Laptop Woes from nVidia 8600M Chipset

By Lawrence

This week when I take my LG P300 laptop with me instead of my usual touch screen ones, it died on me with some odd symptoms. The LCD output was mixed with messed up output, etc.

When I get the chance to test it with a LCD monitor, vertical strips showing up on the screen when I switch the display from the built-in LCD to the external monitor right after turning on the computer.

Subsequent reboots get no display at all no matter switching to external output or not.

I was quite frustrated as I have several blog articles, code prototypes, etc. on that computer and now I have no way to get back the stuff unless I take the whole thing apart. It is not one of those big laptops. It is a compact laptop weights less than 3 lbs that is packed with CPU power and a decent sized HD. That’s why I bought it in the first place and now that compact design is also my biggest nightmare.

I left the laptop to my hardware guy in the office for couple of days and he gets back to me with some interesting information that’s worth sharing here.

The problem turns out to be a common one caused by design faults in the nVidia 8600M chipsets. It was designed specifically for laptops with advanced graphic accelerations, but it gets to overheat easily. If the laptop does not cool it down quickly with the cooling fan running at full power, the chipset will either die, or, overheat enough to separate itself from properly connecting to the motherboard as it melted away the soldering.

I bought my LG P300 back in 2008 and it is the first laptop to die on me this way. The other ones I have including a Dell XPS M1210 from many years ago are still functioning fine.

I did not catch the news back in 2009 to 2010 when Dell and HP in fact won a settlement against nVidia and owners of laptops with the affected chipsets can get their laptops replaced if the cause of failure is the graphic chipset from their manufacturers.

So here is my 2-cents from this experience –

If you happen to be in the market for a second hand laptop, or, found a laptop on clearance sale, please check to make sure the graphic accelerator chipset is not nVidia 8600M. It will ensure a short life span for your laptop. Worst yet, if it dies on you at a moment that you needed the laptop most, I can tell you that it will not be a very good experience.

For those who have laptops with the chipset, try using the laptop with an external cooling fan. That will extend the life of the laptop for some time.

If yours already failed and you still have the computer somewhere, dig it out and check with the manufacturer to see if you are eligible for a free replacement.

As far as I can find out, LG does not have such arrangement with nVidia for my laptop thus I am out of luck.

Well, I consider myself lucky on this one because I already get back all the important files.


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