I bought my Dell XPS M1710 in January 2007, so it’s three years old now. Except some overheating issues, which I solved by cleaning the fans and applying Arctic Silver thermally conductive compound, I didn’t really have any major issues with this laptop. If you want more information about letting your XPS run cooler, please follow this link.
A few days ago strange things started to happen. During the boot up of the system, random pixels and stripes appeared, even at the BIOS screens. The Windows loading screen was normal but then a final screen with pixel distortion came up and the screen turned black. I had to shut down the system by holding the power button. Some browsing on the internet with my desktop pc confirmed my fear: my graphic card was fried. Apparently this is a common problem with Dell’s gaming rigs which are terrible at heat management. Some forums report problems when the laptop is only one month old. I guess I am lucky it worked for 3 years.
As my warranty is expired, my first reaction was to search for a new graphic card on eBay and other second hand sites. The graphic card in my system is a Nvidia 7950 GTX and they are being sold on eBay but at crazy prices! No way I’m going to pay about 300 euros for a second hand card that gives me absolutely no guarantee about how long it will work before frying again.
Then I found some forums about people putting their graphic card in the oven and baking them alive! The idea is that due to constant heating and cooling of the card, tiny cracks start to form in soldered contacts. Baking the card melts the solder, restoring the contacts. I thought “What the hell, I’ve got nothing to loose. My laptop is worthless now anyway.” Continue reading