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I have a GPU (a GTX 260M) that is causing windows to lockup.

I was talking to a service rep from the notebook manufacturer and they said typically the technicians go through this process:

Usually to diagnose a GPU multiple things are done. If the computer will still boot then they will put in a test drive with the original factory created driver and test the GPU with a variety of burn in tests i.e. 3dmark vantage, 3dmark06, furmark, etc. If it cannot boot up then they would take a physical look at it and check to see that the solder around the seating of the chipset is still intact and not melted away. Then it would be removed and placed in its own chassis by itself for independent testing and a possible refurbishing. If they think it can be refurbished a price to do so will be quoted out, otherwise they will recommend that it be replaced.

Most likely your GPU has just failed. Whether it is due to prolonged use, excessive heat, electrical problems, or most commonly the seating around the GPU melts and the chip pops out slightly. Laptop GPU’s work a little differently than desktop GPUs. In most cases they will work without artifacting or render problems. They will typically start to make your driver reset itself continuously as windows 7 will reset the driver instead of bluescreen when the video card has a failure.

So basically what I want to know is how do I go about this process myself. Is a service manual 100% necessary and where can I find one [notebook is a sager NP8662(SKU M860TU-2)]. If the seating has failed or the chip has popped out, is this something I can fix myself ? What other possibilities for hardware failure could i diagnose myself ?

Sorry if this isn't the best place to ask this, but notebooks aren't the modular, well documented, computer that today's desktops are and I haven't been able to find any literature on the subject.

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migrated from Jul 7 '11 at 6:58

This question came from our site for electronics and electrical engineering professionals, students, and enthusiasts.

If it is still barely working, you may only manually check if cooling/thermo-interface failed by checking core temperature (should not exceed 70-80C when idle/under load).

If it's not the case, then it might be broken solder balls, which manifest only when PCB expands due to heat... Usual solution is to reball/resolder GPU, but this is... not easy at home (But here in Soviet Russia we fix such issues at home by baking board at 250-300C for few minutes).

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The GPU is not over heating while my computer is running and it does not over heat prior to a lockup/crash but until i open up my notebook and check it out I can't say if it has suffered damage from heat in the past. I have heard of baking boards before but how hard is the solder to do ? I have no personal experience soldering but buying the equipment and learning is an investment I am okay with making. – Bob Smith Jul 7 '11 at 0:09
The idea is that you need temperature-controlled oven, then you slowly increase temperature to some 260-270C in like 5 minutes, leave there for 30 seconds, and then slowly ramp down also in 5 minutes. One may also try to follow official temperature profile for reflow soldering, but it's quite complex. – BarsMonster Jul 7 '11 at 0:38

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