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#1 2005-05-24 15:24:38

Snowman
Developer/Forum Fellow
From: Montreal, Canada
Registered: 2004-08-20
Posts: 5,212

laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

Here's the story:

A few months ago, I started to have monitor and/or video card problem with my laptop.  There was white vertical lines acroos the screen, with a "box" around the cursor and some ramdonly placed pinkd fuzzy horizontal lines.  By changing the angle of the screen and/or of the base, I could make them worse or better.  If I hooked up a regular monitor or projector to the laptop, I would still get the lines.

However, since last Friday I'm experiencing hard freezes (mouse and keyboard doesn't work, need to press power button to shutdown laptop) at random times.  Most of the time it freezes before booting up.  The power LED is on but the screen remains black with no fan and hard drive activity. I think I heard it reading the floppy and CD drive.  Sometime it boots, but it will eventually freeze whether it's during booting the system, at the kdm prompt or after some minutes in the WM.

Since I'm not too willing to pay  to get it checked out and be told that it would be better to get a new one,  I'm wondering if anyone had similar experience and could tell me what the problem could be.  I could then buy the parts (if they are not too expensive) and replace them myself or have them replaced. If you need more info, just ask.

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#2 2005-05-24 16:03:19

phrakture
Arch Overlord
From: behind you
Registered: 2003-10-29
Posts: 7,879
Website

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

does it freeze when connected to the external monitor too?

if you have another machine... try ssh-ing into the laptop when it's frozen - it *could* just be the display (not sure)

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#3 2005-05-25 17:06:31

Snowman
Developer/Forum Fellow
From: Montreal, Canada
Registered: 2004-08-20
Posts: 5,212

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

phrakture wrote:

does it freeze when connected to the external monitor too?

Yes it freezes.

phrakture wrote:

if you have another machine... try ssh-ing into the laptop when it's frozen - it *could* just be the display (not sure)

I tried that when it was frozen and it didn't worked.  I'll try when it's not frozen to check if my setup is OK.

Once I got this error message while booting the kernel:

invalid compressed format (err=1)
  --System halted

I googled a bit and it seems that lots of things can cause this error: bad RAM, heat sink problem, MBR problem.

I can't test for bad RAM bacause I only have 1 RAM stick. As for MBR, I  guess I could run lilo if I get it to boot.

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#4 2005-05-25 17:34:19

i3839
Member
Registered: 2004-02-04
Posts: 1,185

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

Try memtest86. Install it, add it to your grub/lilo config and boot to it. May take a while, but if you've broken hardware then it will crash quickly, and if it's the ram then it will find it eventually. Problem is, if it crashes it's still unclear what's broken, though as it's text mode only perhaps the videocard can be ruled out then.

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#5 2005-05-25 19:19:10

Snowman
Developer/Forum Fellow
From: Montreal, Canada
Registered: 2004-08-20
Posts: 5,212

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

I'll try the memtest trick.  However, I haven't mention it, but I do have problem with the text mode.  The console doesn't work, the screen is black.  When the system boot, I get the  "press F10 to go to BIOS" screen, then the lilo menu appears and then I get a couple of line with the last one saying "Booting the kernel".  The screen stay like this until xorg starts.   The lilo menu also gets printed in strange colors.

Since the videocard is integrated in the motherboard, I wonder if it's a MB problem.

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#6 2005-05-25 19:39:32

i3839
Member
Registered: 2004-02-04
Posts: 1,185

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

It probably is.

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#7 2005-05-26 19:49:04

Snowman
Developer/Forum Fellow
From: Montreal, Canada
Registered: 2004-08-20
Posts: 5,212

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

Thanks for your answers (phrakture and i3839) That was what I feared, I gave up doing the memtest thing. sad  I'll keep the  HD and will try to sell the rest for parts.

On another note, I will buy myself a new desktop.  I will probably have it custom built. I'm thinking about:
AMD Athlon64 4000+
1GB RAM
200 GB SATA HD plus my 30 GB laptop IDE HD
Video card: not sure yet.  Maybe Asus GF6 or ATI Radeon.  Seems that nvidia is more popular but I'm not a gamer.
19" LCD monitor (Samsung 912N ?)
Any comments?

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#8 2005-05-26 19:52:57

i3839
Member
Registered: 2004-02-04
Posts: 1,185

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

Ehh, save the money and just use the onboard video? Just make sure all hardware is supported by Linux before buying it. Why not wait a bit and try out one of those dual core thingies?

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#9 2005-05-26 20:17:33

Snowman
Developer/Forum Fellow
From: Montreal, Canada
Registered: 2004-08-20
Posts: 5,212

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

Yes I might just use the onboard video if the MB has one.   I don't know much about hardware.  The dual-core AMD Athlon 64 X2 looks interesting.  Especially because the low end one will be at the same price as the 4000+ one.

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#10 2005-05-26 22:41:01

T-Dawg
Forum Fellow
From: Wilmington, NC
Registered: 2005-01-29
Posts: 2,734

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

My experience is that video cards go out the most. Personally, I would opt for video that's a FRU (seperate card). At least you can easily replace/upgrade it without replacing the whole motherboard as you're experiencing now. Not to mention onboard robs some system resources. You should be able to find a decent non-gamer card for about $50 or so online.

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#11 2005-05-27 18:05:02

Snowman
Developer/Forum Fellow
From: Montreal, Canada
Registered: 2004-08-20
Posts: 5,212

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

Penguin wrote:

My experience is that video cards go out the most. Personally, I would opt for video that's a FRU (seperate card). At least you can easily replace/upgrade it without replacing the whole motherboard as you're experiencing now. Not to mention onboard robs some system resources. You should be able to find a decent non-gamer card for about $50 or so online.

And, I'm not sure how well Linux support these onboard card.  A seperate one won't be that expensive.  There's a couple ones listed between 60-100$.

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#12 2005-05-31 20:28:08

Snowman
Developer/Forum Fellow
From: Montreal, Canada
Registered: 2004-08-20
Posts: 5,212

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

Update:
MB: Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe
video card: Asus PCIE GF6 6600GT
sound card: SB Audigy 2 ZS

Case: probably Antec Super Lanboy or maybe X-Blade.  The Lian-Li are nice but quite expensive.

Does anyone has suggestion about  a good fan/temperature controller such as A-Top 9913 Multi-Function LCD Control  Panel http://www.a-top.com/lcd/ . Any experience with this one or another brand/model? I want one not too expensive (if possible) and flat enough so the case door covering the external bays will close.

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#13 2005-05-31 23:01:43

DarkPath
Member
Registered: 2004-11-15
Posts: 50

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

What I'd do with that 30GB laptop drive is buy an external enclosure for it, put it in there, and have yourself an external 30GB drive that you can take around wherever you need.

Here's a list of possible 2.5" USB2.0 external enclosures from Newegg.com... they're not that expensive:
Newegg.com Products List


As for your Fan/Temp controller... sorry, I don't have experience with them. :-/

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#14 2005-06-01 06:46:36

Snowman
Developer/Forum Fellow
From: Montreal, Canada
Registered: 2004-08-20
Posts: 5,212

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

I haven't thought about that.  However, I don't think I need to carry that much data around.  A USB stick might be more useful for my needs.

I plan to use that drive to keep  backups.  If I change my mind,  I can  always buy a new drive to do backups (or a RAID array) and use the laptop drive as an external one.

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#15 2005-06-01 09:37:13

jerem
Member
From: France
Registered: 2005-01-15
Posts: 310

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

IBM laptops are known to be very linux-compatible.

I personnally own a Dell Inspiron 8600(which is no longer sold), with evey piece of hardware working.

Before buying your computer, google around to se see if every piece of it has a working module or driver...

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#16 2005-06-01 19:47:33

Snowman
Developer/Forum Fellow
From: Montreal, Canada
Registered: 2004-08-20
Posts: 5,212

Re: laptop dead - wants hardware suggestion for new desktop

Jerem: I think that you missed the fact that it's a desktop that I'm getting now.  I will probably buy myself a laptop later on.  My dead laptop was a Compaq Evo N1000c.  I think it was a lemon. The CD- drive had stopped working over a year ago and a friend of mine also hade CD-drive and screen problem with the same model.  It seems that it was a bad batch.  For my next laptop, I might consider a no-name/generic one.  I've heard that they  are medium sized and built with generic parts (cheap and easy to get).

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