know it's compatible?
#2) Any recommendations for what to get? I have the super-nice high-resolution screen, so I would like to get a quality video card, and don't mind spending a few $$$. I just can't reconcile paying beaucoup bucks from Dell for an oldie if I could get something better for the same price.
Thanks for any help!

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Answer: Laptops don't accept video cards.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 20, 2004 12:17 AM PDT

It's a new idea (or an old one coming back again), but to change the video card you change the motherboard since it's just some chips on the mainboard in your laptop.

Sorry to read about your woes, but if it is as you say and they admit its dead or bad, then you have to exercise the warranty to resolve it.

Bob

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Re: Answer: Laptops don't accept video cards.
by Grape Gurl / July 20, 2004 2:10 AM PDT

The warranty conveniently expired a week before the problem started.

This laptop does have a video card (maybe a diff kind?) In fact, they said that I would have to buy the video card, take it to a local technician so they could open it and change it on the motherboard.

I just spoke again to Dell sales, and they said that I HAVE top buy the video card from them, b/c the manufacturer does something to the video card to make it Dell compatible.

Is this true, or are they just pulling my leg? I have seen the one that they're recommending at COMP USA for $30 cheaper, and am tempted to buy it there and have them install it.

That's only if there are no Dell-specific needs that mandate that I buy it from Dell.

Any thoughts? Thanks for your help!

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Re: Answer: Laptops don't accept video cards.
by KenSanramon / July 20, 2004 4:23 AM PDT

Only cheaper laptops with integrated graphics have a chip on the motherboard itself. The ATI 9000, 9200, 9700 and corresponding Nvidia video laptops with dedicated video are a separate board.

This is definitely not easy to replace by yourself though --but you should be able to get the same video card and have it swapped out by a qualified technician. You can go either 32mb or 64mb dedicated video memory on this card (about $50 difference and the 64mb is nice to have) but you cannot put an ATI 9700 in a machine designed for the 9000.

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Re: Answer: Laptops don't accept video cards.
by Grape Gurl / July 20, 2004 8:17 AM PDT

Thanks to both of you...you were right. I called CompUSA and they said I had to buy the card from Dell, and that they could install it.

Thanks for your replies!

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If they say so.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 20, 2004 4:37 AM PDT

Laptops are very unlike desktops. Only recently have we seen cards such as Mini-PCI that allow us to, as the end user to open it up and change out the usual WiFi Mini-PCI card.

But the issue is again what Dell will offer drivers for their laptop. This is not a desktop where we get to mix and match.

How much is this card?

Bob

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Re: Answer: Laptops don't accept video cards.
by CSteele / August 9, 2004 5:32 AM PDT

I have a dell laptop (inspiron)8200. It has a nVIDIA NV17 3D Video Chip 64MB DDR 4X AGP. The video has become garbled recently. Dell Service stated that I need to relpace the screen. However the problem also occurs when I connect to an external monitor. I updated the drivers and the problem stills occurs as soon as the laptop is moved. I am running windows xp.

My question is, can video chips get loose and can they be replaced or upgraded.

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Re: Answer: Laptops don't accept video cards.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 9, 2004 5:46 AM PDT

"My question is, can video chips get loose and can they be replaced or upgraded."

If they are going to replace the screen, that's about as much bucks as the motherboard. In direct answer to your question...

a. Yes. But they shouldn't. Here's why. The video and other chips are soldered into place. If they get loose, then that means the solder work was defective or the laptop was subjected to a lot of abuse that flexed the motherboard causing solder joints to fail.

b. "Chips" do fail in odd ways. If you look at this picture first... > http://www.physics.purdue.edu/cleosi3/wirebond/smashedbonds/smash_4.jpg you can see the wirebonds inside the "chip" that you you see as a black pastic thing with metal legs. Those connections can fail due to many reasons. Repair is not possible in consumer equipment because board or chip replacement is the cheaper fix.

c. Cables from motherboard to LCD have been known to unplug, crack or make intermittent contact. From your words, I think this scenario is unlikely.

d. Drivers do not fix hardware.

Hope this sheds some light on your issue.

Bob

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