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Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

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Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

Postby MadMind75 » Sat Jan 07, 2012 11:52 pm

I know someone who has an HP DV series laptop. After the battery stopped holding a charge, the CD/DVD drive stopped functioning, and the touchpad stopped working, now the wireless went too.
Looking on the internet and Youtube, it seems the HP dv series are plagued with these problems stemming from the BGA/GPU, usually caused by overheating from an inadequate cooling system (you could fry an egg on the bottom of that thing).

Aside from a reflow or a last ditch effort to bake your motherboard in the oven, which both reportedly only offer a more temporary solution and the latter of which is very risky, barring having the entire motherboard replaced, it seems that the safest and a longer lasting solution is to have the GPU reballed. I've read that it usually goes for around $100-120 (even though some offer the service on ebay for $65), but I've also read that most computer repair shops do not offer board level repair.

Now we may end up just getting a usb wireless adapter for a cheap workaround and see if that works, but it'd be nice to know if there are any computer repair shops in the area who do offer GPU reballing.

Anyone know? It'd be much appreciated.
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Re: Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

Postby Athena » Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:12 am

I hate to state the obvious, but you might want to look into getting a new laptop. Laptops aren't designed to last that long and most aren't upgradable. Now, if you think it is a just an over-heating problem, get a temperature monitoring utility. There's a bunch of free ones floating around and that should give you an idea of what temperatures you are hitting. If that is the problem, then one cheap idea that I use is to blow out all the vents with an air duster, then vacuum the loose dust. I've been doing this every few months with my laptops for years and it makes a big difference. I do not think this would help with the death of the wireless receiver though, as likely you've completely burned out the circuits, but you could give it a try.

I do not have recommendations for repair places. You might want to see if HP could recommend a place to take it to. Laptops are a bit more difficult to get into so it helps to have a place that is familiar with your brand.
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Re: Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

Postby Petro » Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:59 pm

I know that this guy is local, has a professional reflow station and has a bunch of experience reballing RROD'd xbox 360s.

I can't guarantee that he can do the HP laptop, but it might be worth a call.
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Re: Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

Postby MadMind75 » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:14 am

Thanks for the suggestion Petro, I'll shoot him an email.
And Athena, the laptop isn't so old that it should need to be replaced. I found out there was a class action lawsuit against HP, and they stepped up by offering a limited warranty service enhancement and repaired affected laptops free of charge for a limited period of time. Of course, the laptops warranty and HP's service enhancement are now conveniently expired - regardless of the fact that countless HP DV series owners still deal with failed laptops (there is a reason that a Youtube video demonstrating a reflow of an HP DV series laptop has over 1 million views).
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Re: Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

Postby sabuye » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:17 pm

Assuming that you're right about the GPU/heat issue being the culprit, will replacing the GPU fix the optical drive, touchpad, battery, and wireless card? Doesn't seem very likely.

I would regrettably have to agree with Athena that your best bet may be replacing the laptop, if not each of those components in addition to the graphics card.
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Re: Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

Postby MadMind75 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:38 am

sabuye wrote:Assuming that you're right about the GPU/heat issue being the culprit, will replacing the GPU fix the optical drive, touchpad, battery, and wireless card? Doesn't seem very likely.

I have read that the Wifi issue does stem from the same problem. I'm not sure about the CD/DVD drive. I have seen a video where someone baked their motherboard (a ghetto reflow) and their touchpad was brought back to life, I've also read from someone who's battery began holding a charge again after baking the motherboard. So yeah, I'm no expert, the GPU reballing seems to be mainly used with the laptops that get a black screen (which we do not yet have, fingers crossed). Though from everything that I've read, the wireless does seem to also be fixed by a reballing (or a reflow), and that a reballing of the GPU is a more substantial repair than a reflow of the GPU.
All I know is that many of the problems of the dv series are attributed to overheating on account of the Nvidia GPU and an inadequate cooling system, as displayed in this video. The technician featured in the video also places copper plating over the GPU and the CPU to drop the temperature by 10 degrees.
Last edited by MadMind75 on Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

Postby MadMind75 » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:25 am

THE PROBLEM ACKNOWLEDGED
Tech Shakedown: HP Pavilion notebook owners flood HP's site (wireless stops working)
HP DV9000 Wireless Card Not Working

"It's not HP at fault, it's nVidia. This is also happening in Toshibas and Acers, but you hear about it mostly in HP's because they were 90% of the retail PC market at the time the DVxxx series came out."

THE CAUSE
"Wifi issues directly related to the fact that the GPU is not sending the right voltage to the hardware." (on account of bad solder joints)

SOLUTION(S)
From http://www.fixmygpu.com/
SYMPTOMS THAT CAN BE FIXED BY REBALLING THE GPU

System turns on and lights come on around the keyboard, but nothing appears on the screen.
System turns on and beeps 3 times with 1 long then 2 short beeps
Strange colored screen, sometimes grey, red, blue, or green
Screen is pixelated or scrambled
Screen is black, but your backlight is on
Screen is split or divided into multiple screens
System turns on then immediately shuts off
System turns on with a black screen, but keeps restarting by itself
System turns on to a white or grey screen, sometimes with horizontal lines
System does absolutely nothing when the power button is pressed
Can't load Nvidia driver, but can run in VGA mode only
Screen works, but no WiFi card is found in device manager

WORST CASE SCENARIO
I'd suggest simply getting a USB wireless adapter and be done with it, but like I said from everything I've read, it's due to the GPU and the overheating issue, and if the cause is neglected, you could end up in the same boat as a disgruntled poster on HP's boards; "The Nividia chipset overheated so much that it fried the motherboard and all the components attached to it."
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Re: Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

Postby infratactix » Sun Jan 15, 2012 9:11 pm

I've worked over a few of these laptops in the last few years and what I've found (damn hottest laptops I've ever seen) - on most of them is two things, definately related to heat generated by the nVidia graphics chip:

1. the airflow is horrible, if you've owned one of these for a year or more, you MUST open it up and blow out the junk that is guaranteed to accumulate inside, blocking the cooling fins.

2. the design of the heat removal system from the GPU on most of the DV series laptops DO NOT have adequate heat transfer capabilities. The chip is unable to unload it's heat directly to the cooling fins. (most of the heat removal assemblies I've seen didn't even come in direct contact with the GPU!!)

I wouldn't say it's so much the GPUs fault as it is inadequate design of the heat removal system. Remember what the laptop was designed for-media, for that purpose, the GPU is a good one for the laptop, unfortunately they forgot to figure out how to keep it cool.

Most of these I've managed to fix (by replacing motherboard unfortunately) I've also had to install a copper riser plate and ample amounts of the grey goo between the GPU chip and heat transfer plates to make sure it all stays in contact.

Last repair I did on a dv9000 MB replacement for someone costed about $175 which was a motherboard repair, goo, and riser plate (sourced from ebay) - food for thought.
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Re: Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

Postby MadMind75 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:07 pm

infratactix wrote:Last repair I did on a dv9000 MB replacement for someone costed about $175 which was a motherboard repair, goo, and riser plate (sourced from ebay) - food for thought.

Thanks for the feedback infratactix.
$175? Think that's overcharging a bit? Fixmygpu does a reball for $125, and avonpcpitstop does it for $129.99, and that's including S&H (of course, they don't list additional repairs that might need to be done, i.e. cooling).

As far as copper shims go, I've seen a few videos where they place copper shims over the GPU and the CPU. But then I saw another video where they don't place a copper shim over the CPU(?), saying that doing so could cause "all sorts of problems". Any definitive word on this?
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Re: Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

Postby Athena » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:47 am

Madmind - did you ever have the reballing done on your computer? My current laptop is having overheating issues and I'm trying to get a little bit more life out of it and I'm thinking it just needs more thermal paste on the GPU. Unfortunately, the darn thing is hard to get to in my laptop and I'd rather pay someone to do it who can guarentee that they aren't going to break it.
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Re: Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

Postby Petro » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:37 am

Athena wrote:Madmind - did you ever have the reballing done on your computer? My current laptop is having overheating issues and I'm trying to get a little bit more life out of it and I'm thinking it just needs more thermal paste on the GPU. Unfortunately, the darn thing is hard to get to in my laptop and I'd rather pay someone to do it who can guarentee that they aren't going to break it.


"More" thermal paste on the GPU never helps anything. You want the thinnest possible layer that still provides complete coverage. (There's several arguments as to the best way to go about achieving that, of course.)

As long as you've got the original, untouched layer between the die and the heatsink, you're probably not going to remarkably improve things by removing and reapplying thermal paste. And really, in a laptop, the problem is rarely related to an issue of moving heat between chip and heatsink - the problem is evacuating that heat from the heatsink into the outside air.

Of course, there have been more than a few laptops that've left the factory with too much thermal paste on 'em - that'll actually cause overheating issues.
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Re: Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

Postby Athena » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:11 am

I will admit that I don't know much about these issues, but I have been using a laptop forum (notebookreview.com) for advice. From what they say, it is a common issue with the older Gateway laptops that the original paste was not well applied and will flake off. Also, there is apparently a gap between the GPU and the heatsink in my model that requires a fairly thick layer of thermal paste. They recommend that if one is doing any thorough cleaning that a new layer of the thermal paste should be applied to the GPU.
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Re: Computer Repair - GPU Reballing

Postby MadMind75 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:21 pm

Athena wrote:Madmind - did you ever have the reballing done on your computer?

No. I was actually posting on behalf of someone else. They may have it repaired soon. The issue is do they really want to spend $200+ to have it repaired.

P.S. As to what would be fixed by a reballing, this is a response I got from a repair shop that does reballing;
"Circuitry from the optical (DVD) drive and wireless card run through the GPU and a reflow or reball can repair those problems. The touchpad and battery are unrelated.
We use copper only above the GPU. If you place copper above the CPU it will mess up the way the heatsink sits and put too much pressure on the chip."
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