03-04-2013 10:31 PM
Very interesting ElbertR. So you had driver issues with the card before failure, and Pepe had driver issues with the card before failure. And your W700 kept running after the 3700M failed. And Pepe's W700 has continued running after his 3700M apparently failed.
And you received diagnostic beeps immediately after installing a replacement HP 3700M, and Pepe received diagnostic beeps immediately after installing a replacement 3700M.
But your machine worked properly after trying repeated reboots with the replacement 3700M. Very interesting.
Pepe, I hate to ask, now that you've taken out the replacment 3700M, but did you happen to try repeated reboots with your replacement 3700M?
03-05-2013 01:58 AM - last edited on 03-05-2013 03:24 AM by andyP
Thanks ElbertR for chiming in and telling us your experience swapping the Quadro on your W700. In my case, I didn't get any BSOD or distortion on the image before the video card gave up. Just those messages about the driver not being recognize by Windows in the middle of a youtube viewing and while watching a mkv. Very strange that the second time you turned on your PC, the Quadro was finally recognized and worked. As Jimbo suggested, I did boot up the computer at least 5 times, even changing the HDD with another one I have for backups (has W7) and the beeps kept coming. Actually, I tried the second hand video card before and after testing my original Quadro, always with the results I already described.
Also thanks to Jimbo as usual. I love notebookcheck.net for both videocard and CPU comparisons. I'll end up buying a new notebook, that's for sure but I rather wait until Nvidia releases the mobile version of the Titan. Quadros are overpriced for not real reason. I've followed the hacking of GeForce and Radeon cards since the early days. when the conversion to Quadros and FireGLs started. I manage a few conversions myself. The only reason I ended up with a Quadro was because the W700 I wanted didn't offer a GeForce. Even at most studios I worked at, don't use Quadros for their machines and we never had problems with Maya, 3D Max, XSI, etc. Sorry for the OT.
Just for the heck of it, I took a comparison pictures of both Quadros (mine is on the left). I'm not sure if it means something but certain parts have a blue dot drawn on top. I wonder if a repair job was done on the Quadro I received. Also note the different bios number, mine being newer.
Moderator note; picture(s) totalling >50K converted to link(s) Forum Rules
03-05-2013 05:51 AM - edited 03-05-2013 06:45 AM
Pepe, I converted your pairs of images into color stereo red-cyan anaglyphs, sending the W700 card image to the left eye, and the ebay card image to the right eye. That's so that I could blow them up really large and see the differences, which immediately show up as shimmering within the visual field.
I think you're right about the blue pen/magic-marker dots. If you look closely at the packages marked with blue dots, the solder is more disorganized and uneven. I think those items (packages) have been replaced. Either that or someone had TRIED to replace them and failed to get them off the card. Also, if you look at the bottom edge of those two images, the W700 card is rev. A02, whereas the ebay card is rev. A00. I wouldn't be surprised if the ebay card is an engineering sample that's been reworked. Heaven knows where they got that from, perhaps factory discards. Please don't mention the seller here.
I've seen that before. For example, when the Intel 5350 wifi card, which had WiMAX, went out of production, ebay became flooded with engineering samples in which the WiMAX didn't work. The cards worked as normal wifi cards, but WiMAX uses a certificate-based scheme to authenticate service subscribers, and all of the certificates for the engineering samples had expired, and thus couldn't be used by subscribers. Some sellers/distributors had actually re-labeled (poorly) those cards before distributing them, because the original labels said "engineering sample -- not for resale." I'm sure that some of the sellers didn't even know they were relabeled. I had an authentic production card, from Toshiba as I recall, and from what I could tell from looking at the printed card labels in ebay listings at that time, virtually all the 5350 cards being offered were fakes -- they were relabled engineering samples. It was a total mess.
So if 3700M's are in short supply, it wouldn't surprise me if items like that surface on ebay. And if it is an engineering sample, then who knows whether it's compatible with the W700 even if it's a working card, given HP/Lenovo's pariticularness about various cards. You should probably look at the rev. number of the card from the photo in the listing, before buying. If it's A00, you may want to stay away.
And there are a LOT of layout/component differences between those two cards, which may not be readily apparent by just viewing the photos as you've laid them out. But the differences hit you in the face when viewing the photos in anaglyph form.
One other difference that I notice, if you look closely at the soldered points inside the white band that delineates the chip package, is that the solder on the right side of the ebay card looks more blob-like vs. your card, in which the solder is very crisp. It may mean nothing, or it may mean that someone has done some sort of reflow job on the ebay card.
One thing that's interesting about the lower (back) image of the ebay card is that there's some sort of production date sticker that looks like it's been partially torn off, or at least not filled out. Plus it has a totally nonsensical range of dates (the 3700M wasn't even in the womb in 2005). It just doesn't fit. So perhaps that's a partial give-away when looking at ebay listings.
Also, the ebay card says it was made in USA, vs. the W700 card which says made in China. I would think a pre-production card is more likely to have been made in the USA, since they probably had to be closer to the production facility during pre-production. So that may be another tip-off of a pre-production card.
The made in USA/CHINA mark also each have a number next to them, which is a much lower number for the USA-made card, another potential tip-off.
And, like you say, the ebay card is an earlier bios version, bios version being another potential tip-off.
If you look in the upper left area of the rear of the W700 card, there's what looks like a white stamped string T03. I don't know if that's an inspection mark or what, but if you look in the same area of the ebay card, there's instead something hand-written by a black magic marker. I'd swear that, if you tilt your head sideways to the left, it reads as "1-7-7". If that means January 7th, 2007, then it is a clear indication of a pre-production card, and THAT, along with the rev. A00 may get your money back. In any case, a hand-written annotation is seemingly another tip-off, since you're probably less likely to find that in a real production unit.
So, together, these may represent a constellation of features that may help you to distinguish a legit card from one that smells fishy.
Anyway, interesting stuff. I hope the luck of the draw is better next time with your ebay GPUs, if there is a next time.
Excellent photos, BTW.
03-05-2013 02:18 PM
Wow Jimbo! You didn't need to turn yourself into CSI mode but appreciate your effort on writing down all the differences between both cards. Next time I'll upload an HDR 32-bit floating point image for your pleasure
I could see a few layout changes from one to another, the Rev number and bios jump but not the soldering part. Good eye! You might be right when saying there's some reflow job done on those areas. I must make clear that the sticker you mentioned that looks torn off is my fault. When I added the small metal square needed to screw it to the fan, that metal part had a very strong glue that ended up taking a small part of the sticker away. I hope the seller doesn't complain about that. I was also puzzled about the black marker signs. At first I thought it was Japanese so I asked my wife if she could read it but told me that looked more like numbers
When I saw the "MADE IN USA" writing I was suspicious. I thought all electronics were made in China.
As for the engineer version theory, I'm not sure how many were made for this card but there's one for sale on eBay right now and the differences are much obvious than on the ones I have now but who know, maybe you are right Jimbo.
I'll contact the seller for a refund. I'll update you with whatever happens next.
03-06-2013 04:15 AM - edited 03-06-2013 03:49 PM
Thanks for your support, folks!
Pepe, your idea to look up engineering samples is a good one. It's interesting to see how many changes that card has gone through. Unfortunately, that ebay photo doesn't have enough resolution to make out any numbers on the board. But I like how the seller has placed that little piece of paper on the card that says "Tested," as if that proves anything.
Based on your idea, I started a google search for engineering samples of the 3700M. Right away I found something interesting:
"Just like it says in the title, I bought a 9800M GT from ebay for $270 with shipping to replace the broken 9800M GT in my Sager NP9262(Clevo D901C), however upon installing the card I was shown a pre-boot screen saying "nVIDIA, Bios 62.92.3b.00.00 - Engineering Sample Model Not for Production 1024MB", I hit F2 and it showed that I was using a Quadro 3700M in the BIOS page."
So this is someone describing an engineering sample they received of the 3700M -- in fact the card even SAYS it's an engineering sample when the machine boots. Look at the BIOS version. It's LATER than that of the card you bought on ebay!
So the BIOS version of the card you bought on ebay was for engineering sample cards. That BIOS version was even superceded by a later version of the BIOS, which was also for engineering sample cards. It seems pretty clear that you have an engineering sample.
As one of the other contributors to that thread said, "yay ebay!"
In case someone runs across this thread and doesn't understand what I'm talking about, from Wikipedia:
"Engineering samples are the beta versions of integrated circuits that are meant to be used for compatibility qualification or as demonstrators. They are usually loaned to OEM manufacturers prior to the chips commercial release to allow product development or display. Usually, they are picked out of a very large batch and perform correctly. However, rarely they may have faults that were fixed in the production model."
Also, you bought one of the first W700 laptops produced so, assuming your 3700M wasn't replaced up until its recent failure, then you have one of the earliest production 3700M cards to hit the market. So I would be suspicious of ANY card that had ANYTHING on it, whether it's BIOS version, rev. number, etc., that's earlier than on your card.
So even if those things aren't visible in the ebay photos of a card, you might ask the seller what those numbers are as listed on the card. That should help screen out pre-production cards. If you receive the card and find that the seller has lied about those numbers, then you have that lie in the seller's message to you, and that constitutes evidence of fraud.
03-06-2013 03:46 PM
Awesome finding, Jimbo! To tell you the truth, the seller was cool enough to send me an RMA so I can return it but they claim the videocard was tested before the shipping... who know with what.
Right now, my only option is on another eBay posting, this time from Taiwan. According to the picture, the Quadro has a bios 62.92.40.00.00 and Ver. 180-10612-0002-A02 printed on the PCB but they sell more than one so go figure what I will end up getting. I'll try to ask them for a picture of the actual card or there's no deal.
03-06-2013 04:33 PM - edited 03-07-2013 11:12 AM
At least that card in the picture is rev. A02, so the layout looks like your W700 card.
I did some research, and found that the W700 3700M only seemed to use BIOS 62.92.5c.00.05 (the one that you happen to have) and 62.92.5c.00.07 (the one that I happen to have, Nvidia Control Panel->Help->System Information). The 8370w 3700M only seemed to use 62.92.51.00.05. I couldn't find any other companies that used those BIOS versions, and it's not clear whether other versions will work well, or work at all. So a supposedly-working 3700M with 180-10612-0002-A02 stamped on the front of the card near the edge connector, with one of those BIOS versions on the BIOS sticker, for HP/Lenovo, should be your best bet. YMMV, and proceed at your own risk. Of course, if someone is having problems and their machine is under warranty, then they should get it fixed under warranty.
ElbertR, if you're reading this, could you please go to Nvidia Control Panel->Help->System Information, and tell us what version of the video BIOS you see? Thanks.
03-08-2013 02:36 AM
Great information Jimbo. Does anyone know the reason behind changing the number series to adding a letter on the BIOS? Might be an indicator of changing from an engineering sample to the final version? No word from the Taiwanese seller yet.
I'm still sending emails to the first Quadro seller. I told him that according to both the BIOS and Rev. number found on his Quadro, I was almost certain it was an engineering sample. This is his reply:
"It is not engineering sample,it is engineering releasing version.After you flash its vbios,these words will disappear.It works fine on regular system.We sold lots of these cards,if people find the correct bios and driver, no any issues."
Hilarious to say the least. Where do I begin...
1. Never heard of such term being applied to video cards. "Engineering release or releasing version" gives no links on google other than a couple of links to eBay.
2. Ebay is flooded with them but I'm pretty sure it's illegal to sell "engineering samples", even more so without mentioning this on the item's description.
3. How am I supposed to flash this Quadro's BIOS if the computer doesn't even boot up with the video card installed?! What is the seller referring to when talking about a "regular system"?
4. So the person in charge to make these video cards work is the buyer? In that case, they should sell this cards as broken.
The Quadro is on its way to Santa Clara, by the way.
03-08-2013 06:53 AM
Yeah, scratch that seller off your list. Just as with those WiMAX cards I mentioned, a lot of shenanigans seem to be going on with ebay sellers of the 3700M.
Regarding letters in the BIOS version, the version numbers appear to be in hexadecimal format if that's what you mean.
I think you now have, though, a set of specs to look for that will lead you to a legitimate used card that should work in the W700. Verify the rev. number by looking at the number itself and the configuration of chips to the left of the GPU, which should match your W700 card. The only remaining variable is whether the card is fried or not, and a guarantee/return policy should take care of that.
Good luck! I want to hear that you found a good card, you put it in, and that your W700 works great again!
03-10-2013 01:35 PM - edited 03-10-2013 07:24 PM
My replacement FX3700m was a HP part (used in HP Elitebook 8730w) with BIOS 62.92.E6.00.10 which is a later BIOS than the original (62.92.5C.00.05)
I swapped the square metal bracket around the video chip from the original one to the replacement because the one that was on there had smaller screw holes in which the screws from the heatsink/fan mount did not fit.
HP SPARE P/N 488125-001
ASSY P/N 460734-001
I think the bios had to update itself to the presence of a new card. Once updated, it started right up.
Still running fine, no issues at all.