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Advice on possibly broken Intel 1st gen i3 laptop

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  • Advice on possibly broken Intel 1st gen i3 laptop

    My 5 year old daughter has been playing around with an old laptop for a while and I felt she could do with an upgrade. She doesn't need much so I had a look on eBay and found a Clevo W760C being sold as broken for just £40. All it said was that the graphics driver would not install due to some issue. That sounded more like a software issue than a hardware one, making this a potential bargain. The seller deals with hundreds of broken laptops so I trust they know what they're doing but on the other hand, they don't spend long diagnosing each one.

    It arrived yesterday and I was quite impressed with the overall quality as I had previously thought Clevo just peddled cheap Chinese rubbish. It even has an eSATA port, which I've never seen on a laptop before. It's missing the hard drive and I don't have one spare so I booted Fat Dog Linux from USB and it was all looking great!... until I tried to do any 3D. dmesg was showing that the GPU had hung.

    Since then, I've tried all sorts like updating the BIOS, a newer Fat Dog (4.3 kernel), twiddling i915 boot options, blacklisting intel_ips, and forcing UXA, but nothing seems to help. Given that the seller encountered problems on Windows, I'm starting to think it must be hardware issue after all. It strikes me as odd because the GPU is integrated with the CPU so you wouldn't expect just the GPU to break. What if it's not the GPU specifically? The manual talks about Intel DVMT, which handles memory allocation to the GPU and says it's part of the HM55 chipset. I know the HM55 can be a separate component but Wikipedia notes that the northbridge is also mostly integrated into the Arrandale CPU so perhaps everything is in the one unit? That would be great as I can upgrade it from an i3 to an i5 for just £10. I haven't opened it up to have a look yet.

    Will that help though? Has anyone else encountered anything like this? Here is the dmesg.

  • #2
    I've now opened it up, which was incredibly easy. I've never seen a laptop that exposes most of the motherboard behind a 3-screw backplate before! Unfortunately the HM55 is separate and sat in a BGA socket. There's no way I'm touching a soldering iron. I guess I'll have to gamble further and try the i5.

    On an amusing side note, I'm now getting browser ads for broken laptops.

    Acer Aspire 5051AWXMi AMD Turion X2 14.1" Laptop - Faulty: NOW £11.95 for a limited time!


    • #3
      The gamble paid off! It works!