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Acer Apire 7720G upgrade to HD47670 probably failed


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This Aspire 7720G laptop after approx 3 years had a graphics card failure, and the pc was forwarded to MXM-Upgrade.com where a successful replacement in the form of an ATI HD47670 was carried out. After approx 8 months the pc started erratic behaviour sometimes booting and sometime having a black screen but the evidence from blinking lights and listening to the hard drive noise it appeared the system did work.

My daughter has brought the pc with her to Australia and I am trying to diagnose the problem. I am concluding that it is the HD47670 card that is probably intermittent. If it was not intermittent I would say it is for sure but I do not have any practical experience.

I have an Acer Travelmate 7720G laptop which functionally is similar but physically not similar enough to do a graphics card swap and that way check out the problem.

If I connect an external monitor to the Travelmate and boot, I get identical displayed information on both screens. If I hold down the F2 key during power up both screens will show BIOS screen information and the pc will now also start beeping until I let go of the F2 key.

Repeating this on the Aspire laptop results in no beep code, no display on either screen at any time. Power applies fine, HDD indicator shows activity for a few seconds, Optical drive will attempt to boot a CD if inserted.

At a stage I had removed the HDD module, RAM and Battery (as well as an external mouse) and assumed the Graphics card must be faulty but it bothered me that I do not get any beep code information at all. I installed the removed components and tried yet another time to boot into the BIOS.

To my amazement I got, sound and the Window black options screen, saying that Windows was not shut down properly. I chose to start normally and it did. Though I did find that mouse operation not available, direction and TAB key did not seem to work. I decided to reboot, probably a bit too early, because this was the end. I am back to black screen no beeps.

I do believe as well that the pc runs too hot, left side of the keyboard seems far too hot but it is subjective, guessing about 40 deg C. Opening the main compartment and putting my finger on the heat tubes I can not keep my finger, I am guessing 60 deg C. The fan is working.


Can anyone enlighten me on following: Is this possible that an MXM card (any Graphics card) can produce this result?

Any suggestion as to which simple and cheap MXM card, from e-bay, can be tried just to confirm one way or another.

Any other pointers?

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  • 2 weeks later...

There was a cheap T7300 cpu on ebay, since it was an easy test to swap out the original T7500 I tried but no startup, all as before.


Presently I have another cheaper graphics card on order, nVIDIA Geforce 9300M GS MXMII DDR2 256, but will be some time in coming. As the pc is almost classed as a write off I decided I would now remove the graphics card completely, before I have only had the thermal unit removed to see if discolurration was evident.  This decision has provided progress.


I can now answer my own question, yes the display card can cause apparent total "failure" though power is on and certain blinks and CD drive and HDD action can be heard.  I have as one last things removed the card from the pc and powered up. The LCD display came up grey colour almost instantly.  turning black some 15 seconds or more later, I am guessing after some post operations. 


Also confirmed that removing the graphics card, there will be no beep code.  this also seems to agree with the manual when looking through the error code list, where about 14 are listed as beep codes as well but none of those to me seemed to indicate that sound would be heard if the graphics card not there or failed.


When I removed the two screws holding the card in position in the MXM II socket, it appeared as the card was spring loaded in the socket somehow, very nice, as the edge opposite the socket lifted about 1" or 25 mm making it very easy to remove it.  At the time I thought nice feature.


Starting up without the card did seem to indicate that the pc was trying to boot but I was not sure.  I tried a PCLinuxOS live CD which seemed to get started fine on one try and failed on another. I did however hit the power button as I did not want Linux to get going proper as it might have upset the Windows OS ( Seven I think, did start out as Vista but I think it was upgraded, will find out later). There are still email files in the OS that my daughter would be happy to rescue from a running system rather than do post mortem on a HDD copy.


The graphics card was scrutinised using magnifier aid and looked in good nick, componentwise I could see nothing drastically wrong, the card was suspected of a slow overheat over fairly long period, approx 6 month with average use before startup would be very rare but did occur.  There was however a regular frame on the side opposite the graphics CPU which looked like it was starting to peel off on one side.


Turns out that this frame has to ride on top of components who occupies space in the "wrong position"  the lift is perhaps 3-4 mm but in a laptop this is significant.  Turns out this lifted edge is close to the MXM II socket so when the card is locked in position with the two screws the 25 mm lifted edge is forced down.  Careful observation shows the graphics card bending slightly near the MXMII socket and the socket lifting perhaps 0.5-1 mm as this is a tiny socket I believe there is significant stress at the edge connector/socket.  


I am unhappy about this situation. From my engineering point this is not right, but I don't know yet what I should expect.  


I have put the card back in and the computer now works, I have however damaged the conductive pad on the graphics cpu, this time for some reason a chunk of the pad stayed on the cpu while the rest sits on the thermal unit.  I have shut down while looking into the "springloading" and until I can get thermal pads and some new Arctic Silver paste.


The cooling air path was also cleaned out, approx 1/3 of the filters width was blocked, very unexpected as it was only 6 month earlier that it was cleaned when the new graphics card went in. This brought the temperature down to acceptable "hand feeling" on top of the keyboard and also on the heatsink, which I expect was around the 50-60 degrees C when I started working.


This startup could be an intermittent but observed items points in the mechanical area.  I certainly would like to get the "spring" removed considering the thermal cycling taking place, those tiny surface mounted components are experiencing a bit of stretch.


Can anyone who have changed graphics cards, MXM II style, advise there experience regarding "spring loading on MXM cards in laptops? 

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