New laptop - horizontal lines across display

I bought a new Alienware laptop off of Ebay. The laptop was factory sealed and appeared brand new in every way.
However, when I started it up - within the first hour of use - on three occasions - I had a thin white line horizonally across the display. I saw this three times only. After this initial observance - the lines have never returned after several hours of use - and several re-boots.
I can return this laptop and buy another one identical to this one from Best Buy for a few hundred more. My question is if this occurance is something I should worry about and should I consider paying a few hundred more to get another new unit in the place of this one??? I am worried that this problem will return at a later date. I am willing to pay a little more to get a fresh (different) laptop.
What can cause these lines I describe? Can (or should I say) what are the chances that this will reoccur?
I would appreciate as many opinions on this matter as possible.
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LuoyadanAuthor Commented:
What is causing (caused) this horizontal white line across the display of my new laptop computer?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
What is causing a line like that is a defective screen. It does not appear to be the video or driver. It could be the cable connecting but seems like the screen.

My guess is the laptop was not new, the defect was known, and it was re-packaged. I suggest returning it as soon as you can.
☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
The line seems to be in different places so it's not definitively down to the display but could also be the graphics chipset, or the cable connecting the two.  In any case the decision you need to make now is with an apparent hardware problem do you want to accept the machine and then troubleshoot it for loose connections or possibly faulty hardware or get your money back and try again.

Have you checked the service tag on the machine to see if it has any history?  There are lots of Dell resellers on eBay who are quite legitimate but they are often dealing in returned/unwanted builds to order like the Dell Outlet, there are also a few rogues.

My gut-feeling is drop it now - you've bought a high end laptop presumably with plans to push it to its limits.  If it's having trouble displaying the desktop without anything running I'd be wary of what might happen when you launch a 3D game on it!
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First, you should not put new in a question title when buying sevond hand as the common suggestion to such an issue is to take it back, you either have a dead row in the display, or a....

Try the following, rotate the display 90 degrees (screen resolution, change orientation)
Paying attention whether the line shifts with the change in orientation or remains where it is.  A similar test would be to connect the external display to see whether the line is showing up on both.

This will confirm that the issue is with the LCD. Or the graphics daughter card if the line is reflected on both displays in the same proximate location.

Is the system have any warranty period remaining?

For the price, can you tolerate this issue?
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
A few thoughts ...

=>  I do NOT think this is a display panel issue -- if it was, the lines wouldn't have (a) been in different locations; and, more significantly, (b) they wouldn't have disappeared after the first few instances.

=>  It's more likely this was caused by memory issues in the VRAM on the video controller.    There may have been a few "stuck bits" that have now cleared ... if this is the case, it's most likely fine now.

=>  If the problem happens to reoccur,  rotate your display [Ctrl - Alt - Right-Arrow] and see if the line changes orientation.    If it does, then it's almost certainly a VRAM issue.   If that's the case, replacing the video daughter-card would resolve this.    But I suspect this would cost you as much as simply returning the laptop and buying it new from Best Buy.

=>  What I'd do:  

--  Download UDPixel and run it for 20-30 minutes, watching very carefully to see if there is any indication of stuck or incorrect pixels.   Set the cycle time to ~ 5 seconds and click on "Run cycle" so it will change colors every 5 seconds ... it will be VERY obvious if you have any problems.    If the display panel has any issues, this will almost certainly identify them.    I'd let it run for 20-30 minutes just to be sure the issue isn't caused by the VRAM getting warm.,1.html

--  If UDPixel shows any issues, simply return the laptop and spend the additional $$ to get a new one from Best Buy.   You COULD attempt to "unstick" any dead pixels (UDPixel is very good at this), but since you are still within your return window, you'll likely feel better just returning it instead of dealing with any issues.

--  If UDPixel does NOT show any issues, I think it's a safe assumption that you simply had some initial VRAM issues ("stuck bits") that cleared after a few uses.    If these don't recur with the UDPixel test, they're not likely to come back at all.    In this case, I'd just keep the laptop.

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It can be a faulty display connecting an external display will confirm whether it is a graphics card issue or issues related to connections to the display.
Kyle SantosQuality AssuranceCommented:
IIRC, Dell is the manufacturer of Alienware now and they provided a one year limited warranty.  I owned an Alienware Mx17 for a few years and never had a problem with it.  I did buy this directly from Alienware's/Dell's site.

If the seller on eBay has a 1 year warranty coverage on the laptop you bought, then you're in the same place as you would be buying it directly from the manufacturer (no point in spending an extra few hundred dollars).  But if the laptop is not warrantied by the eBay seller, then I would send it back and buy a new one.  Heck, I would even get in touch with Dell to see if they have a discounted promotion going on for Alienware laptops (they do not advertise this unless you have a subscription to their Alienware magazine).  Ask the agent if they'll sell you the same Alienware for close to, if not, the same price as what you have now.

It may even behoove you to try checking out these coupons:

Let us know if you need anything else.


PS What Alienware model did you buy?
LuoyadanAuthor Commented:
I did return the unit and buy one from Best Buy for a few hundred more and it is wonderful. although the exact same model number - it looks and acts differently. I am sure this ebay seller knew it had issues - which is why he sold it so much less.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I am curious, if you returned the laptop as we suggested at the beginning, that you only accepted one answer.
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