Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nvidia G84/G86 = Dead Laptops Everywhere! (how to check and save your laptop) Part I

COMPUTERS - Smaller costs more!
Computers, Laptops, netbooks and most portable devices all share the same components but at a smaller scale, with  central proccesing units(CPU), storage solution, graphic proccesing units (GPU), screen for output, keyboard or tactile pad, and many other components that  work together in harmony for you pleasure! o.O

Manufacturing small scale electronics is a expensive business, and thus why laptops and small devices always seem to cost much more than their desktop counterparts, every year companies try to push the envelope and shrink down the manufacturing process, developing smaller and efficient parts that generate less heat and require less energy to function.

CHIPSET - the heart of all
!
When buying a computer we usually just focus on getting all the needed parts and slap them together, but little do we know that the motherboard itself contains processing units that keep everything together and not the CPU as most think,
the chipset is the heart of a computer!! responsible for controlling and communicating every single device with one another,the UsB Sata IDe Firewire and pcie ports, Memory sticks, Video cards, and all else!.

Example of AMD Motherboard Chipset: The upper one takes care of Video/Memory/CPU traffic
the Second one takes care of various peripherals, In laptops this is often done with a single CHIP

THE BIRTH OF ONBOARD VIDEO - Multimedia Laptops/Devices
Over the years AMD INTEL NVIDIA and others have jumped on a race to shrink down and put as many  tasks into one single chip solution, the greatest development in recent years was to create a chipset with a GPU inside, creating commercial grade motherboards with video and 3d acceleration, and while efficient and less power hungry, they are much slower than their dedicated brothers. Intel has recently developed Sandy Bridge, which basically takes the same concept but now moves the GPU into the CPU itself, as fast if not faster than the motherboard GPU's is still no match for a dedicated GPU....

VIDEO CARDS ARE POWER HUNGRY - TDP is hot
Proccesing 3D imagery is hard, and dedicated GPU's take a lot of juice to run and entertain us with their shiny displays, the current Pcie Graphics port has an output of 75 Watts of power, and that means a lot of Heat, and it does not end there, because to increase the raw power of a GPU you need to give it more juice, there are Video cards with extra 6Pin or 8pin or a combination of BOTH, to provide additional Wattage from 125 to even 300watts (You better have a BIG Power supply!!!). Video Cards are disigned with a Thermal Design Power (TDP) in mind, which is basically the maximum amount of power the cooling system in a computer is required to dissipate, the greater the TDP the more cooling you need to provide to avoid the chip from frying itself, and so big video cards are hot and noisy due to the big fast fans D:

Nvidia Geforce 8800GTX: Look at that HUGE GPU and 2x6 PIN Power connectors top right corner

SHRINK DOWN / OPTIMIZE / FAIL
On Novemeber 6 2006 Nvidia struck the world with the release of  the GeForce 8800 GTX  Codename G80, a video card so power hungry that it had a TDP of 155 watts,  it generated a lot of heat and came with a massive heatsink, but it was leaps ahead of their competition and their previous model, this G80 GPU was later reworked  many times, shrinked  down, optimized and lowered in performance to be sold at a lower price, and in April 2007 came the release of the G84 line of GPUS, GeForce 8600 GT, GeForce 8800 GT and many variations, all sporting a TDP of 40-50 all under 75watts no additional cabling needed! and Later came the G86 with even lower Power draw and TDP... Nvidia then thoght to themselves " hey my gpu has such low TDP that i could actually turn it into a  Laptop Chipset!!!!" and the did O_o.

A TIME BOMB - Hp, Compaq, Dell and many others affected
Nvidia Scored big and sold their new G84 and G86 Chipsets to many companies, one that seems to have taken a big hit was HP(at the time having just bought Compaq so laptops came under both names) Releasing many models all sporting and AMD / Nvidia chipset solution, all worked fine and dandy, until one day... laptops started dying left and right... What happened!!

THIS PROBLEM AFFECTS LAPTOPS AND MAC'S  WITH NVIDIA G84-86 CHIPSET 
AND ALSO DEDICATED VIDEO CARDS MOSTLY THE GEFORCE 8600GT LINE

DESIGN FAILURE AND "UNDER ESTIMATED" TDP
There is a lot of things that went wrong and there is even a 4 page long article at the inquirer as to why exactly Nvidias chipset failed, but  it all comes down to this

1-Nvidia ventured into a new fabrication proccess with materials prone to failure wear and breakdown on the solder joints and inside the chipset if it went over its TDP in consecutive power cycles (heat up  cool down) and they also "miss calculated" the TDP

2-In order to Gain Hp's contract they neeeded to provide a CHipset within an Specific TDP value, to meet with HP's current Cooling solutions. and the G84 and G86 chipset where "within margins"......

And so You have the Recipe for Failure, Hp's Cooling solution was unable to keep up with the TDP of the chipset when it went into full use, mainly when gaming or using windows Vista and Windows 7 Aero Interface, One day you would turn on your computer and the next day it was dead no video at all!!.

HP and other companies took their time to recognize and stand up for the problem, extending the warranty for these models and additional year, Nvidia was forced to stand up and offer replacements, and there was even a lawsuit filled by a group of people that demanded settlement !


HOW TO PREVENT LAPTOP GPU DEATH
Well Due to the cooling design and Chipset TDP YOU CANT prevent the inminent death of your GPU, but there are many things you can do to prolongue the life of the affected ones (and new laptops as well in regards to point #2)

1-Bios Updates where addressed that basically turn the FAN ON at all times at max power, so that heat takes longer to build up.. and reduce the damage from every power cycle

2-Clean  and remove any gunk and blockage from the fans / heatsink: this one is hard becuase most of these models you have to dismantle completly to fully clean the insides.. but what i do is suction/blow  into the grills  from both sides with a vacumm cleaner many times and try to dislodge any lint with a long needle or metal , make sure the fan SPINS on its own after you are done, else it is stuck with dirt, keep blowing sucking till its free!

3- No matter how much you clean and keep the fan spinning, the TDP at full throttle will exeed the default  Cooling solution, so that means NO 3D applications should be run at all EVER, That Means Disabling Windows Aero, no 3d games, and even flash games, because they  use the GPU for rendering (even if you disable flash player hardware acceleration), your Computer should be used basically to Chat,  read email and work on your documents... ONLY!

4-Swtiching the Power configuration of the system helps as well, since the CPU and CHIPSET are both cooled by the same pipes,  halving your CPUs performance by half reduces the heat generated,  keeping temperatures low!.. as well as general performance =(

THERE IS STILL HOPE
And so ends the tale of the Failure that was the Nvidia G84 G86 GPU/CHIPSETS... but not without  consequences, still to date i have been brought  many DOA laptops of these series... and some of them have been reborn.... giving them some extra time... Tune in Next time, when i Give you a Guide on how to Try to revive some of these dead puppies, with  400ºF degrees of love <3

:D

32 comments:

  1. Laptops should use only AMD graphics cards. They are much better, cheaper, and to be honest I haven't heard of AMD/ATI GPUs to be sparking (like nVIDIA ones).

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  2. Heat is welcomed with my laptop, but 3rd degree burns should be avoided.

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  3. Thanks! I really need to prevent the laptop gpu death. Nice tips :]

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  4. I like your guides since I have no real experience with hardware and you describe everything with many details:)

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  5. wow, never knew its such a big problem! thanks

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  6. Very useful information! Thanks dude!

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  7. @Samuel Morales
    Yeah HP and Compaq ones mostly Models V3000 all ded within a year =(

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  8. never owned a laptop with Nvidia GPU before, my current laptop is a vaio E with an ATI card inside.

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  9. im kinda glad i didnt rush to get me a laptop, but im not a nvidia fan either, so i would have gotten an ATI one

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  10. Good tips, i dont like laptops, id get a pocket PC or a desktop computer...

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  11. My old laptop had Intel HD LOL. Don't laugh it was a present for college and it like exploded a few months ago.

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  12. Interesting info. Thanks for sharing + Followed!

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  13. very interesting article! thats why i would never buy a laptop for gaming.

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  14. Information will come in handy as I'm looking for a new laptop. Thank you.

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  15. I was actually looking into laptops recently, had no idea things weren't so good there!

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  16. Never used a laptop for more than menial office work for these very same reasons.

    Anything more than simple internet browsing or visual presentations? Workstation computer. No exceptions.

    Though they are making it more accessible, the costs reflect it.

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  17. Desktops are so much more reliable then laptops. I've gone through a few within years whereas a decent pc can last you many years (plus upgrading)

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  18. Thanks for the tips :) I will certainly keep these in mind when buying/using a new laptop... :)

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  19. wow thats good to know man, thanks!

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  20. Great post man, thanks for the useful info.

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  21. My laptop now has an Intel integrated graphics unit and I'm quite happy with it. I'm not a gamer or anything, so it works just fine for me. I don't think I'll ever buy NVidia again.

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  22. id be really afraid to screw something up tbh

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