My Dell Precision M6500 VGA is dead

Hello everyone,

I have dell precision m6500 laptop (workstation) that I bought about 4 years ago but only today all of a sudden while browsing the screen went black and it stopped working until I restart it shows the boot window normally.

When It boots up into Windows 8 or Linux Mint the screen goes black. I took the laptop all parts and cleaned it and put it back as it was but that also didn't fix it. I think I know that the VGA (Nvidia quadro 3800 1GB) is damaged for sure..

My question is that what kind of supported VGA that I can upgrade my laptop to? Is there any supported VGA that's more powerful than the previous one?

I would appreciate any suggestions.
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantAsked:
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JoeSystems AdministratorCommented:
Does the computer stay on or just the monitor go off? If the computer shuts off it may be the PSU
Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
No the monitor goes off but there's power! it's just black.
JoeSystems AdministratorCommented:
have you tried switching out the monitor?  And the VGA cable?
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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
No not really, I don't monitor at the moment but I'll try one later! the monitor works fine if I boot to Linux back track5 OS.. I think because this OS doesn't have any VGA drivers installed.
Connect the laptop to an external display and check if the issue persists. That would tell you if it's a problem with the GPU or not.
Daniel KlineSr. SharePoint DeveloperCommented:
If the Nvidia adapter is OK (when you attach an external monitor), boot in safe mode and roll back the drivers on the video.  It could be a bad update or it may be an incompatible driver.
Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Ok now when I boot up new symbols show up in the boot up screen! and some letters have different colors than before.  I will see if i can bring up a new monitor to see if it works with it.
it can even be bad ram
i would test the ram -  or test with each stic separately, to see if the problem disappears or not.
if you don't have access to a similar laptop to test - have it tested at a shop
JoeSystems AdministratorCommented:
You can still boot into a computer without video drivers. I agree with Daniel. See if you can boot into safe mode and if you can and it doesn't go black then roll back the drivers. You can also use a program called slim drivers to Update your drivers once they're rolled back.

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Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Nobus, I have 8 GB (2 pieces 4 DDR3) I tested both and they worked without an issue.

Josef, I have upgraded recently the driver (approximately 2 weeks ago) to latest from Nvidia it was 340v I think. I played the game Diablo 3 and noticed that the GPU temp reaches to 95C sometimes although I have Cool master fan beneath the laptop with 4 fans on it.

I stopped playing the game since when the GPU reaches 95C the screen goes black then when I restart the laptop everything works normally. but only 2 days ago it just went black until I boot into my Linux backtrack 5 OS. it works normally.

I have Grub boot loader with 3 OS and wasn't able to boot into safe mood to Windows 8. I'm planning to buy a new VGA coz I don't wanna lose this laptop. buying a new one is not cheap at all compared to the price of new VGA. it's just all im concerned about is if it's possible to upgrade to a higher performance VGA with more GIGs.
>>  I stopped playing the game since when the GPU reaches 95C the screen goes black   <<  so it's overheating
check the fan is running; you can even have to replace the heat paste
and clean the whole laptop from dust

here is a tear down guide :
and here they say you can repalce the video card, and which are supported :
The question is what you consider to be "better". The M6500 has a proprietary graphics card slot and only three graphics cards are available for that slot:
 NVIDIA FX 2800M, 3800M and some ATI card of which I've forgotten the name. If my guess is correct that your problem is that same as mine the 2800M is obviously no alternative for you. Maybe the ATI works more stable but afair it's not as powerfull as the 3800M.
Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Yes I did checked the fan and followed that guide already and cleaned the laptop. put it back again but nothing improved really. it's still the same.

So as an alternative and replacement my only option is to get a new 3800m.... I think its price is about 130USD.
i'll have to look for local stores if it even exists still.
Sometimes portals like ebay are good places to look at, they may have auctions running, and auctions can be less expensive if you are lucky and have the time to wait for a good deal.

It's highly unlikely that local shops stock laptop graphical cards, as they are all proprietary and not many people buy them. So they would also at least have to order them.
Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Thank you guys, I have ordered already from Ebay and waiting to get it so I can install it and see if it'll work.
John WilsonCommented:
I am curious whether anyone has found a solution to this problem.  I also have this issue and have been struggling with it for a long time.

Things I tried that are in the forums and blogs include reviewing the BIOS options and "dumbing" down the machine...turning of multi-thread, eliminating the dual-running operating systems (my machine came with Windows 7Pro and XP running in the background!  Who knew!)
I tried adding cooling fans, also.

I recently got the machine to work for a relatively long period (several weeks) by rolling back drivers.  But even then, it seems that running Google Chrome causes the issue to manifest itself.

I would like to get a hardware replacement for the nVidia also, if that might work.  I've never heard of any problems other than with nVidia.  And, since upgrading to Windows 10 and maximizing the ROM to 32G, I'd like to keep the machine for a while, even if it is as a doorstop.
Mohammed HamadaSenior IT ConsultantAuthor Commented:
Hi John,

After purchasing my second GPU card since this happened 2 years ago. I now have the same problem exactly like you mentioned it. it seems that Google chrome new version utilizes your GPU card to improve the browsing speed and that causes the card to get heated and then the machine crashes or messes the entire electric circuit in it.

I gave up on fixing mine, I am planning to buy a new machine.
hope u get ur solved.
did you r PSU have enough wattage?  if you added a video card, that's an Obvious cause for failing
If you have a problem open a new Question. This one has been closed a long time ago.
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