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What could be the reason that my Acer Aspire 5741G laptop always gets corrupted graphics a few minutes after boot?

(Intel Chipset, Ati Graphics)

It happens kernel independent. It happens in Windows 7 as much as in any Linux I boot. Last time, before it happened I was able to read some "dmesg" logentries, which said that the cpu got clocked down because of overheating. (lulzily the temperature value had its own unit, where everything over 9000 was too hot XD )

It looks like this:

enter image description here

I suspect one of those things:

The previous owner messed up the default clock settings of the graphics board through one of these desktop overclocking tools and it gets unstable. How to reset that when I can not even see what I am doing shortly after login, lest install windows that way.

Actual overheating? No I cleaned the thing inside out to check for that.

The connection to the display could be disturbed. Are there "just those cables" for sale somewhere? I dont want to buy a new screen.

The graphics chip could be damaged. I cant remove it like one of those mobile pcie cards. But the gpu seems like on some kind of socket, I dont know if it is locked or exchangable. How can I check those things?

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The Acer boot screen loads fine? Can you enter the BIOS? If you let it sit at the BIOS, does the screen ever corrupt? You said it is OS independent, so you have booted it to a LiveCD (like Linux Mint, or PartedMagic, etc) and it still happens? This model has 512mb of dedicated GDDR3 VRAM? – Bon Gart Sep 11 '13 at 21:53
It happened in debian wheezy, sabayon, linux mint and windows 7. the linuxes were livecds and win7 was installed. Yes it is the 512mb Vram model mith mobile Radeon HD 5470. I currently have it sitting in the bios menu, for now it didnt corrupt. – Bryan Shadow Sep 11 '13 at 22:03
7 minutes now in bios, nothing happened – Bryan Shadow Sep 11 '13 at 22:09
It sounds and looks like VRAM corruption, except that typically you will see that in the BIOS as well (but not always). The fact that it is OS independent, and that the video overclocking was done via software (which means booting to a LiveCD would ignore the overclocking) indicates it is indeed a hardware issue of some sort. It wouldn't be the LCD panel, and a cable issue wouldn't scramble like that (missing colors, partial display, no display... those are cable issues). The processor has Intel HD4000 graphics as part of it, and viewing the BIOS may make use of that instead of the ATI. – Bon Gart Sep 11 '13 at 22:18
Meh, now it happened in the bios, too. Gonna test with external monitor. – Bryan Shadow Sep 11 '13 at 22:18

Many reasons may cause this issues

  • Monitor Gone Bad (You should connect your VGA cable to a desktop monitor and check the display, if the display still is corrupted, there is some other issue)

  • Improper or outdated graphics drivers

  • Overheating is the major concern of these problems. Touch your laptop around the places where hot air is released to keep the laptop cool

  • Try once with an external laptop cooling fan.

  • In your BIOS check if you can disable the Ati Graphics. Intel graphics generally cant be overclocked. So in case of messy setting, Intel should work fine, you can google on how to reset the clock for ATI

Hope that helps a bit !

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I will check with another monitor next time it happens, had to get one. Graphics drivers were preinstalled in Windows, irrelevant in linux distros which had either ati's proprietary driver or the open source radeon driver on the live media. It does not really overheat, not too much above body temerature. Bios has virtually no hardware related settings, only password, uids, time n stuff. Any way to unlock more settings? – Bryan Shadow Sep 11 '13 at 22:05

From the comments and details that came out of them, I am really leaning heavily toward Bad Video Ram. The picture looks like Bad Video Ram. The problem happens independent of an OS, and it eventually followed you into the BIOS.

You could still connect an external monitor, and use (I think) Fn+F8 to switch from the laptop screen to the external monitor... but if it is Bad Video Ram, the problem would continue there as well.

Yes, it could be the GPU instead of the VRAM, but it doesn't look like it's the GPU.

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is vram in any way replaceable? – Bryan Shadow Sep 12 '13 at 6:43
Only in the sense of replacing the motherboard. Sorry, the video card is not an MXM, and thus it (and subsequently the dedicated video memory) cannot be replaced. the 5710g, and the 5720g both use MXM form factor video cards, but not the 5741g. – Bon Gart Sep 12 '13 at 7:27
thats bad , i will test with external mon once more, if it is doing anything today. if not i am going to buy a new mainboard, do you know any good shops for them? Target country is germany – Bryan Shadow Sep 12 '13 at 7:51
ebay possibly... I just did a search on, turned up a working Acer 5471g for 22,50 Euros... dunno if that's good or bad – Bon Gart Sep 12 '13 at 8:06
I found lots of oh so "prefossional" repair services for 100€. And lots of broken mainboards – Bryan Shadow Sep 12 '13 at 8:28
up vote 0 down vote accepted

On reading logs from the removed hdd... VRAM was fried. Actually GPU got way too hot and fried the VRAM, which was not as temperature resilient as the GPU itself. They were connected to the same heatpipe. Got a new mainboard from china for 1/3 the price on ebay. Still the laptop has shitty cooling. I am going to add a second fan and extra copper heat dissipators.

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