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Fry it to Believe!

What is the desperate laptop owner's nothing-to-lose solution to a dead laptop?  FRY IT!

Frank, one of our Computer & Tech staff pointed me to a video that could finally raise my 3-month dead HP TX1000 tablet pc back to life.

The Symptoms:  all LED lights are up but laptop won't boot, no hard drive activity, black screen.  The only known solution then was a motherboard replacement.  I knew because this wasn't the first time I dealt with this issue.  These are the same symptoms the laptop had two years ago. 
Fortunately that time it happened a few days BEFORE the warranty expired.  HP Service Center's diagnosis -- burned video card.  That  was easy to believe since the AMD Turion processor proved as hot as it was fast.  So a replacement motherboard under warranty was in order.  End of the story.

However, after more than a year of using the laptop with the new motherboard it died again, with exactly the same symptoms.  I didn't bother bringing the unit back to service center since warranty has long expired.  I called them and learned that a replacement board costs at least P17,000.00.  So much for replacing that board.  I might as well save for a NEW laptop that won't predictably get burned at one-year intervals.

Then after 3 quiet, laptop-less months Frank comes along with the video link above.  The solution:  Fry the already fried GPU chip with a 150W lamp while at the same time protecting the rest of the board with an aluminum foil.  Seemed like a solution you would get on April Fool's but I had nothing to lose.  The board was useless anyway and I've been trying to save for a cheaper ULV laptop already (netbook? no thanks).  The reason behind the solution seemed logical anyway:  when the laptop gets too hot the GPU detaches from the motherboard.  Thermally treating the GPU chip and pushing it against the board while still hot will re-solder the chip to the board.  So many people tried it.  So would I.

Yesterday I removed the laptop's motherboard.  Anyone who tried this before know how time consuming this can be and how difficult it is to keep up with the screws.  Fortunately Andy was there to the rescue.  He is our computer & tech coordinator and he used to work in a laptop factory overseas.

Our only modification to the process was the use of a hot blower for 5 minutes instead of frying the GPU chip with a 150W lamp for 2 minutes.   At first try the laptop came back to life!  That youtube poster was brilliant.  Thank God for people like him.  Imagine, information via the internet plus less than an hour's effort saved me and so many others repair/replacement costs amounting to almost $400!

This will be my last HP device.  Neither will I recommend the HP brand to anyone who asks me again.  True, HP may not be the only manufacturer that may have this problem but being the company with the largest share of computer sales will rationally have more of these chips.  Am I too hard on HP?  Maybe, but companies who aggressively sell their products should also be expected to aggressively face and solve the problems, frustration and loss of productivity they transfer to their customers.

How many people have and will encounter this problem?  Maybe at least 200,000 since that, they say, is the number of defective NVIDIA chips manufactured.   Proof of that number:  144,000+ viewers of the repair video above.

For those of you who have NVIDIA video cards, beware, especially if your device is lethally combined with a hot processor like those produced by AMD and if these are installed by a large company (HP) that kept silent despite a common defect in their products.

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