Jeff (geekbearjeff) wrote,

laptop issues

This is my laptop at normal resolution - 1440x900 - trying to present the shutdown dialog box.
personal laptop, after video card failed, shutdown options box

This is my laptop at 640x480. I'm using it to make this posting.
laptop at the only usable resolution - 640x480that I can use the laptop, broken, very low resolution, 640x480, works, stable, very hard to use

Wednesday evening I was sorting digital photos in Photoshop CS3 Bridge and a warning message popped up on the screen. Your video accelerator has become unstable{blah, blah, blah}. A short while later the screen took to looking like the first screenshot in this post.

After a process of trial and error during the following day, trying safe mode and normal boot w/ base video and a whole mess of other options. I was able to get the laptop stable and the video legible (make that VERY legible, even from across the room :-) ) - the only issue is that I can only set the screen resolution to maximum of 640x480 x 16bit color, the laptop normally runs nicely at its native resolution of 1440x900 x 32bit color.

During the trial & error process I found out that anything higher than 640x480 and the video card goes wonky, sfitzes and the screen goes blank until I power cycle the machine.

I have two OSs on the machine, LINUX and WinXPMediaCenter2005. I've tried using both the LINUX partition and the WinXP partition, with similar results, normal(native screen) res - sfitzing, frame buffer, non-accelerated frame buffer - sfitzing and text only mode mode. Only low res and text only mode are stable for more than a few minutes.~ First I tried a text chat with an HP rep. The text chat was with an HP (perform a system restore) she-drone, to no avail.

I checked the website for service locations in my area and there were pages and pages, all citing local HP support & service locations at STAPLES!

WTF? - HP laptop support @ a STAPLES store, yeah, right.

I decided to call the nearest one. The fellow I spoke with, at the ?Old Bridge? NJ store, understood the issue within a minute or two, was fairly knowledgeable, friendly and helpful - he provided me the number to HP national laptop service.

I've checked online and found that the motherboard, with integrated video card is available, for $700 + sales tax.

The folks at the national service number were quite happy to tell me that the laptop was no longer under warranty, fairly old and would I like to upgrade it, no shit, really? Um, no.

I've already priced replacements and they cost between $700 & $1,800 more then what I paid for this laptop in 2005, so, No and it would certainly not be an HP. My OS preferences do NOT include Vista from M$ - HP only sells laptops running Vista.

WinXP will do nicely, followed closely by an all LINUX machine and/or MacOS/X neck & neck.

When I bought the laptop I ponied up and got the warranty extension direct from HP. As you might expect, it expired a couple of months ago, May '08. :(

I will be sending the machine back to HP for service, to whit, I gave the nice Continental Indian fellow my CC#, expiration date & CVV# and he advised me that the total for service was $xxx.xx and then he rattled off a bunch of legalistic stuff, when he stopped and took a breath, I asked him if the complete repair would be the $xxx.xx - he said YES.

Mind you $xxx.xx was about $300 less than the cost of the replacement motherboard if I bought it myself and installed it myself - and the HP service will include a 90 day warranty on the serviced parts - YAY!

I'll post more after we get back to the apartment, I backup the laptop, change the HDD back to the one that came with the machine (WinXP only) and ship it off to HP in the shipping materials that they are overnighting to the apartment.
Having contacted HP from, here, at camp and receiving a tracking number for the packing materials and box, I hope that the woman who lives in the downstairs apartment will be home this weekend and has the presence of mind to take the package in, if it arrived, today...


  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded