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I've got a Sony VAIO VGN-AR78E, and it worked fine until last week the screen started showing random lines when watching full screen videos. After a couple of days if wouldn't even turn on, so I thought it might be the cooling system failing, checked and everything, even reapplied thermal compound to graphic chip and processor.

That didn't fix it, when starting windows in safe mode, it works, although random red vertical lines appear.

Here is a photo of the screen at startup: enter image description here

Any ideas?

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seems like your graphics card or monitor is damaged –  Baarn Apr 11 '12 at 14:16
    
To make sure of the origin (graphics card or monitor), try to plug another monitor to the laptop (or even an HDTV), to see if you have the problem also. –  Gnoupi Apr 11 '12 at 14:56
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Those lines are being generated by the graphics chipset. There is nothing wrong with the laptop's LCD. As random as you might feel they are, look again at the image you included. There is a predictable pattern there.

This could be caused by corrupted VRAM, or by the GPU itself. From what I can dig up on model number, the GPU is using 128mb of dedicated VRAM, so you can't blame shared system memory... which is too bad. You should be able to confirm this by connecting an external monitor to the VGA port on the laptop. Bad VRAM will cause the lines to appear on the external monitor as well. A failing GPU can also cause the lines to be replicated on an external... but either way, this is how you eliminate the LCD as being suspect. I'm giving you this diagnostic step to follow to give you more peace of mind, since those lines really do point to (95%) video memory issues.

Since the GPU chipset is integrated into the motherboard on that laptop, which means the video memory is also integrated, you are really looking at replacing the motherboard.

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replacing motherboard in laptop = replacing laptop. –  Baarn Apr 11 '12 at 15:00
    
not always. Sure, HP has a history of charging $900+ for a motherboard (like for a DV8000 series) but you never know if it will be cost prohibitive until you look up the cost of a replacement. –  Bon Gart Apr 11 '12 at 15:25
    
Thanks, that's what I thought, I will search for a replacement just in case I can find a cheap one –  Chevi Apr 12 '12 at 15:27
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