02-22-2013 11:00 AM
Hi all. Need a little help in here.
Never had an issue with the Quadro since I bought the W700 back in 2008. I've stressed it with Maya, Premiere, After Effects and some gaming pretty much everyday and a few days back while watching a movie, the image froze so I had to restart the movie. It did it like 5 or 6 times. I thought it was the movies fault but realized there was a pop up message at the bottom right side of the screen the last few times the movie froze saying something about the driver (couldn't been found or something like that) with a red cross icon at the beginning of the message.
The next day, I was watching a video on youtube and the screen went black. The weird thing is the computer continues working. I can start the OS, I hear the welcome sound, the screen turns on (I can see light coming out from it) but the image is black. There's no image at all, from the Lenovo welcome screen to the bios to the OS itself. Tried to output the image through the DVI to an external monitor (pressed the Microsoft icon + P several times) but that didn't do anything. I can hear the fans working and I even opened the back of the W700 to see if there was something loose or burned. Nothing suspicious. The fan area is clean as I'm aware of the danger of keeping it dirty. I even unplugged the Quadro and put it back on a few times... nothing changed. Swapped the main HDD with an extra I have just in case there was something wrong with the drivers, nothing.
I thought if the videocard is broken, the OS would not even load. Am I missing something? I'm thinking about buying a second hand Quadro FX 3700M off eBay for around $200 but I wonder if this will make any difference. I believe it's from a HP workstation but it should work fine on the Lenovo, correct? Back in the day, there were rumors saying the videocards based on the G92 (among others) were prone to fail. Have you guys noticed any unusual failure rate on the Quadro FX 3700M?
I'm running Windows 7 64bits, 8 Gigs of RAM, SSD Intel M20 80GB + Hitachi 750GB...
Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
02-22-2013 02:18 PM
Hi Jin. What do you mean with "it happens a lot"? Could you elaborate? In my case, the black screen won't change no matter what I do, and I tried anything I could think of, leaving me to think there's something wrong with the Quadro. There's just one thing that doesn't make any sense to me and that is the OS loads just fine. If the Quadro was fried, wouldn't I get some kind of a bip sound when trying to load Windows? Similar as to when there's no RAM?
02-22-2013 02:35 PM - edited 02-22-2013 09:34 PM
I was watching a video on youtube and the screen went black... I can start the OS, I hear the welcome sound, the screen turns on (I can see light coming out from it) but the image is black. There's no image at all, from the Lenovo welcome screen to the bios to the OS itself. Tried to output the image through the DVI to an external monitor (pressed the Microsoft icon + P several times) but that didn't do anything. I can hear the fans working and I even opened the back of the W700 to see if there was something loose or burned. Nothing... The fan area is clean as I'm aware of the danger of keeping it dirty. I even unplugged the Quadro and put it back on a few times... nothing changed. Swapped the main HDD with an extra I have just in case there was something wrong with the drivers, nothing.
Sorry to hear that Pepe. I ran into one of your old messages the other day and was wondering whether you were still using that machine.
My W700 has always had trouble recognizing external displays, but if you've had the Windows-logo-key+P work for you reliably in the past on that machine with external DVI displays, then it sounds like you've done a good job of isolating the failure to the video card.
The most common failures that I've seen in the W700, from other users' reports, are failure of the video card due to overheating, caused by the air intake vents on the bottom of the laptop becoming clogged with dust (which is almost impossible to see, unless you shine a flashlight into them), failure of the inverter for the backlight, and failure of the backlight itself. Normally on the W700, unless the GPU is working hard at something or driving two displays, the plastic panel on the right, between the keyboard and display hinge, should be cool to the touch (the W701 has a significantly higher TDP for the GPU, so may run hotter). It sounds like you've kept the cooling system clean. So overheating may not have been the cause, since video card failure from that is usually preceded by one or more events of instant thermal shutdown of the machine while playing videos. Unrelated to these failures, you'll also see gradual dimming of the backlight's brightness over time, and a gradual increase of color cast before calibration, both of which are due to normal aging of the fluorescent backlight. Unlike the W500, there's no integrated graphics in the W700, so you can't switch to that as a test of the video card. Whether the OS balks at failure of the video card probably depends on precisely how the video card has failed.
From other users' reports, either an HP or Lenovo video card should work in the machine, but no other video cards will work. My understanding is that the HP card has better availability. And you have to use a 2700M/3700M, not a 2800M/3800M (and you CAN switch from a 3700M to 2700M). One warning: DON'T be tempted to turn on the machine with the new GPU before you've pasted it and mounted its heatsink! I know the W701xx always seemed to have video driver problems but, lead_org, if you're seeing failures similar to Pepe's on your W701xx on a regular basis (presumably Pepe's failure is permanent), then there's something seriously wrong with your machine!
My W700 is still chugging along fine with no problems, and I make a point of keeping the air intake vents and heatsink fins clean. It's getting less use due to a 3D M17x R4. And external Dreamcolor. And a Nikon D800 as well -- I just brought back 500GB of imagery from Puerto Rico a few weeks ago that I'm still going through, but the W700 struggles with my processing of the larger D800 images. You'd like the D800, even if you're a Canon fan. ;-)
Take care, Pepe, and good luck with the resurrection!
02-23-2013 02:19 AM
Wow Jimbo! The guru of the W700 itself Good to see you are still around, man! As always, very informative and precise info. I guess there's no way for me to know for sure if the problem I'm having is entirely due to the Quadro. The weird message about the driver not being recognized while watching a youtube video still puzzles me. It showed up a few times and then the black screen came up. As you suggested, maybe something minor broke on the card and that's why the OS still loads fine but I don't get any image. The only way for me to be 100% sure is to get a second hand Quadro and swap it.
A last gen Alienware laptop is a pretty good reason to park aside your old W700, that's for sure. I use a Canon 5D mrkII and the W700 can handle the files with ease. Also Premiere runs the footage in full HD in real time thanks to the Mercury setting. The Quadro 2700M is way cheaper and also a possibility as you mentioned but I need a card with at least 1GB of RAM due to Mercury's requierements. Also the extra power of the 3700M doesn't hurt while in Maya or gaming.
I'll report back once I manage to get a hold of another card. Thanks again!
02-23-2013 06:43 AM
I'm not sure how the "missing driver" message fits into all this, but let's assume that it IS related for the moment (it's certainly a big coincidence). FWIW, is the following the message you were getting?
"Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware. The driver may be corrupted or missing. (Code 39)"
Anyway, if the current problem is due simply to a missing driver, then when you swapped in your older system drive, that should have restored the laptop's state to working as it had in the past (unless you had since changed a BIOS setting).
So, if you haven't changed any BIOS settings, then presumably it's a hardware problem. That could include a failure of the CMOS memory to save your BIOS settings (or the settings could be scrambled), which could be related to the CMOS battery. You could go through the electrostatic discharge procedure as well.
So let's say you've ruled that stuff out, and let's assume the BIOS settings weren't changed, and CMOS is intact. Then the only pertinent hardware problem I think of is the video card. I suppose if you have a remote diagnostics program installed, or installed a telnet server on the machine, you might be able to access the machine from the network and try to deduce what's going on. Or maybe you could boot to a linux cd that has something like that installed. That's a possibility. But let's move on beyond that.
So could a video card failure cause a driver missing message? I suppose a video card firmware failure (manifesting after boot has completed) could cause the video card not to be recognized as the Quadro card, in which case the laptop would try to use a generic video driver for it. Whether the display would remain functioning so that it would still be able to display error messages, I don't know. If the card continued to degrade, then you could end up with the current state of affairs. I really don't know.
That's everything that immediately comes to mind with regards to the missing driver message. If it's a video card failure, then a swap should fix it. If it's the card, then from what I've seen, you just remove the old one, put in the new one (w/paste & heatsink), and that's all you need to do, with no firmware flashing or new drivers or anything like that needed, even if it's the HP card. It'll be interesting to see how it all works out, which will hopefully end in success.
02-24-2013 03:11 AM
Pretty much everything you wrote, it came to mind when facing the problem the W700 is giving me. Good you pointed out the info about the BIOS as I didn't mentioned before. I didn't change any settings (probably the last time I did change something was more than a year ago) and for what is worth, I didn't install any new major program, other than mame a month ago or so. If the CMOS battery or BIOS would have changed or died, I assume the OS would not load and if it did, it would have load a generic driver for the video card as you said.
Has for the "Windows cannot load the device driver for this hardware. The driver may be corrupted or missing. (Code 39)" message, I don't think it came up. It was just a couple of short pop up messages from the clock area. That's why I swaped the HDDs to see if the driver issue had something to do with it. The card breaking internally avoiding the OS from detecting it properly might be possible but I wonder if that is even possible as the OS would no even load, right?
I also thought about accesing the W700 remotely but I don't have a remote diagnostics program installed or any other way to access the OS other than tha share folders that Windows sets by default and that won't help me to diagnose anything regarding the videocard problem, I'm afraid.
Thanks for taking the time to give all shorts of ideas and don't worry, I won't forget to apply thermal paste when replacing the heatsink Hopefully in a couple of weeks I can report good news. Cheers mate!
03-04-2013 11:50 AM
The second hand Quadro FX 3700M just arrived today and as I feared, after swapping it with the old one and applying some thermal paste, I turned the computer on and all I got was a long beep followed by two short beeps. The screen didn't even light up. I wasn't sure what it meant but for testing purposes I decided to remove the Quadro and try to turn on the computer again without any video card on it. Got the same error beeps from before. To make sure this was not coming from something else, I installed the old Quadro and boot up the computer. I could hear the W7 welcome melody and the screen turned on even though I wasn't getting any image. Same results as day 1.
My guess is the video card I received is dead, even more dead than the one I already have Hopefully I can get my money back. I'll try to buy one more Quadro but I have a bad felling about this as most of eBay sellers don't even test these cards they are selling even though they state otherwise in the description. I fear most G92 based Quadros are fried by now.. Charlie Demerjian was right after all.
03-04-2013 02:53 PM - edited 03-04-2013 03:10 PM
Sorry to hear that, Pepe. It's hard to know what you're getting on ebay sometimes. Hopefully the second time will be the charm.
It's a challenging machine to replace, if you come to that. On the bright side, some very fast machines are available. Unfortunately, if you need Quadro, the K5000M is going for ~$1600 more than the Geforce GTX 680M (which is the same hardware, but without OpenGL support in the driver, and is about 25% faster in gaming, but about 15% as fast in Maya). Then there's the K4000M, K3000M (about $200 more than 680M), and K2000M (roughly same gaming performance as 3700M, roughly 1/3 of 680M). And there's the 680M in SLI, but not the K5000M to my knowledge (who could afford it?):
(uncheck "Still available (not archived)" to see 3700M, click on the "3DMark11 P GPU" column to sort processors roughly in order of decreasing performance, although older GPUs such as the 3700M don't have this benchmark listed)
Then there are the faster desktop namesakes. And ATI if you like to torture yourself. ;-)
Anyway, best of luck with the GPU!
03-04-2013 08:41 PM
Had to replace the Fx3700m in my W700 too.
Started out by getting irregular BSOD's on the nvidia driver. Then it would happen all the time. Suddenly there was distortion on the 'Thinkpad' startup screen. Windows would come up and only load the standard VGA driver. The Nvidia card was no longer recognized. (at least the computer was still working and the BSOD's stopped).
Got a replacement Fx3700m online (HP part). First time after install the computer just bleeped and would not boot! I was afraid I just spend $ on a non-working part. But then I started the computer again (not changing anything) and it came up normal. Has been working good ever since... Keeping my fingers crossed and trying to make sure the vents for the fans are not blocked (either by dust or by setting the laptop on a soft surface like a bed comforter).