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Diagnosing what's wrong with my FX Go5600


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Four months ago my Area 51-m 766 started rebooting under heavy load, or when watching videos. This was typical of heat issues (I'm used to running it in very high temperatures down here in Africa) but the normal airflow increases didn't help. Eventually I took the card out and discovered that the fan power connector had somehow disconnected! I'm very, very careful with this machine, so that was a surprise...

Reconnected the fan and things were great again, until a month or so later the machine started displaying artifacts on screen that would progressively get worse until the machine crashed. Usually after a crash the machine wouldn't boot immediately. In some situations the only way to get the machine running again was to remove the card and re-seat it... I played around with as many driver settings as I could (downloaded loads of different drivers from here, etc) in the end I got a week of normal performance with Alienware's latest drivers.

Problem recurred and got so bad that the machine rarely boots. I gave up on the 5600 as dead and started efforts to find another one somewhere. Being in South Africa makes it a lot harder to get specialist components, especially for a laptop that's the only one of it's kind in the country. Alienware themselves didn't help much either, they simply said they didn't support that card anymore and I would have to look elsewhere for it. Thanks...

I'm wondering exactly what the problem is, seeing as I haven't been able to get hold of a new part (especially after orders being "placed" and then being told weeks later that they didn't have enough parts to service all orders and would refund me) I'm wondering if there's anything I can do to get this laptop of mine up and running again. I really miss it :)


1) Artifacts on screen. In windows they manifest as off-colour regularly spaced lines/pixels. In games they appear as entire off-colour blocks, also regularly spaced both vertically and horizontally across the screen.

2) System doesn't boot correctly after a hard crash. Unplugging the power brick from the laptop and removing the battery seemed to "reset" the card.

3) Temperature normal, before it's demise the card was running nice and cool after the fan connector was plugged back in again.


My hunch is that one or more of the memory chips have gone. Are there any ways to limit the amount of memory that the card is using at the driver-level to try and diagnose this?

I'll post the latest driver and BIOS versions that the card was using when I get home tonight.

Any tests/info/pictures, you name it, I'll do :) Any ideas would be appreciated. Of course, if anyone has a spare FX Go5600 I'll gladly pay to take it off your hands!


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  • 2 months later...

I not 100% sure but your description (remotely) sounds as if VGA RAM is bad. Using a tool called MicroScope might prove this. It runs a lot of tests also for the GPU and can probably lead you in the right direction to tell whats wrong with the innards of your Laptop.

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