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Retired SuperMod
Retired SuperMod
Posts: 9,293
Registered: ‎11-27-2007
Location: SK
Views: 1,109
Message 11 of 12

Re: When did T4X get reliable GPU/motherboard?

Ben, welcome to the forum,

 

anyone suffering this should browse the T4x Series board at thinkpads.com. Especially the "stickied" threads "t42 shuts down when I move it" and "Guide: Reflow GPU fix". There is a massive wealth of information to help diagnose and hopefully fix the problem.

Andy  

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DaveG11th
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Posts: 15
Registered: ‎09-11-2008
Location: Framingham (Boston) Massachusetts
Views: 1,109
Message 12 of 12

Re: When did T4X get reliable GPU/motherboard?


@bgelb wrote:
Also, is there any further technical detail available on the exact nature of the failure?

I  only know what I read - there are two sticky threads at thinkpads.com inthe ThinkPad T4x Series forum that delve into the GPU problem and fixes:

GUIDE: Reflow GPU fix - 56k warning, http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=57021

t42 shuts down when I move it: http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=33952

 

It seems to be a combination of:

(a) mfrs inexperience with lead-free solder, which is more brittle than lead types

(b) T4x series base design, which is flexible

(c) ATI GPU chip sub-boards, which are solder-balled and apparently have differing coefficient of thermal expansion than the mother board.

 

The GPU heats and cools, expanding and contracting and stressing the brittle, vulnerable solder ball connections to the mainboard. When the base flexes (as for example, picking the portable up by a front corner, or working on an uneven surface [e.g., your lap]), the compromised joints give way.

 

Fixes, in order of cost from lowest to highest, range from using Post-Its to bear down on the GPU, to reflowing the original solder by heating the ATI sub-board, to reballing by removing old solder & reballing the sub-board, to mainboard replacement. There's a guy on eBay who claims reballing for $50 and jamiphar on thinkpads.com who reballs at $150.

 

Lenovo tried to prevent the problem (as did many electronics manufacturers who used ball grid arrays) by using adhesive at the corners of the sub-board. My T42 was built in 12/05 and has the glue reinforcements. People report these with GPU failure as well, so it's not a 100% solution.

Dave

T42 2373-K1U

Windows XP Pro

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